Within the domed city of Romdo lies one of the last human civilizations on Earth. Thousands of years ago, a global ecological catastrophe doomed the planet; now, life outside these domes is virtually impossible. To expedite mankind's recovery, "AutoReivs," humanoid-like robots, have been created to assist people in their day-to-day lives. However, AutoReivs have begun contracting an enigmatic disease called the "Cogito Virus" which grants them self-awareness. Re-l Mayer, granddaughter of Romdo's ruler, is assigned to investigate this phenomenon alongside her AutoReiv partner Iggy. But what begins as a routine investigation quickly spirals into a conspiracy as Re-l is confronted by humanity's darkest sins.
Elsewhere in Romdo, an AutoReiv specialist by the name of Vincent Law must also face his demons when surreal events begin occurring around him. Re-l, Iggy, Vincent, and the child AutoReiv named Pino, will form an unlikely faction as they struggle to uncover Romdo's mysteries and ultimately, discover the true purpose of the mythical beings called "Proxies."
After watching Ergo Proxy completely and thoroughly, I must say that this is one of the most enjoyable series I've watched yet. The story is so complex and can at times be very agonizing because you are just so clueless as to what is going on. Then, usually, by the end of the episode or by the next episode all of your questions and doubts about what is going on will be answered.
Why did I enjoy this series so much? First, this series is a real psychological mind boggling experience. I haven't see too many series that make me question what is going on or
going to happen until the very end, yet Ergo Proxy did it. Even during the last episode, I was still asking myself the same question as I had been throughout the entire series, "what the hell is going on?!" This kind of experience kept me wanting more and left me trying to fill holes myself, which is exactly the kind of thing that I enjoy. Something that makes me think for myself and makes me WANT to figure out whats going on or say, "Hmm, I wonder what that meant..."
The setting of the story is another thing that made me enjoy this so much, a post apocalyptic world where everyone is being kept in the dark and left wondering whats just beyond their grasp. Theres not much that I can say about this plus for me, it's just something that I enjoy. If you enjoy stories set in this kind of environment, you'll like this aspect of Ergo Proxy.
Ergo Proxy makes use of a lot of different aspects of psychology and history, which is a good thing. I believe it was only the first fourteen episodes, but at the end of each respective episode there would be about two minutes when they would reflect back on things throughout what you had just seen. It was a very nice touch that I felt was something more series should do. It basically would tell you things that the author of the series/story used as a reference or what something that occurred in the episode was based on. I thoroughly enjoy history and psychology so this aspect of Ergo Proxy really appealed to me.
The character development didn't fall short of my expectations either. It was done quite nicely. I wish I could go into further detail about it, but apparently I'm not supposed to say anything to spoil the series and I'm not quite sure how to go about this aspect without doing just that.
The animation was extremely well done. The way some of the faces are drawn may look a little odd at first, but I didn't mind it at all. It matches the show quite well and really compliments everything around it. Everything that was done in this series, animation wise, was completely believable. Sure, there are somethings that you just know can't be true/made from something real, but it just feels true/real with everything else about the series combined.
Oh, don't let me forget Real Mayer. She's one sexy woman. Not sexy in the stereotypical way with an out of proportion body and an annoying voice. She is more real (pun intended), she's not overdeveloped, her voice isn't annoying, she doesn't have any super human powers, she isn't a amazing when it comes to combat, and her feelings/emotions are that of a real woman/girl. It just makes her character so much more believable and real, which is why I love her so.
Overall, Ergo Proxy is the complete package in terms of story, animation, sound, character development, THE characters, and the enjoyment of everything put together. If you don't enjoy this show, then you either aren't human, don't like anime or are too stupid to understand the story.
I hope you enjoyed my review, this is the first one I've ever written. If you like it, then please leave an comment letting me know so I'll be more encouraged to write more. See ya kiddies.
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 is an amazing series 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.
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 ask important questions and 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 diverse 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 & continuous plot. So, not only those swings & changes are very interesting and uncommon but they also 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 probably lies in its third peculiarity which is the astounding number of symbols & allegories employed: almost 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 considerable inconsistency in character 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. His angst never feels overblown to the point where it gets annoying, and his development throughout the story is truly one of the most fundamental I've ever seen;
- 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, the story could do better without a couple of questionable episodes, and the character drawings could be more consistent. Therefore, I can't really call this show a flawless masterpiece. However, 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.
As far as I know, there are no Spoilers or Summaries here.
