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.
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 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 for the most part 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 very good 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.
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
Ergo Proxy might just take the cake for being the most frustrating series that I've ever seen. Not only because of what it does wrong, but because of what it does right—it's based on a great idea, and it features some great art and music, but unfortunately it doesn't know how to capitalize on any of these qualities.
The most immediately inviting aspects of Ergo Proxy are definitely the technical ones. It's set in a post-apocalyptic future in which mankind lives in self-contained cities (“domes”). The main city of Romdo, portrayed as a maze of slummy apartment buildings and burned-out streets that contrast with the clean
and orderly buildings inhabited by the government, is a fitting setting that's clearly built with great care and deliberation. The use of shadows and atmospheric lighting is generally excellent. The outside world, an endless plane of ice and rock, isn't exactly a beautiful sight, but it's carefully rendered and features reasonably detailed background art.
The character and mecha designs are also eye-catching. Re-l, whose pale face and bright blue eye makeup form an essential contrast with the dark world, quickly became an icon of the series, and with good reason; it's a truly striking and unique design. Most of the cast is slightly more earthy and realistically depicted than the norm, with the character art generally steering clear of the round-faced round-body designs that have become typical. The vehicular and mechanical art is also of high caliber, with great models for the robotic companions (“AutoReivs”) that feature prominently in the series, as well as the flying airship on which a large part of the story takes place. There are occasional lapses in artistic quality, mostly noticeable in the form of inconsistent detailing on the faces and limbs of a few key characters, but for the most part, this is a visually strong production.
Further augmenting the technical side of the show is a superb soundtrack, ranging from low key electronic atmospheric noise to full-fledged techno rock that, while not always completely original sounding, is well-made and appropriate for the series. The tracks sometimes feature an element of chanted vocals that befit the slightly religious overtones of the series and the general feeling of impending apocalypse. The combination of the dystopian art and the solid musical score gives Ergo Proxy the kind of atmosphere that would make most entries in the “dark sci-fi” category jealous: It gives us the sense of a world on the edge, pushed to its limit, where something is about to break. It breeds suspense and curiosity.
Ergo Proxy is also possessed of a story that, on its own merits, isn't bad at all. Re-l, an investigator for Romdo's Intelligence Bureau, is pursuing a fugitive named Vincent Law, who is sought in connection with criminal activity. At the same time, she notices that high ranking members of the city's government are trying to cover up the existence of monsters called “Proxies,” and decides to investigate the matter on her own authority. As the show wears on we eventually learn a bit more about the nature of Proxies and the nature of the world itself. A futuristic mystery that slowly leads to revelations about the world? Sounds like, with proper execution, this could be turned into an excellent story.
Unfortunately it's the “proper execution” part that can make the difference between great and not-so-great works of fiction, and it's for this reason that Ergo Proxy ends up comparable to a great athlete with a broken leg: Full of potential, but incapable of going anywhere. The first third or so of the series is promising. It moves along at a brisk pace, gradually raising questions and answering them where appropriate, advancing the mystery at a brisk speed. However, after this initial success, the story enters a slump from which it never recovers.
The most noticeable flaw in storytelling is the inclusion of several episodes that have little (if anything) to do with the plot. These episodes generally feature the characters in strange situations that are clearly meant to be mind-boggling or confusing, such as playing on a game show, having a chat in a hellish bookstore in the middle of nowhere, or interacting with strange creatures in a Disney Land-esque theme park. It's abundantly clear that these episodes are here only for the cheap thrill of making the audience think “what the hell is going on?” On rare occasions they give us pieces of information about the characters and the state of the world; however, that alone is not a sufficient reason for the existence of a large lump of material that is essentially irrelevant, and this information could have been conveyed through dialogue, discovery, or any other basic facet of storytelling.
