is an anime series by J.C.Staff, with some involvement from Gainax. The series is 24 episodes long, and originally aired between April 7, 2004 and September 21, 2004.
The Melody of Oblivion is a series rife with cultural references. Everything from Zen Archery and Bushido to the Bible's Book of Revelation, stories of Greek Mythology, and images from The Garden of Forking Paths can be seen in the series.
Melody of Oblivion's premise is that in the 20th century, humanity waged and lost a war against beings known only as the Monsters. In the 21st century, the Monsters rule the earth, but they have reconstructed society such that virtually no one born after the war ended is aware that it ever happened. Children are disappearing mysteriously. Only the Warriors of Melos are still fighting against the Monsters. The series focuses on Bocca, a teenager who chooses the path of the Warrior. In doing so, he gains the power to fight back at the horrors he sees, but it costs him his place in society.
Melos Warriors are the only ones who can see the ephemeral "Melody", personified as a girl who appears at important times and shows emotion but does not speak. The Melos, as they are also referred to, fight primarily with bows and arrows infused with the energies of their spirit (seemingly described in Italian words and phrases used in musical notation). The visible marks (Sacred Scars) that they employ in this infusion process appear as tattoos on their person.
The Melos Warriors are aided by devices called Aibar machines (could also be transliterated as Aiba-Machine), which are essentially futuristic motorcycles with many additional capabilities. ('Aiba' or 'Aibar' are transliterations for a word in Japanese meaning 'Favorite Horse.') The process of bonding a Warrior of Melos and an Aibar machine involves a symbolic naming of the bike by the one who is to ride it. Thereafter, the Aibar machine follows voice commands. All Aibar machines are at least minimally sentient, while some possess fully human-like intelligence. As such, they can function mostly or completely independently of their drivers when need be.
Opposing the Melos Warriors are the Monsters themselves and their human lackeys, the Monster Union. The former are always shown as normal looking human beings, however this is not what they truly look like. If a normal person (one who is not a Melos Warrior) looks at their true form, they will automatically transmogrify into a bizarre object (such as stone statues or puppets, but varying with whatever monster is being viewed.) It should also be noted that all the monsters mirror creatures of Greek Mythology, such as Horu, the first monster featured, who is referred to by Kurofune as a "disgusting cow" and is said to have been sealed in a labyrinth. This, along with the fact that a pair of bull horns and legs manifest when he is around, implies he is the legendary Minotaur. Several other featured monsters are Medusa, Hecate, Talos, and Pan. All monsters seem to have some control over reality itself and can only be killed by Melos Arrows.
The Monster Union, which is part Satanic cult and part ultra-fascist secret society, is composed of people who have been given power and authority in exchange for providing a steady supply of human sacrifices to their Monster overlords, and keeping the majority of humanity in the dark as to who holds the real power and what really goes on in the world. The process of imbuing Monster Union members with their powers leaves a visible mark on the body identical to a hot iron brand mark.
Monster Union leaders employ machines called robot-monsters in combat, but in contrast to the Melos Warriors, there is no standard design among these machines aside from the fact that all seem to be shaped like animals from the Chinese zodiac. The names of these robots are also in Chinese.
The contrast between the Monster Union members and the Melos Warriors is suggestive of the text in Revelations where it refers to people being marked by Heaven and being marked by Hell.
Melody of Oblivion has a very distinctive soundtrack featuring prominent virtuoso violin and acoustic guitar solos and other classical-style music. The theme music is titled "The Spirit of Framenco". There are also more disturbing synth and amplified guitar pieces during scenes of creeping horror. The show itself is also full of musical references, from the Melos Warriors' given names (Kurofune Ballad being the most obvious) to the Italian musical vocabulary which flashes on the Melos Warrior 'targeting interface' during battle (animato, con fuoco, passionato, energico, etc).