-There is one thing I need to point out about my scoring. The enjoyment of a show is weighed heavily by me. If I can't enjoy a show then what's the point of watching it?
Now without further ado.
The actual story and plot of the show isn’t bad other then being a bit confusing. It jumps into the plot right away for the first few episodes. The story progresses rapidly at first before coming to almost a complete stop. For about 7 or 8 of the episodes between 10-20,
I felt like nothing happened nothing really changed and that the story and plot crawled by very slowly and in some cases made no progress at all. And then at the end when I expected things to pick up and everything to come together like in the movie Fight Club or Donnie Darko. It just didn’t happen. I felt like the ending was throwing answers at me that didn’t add up, like a puzzle where the last 5 pieces don’t fit at all.
In a general wholesome look the plot makes sense. But on a detailed level I felt the story was just pulling ideas out of a hat and tried to make things work that really didn’t. The idea was good but it was executed poorly and fell short of its intention.
This is where the show really shines. The visuals in this show are easily some of the best I have ever seen. Many of the visual angles used were unique, fresh, and quite artistic without taking away importance or detail from the scene. The animation was very fluid and realistic. The colors and lightning were also done well. Scenes in bright places were done quite well almost in a blinding way. While the darker scenes did a great job representing the destruction and despair throughout the rest of the world. The art/animation is the best thing about this show. Although there was a lot of dark scenes, so be prepared.
Well I’m not much of a Radiohead fan so the ending theme didn’t do anything for me, I skipped it every time. The opening theme didn’t do much at first but it wore on me and near the end I actually started to enjoy it. Although the OP didn’t fit real well, it was to “active” to really relate with the show. As for background music I can’t really think of any of them specifically which I guess means it wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either and did a good job of blending into the scenes. The sound effects were good at doing what they were supposed to, adding to the scenes and the detail of the world. The voice actors did fairly well I felt like for the most part the voices fit each character fairly well. I didn’t watch the English dub so I can’t say too much about that.
One of my biggest problems with Ergo Proxy which also greatly lowered the enjoyment as well as overall score was with the characters. I simply did not care about them. The two main characters Vincent and Re-l didn’t do anything for me. I wouldn’t care if they died, or if they fell in love, or if they disappeared never to be seen again. Maybe I might have liked them more if they turned into slugs or something. Re-l’s bright blue eye shadow/mascara whatever it is bothered the heck out of me the ENTIRE series as well. All I wanted to do was wash it away. Also there were a few instances where the producers wanted the viewer to care or get emotional over different things between the characters, all it made me do was yawn.
The one and ONLY character I liked was Pino. Pino was used many times as comic relief and did a decent job of it too. When she dressed up in her costume, it was very cute as well. Although even then, there were times when Pino just didn’t evoke any emotion from me except boredom.
On an objective level the characters were well developed. You get a good understanding of their story. You even occasionally get a good analysis of their psyche and mental stability. They were fleshed out and felt like completed beings. Some of the supporting characters were well done as well. Although some of them were much more unstable than you originally think and act in ways you wouldn’t have expected.
To be honest, I did not enjoy this show at all. I frequently thought about dropping it but I told myself to get through it. I was hoping that everything would click in the end and I’d end up loving it, but that didn’t happen.
To put it simply there were a few times that I’d be watching and suddenly start nodding off in the middle of the episode. The next day when I tried to watch the following episode I couldn’t remember what happened and had to re-watch the previous episode a second time. None of the episodes really grabbed me and held my attention like it could have.
My sleeping problem seemed to occur more frequently during some of the middle episodes, 10-20. Some will disagree with this, but I felt many of these episodes were pointless filler episodes. Yes some of them did give a little bit of back-story or history of the world but none of it really had any major impacts on the series as a whole. They could have been reduced to 2 or 3 episodes that could have presented the same information in a better way. Some of those episodes also felt extremely out of place. Many times an episode would start off in a completely different totally unrelated location from anything else in previous episodes. And at the end of the episode you are left scratching your head asking what the hell had just happened. Many times I felt I had wasted 24 minutes of my life which could have been spent on an episode of a different show.
From some of the other reviews and from the score, I had some decent expectations for this show. I went in knowing that it will require some philosophical reasoning which is fine with me. But nearly everything about the show seemed to fall completely short of what I anticipated. Even after seeing the “surprises” near the end, I was left feeling uninterested, a “So what” expression hanging around me.