The other major flaw in Ergo Proxy's method of storytelling is the presence of an overwhelming amount of dialogue that strains to be philosophical but is ultimately repetitive and meaningless. Get ready to hear people say things like “this is the ultimate truth that all organisms strive to obtain through self-examination,” or “you think, therefore I am” on a regular basis. There seems to be an underlying theme of personal identity and finding one's reason for existence, and it's conveyed with all the subtlety of a ball-peen hammer to the face. Symbolism, simile, metaphor, repeated themes/motifs, and other standby elements that clever writers use when presenting an idea to the audience—pretty much none of them are in play here, and they've been crudely replaced with line after line of inarticulate pseudointellectual drivel that gets an extremely disproportionate amount of screentime in the course of the series.
Character-wise, the series is split pretty evenly between duds and strong cast members. Re-l, the female lead, is the granddaughter of a government official. She's an interesting lead because she's emotionally detached, extremely competent and strong-willed...but at the same time, her privileged upbringing means that she's used to having others doting on her, giving her a bit of a spoiled side. Watching her develop as the series progresses is a rewarding experience. The male lead, Vincent Law, is of the dud variety; he doesn't really have a whole lot of character attributes other than “kind,” “optimistic,” and “confused,” and while he does eventually learn a little bit more about himself, his personality remains pretty one-note. Perhaps the biggest example of wasted potential in the series is Pino, a young female robot who receives a soul due to a virus that affects robots (yes, that's really the explanation). She does have some strong character moments, but is mostly used as adorable comedic relief throughout the series. Now, imagine that: The show is supposed to be making a statement about identity and self-realization, and here they have a cast member who is both a robot that suddenly has emotions and the ability to think for herself, and a young girl who is coming of age and learning about life and death. It doesn't take a lot of thought to realize that she would be a PERFECT character to develop in order to convey these themes artfully and elegantly, but instead she ends up wearing a bunny suit and cracking jokes for a majority of the show. It's really too bad; they had the proper tool sitting right in front of them, but they didn't know how to use it.
The result of all of the aforementioned flaws is that Ergo Proxy pretty much writes the book on everything that's wrong with the recent trend of “deep” (I use that word sarcastically) media directed at teens: It repeatedly uses dry and overly complicated dialogue to explain relatively simple concepts, repeatedly resorts to the use of plot contrivances like amnesia and multiple personality disorder to explain events, and repeatedly puts its characters into strange “is-this-a-dream-is-this-not-a-dream” situations, to the point where the whole thing becomes laughable, which I'm sure is not the intent of its writers. While not entirely devoid of strong attributes, Ergo Proxy is ultimately an example of a good idea gone to waste.
The Ancient Greeks created their own religion. Characters -- or rather, Gods -- were made based to human feelings as both: representation of what these feelings look like and what the characteristics and behaviors of these metaphors would be like. It didn't stop there. They created lore, past-stories and character potray to all of them, and decided that these Gods live on top of the Mount Olympus. And even today, 3000 years later, some geniuses go and ask "why did they never bother to climb on Mount Olympus and check if the Gods are there?" Because it wasn't the point of the story at all,
and they knew it was just a made up story created by humans. Gods not being there was self-explanatory to all. That's why.
What does this has to do with 'Ergo Proxy', then? 'Ergo Proxy' is made by, and made for these exact people who still keep wondering why Ancient Greeks never bothered to check if their Gods are real. This time it is about philosophical POV's which are apparently purposely misunderstood and misinterpreted by the creators of this work, and then further mistaken by its viewers for an actual anime series about these famous existential questions. I can agree that this work is thought-provoking, but the references in it are fallacies and every in-depth analysis over-analysing of not what is there, but what one believes is there. It chooses the same path as later Freudian literature which was altered by his daughter based to what she thought Freud meant rather than writing the exact thing Freud said. As a conclusion in case my point hasn't been made clear yet: 'Ergo Proxy' is not a work of philosophy, it is a work of its creators interpretations of famous philosophies. This series is not a study nor can it be seen as a reference, it is nothing but a preach by someone who thought they have understood what our great philosophers "really", I mean REALLY meant. To me, their interpretations are no different from those people who ask why Greeks didn't climb the goddamn mountain.
