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Anime / Melody of Oblivion

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"A great war took place in the 20th century. It was a full-blown war between humans and monsters. Words alone could not describe the violent struggle that ensued. And in the end, the monsters were victorious. Days passed and a new century began. And slowly, people began to forget that melody."
— Melody of Oblivion

Many years ago, there was a war between the humans and the Monsters. The Warriors of Melos fought valiantly, but in the end, the Monsters won, and rule from the shadows. The children of the current era are completely ignorant of the battles of the past, even as children mysteriously disappear, sacrifices to placate their Monster overlords.

Melody of Oblivion chronicles the journey of Bocca and his allies as they fight Monsters and, more often, the humans of the Monster Union, searching for the truth behind the phantom girl called 'Melody of Oblivion' whom only Warriors of Melos can see.

An extremely surreal show full of flashbacks and flashes to symbolic portrayals of the action, strong themes of the show are the loose line between reality and fantasy and rebellion against society's mores.

A 24-episode anime series by J.C. Staff (with help from Studio Gainax) that originally aired in 2004. There is also a six-volume manga adaptation produced by Kadokawa Comics.

This show provides examples of:

  • After the End: The monster war ostensibly happened in the 20th century, and the technology we see matches this. However, the war itself has left relics that suggest they were actually far more advanced. Considering the level of reality warping the monsters do, the war may even be in the future.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Members of the Monster Union do the Nazi salute as they recite "Viva Monster Union!"
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final scene (combined with Here We Go Again! and Where It All Began).
  • Animal Theme Naming: All of the Monster Union agents have one that reflects both their respective mecha and their personality.
    • They also correspond to pretty much everything in the Eastern Zodiac.
  • Badass Adorable: Letís just say every hero is in a way.
  • Badass Biker: All the Melos Warriors, who ride around on Aibar Machines (basically mecha motorcycles).
  • Badass Longcoat: Bocca. He wears one and is a very good fighter.
  • Badass Normal: Sayoko doesn't have any Melos abilities. The only things she's good at are tricking and stealing. Which proves enough to save the whole bunch of Badasses from mortal peril.
  • Being Good Sucks: Melos Warriors are unpopular with civilians, since taking down Monster society necessarily involves destroying the systems that humans now live in.
  • Bland-Name Product: Bocca buys Sayoko dinner at 'Starducks Coffee'.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Averted by Coco using the "Ladys" on the Mahoroba: "It's difficult to do this in Zero G."
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Echo, my Melos!", "Singing Chord, Feeling of {whatever}!", "Just Fit Rim!"
  • The Cape: Melos Warriors in the Space Arc. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, they donít win and Coco and Toune as well as their Aibar Machines stay behind.
  • Chaste Hero: Bocca takes this to the extreme, passing on both Elle's and Sayoko's offers of sex to go adventuring.
  • Child Eater: The monsters accept children as sacrifices, although Horu is the only monster depicted as actually devouring his.
  • Classical Mythology: The Monsters' names and themes are borrowed from Greek myths.
  • Dead All Along: The Melody of Oblivion, or rather, the girl that the Melody is based off of. The 'Melody of Oblivion' that we see throughout the series appears to be a projection by the Monster King, albeit one with some sentience.
  • Deranged Animation: All scenes involving Monsters, especially The Labyrinth and Hecate's bowling.
  • Disney Villain Death: In the epilogue, it's mentioned offhand that the Monster King survived, despite being dramatically shot by an arrow before.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Many things, but most notably bio concerto which looks like it make the user orgasm. Especially so with the bio concerto between Tone and Skyblue, which is treated almost exactly like a sex scene.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Horu can snap his fingers to cause others' clothing to fall off instantly.
  • Eastern Zodiac: The Monster Union agents are each themed after one of them.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: It seems like peace reigns in every day life... until you realize it's maintained by sacrificing the lives of children.
  • Evil Gloating: Monster Union members revel in this. Episode 23 consists of it almost entirely.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Itís there in most of the Monster Unionís names, but especially Flying Bunny.
  • Explosions in Space: Lampshaded and handwaved; the villains note that sound shouldn't be able to travel in space, and blame the protagonists for this.
    ? 'Echo, my Melos'? Is sound supposed to travel in space??
    ? Boy, they just seem to lack the simple common sense...
    • Also subverted with the Singing Chord and Noise Cannon, which are revealed to not truly be made of sound at all.
  • Faceless Goons: Hordes of clerks working for Monster Union. Oh, wait... are those really tourists, or has a toy factory conveyor sprung a leak?
  • Fanservice: The girls' Melos Arrow firing are all - more than a little erotic, and this is just the beginning. Other examples include Sayako's outfit and the cowgirls in the final four episodes.
  • Gainax Ending: The episodes in space dial up the theater elements in ways that bend the fourth wall more and more, and throughout both those and the final episode many strange revelations and implications are dropped. Subverted with the epilogue, however, which is so standard that it's almost weird itself.
