Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Feb 5, 2006 to Aug 12, 2006
25 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.081 (scored by 70219 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action drama mystery psychological sci-fi
SynopsisThe world is bigger than you think...
After the explosion of the methane hydrate layer, the remaining members of mankind are forced to live in isolated domed cities scattered across the arid and inhospitable planet. They live in a controlled society and are assisted in daily life by autonomous robots called AutoReivs. In one of these cities, Romdo, Inspector Re-l Mayer, granddaughter of the regent, leads an investigation concerning AutoReivs that have gone mad after being infected by the Cogito virus. In the process, she comes in contact with a monster called Proxy. Elsewhere in the city, immigrant Vincent Law is on the run after being framed for involvement in several Cogito cases. Together, along with the adorable child-AutoReiv Pino, they set out on a journey to the dome city Mosk in order to unravel the mystery of the Proxies.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Ergo Proxy: Centzon Hitchers and Undertaker
Characters & Voice Actors
Ergo Proxy is a highly experimental show, and just like all shows of that kind it always divides the viewers into two camps: while the ones enjoy its complex story and thought-provoking symbolism, the others fiercely criticize it for "pretentiousness" or simply scratch their heads in perplexity, wondering what this whole thing is supposed to mean.
As for me, I firmly believe this series is an amazing modern classic with no exaggeration about it, and with this review I'll try to explain you why. Since the anime has a site description you can always read, allow me to skip further introductions and get straight to business.
Obviously, the most contentious part of Ergo Proxy. The story and the method of storytelling this anime employs are highly unusual, and that is by far the main reason why quite a number of people dislike it. However, I think this story does not "pretend" to be clever - it is clever indeed. Moreover, it makes Ergo Proxy one of the most clever series I've ever watched.
First of all, the story at the core is a journey of self-discovery, hence the main idea is pretty simple yet great, at least as I comprehend it: you should find your own way instead of being somebody's follower or lower-rank copy ("proxy"); for that you should realize who you are, what you live for and how the real world looks. The anime certainly makes you reflect on your own life, and that always counts as a great quality in my book.
Second, Ergo Proxy is a highly experimental show as it presents a unique mix of genres: cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic sci-fi, action, mystery, drama, psychological mindf*ck, road movie and even a bit of comedy, romance and slice of life. Consequently, it results in a very unorthodox narrative full of plot twists & genre switches that many viewers disliked as they felt trolled and confused while watching. Well, I do understand those complaints: it is indeed very unusual, confusing at times and probably not to everybody's liking. Besides, one may argue that the anime goes a little too far with experiments in episodes 15 and 19 which makes them too different from the rest in their style. Perhaps, the show could've done better without those two, as it would've also made the 2nd half of the series more compact to provide better pacing and better build-up for the ending.
Aside from that fairly tolerable issue, the plot is very well-written & coherent despite its complexity, and the credit for that goes to Dai Sato - the author of the original story and one of the best Japanese scriptwriters who also participated in writing scripts for Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. In fact, it still makes me wonder how he and his team managed to weave all those genres and events into one logical plot without making a single filler. So, not only those swings & changes are very interesting and uncommon but they also don't disrupt the storyline and don't exist there just for the sake of it - instead, they actually form the story, with each episode adding something brand new to the plot & character development, and that's amazing indeed.
However, the main reason why this anime seems unintelligible to so many people most probably lies in its third peculiarity which is the astounding number of symbols & allegories employed: literally every single name & situation is allegoric and requires your interpretation to get the whole story. Moreover, not only those allegories turn out relevant & contributing to the plot but also extremely diverse, referring to Greek mythology, Descartes' philosophy and Shakespeare's plays among other things. No doubt, the high degree of symbolism is what makes the series quite a riddle at times; yet it is in fact a very entertaining and well-thought-out riddle where every element serves its purpose to convey the show's message, and I personally had lots of fun deciphering it.
With all those complex aspects the story never turns into pretentious nonsense or something really incomprehensible because it actually answers most questions, though often in roundabout and not obvious ways. That means it just demands a little more attention than in your average series, and if you pay it, you get it. Well, I don't consider myself an intellectual and yet I understood almost everything from the first viewing. There were a couple of moments I didn't grasp but it took me 3 minutes (!) to use google, click the first link and read an insightful explanation that satisfied me.
And even if you don't get something it's not a reason to dislike the show - it is actually a great motivation for you because this anime is highly rewatchable, and during every viewing there will be new discoveries that will enrich you.