To actually talk about this anime outside is hideous content, it quite literally sucks ass. The directing is a mess, the pacing is so dreadfully slow one has to wonder why the fans of this series consider themselves smart for liking this spoon-fed "deepness". At least Anno, the creator of Evangelion admitted he just threw bunch of religious references in the mix to make it look smart and make people hyped for it being 2deep5anyone and everyone to understand. While I am not sure if the creators of 'Ergo Proxy' are lacking self-awareness or simply never cared to admit that their work is bunch of baloney: it surely is doing an impressive job convincing masses to think that it isn't. They went as far as put bunch of obscure references in the background art, such as faces of these philosophers they claim to imitate because apparently the point of their ideas and philosophies is the best captured by an AD HOMINEM."The essential part of what was said is what the face of the person who said it looks like." Like really, how subtle and how well I can prove my intelligent by liking this.
Now the second attempt to talk about content outside the philosophies. Real is the only interesting character in the series. Most of the others feel more of a try-hard attempts to capture something completely different than personalities, which alone is a respectable idea considering the nature of the series. Still, all of them come out rather uninteresting and content-lacking. If comparing to the same Greek Gods, our characters here are rather empty shells. One could say that this makes it great, other say they deliver as much as any harem girl. Pino, on the other hand, is simply annoying.
The series does contain lot of good as well, they are mainly hidden and short scenes such as a quiz that leads to the OP song to play. Great ideas in not so great series. The opening itself is an everlasting meme. Real creates most of the other interesting scenes and situations in the series, but ultimately leave me wish she was a character inside a better anime.
As a conclusion: Ergo Proxy is not a very good series for those who want something more from anime outside simply "getting it." Getting Ergo Proxy is not by any means any harder than "getting" Sword Art Online. Both can be overanalyzed to the grave by anyone who doesn't know what occam's razor is. To those who are interested in philosophical anime, watch Serial Experiments Lain, GITS SAC, Digimon Tamers, Wolfs Rain, Kino no Tabi (1st season), even the first Pokemon movie (in Jap dub). Watch Ergo Proxy and find not much more than pretentiousness as the series target audience consist of people who saw the meme "The door is red. The author uses the color red to express his anger." and thought this is what all symbolism should be like, regardless if it is intended by its creator or not.
There is some excellent production in this cyberpunk thriller/road trip set in an eerie utopian futurescape filled with robots and starring a female protagonist in the vein of Ghost in the Shell's Motoko.
Except Ergo Proxy's Re-l Mayer has sexy eyeshadow. And she's petulant to a degree that she mirrors today's shallow socialites. Ok, so she's absolutely nothing like the strong-willed, decisive and intelligent Motoko. But hey Mayer's young, she's got makeup and dresses alternative style. Yes, you can see where the animators' priority lay with this production. Things get even more ridiculous when a girl in a pink bunny outfit
appears and sticks around.
This feels like a more accessible version of TeXhnolyze, although unlike that excellent anime, Ergo Proxy falters too much and ultimately the story feels ponderous with its lack of pace, drive and purpose. It has a po-face the entire time, trying to fool you into thinking its a serious grand epic vision with some amazing revelation that will shock you to your core and hail it as the toppler of all cyberpunk titles before it. Needless to say it fails on all counts. It falls flat on its mascara-ridden face.
TeXhnolyze had the same face, lacking make-up, but backed it up with substance, it really did shock you with its revelations in the latter half of the series, and when the crap hits the fan for many characters, you feel something, because they're portrayed as humans. In Ergo Proxy, everyone is seemingly made of wood and is as lively as a plank. I do find it interesting how obnoxious the main protagonist Mayer is in this show though, its a refreshing change in a way, being that anime's main leads are usually goody two shoes, but instead of being an interesting character with a flawed personality, she's just plain obnoxious all the way through.