  • Harbinger of Asskicking: The same musical theme preceding each villain's appearance.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tone, Coco, and their Aibar Machines get voluntarily stuck in time and are left behind. Kurofune stays in the labyrinth to make sure Horu remains inside.
  • Human Sacrifice: What allows human society to continue existing under monsters: sacrificing a child a month, per municipality.
  • Humongous Mecha: Each Monster Union agent has one, some bigger than others.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Bocca is unable to fully commit to his relationship with Sayoko, and just as they're working it out, Bocca has to leave her to travel into space.
  • Joshikousei: Coco, and really all of the female Melos Warriors wear one at some point. That said, unlike Bocca, they never went to school. Sayoko is the right age, but never wears a uniform.
  • Limited Animation: There's lots of Stock Footage, and it's somewhat obvious in general that the show didn't have a big animation budget.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Sayoko has a brother in the Monster Union codenamed Lucky Thoroughbred, and Coco is the long-lost daughter of the Japanese Prime Minister.
  • Loveable Rogue: Sayoko. Sheís cheeky and mischievous, but she does love Bocca under it all.
  • Mark of the Beast: Monster Union agents get branded with one. Itís first shown with Millionaire Beaver.
  • The Maze: The Labyrinth, an Eldritch Location maze which apparently doubles as the Minotaur's stomach.
  • Mind Screw: What are the ape men? How did the war begin and end? Why isn't Bocca the 4th monster king? Is Sayako still alive, or is she a Melody of Oblivion? Why is the "real world" a labyrinth? Is it even the real world? Even these questions aside, there are many moments of bizarre and jarring direction and imagery.
  • Moment Killer: Poor Bocca and Sayoko manage to turn into an Official Couple around halfway in the series, but never seem to progress beyond that due to interference (mostly type 2) from just about anything, including a goddess and the Prime Minister of Japan.
  • Motorcycle on the Coast Road: As seen near the end of the ending.
  • Playboy Bunny: Monster Union agent Flying Bunny and her robot monster. Especially her space suit.
  • Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: When Sayoko is talking to Bocca as the door to the maze closes, and (audience only) what the Melody says to Bocca in the final episode.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Metaphorically, the whole society. Literally, the robot factory.
  • Reality Warper: The monsters. Whenever they're around, reality and even the show's direction goes all screwy.
  • Rule of Cool: Sentient flying motorcycles? Why not? Sentient flying motorcycles that transform into Bishounen? Even better!
  • Rocket Punch: Wrench Monkey's ape mecha can do this.
  • Scenery Porn: Melody Of Oblivion's water color style backgrounds are very beautiful, although because of the rich symbolism and strange locations, they often are important to the plot.
  • Screw Destiny: Bocca uses it to escape from Minotaur.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Monster Union remembers about this in the last two story arcs. Apparently the remaining Agents Took a Level in Badass over the preceding series.
  • Shout-Out: The opening soundtrack of the space episodes is a blatant rip-off of Star Wars.
    • The famous AKIRA bike-slide is used at one point.
    • Flying Bunny and her airboard is an obvious reference to Studio Gainax's Daicon IV. Child Dragon, on the other hand, is a parody of Captain Harlock.
    • Many plot points and themes are re-used from Revolutionary Girl Utena, which much of the staff worked on previous. Sayoko's chain, on the other hand, appears to be re-used from Anime/FLCL.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Child Dragon goes on about this comparison at length.
  • Space Is Noisy: Lampshaded by Flying Bunny - "Did she just say 'Ring out! My Melos!'? In the vacuum of space, where no sound travels?"
  • Spell My Name With An S: In the fansub all the Melos attacks coincide with poker hands, but in the official translation Bocca's 'Flush' is changed to 'Flash'. The anime also bleeds musical terminology (as per the title), but the official translation oddly changes 'Bio Concerto' to 'Bio Co-ordination'.
    • The Geneon subs have "Bio Concerto", and only use "Flash" in some early episodes (switching to "Flush" later).
  • The Starscream: Lucky Thoroughbred wants to be this, but Child Dragon is fully aware that he's lying to him, and Thoroughbred is defeated by the heroes anyway.
  • Start of Darkness: We get to see the tragic backstories of the first couple Monster Union agents.
  • Story Arc: The episodes are grouped into three episode arcs except for the first two episodes and last episode.
  • Super Robot: Each Monster Union agent rides in one.
  • Taking the Bullet: In the final battle, both Sayoko and the Melody of Oblivion attempt this at the same time. Of course, as the Melody of Oblivion doesn't exist, the arrow goes right through her.
  • Talking Animal: The true-false parrot who passes on messages to Monster Union agents from fellow agents, although it's really Solo, a.k.a. the Monster King, doing a ventriloquist act.
  • Travel Cool: A four-legged horned bus. And a ship going through forests. And, of course, sentient flying motorbikes.
  • Tsundere: Tone is a "Type Tsun" one, reserving her "deredere" exclusively for Sky Blue.
  • The Unfought: Contrary to expectations, the vast majority of antagonists are not monsters, but the humans supporting them and their "robot monsters". The only monster Bocca fights for most of the series is Horu. He fights Hecate, the Monster King and Pan in the final episode.