Because it is highly regarded by some people I can’t completely say you should stay away from this anime. If you understand that this will be a confusing trip and don’t mind experiences resembling the last two eps of Neon Genesis then it won’t hurt to give this show a try. But if you are like me, and by about eps 8 don’t care about the characters or about the story, just stop before things get really ugly.
In my opinion if you don’t see this show you aren’t missing out either. Although I do think if I re-watched it, I might respect it a little more. But the first time through was miserable enough and I couldn’t watch it again. So if you do plan to watch this you probably should re-watch it to fully enjoy the show. If you cant imagine yourself re-watching it then you should stop where you are and move onto a different show.
Ergo Proxy. When I first saw that title, I was curious. I knew what a proxy was, on Internet and in real life. But I didn't know what Ergo was. So I got the series, mostly out of curiosity. I didn't expect much at first. The main female character, Re-L (Lil, Real, or any variant. Depends of fansub) has a freaky face with blue mascara, and wields a shotgun. I expect an all-out gun action series, with some mecha. But I was wrong! Ergo
Proxy is a great series, definitely worth seeing, and has even made it to my favourites list. Beware, there are not much humour or laughs in this series. It's a deep, dark and philosophical series. But trust me, definitely worth seeing.
- [ Animation ] -
One thing that amazed me since the start of the series, till the very end is the quality of the animation. They combined modern and traditional to make a very good blend. The producers have been successful in creating a dark/moody atmosphere when needed. The light effects were amazing. They pointed out details wherever needed without flaw. The motion of the characters was very fluid, while maintaining the complexity of the backgrounds. If I may include a small spoiler here, the desolated lands pictured a bit later in the series are well made. You really get the feeling of sorrow and despair creeping in. However, although it may only be from my point of view, but in long-shots filmed from afar, you sometimes see the characters' features distort. Eg. an eye is above the other or toes seem strange. Can't expect much details from long-shots anyways but an eye above the other? Weird! Another dark point is that sometimes, the scenes are excessively...dark! You can't discern details easily. Apart from these, there are no major flaws in my opinion. Again, I should point out that the animators took some time to work on the scenes and have created beautiful and detailed backgrounds. Not overly detailed that you get the impression that you are in live-action, but just enough.. or just a bit not enough sometimes (dark scenes specially). Very little frame-reuse or even no frame-reuse if you ask me, just something nice to note.
- [ Sound ] -
As I said, I usually don't pay much attention to sound in animes. It's just there, nothing special. But here, it's different. The OP was great! The music suited my tastes entirely. Even the ED was very well made! The music really accompanied the moody and dark story. Just a side-tracking here, but I really like the way the ED credits is presented: A new, slanted type of presentation. Innovative if you ask me. The atmosphere sounds were well done, and did well in enhancing the moods and feelings of the Ergo Proxy. Not much in-series music available though. However, the OP and ED music don't seem to really fit in the quiet, dark and suspense-oriented Ergo Proxy. It's just too... lively. The music was great though!
- [ Story ] -
First, let me say it straight here itself: Ergo Proxy's story can be very very confusing and difficult to understand sometimes during some episodes, a bit Evangelion-like if you want i.e. Complex! But unlike Eva, most mysteries are eventually cleared, except for some. It's a series that you will want to go through once, get all the explanations, then go back and rewatch it just to appreciate the way the mysteries are introduced and pay particular attention to the minute details.
Another thing that adds confusion is that some episodes seem really out of place and do not seem to have any meaning at first. In fact, they are here to explain the details of Ergo Proxy in a non-intrusive and non-flagrant way. Be on the lookout for those and pay attention. They clear a lot of mysteries. Hint: Pay attention to the episode with the Quiz! :P Just like I said, some episodes seem out of place. Often, you are led on an episode with a very different story, only to find that one of the characters was dreaming or whatever like that. Sometimes, it's just too puzzling. You finish the episode and tell yourself "What the hell just happened?".