The series however does reach a particular zenith with episode 20 which revolves around the theme of multiple personality disorder, successfully mindhumping the viewer in an entertaining fashion. There are meaty topics and ideas thrown around this show, I mean with a title like Ergo Proxy it would be a crime not to have characters spouting painfully obvious commentary on mainstream philosophical theories, but whats actually a crime is to have no one interesting or empaphetic and nothing compelling or engaging occuring on screen. The show is lifeless, which is deeply ironic.
The show's end credits have Radiohead's Paranoid Android, it gets points for that at least.
The show starts out with great promise. The Artwork is beautiful, the world is atmospheric and the characters seem full of potential. However very quickly the story begins to take an unfocused long path toward an ever weakening storyline, slowely revealing each character to have almost no depth beyond their basic neurosis. Even the art style weakens only a handful of episodes in.
This Anime includes some pretty painful filler, some full episodes but even more offensive are some of the episodes that contain one or two moments of "main story" plot, but are mainly filler in the form
of characters rehashing old ideas or questions we the viewer has already figured out the answers to.
The show spends a lot of time dabbling in questions of existentialism and theology, this comes off as simplistic and childish as the characters indulging in these ideas are so one dimensional and unfleshed out that the viewer ends up with no interest as to what conclusion they come to.
By the end of this anime, i found myself watching just to be able to say that i hadn't given up on it, i no longer cared about any of the characters, and i no longer cared about the out come.
"In a world where humans and robots live together..."
Sounds generic, no? This opening line to the description of the anime is rather misleading. I strongly advise you to take a second look at this before dismissing it out of hand as unoriginal.
Ergo Proxy stands out from among other stereotypical anime shows because of its ability of *not* resorting to these oft used plotlines. What this anime focuses on is the development of a few main characters in a world erupting into chaos. While the viewpoint of the show does not originally show it, a great deal of Ergo Proxy is centered around a
young man's self discovery and acceptance of who he is, learning to interact with others, and to remain true to himself.
This show reminded me most of all of the anime Evangelion. If you, the reader, have ever seen Eva, you may recall the rather deep scenes near the end, wherein the main character attempts to resolve numerous internal conflicts, ultimately resulting in a moment of revelation. Now, as far as I understand it, the director of Ergo Proxy did *not* have a nervous breakdown like the director of Eva, but the depth of the introspective episodes were very similar.
As for the anime itself, I enjoyed the radical variance in the story of each episode. While the settings of the story remain very similar - a city, a shanty-town, and a wasteland are the preeminent landscapes – the actions in the episodes defy prediction. Whereas in some animes’ episodes you seemingly have a cycle of events that repeat over and over again, Ergo Proxy remains unique every time.
On a slightly less approving note, I will say that some of the scenes were truly very, very random, and only upon serious retrospection will you note that they have anything to do with the core plot at all. No spoilers here, however.
Also, while in some episodes you will be given background history about the show in a natural, conversational manner, there are points where the show simply comes out and presents the information to you. The impact of this is that at those moments it seems less that you are watching a naturally unfolding story than that you are reading a fact sheet about the show.
Despite these few setbacks however, the anime still stands at a strong ‘9’ on my list. I enjoyed the viewing of the anime all the way to the end, which continues the suspense and unpredictability. The plot is written wonderfully here at the finish as well, leaving the future unresolved and unexplained, leaving it up to the viewer to imagine what happens.
I will invite everyone who enjoys a thrilling, action-pack, and very emotionally and psychologically deep story to watch “Ergo Proxy.”
There is some spoilers into this, there is also me telling you that watching this is not worth any of your time.
Ergo Proxy is one of these promising series that your friends tell you to watch and declare as "masterpiece."
It was one of the series i expected to love the most, i thought it was going to be consistently good, and the first episode kinda told me that my friends were right, it had a lot of potential to it, it was promising, it had a touch of atmospheric space that got you into it, but what made this series so appealing in
the first episode fastly changed for some The Room Avant-Garde crap. I mean, i compare The Room to this, but i can give the credits to Wiseau atleast, for even trying.