ANIMATION & SOUND
Ergo Proxy's art style is easily recognizable for its omnipresent dark colors and realistic yet unusual character designs that give the series a westernized & very artistic look. The animation quality is great except for a certain inconsistency in anatomical drawing, and the style fits like a glove although some viewers may need time to get used to its murky appearance.
The music is a number of ambient tracks by Ike Yoshihiro, a U2-esque opening theme by Monoral and an ending song by Radiohead. All the tracks are nicely composed to create the engrossing and mysterious atmosphere of the series, and even those who dislike the show agree that the soundtrack is simply amazing.
The voice-acting is also very well-done as the voices perfectly fit the characters, and the seiyus did a very good job at conveying emotions.
To sum up, the production values are impressive indeed, and the style is memorable & totally appropriate for the show.
Well, Ergo Proxy is an anime about self-discovery, hence its primary focus lies on the characters and their development. The main difference from other shows of this kind is that the story doesn't emerge from characters' actions & choices - rather, the characters are put into an already crafted plot full of twists & symbols mirroring their inner conflicts, and they receive development while going through this labyrinthine plot & unraveling its mystery step by step. As a result, you get a story-driven series with strong emphasis on the characters, which looks paradoxical on paper yet works surprisingly well in reality, being one of the most original aspects of the show.
The other interesting aspect is how the characters don't feel overblown in any way. Unlike many other series that endow each character with one or two exaggerated features (extreme cuteness, extreme coolness etc.), often at the cost of everything else, Ergo Proxy successfully avoids that common pattern by presenting a trio of very well-balanced protagonists in Re-l Mayer, Vincent Law and Pino:
- Re-l is a confident, no-nonsense investigator with great analytical and shooting skills which, however, don't exceed the capabilities of a trained person and thus don't make her an invincible action hero or an omniscient genius. At first, she acts rather cold towards others (Vincent in particular) because she's a bit spoiled by her social position and because the circumstances demand her to be on guard all the time. However, as the show goes on Re-l changes quite a bit, and it becomes evident that she's a perfectly normal girl with normal human emotions. Also, she's very attractive but not oversexualized which is indeed an extreme rarity for this medium;
- Vincent lost his memories and a huge part of his identity with them, so he feels an obvious lack of confidence... and yet he knows how to repair things, how to hold a weapon and shoot, and despite acting very shy at the beginning he embarks on a dangerous & often bewildering journey of self-discovery and gradually develops into a completely different person by the end of the series. So, he ain't some useless angsty teenager typical for anime - rather, he is a very kind and helpful guy who wants to learn the truth about himself, and his angst never feels overblown to the point where it gets annoying;
- as for Pino, she's an autoreiv that accompanies Re-l & Vincent, providing some nice examples of man & machine interaction as well as some lightheartedness to compensate for the grim & serious setting. She is an awesome & very lovable character who at the same time never gets sickeningly moe because she acts like a normal girl of her age and not some typical loli you often see in anime.
Also, the show has one more protagonist i.e. Ergo Proxy, but the identity & role of that guy is a huge spoiler so I can't tell you anything about him - you'll have to learn it yourself.
Overall, I would say that the right balance in characterization and the natural step-by-step development is what makes the protagonists very realistic, and while there may be people who don't like it because they find the characters "boring" (or not extreme enough in comparison to other series) I really enjoy this approach. What I enjoy no less is that the supporting cast receive a great share of development as well, with Raul Creed, Daedalus, Hoody and Iggy being the most outstanding examples.
So, in general the characterization is great, and even if you don't find the cast that interesting at first, just give them some time and see it for yourself.
Perhaps, some parts of the plot could be done better and the character drawings could be more accurate. Also, I'm not a fan of either U2 or Radiohead (though those bands are grand). Therefore, I can't rank this show a masterpiece. But I will easily give it an excellent rating and with lots of pleasure take it to my personal top-10.
My final advice for possible newcomers is simple: if you look for some lighthearted entertainment with J-pop, sugoi, ganbatte, tomodachi, squealing voices and bright haircolors, stay away from this anime as you will only waste your time. The same is if you look for an action-driven series because action is not the focal point of Ergo Proxy.
However, if you look for a compelling story, if you are not afraid of a certain intellectual challenge, if you are open-minded and able to keep attention for 23 episodes, I highly encourage you to watch this show. Of course, I can't guarantee you will like it as much as I do, but I'm pretty sure you at least won't regret it. read more
I decided to rewatch Ergo Proxy, seeing as I just didn't remember anything about it from the last time I watched, aside that it was a massive mindfuck and a very entertaining series. The rewatch really did remind me again why I thought so. It really doesn't do anything half assed.