Now, on with the main story which is about Re-L Meyer, grand-daughter of Donov Meyer - the administrator/head counciller of Romdeau Dome city and Vincent Law, an ordinary employee of the Autorave Division. At some point of time before the scene, Earth's environment became very polluted as a result of a Methane Hydrate layer combustion. This may be considered spoiler but it doesn't really affect the plot to know it. Anyways, 85% of Earth's population was wiped out as a result. The survivors now live in Dome Cities such as Romdeau, since the air outside the domes is nearly unbreathable. Later, you are explained the significance of WombSys and Amrita Cells. I can't reveal what these 2 things do without going into spoilers. However, Anikimeiski provided an elaborate explanation of Ergo Proxy's plot-line. If you require help after watching it, refer to his explanations. Google it to find out about the site.. (If you do not mind major spoilers)
Re-L, working with her assistant Vincent Law, is investigating something known as Cogito (Cognito) Virus which allows Autoraves (robots that co-habit and help humans) to gain something with resembles emotion. So, they tend to become unpredictable and need to be eliminated. However, the real plot starts early as episode 2. During one of these investigations, Re-L is attacked by a monster (guess what it was! Pr... *spoilers*) which is very agile and quick. It leaves a hand print on the crime scene. Wanting to get more details, Re-L goes to her grand-father Donov Meyer to get answers but none is obtained. The story starts from here and quickly evolves into something unpredictable, after Vincent Law leaves the Romdeau for the Outside World. Excuse me if I introduced a number of spoilers, but it was required to make the scene clear.
The story is very well presented, with a good pace, neither too fast, nor too slow. The action scenes, however, are fast-paced just as expected. There are no major loopholes, except for some later in the series. Refer to Conclusion for more details. The story is holds the viewer in suspense, and after watching an episode, it's difficult to resist watching the next. Until the end, the series maintained the suspense and mystery, spoon-feeding answers along the way as required. Nothing more to say here, I guess. It's a good plot-line, which kinda reminds me of George Orwell's 1984. Here too we got a seemingly perfect society but with severe flaws.
- [ Characters ] -
The characters in Ergo Proxy is what amazed me most! Every one of them and their backgrounds are well explained, leaving no details unexplained. Often, the characters have whole episodes to explain their past and their current self. This is awesome! I can't complain about lack of details regarding characters. with Ergo Proxy. They are all well developed into the story, and fade out as required. The main characters stay till the end, of course! What do you expect? If all main characters faded out, then there won't be any Ergo Proxy! :P
The characters each have well-defined emotional traits, strengths and weaknesses. Just to take an example, Re-L is very selfish at the beginning, caring only for her little self and not having any remorse regarding anything. She neglects everybody, included her Autorave Iggy and Vincent Law. However, as the series progresses, you can slowly see her change and evolve. Similarly, she is a very good fighter and observer, but fails to express feelings and be emotive enough, unlike Vincent Law, who is excessively emotive and weakling-like at first. Again, he'll develop his strengths as the story progresses. Amazing! Every character has his or her own motivations for what he/she's doing, whether good or evil. Sometimes, their actions seem wild or illogical, but it gives us an explanation of what the characters are actually feeling, whether it's love, hatred, duty or utter want for destruction.
As with series or movies that include robots and mechas, there is an emotion issue, that is human feel emotions and robots cannot. Here, even robots can feel after being infected by Cogito, but are in a way denied the right to feel emotions. That's what I was saying in the beginning, the stuff about philosophy. The Cogito virus introduces a very nice turn in the story, pushing the character development even furthur. Ergo Proxy explores such things as loyalty, denial of love, seeking acceptance, betrayal, friendship, companionship, split personalities, the good and evil side of oneself and such. It's pretty elaborate sometimes!
- [ Value / Enjoyment ] -
I'll keep this part short. There is not really enjoyment in Ergo Proxy since it's kinda dark and moody. However, it definitely has a good value for me and definitely earns a rewatch to clear up some points. Not much action, but if you want a good sc-fi type of suspence, mixed with action and spicy twists and turns, go watch Ergo Proxy. I definitely enjoyed Ergo Proxy which successfully maintained the suspense and surprises till the end. You won't be skipping episodes often here. However, the story can be kinda slow sometimes, which kinda annoys you.
- [ Conclusion ] -
Personally, I really liked Ergo proxy. You don't find many series with such depth and with enough elaboration and complexity to keep you glued. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are some dark points that are not solved, the biggest one being the statement made by Vincent Law in the last episode. Maybe there will be an Ergo Proxy 2 or a second season. Maybe an OAV at least. If not, then it would have a very cheap ending! But I hope there will indeed be a good and proper ending to this marvellous series. Go watch it. It's definitely worth it, if you like the genre. Thanks for reading! Was kinda long this time.. Gomen! And I rarely give perfect mark 10! :P Ergo proxy may earn it however. It deserves it, but I am too miserly to see 10 given! :P
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