Trying to immerse yourself into a toilet world where babies shit frootloops and babies give birth to adults, is more easy than to immerse yourself into that piece of crap that is Ergo Proxy.
Story - 2 First episode had structure, but it threw it fast away to try to be experimental, but you don't get experimental much with the biggest clichés in mystery storytelling. Ergo Proxy makes you fall gradually into an abyss of boredom. Episode 16 is probably the most boring and monotonous episode i have ever seen in an anime. Period. Episode 4 and 5 were a boring redneck vibes, monotonous piece of audio visuals that made you think more about what you're doing with your life than the child who just got killed, at this episode 4 i knew i f*cked up. Forever after come with what has already been done in the past, but way less ambitious and just... hahh.
Art - 4 Ergo Proxy succeeded in being interesting until episode 3, where you could clearly see that the structure was collapsing, and that the universe stopped being rigid, complete, real, unique to itself. It just became some trashy decor you'll see in an amateur movie with no skills for backgrounds whatsoever. The background, the environment was lacking in realism, it was lacking in everything it had no wish to make you immerse into it. It made you feel like they were trying something, while trying nothing at all. The visuals in it kept degrading like everything else.
Sound - 5 Sound was okay, sometimes it went off from what was happening on the screen, but i mean, this came out in 2006, and you can't expect the sound to save your background, your script, storytelling, you can't. Sound was probably the best thing about this show, it was mediocre but way better than the show itself, i would have listened to an album of the OSTs of Ergo Proxy instead of the show itself, if only i knew back then.
Character - 1 Characteristically speaking, Ergo Proxy had nothing to offer, neither Re-l or Vince had any depth, substance, or any characteric traits that made them interesting in the first place, nahh, it was the contrary, they never helped to try to keep that show alive and interesting, they were one of the core of why Ergo Proxy was painful to watch. Re-L could only complain and cute cute fanservice while being a complete dumbster while Vince was one of the most shallow and dense character in anime history.
Enjoyment - 1 Kill me, kill me please, it's probably what i was feeling deep inside. Why i am watching this while i could just rewatch Tokyo Ghoul first season, which is way more well executed and thoughtful than this thing, which is just edgy in the irritating sense. Edgy to be edgy. It tells you a lot when you remember something for how bad it was.
Overall - 4 This thing clearly has Velvet Underground and Lou Reed vibes to it, poor Lou Reed, i hope he is not associated with this, because it would only
be a shame to link a legend with this stuff that was so bland and empty,
it was just like watching nothing at all. It would just be an utter insult to Lou and his works. This show is a 4, first three episodes were watcheable, after it's just a downfall in a pool of garbage crap that never ceased to smell. I really wished i could get back the time i spent on it,
but it's too late, unfortunately.
Ergo Proxy is not your typical cyberpunk anime. For more, it doesn’t rely on heavy gun-fighting action scenes to grasp viewers’ attentions instead it uses mind-break and a very intriguing strange and dark atmosphere in a post-apocalyptic world. Though a post-apocalyptic world is something that is not new or could even be said overused, Ergo Proxy’s is fluid and very well thought out.
Ergo Proxy stands out among other cyberpunk anime as this one is a truly original and is very unique as it takes on René Descartes’ very famous philosophical statement which is “cogito ergo sum” and
views it on different perspectives. “Cogito ergo sum” means “I think, therefore I am” is basically the main theme of the anime. The whole world of Ergo Proxy itself is based on this theme while questioning and taunting the said philosophical statement. Everything was built along with those lines while the story revolves around the characters who were searching for self-actualization over the course of 23 episodes.
Ergo Proxy has a very fast pacing which could indeed get you hooked for about 10minutes into the show. It started off with Re-l Mayer investigating cases of “AutoReivs” (Android-like companions) being infected with a virus called “cogito.” This “cogito” virus is a dangerous virus for humans as this “AutoReivs” once infected with the virus comes to a realization that they too have a heart thus leading to human-like emotions which could in turn lead to trouble as they now tend to act on how they feel but not on how their masters command them to. After some investigations, while at home, Re-l saw a word written in blood that stated “awakening” and was approached by an entity called a “PROXY.” A lot of these intriguing scenarios will be shed light upon as the story progresses. Interesting right? See episode 2 as I’m sure you’ll instantly get hooked.