- The main character. Brave, determined and equipped with a heart for adventure, Bocca is not your average school boy. In fact, he does badly in school and is disliked by his teachers. He eventually drops out to pursue his dreams of becoming a Melos Warrior, leaving behind the old and familiar, including his parents and brother. Bocca was a rebellious member of the archery club (the students are discouraged from using actual arrows since the monsters are trying to discourage the development of such skills) who longed to be a warrior to fight against the injustices he saw in the world.
Although people classify monsters as myth and tell Bocca to stay away from the old man who loiters near his school, he befriends the old man named Tsunagi , who is actually a scientist. Bocca also worked part time for him at his auto-shop. Bocca soon meets Sayoko who tells him she is looking for a warrior; hearing this gives Bocca new hope for what he wants to do in life. When the warrior Kurofune (the same warrior Sayoko was looking for) goes to see Tsunagi, Bocca learns that Tsunagi was the leading scientist of aibanetic technology and an ally of the warriors. Later that day Bocca witnessed a battle between Hor and Kurofune, which awoke the possibility to become a warrior within him. When Kurofune leaves to continue on with his journey, Bocca and Sayoko decide to go after him.
The series then follows Bocca's journey as he sees the damage the monsters have done, learns of the humans who have pledged allegiance to them, meets other Melos Warriors and develops a romantic relationship with Sayoko. His Melos tattoo is on his left arm, and his Aibar machine is Elan Vital
. (Japanese voiced by Houko Kuwashima
and English voiced by Ted Sroka
His command for his Melos arrow is "Flush."
His bow was originally the bow he used for the archery club, and when it got broken, it was replaced by the handle bars of his Aibar machine. :
- A girl who travels with Bocca to seek her love, Kurofune. She was given as a sacrifice to the monsters by her parents to improve her brother's chances of becoming a Monster Union agent. Kurofune rescued her and she fell in love with him. She ran away from the home Kurofune placed her in to chase after him. On her wrists she wears the chains that bound her as a sacrifice and with them she can track Kurofune. They will point to wherever Kurofune is if she is lucky and there's nothing standing in the way of her and Kurofune. During the journey, Sayoko develops a relationship with Bocca.
- Although her identity as a runaway child is the first facet of her character that is introduced to viewers, Sayoko is better known as daring, sensitive girl who is ready to risk all for love. She also has pick-pocketing skills to rival a professional, which helps her survive and bring her to Bocca. They later become friends when she realize that Bocca is a Melos Warrior, and decides to follow him so that she can look for Kurofune, whom she is in love with. Around Sayoko's left wrist is a red chain that vibrates and pulls her in the direction of Kurofune when he uses his power.
Bocca says that Sayoko is a “girl who belong to a world of sunlight”, but despite being generally cheerful in disposition, Sayoko’s past is marred by a dark truth. Her parents always loved her brother more than her. When her brother grew up, Sayoko was sacrificed to help her brother become a member of the Monster Union and Kurofune saved her from it. That was when Sayoko fell for him. Together, Bocca and Sayoko traverses many monster-controlled area, delving into the monsters network and hierarchy. Amidst the conflicts and chaos, Bocca and Sayoko grow closer and find that their fondness for each other had developed into something more than friendship. Japanese voiced by Masumi Asano
and English voiced by Carrie Savage
- The first Melos Warrior to appear, and Bocca's inspiration. Instead of a bow, he wields a crossbow. His aibar machine is Jaguar Sun. His Melos tattoo is on his left arm. (Japanese voiced by Mitsuru Miyamoto and English voiced by Patrick Seitz).
His command for his Melos arrow is "Flush" (same as Bocca's)
He uses a bow gun. :
- A quiet girl who is proficient with the bow. One will think that all Melos Warrior who find out about their powers would embrace their identities immediately, but not Toune’s. She first appeared as someone who can fight monsters, produce a Singing Chord, and seems to know a great deal about Melos Warrior. All she seemingly lacks are the tattoo and an Aibar Machine. In her conversation with Bocca, Toune disclose her hatred for Melos Warriors, and despise what she calls the arrogance of those who ride on Aibar Machines.