From the very start, the style of the series strikes true for the dystopian society of a post apocalyptic future it shows, both with the stunning art that is combined with excellent animation, and chilling music. There's just something strangely alluring about the contrast of light and dark present everywhere in the art, even as it never shows a hint of simplicity. And of course, I personally absolutely love the design of Re-l (which is showed by my avatar, as usual), one of the main characters.
As contrast to the explosive start, the series progressed at a very calm pace at many points, and even seemingly went off the rails at times. On one hand, I feel the pacing is perhaps the biggest weakness of the entire show, but on the other hand I never felt bored for a long amount of time. In fact, it was very much welcome when I had a moment to calm down, because even at its slower points the series kept me very tense most of the time. The feeling of a completely uncertain world was very impressively depicted by the story, and I was afraid to feel affection towards any single character in the show with the knowledge that the world really didn't care much about what happened to them.
At the same time, I appreciated every single character in the show for what they provided. Perhaps it managed to go even deeper than that. Despite the chaotic setting, the story itself was in truth quite straightforward and meticulously constructed. The pre-planned purpose of every character in the story was not just a matter of their parts in the story, but also dealt with as a theme throughout the series. In fact, the series showed wonderful self awareness in dealing with this, rather than the usual the curious contradiction of praising human free will while ignoring the fact that every expression of the was in truth constructed by the creator of the story.
Such self awareness and introspection from the view point of the creator of the story was present throughout the series, in many different ways. This lead to another aspect of the show that could be considered a weakness. Aside the pacing being strange, the story also wasn't presented in as straightforward fashion as it seemingly travelled. At times there was seemingly huge differences between where the last episode left off and where the new one started, in a couple of cases completely jarring. The couple of the more extreme cases I do believe were poorly handled, but the way the series was structured in itself wasn't necessarily bad. In most cases, every episode dealt with a different theme, most of which were both very philosophical and deeply psychological, and they did so very well. What was really jarring was that the writer seemingly saw it purposeful to interject the view points of both themselves and the watchers directly into the story. While I understand the purpose of this, especially in such an experimental show, I do think it wasn't worth it in every case.
Speaking of philosophical and psychological... I think this is a prime example of what a lot of people would call pretentious. I personally disagree on that. When I originally watched the series years ago, neither my brain nor my understanding of philosophy were nearly enough developed to really grasp most of it, but even then I don't think I ever dismissed it as just being nonsense. I'm glad about that, because on this rewatch I feel like I was actually able to keep up very well, even through the less elegant twists of the story. There each case there was some real thought put into it, but the really impressive part was that all of these ideas were able to be delivered without the attempt to insert conclusions into them. One of the key things in succesfully writing something like this is the ability to keep in mind one's own fallibility, which I think was achieved in this case.
In the end the story and the characters managed to enthrall me quite well. Even as it dealt with complex themes, the story managed to keep a certain necessary simplicity to it. For the most part, actual unnecessary elements were eliminated, thus keeping the story well on its track until the very end. Where it sadly stumbled a little bit, as often is. The conclusion was satisfactory in a manner, so I feel there is no need to harp on it too much, but it didn't reach quite the potential such a show had. Perhaps it was because there was actually in the end a certain unnecessary element, brought into it in an attempt to reach the excellence the ending deserved, but departing from the solid progression of the story in a harmful way. It's also entirely possible that there really actually just wasn't enough to the story in its simplicity, though I personally do find that complications added for the sake of it aren't necessary for a grand conclusion.
In conclusion, I think this anime is possibly one of the best things ever. It's also entirely possible that I'm just a pretentious prick that enjoyed it simply because I felt I understood something complicated that perhaps wasn't fully there in the first place. read more
similar themes and even look and style of the animation.
Ergo Proxy is a high budget show that develops way too slowly, but it's heavy on philosophical concepts of existence - similar to Lain's discussion of it. Ergo Proxy has some action but the background story and concept exploration take too long - it's 22 eps.
Lain and Ergo Proxy are insistent in their constant interrogations. They are both intelligent series that demand more than one viewing, Lain is considerably more risqué in that it twists narrative conventions to the point they no longer apply while Ergo Proxy channels its intellectuality via the plot itself, even if it lags a bit at the end.
Many questions about life. Many things that you can explain with words...but sometimes you can't just explain in a normal way. Life or death? Good or evil? What is the meaning about the most small things in the excistence.
If you like weird stuff...you will love Ergo Proxy.