Ergo Proxy presents different but very realistic problems including politics, ways of life, beliefs, and the search for one’s true self. Treading along the anime, these issues will be faced with subtlety and precision without ever being dragging. Though its pacing is very fast, some might be surprised as at the middle of the anime, somewhere past around 13 episodes, it went to a complete halt as it now focused on the changes that are happening with the characters. We now see Pino’s journey for self-actualization, Vincent’s search for the truth, and Re-l’s changing feelings for the ones around her. These episodes are not entirely focused on the characters though; some contains bags of clues about the reality of Ergo Proxy while some are just placed there to add to the length or simply called fillers. Though these episodes might be fillers, you wouldn’t immediately recognize that they are, as these fillers have a knack of making your brain burst out leaving you thinking for hours about what really happened; but even if you’ve managed to solve what was the episode about, it wouldn’t change anything as these fillers were totally irrelevant to the main point of the story.
After some episodes that contain complete mindfuck which in turn made the story stagnant, Ergo Proxy now picks up on what it has left for the grand finale. If there was anything that I could really complain about Ergo Proxy, it would be the ending. For a total mind-breaking anime, I couldn’t ignore that some loose ends were still loose and some missing links were still missing. It actually felt like the anime was saying that it’s up to the viewers to figure out what happened about this or that; well for a total mindfuck anime, maybe it is really trying to do that. But still, it doesn’t hinder the thrilling rollercoaster ride I got from this anime.
What I absolutely find fascinating in Ergo Proxy is the gradual development of our three main characters. As I’ve said, Pino is in a journey of self-actualization and being infected by the cogito virus, this slowly transforms Pino from an emotionless companion-type AutoReiv to something that is more if not, realistically human. Vincent on the other hand, is in search for his true self as it was stated that he was brainwashed and is now on his way looking for answers. At first, I honestly thought that Vincent was a major wimpy guy, but he turned out to be one of the coolest male leading characters out there. As the story goes along, he gradually changes as the truth about him are unveiled. Lastly, Re-l is not your typical bad-ass girl who wields dual pistols and can shoot anyone with her eyes closed. No, she is your normal snobbish lady who gets scared, weak and is worth protecting; only thing is she’s really courageous or more like stubborn. After some realizations and some great revelations, you will notice her gradual change of heart regarding everyone around her. All of these traits make them look very real as humans which made me really admire Ergo Proxy as this is a hard one to pull off considering that the setting is in a post-apocalyptic world.
I believe that the production value of this anime is high as the animation was fluid and the backgrounds were simply amazing. From the desolated wastelands to the deserted cities, all were done with accuracy. Sometimes though, I think the lighting is somewhat of a bother as it tends to be too dark that you’ll have difficulty seeing what’s really happening. Character designs however were very human-like and if you’ve seen Witch Hunter Robin, it is very much the same. But there were also inconsistencies as sometimes, when looked from afar, the facial structure of the characters becomes distorted. Nevertheless, the animation was really good leaving you wanting for more.
Pino’s character design however was so adorable and lovely that no one could ever ignore her cuteness. Though this is not a comedy anime, sometimes you’ll find yourself smiling and even touched for the cute things she does. Often too that Pino’s character is matched with the dramatic scenes of this anime that you could even feel a small aching on your chest.
What made this successful was Pino’s seiyuu Akiko Yakima. She portrays her lines very well which fits the cute attitude of Pino. And I’m not saying that Pino has the only voice acting that was good, in fact all of the voices behind the characters were astounding. Not to mention that the opening and ending song were very good which weren’t J-pop but rather alternative English songs. The opening song (kiri) sets a thought-provoking environment while the ending song (PARANOID ANDROID) finishes what the opening has brought forth. The background music during scenes is good in setting the mood if it is meant to be thrilling or meant to be dramatic. And who could ignore the amazing use of background silence? Rarely could you see an anime that uses silence and be excellent with doing so.