However, it soon becomes clear that her hatred for the Melos is a veneer to protect her from the truth that she is unwilling to accept: The boy she is in love with, Sky Blue, is really an Aibar Machine. After overcoming this, she finally slips into her role of a Melos warrior and mounts Sky Blue to travel to other places. Her tattoo is hidden on inner thigh of her right leg, explaining why Bocca thought she was not a Melos Warrior at first.
Her Aibar is Sky Blue, an earlier model of the Unicorn-series. His first appearance in the series portrayed him to be a devil by Millionare Beaver. (Japanese voiced by Sanae Kobayashi
and English voiced by Wendy Tomson
Her command for her Melos arrow is "Straight flush."
Her bow is a wooden bow that she carries around. : A very young and playful girl, a feisty girl with risqué humour packaged in a petite frame. She may be young for a Melos Warrior, but she is just as masterful and confident as the other Melos Warrior. Her last name is the Italian word for lullaby
A Monster Union Agent kidnapped her from her parents in the toy section of a department store. She managed to escape before she could be sacrificed; however, to this day she cannot remember who her parents were or where she lived. She is accompanied by three Unicorn-series aibar machines: Hikari, Nick, and Kuron. They came together when Koko awakened them. She had wanted to free all of the Unicorn-series Aibar Machines, but had no chance to so she set these three free and gave them names. Together they form the armed theatrical group Chentauro. Upon meeting Bocca and his friends, fighting monsters and uncovering mysteries together, she was reunited with her father, the Prime Minister. Misadventure has it that they only come together when he was at the brink of death. Father and Daughter never get to know each other beyond physical appearance. Her Melos tattoo is on her right cheek. (Japanese voiced by Yukari Tamura
and English voiced by Jennifer Sekiguchi
Her command for her Melos arrow is "Four card."
Her bow is formed from a stick that she carries, which expands to a bow at her command.
- An old man who owns a repair shop that Bocca worked at. Kurofune comes to him to have his aibar machine, Jaguar Sun, repaired. When the authorities arrive after Kurofune fights Hor, Saburou flees and joins the armed theater group, Chentaruo(this is not known until later in the series in episode 8-10). When Bocca meets Saburou again, it is revealed Saburou was a scientist who helped in the development of Aibar Machines and the Metronome, the space fortress that gives the Aibar Machines the ability to fly, and was supposed to destroy all monsters. :
- A girl whose physical body is confined at an elusive area called the "Oblivion Playhouse" (also translated as "Melody Theatre"), but can project her image so Melos Warriors can see her. She guides and supports them, although her capacity for communication seems to be very limited. It is rumored among Melos Warriors that if her physical form can be located and resuscitated, she could unlock a power capable of wiping the Monsters off the face of the planet. (Japanese voiced by Mamiko Noto and English voiced by Michelle Ruff).