Ergo Proxy and Lain are both what I would describe and Dark and Psychological Anime. If you enjoyed the ambiance of Lain, you are sure to enjoy Ergo Proxy
The theme and characters are related to each other somehow..especially Ergo Proxy and Lain. Plus some scenes and speechs feel the same too..
And of course they are sure for the ones who adore 'psychological' things..
Both deal with machines developing sentience, humanity's evolution, and have similar art styles. I high recommend both if you are looking for a thinking anime, as they both illustrate many philosophical and sociological concepts that are hard to define.
Both have a unique visual style but end up being excessively drawn-out and pretentious.
Philosophical doctrines are used in both,too.
Both have dark atmosphere.
Both have gloomy colors in them.
both are seinen with striking visuals and deep social metaphors. The characters in both are haunting and entirely human. I found it very easy to connect with their decisions and actions, and never felt the story was being pushed somewhere it shouldn't.
both series end with somewhat startling epiphanies. If you don't find your self at least puzzling over the series as a whole and fitting pieces together from every episode, I'd be suprised. I've rewatched SE:L many many times and I always get something new out of it
Both are complexed psichological anime, have a kinda similar feel.
Both are thought-provoking and mind-bending, though Ergo Proxy to lesser extent than Lain.
Very similar themes about facing reality and not running away from your tribulations. They each deal heavily with self-discovery and finding one's purpose in life and accepting life for what it is. Plenty of symbolism in both; the plots are not straightforward at all and actually require the viewer to pay attention to fully appreciate the series. Neither series is for those who want the plot spoon fed to them. The viewer must piece together subtle plot points to fully understand it all.
They're both extremely different from how they first appear. Eva looks like a generic mecha and Ergo looks like a generic cyberpunk but once you go underneath the surface you discover something entirely different. They both can be quite dark; the stories may not make sense at first and require much attention to detail and can be interpreted in various ways.
The pacing of the stories are also very similar.
Gendo and Proxy One are nearly identical in their goals and motives. Proxy One is basically a father figure to Vince who is used just as Shinji was used by Gendo. Shinji is a proxy for Gendo in a way. Vince has a revelation at the end similar to Shinji's "Congratulations".
Also, technobabble abound in them both; while not entirely necessary at times it can enhance the experience in a way. However many people focus on the technobable too much and therefore have a narrow-minded opinion of the series and can't look past it to fully appreciate them as a whole.
Both are in essence intellectual series, exploring the main character's existential conflicts in interesting ways and generally providing an entertaining experience.
Both have a post apocalyptic feel, And the struggle for humanity to survive given the circumstances. In Neon Genesis their are 'Angels' which force humanity to fight, Whereas in Ergo Proxy their are "Proxies' which are very mysterious much like that of the Angels.
Overall both of them are very mind bending as a series, you also see the protagonists go through psychological fights regarding their past,present and future.
A definate must see.
Both stories occur in some post-apocalyptic future where mysterious events occur due to their actions. Both also have mind-bending mysteries.
Same post-apocalyptic concept, just everything is in a much smaller scale in terms of setup, characters, and story. Both series stress on character emotions and questions of morals, focusing more on the psychological developments rather than action, yet it is all laid out in a very advanced science fiction background. You also have the god-like rulers who debate amongst each other in monotone voices without significant physical features.
The stories are paced the same, really the key difference is that the focus is not on children and many of the similar extreme questions and psychological challenges are presented in a much subdued and more subtle manner.
Closer to ending, more similarities. Existential and psychologic background , nonoptimistic vision of future and a whole mass of symbols and refferences that gives spectator many ways of interpetation.
Both are intellegent stories of post-apocalyptic worlds. They both have complex plots and share a psychological thriller appeal.
Both animes are very psychological and philosophical.
They also make many references to religion, God, and other important people and events. Both occur in a post-apocalyptic future. Both will let you think about what's going on. They also explore very good each character.
Both are futuristic psychological thrillers in which the watcher delves into the mindset of the main character and those around him. They both also tackle issues such as morality and God. Both are a good watch and take time to fully appreciate.
Like many of the other reviews have already stated here, they both take place near end of the world situations and have phycological ideas. They make the characters question their meanings in life
Shows that have main characters turning into monsters (synchronizing with the monsters in NGE) that they can only partially take control of. Furthermore, both shows heavily focus on dimentia due to unstable minds of the protagonists.
Opening Theme"Kiri" by MONORAL (eps 3-23)
Ending Theme"Paranoid Android" by Radiohead
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