Horu / Minotaur:
- Horu is the first monster Bocca meets in Melody of Oblivion, and is also the most recurring monster in the series. He is said to have been sealed in a labyrinth, but claims that he was able to leave his prison when he discovered that everything "is all part of the labyrinth" He holds a long-standing grudge against Kurofune. Like all monsters, he has a broad, albeit nebulous, range of abilities. He is seen in the anime to warp space and time around him, teleport, and is known to cause the stars to vanish for periods of time. Whenever he is in the area, a pair of bullhorns is seen somewhere close. He is accompanied by a small "toy" bus that he implements in his attack by transforming it to life-size, making it grow the horns and legs of a bull, and ramming it into his opponent. (In the past, he was seen to use a similar attack with a Jeep in lieu of a bus.) He is often chewing cud, which, along with other elements of his design such as the bullhorns and labyrinth, is supposed to imply that he is the Minotaur of Greek Mythology. (In fact, the walls of the labyrinth he was trapped in have murals on them depicting the birth of the Minotaur. Also, another way to translate his name is Hol, a reference to Holstein cattle.) Horu is unique among monsters in that he gains sustenance by reverting to his true form (which is never seen on camera) and physically devouring the children who are sacrificed to him. This is excruciatingly (and eternally) painful for his victims because he constantly regurgitates and masticates them, as a cow does with its food. Those that see him in his true form immediately and irreversibly transform into puppets. He's voiced by Shotaro Morikubo in Japanese. The Girl With Red Hair / Medusa:
- The most childish and unpredictable of all the monsters featured. She appears as a young red-haired girl. Her transport of choice is a large cruise-liner called "The Hebihanabi," or "Snake Fireworks ship," that can move on land or sea, and is always accompanied by a thick fog. Her sacrifices are turned into stone statues through looking upon her true form, and are either kept in her onboard private collection, or used to decorate the cities under her command (she seems to have a preference for young and beautiful boys.) During one scene in the anime, bunch of snakes are scattered around after she throws her head at a mob of angry parents, implying that she is made out of snakes. One of her oddest features is that she is always accompanied by a servant whose voice is heard, but who never appears onscreen. Whether this servant is another monster or in fact an extension of her power is unknown. She was the monster that scouted out the Monster Union members Midnight Hiyoko and Millionaire Beaver, although she may have found others as well. Like all monsters, her powers are difficult to gauge, and she has an unquestionably evil nature. She is referred to as Medusa by other monsters, which goes along with the fact that she is associated with snakes, can petrify others at will and lastly, when she removed her head it was likely referencing the legend of when Perseus decapitated Medusa in combat, and later used her head (or rather her petrifying eyes) as a weapon. On top of that, The Monster king directly referred to her by the name, Medusa. Tamakorogashi / Hecate
- Or "Ball-Roller" is the third most featured monster in the story, and seems to be the most calculating. She is the monster that is noted to be the one that scouted the union agent, Hustle Monkey. She appears in the form of a young woman with green hair held in pig-tails by bowling ball shaped hair clips. She is always accompanied by a ferocious looking black dog that acts like her guardian. This dog is probably a part of her true form. As her hair clips may indicate, she is fond of bowling and prefers to play in a bowling alley of her own creation that is made out of hearses. People who view her balls and pins are assaulted by visions of the people they have wronged. It is explicably shown that she turns her sacrifices into bowling balls (she actually orders her sacrifices based on their weight, so that the ball's weight is more comfortable for her to throw), but it is unknown as to whether or not this also applies to the pins. The monster, Pan, called her, Hecate, when they met up at the parthenon. This goes along with her dog since black dogs were regularly sacrificed to the Witch-Goddess. Pan
- Not much is known about him, the only information is that he is a boy who is wearing glasses and plays a flute. He seems to have an intressed thing for Medusa. Pan is a human with goat legs and horns. Talos
- Talos can only be seen once for a brif moment. Talos appears to look like a sumo and he guards the Island of Monsters. Monster King Solomon III aka Solo
- The current Monster King, he is a former Melos warrior. After defeating the previous Monster King, the Melody of Oblivion told him that the monsters would attack the humans indiscriminately. And if the monsters were every defeated, then humans would turn into the monsters. The only way to prevent it would be for Solo to take up the role of Monster King himself. He pleads with Bocca to join him as his equal, to help relieve the extreme loneliness of his position. Solomon goes so far as to offer Bocca half of the world to control if he would only join him. He keeps the Melody of Oblivion in chains at his palace on the Island of Monsters. Solo is also riddled with guilt over what he has done to protect people. He has the ability to instantly hypnotise humans and control them into doing what every Solo desires. He uses this ability to kill the Prime Minister of Japan. (english voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch).
Monster Union Agents
- After having her home town's hot springs discovered as a fake and her sister stealing her boyfriend, she dedicates herself to the monster union. She causes her town to be under constant night, which makes it famous for 'A town without dawn, or always in dusk'. Her robot monster is a large flying rooster. Her real name is Keiko Hamasaki. (Japanese voiced by Yuri Amano) Millionaire Beaver
- A childhood friend of Toune, she was recruited by Medusa while they were looking for Sky Blue, Toune's future Aiba Machine. She was jealous of Toune for being liked by Eichi instead of her, and after Toune's return fears he will run away with her. She is in charge of a dam that holds all of the tears of children saddend by adults. The tears are collected by robot rats, and are counted as a way determining which adults are eligible to be Monster Union members. Her robot monster is a giant rat, which is made out of a number of her robotic rats. She is defeated by Bocca when he learns the Singing Chord attack. Her real name is Miri Kanaya. (Japanese voiced by Aya Hisakawa) Wrench Monkey
- He's in charged of a factory of making weapons for the Monster Union. He captures Sayoko as his special love. He gets the shivers when Hecate gets a liitle upset with him. He pilots a robot monkey as he fights the Warrios of Melos. He appear to have died as Engine One gets destroyed. His real name is Masaru Hashimoto. (Japanese voiced by Mitsuaki Madono) Global Wildcat
- Worked under Hol (Horu) on his mirage island shipping children to him, was defeated by Bocca who's Aiba Machine Elan Vital appeared to be immune to the Aibar Machine sealing attack Global Noise Cannon. His robot monster is a tiger. (Japanese voiced by Ryotaro Okiayu) Lucky Thoroughbred
- The older brother of Sayoko. His robot monster is a horse. Flying Bunny
- Subordinate to Child Dragon, went to scope out Lucky Thoroughbred's tower and helped Sayoko escape. Fights with a carrot, and rides a carrot shaped flying surfboard. Her robot monster is apparently a giant cocktail waitress (larger version of herself). Electric Sheep
- Little is known about this boy's past, except he states his true self is dead in real life, and that he is in a dream in real life, after being rudely awoken by Koko he becomes angered and attacks her and the other Melos Warriors. His robot monster is a giant sheeps head, with thousands of 'electronic sheep', little white electrized balls, that join together to create a ring like shield around him. Discount Uribou
- Has some past with Toune, possible met her when she had ran away from her home village. Her robot monster is based on pigs. Child Dragon
- Leader of the Monster Union, he enjoys sock puppets. His robot monster is a pair of dragons.
Elan Vital (Pegasus Series)
- Bocca's machine. His human form can only be seen in Episode 14 and 24. Sky Blue
- Tone's machine. In human form, he's a soft-spoken young boy with blue, wavy hair. (Japanese voiced by Soichiro Hoshi)Nick, Kuron and Hikari
- The three Aibar machine of the Unicorn Series, Nick, Kuron and Hikari, are Koko's constant companions and helpers. They follow her and plot their moves against the Monster Union together. There machines may be from the series with hearts, but their warmth and affection are reserved solely for Koko. All other human they treat with cool indiffrence, but they are nevertheless loyal to those whom the recognise as allies. Hailing from the Unicorn Series, they are all imbued with tremendous physical strength - their blows can destroy any surface, and they are capable of fighting one-on-one with a robot monster. Nick, Kuron and Hikari can also control electronic spaceships and activate defense sequence - vital abilities that enable the Melos Warrior to fight comfortably in space. Kuron
- First of the three machines frequently seen with Koko. In human form, he wears glasses. (Japanese voiced by Daisuke Namikawa) Hikari
- Second of the three machines frequently seen with Koko. In human form, he has yellow hair.(Japanese voiced by Miyazaki Issei) Nick
- Third of the three machines frequently seen with Koko. In Human form, he is the one with the hood on always. (Japanese voiced by Harasawa Katsuhiro) Voiced by Josh Phillips (actor) Jaguar Sun
- Kurofune's machine. Jaguar Sun does not have a human form. It is last seen on Hol's mirage island, where it waits for Kurofune's return from the Labrinth.