Overall, Ergo Proxy is a very unique anime that could give you one hell of a ride all the way through. If it weren’t for the unneeded fillers and a much clearer explanation of things, then this would be something phenomenal. It is a true brain-twister that will leave you puzzled for hours just because of some certain events. If you’re into mentally challenging anime, then this is definitely for you. I certainly enjoyed it and much likely that you will too.
Note: Spoilers for Ergo Proxy. Written for people who have watched the show and want an analytical review. You have been warned.
An echo, a heartbeat pounding in the eye of the storm, Centzontotochtin sails over the earth, and the pulse of the awakening signals the beginning of the end.
Ergo Proxy aired over ten years ago and to this day remains an enigma to many. Its creative thought experiments and questions about our purpose in life have been just as mesmerizing as they have been easily dismissed. But whether it’s thoughtfully ambiguous or frustratingly obtuse, what’s consistent is Ergo Proxy’s mystique beneath its decrepit and artificial
landscape, a captivating blend of the real and the surreal that reveals how easy it has become for us to mistake the double for the authentic.
Throughout, we are presented with illusions, smoke and mirrors, dream worlds, and nightmares, where reality and truth has been distorted by the agents of a lost civilization. Think of supple fingers curved in Shakespearean fashion or a bookstore of forgotten memories. As the Proxies roam their respective domed cities, searching endlessly to satisfy their raison d’etre, what tethers us to reality are Vincent and Re-L. They are equally confounded by the mysteries they confront in their quest for answers about the Proxies.
We are led to believe that outside the dilapidated dome cities and noxious caves, aboard Centzontotochtin in a vast swath of desert and frozen seas is the real world in the aftermath of some environmental catastrophe. Here is where Re-L spends her time logging her experiences, taking dutiful care of personal hygiene, and complaining about an upright toilet seat. It’s where Vincent and the AutoReiv companion Pino play in the snow and act unsuspectingly of the dangers ahead. Here, in the supposed real world, with nothing but dead landscape and a chilling wind on the horizon, is where our characters can introspect and consider the world as it is.
Yet, for all their artificial and mundane characteristics, the domes appear much closer to a tangible description of human reality. Be it Romdeau and its aristocratic bureaucracy, the empty residential fields populated by outdated AutoReivs still performing their quotidian responsibilities, or a commercial shopping mall home to a mad doppelganger, many of these domes symbolize and, more importantly, simulate some element of human culture. It is necessary to note that these are all images of what Earth used to look like, which systemically break apart without order. Still, these last vestiges of a biologically engineered society engender that moment in time; it precedes the reality of the outside world. The artificial, in other words, has become the real, and to the good citizens of Ergo Proxy, indistinguishable from reality. The outside world has become in, Jean Baudrillard’s words, “the desert of the real itself.”
In The Precession of a Simulacra, Baudrillard also references Jorge Luis Borges’s “On Exactitude in Science.” An empire, so attuned with the art of cartography, produces a map of exact size and scale of itself. Succeeding generations, less enthusiastic of the map, discards it to the west, where it now lays in tatters. In similar fashion, the Proxy Project begins with a mass engineering of a worldwide experiment, which recreates pockets of human civilization in its old image. Inevitably, however, the very creators of the domes, many of them unsatisfied or driven by madness and self-loathing, discard their own works, where they now decay against the harsh winds of the wasteland. And thus, much like Borges ingrains in our memory not the empire, but rather the bizarre and ruined map of its territory, the domes of Ergo Proxy in all their systemic imperfections occupy our understanding of the end of civilization. They are, quite literally, proxies for reality.
There are two things to draw from this interaction of the real and the double. The first is to see how Ergo Proxy merges conceptions of dreams and reality to one meaningful abstraction. The second is to see how this relationship drives the show’s search for purpose and existence.
There is a pervasive motif about dreams or dreamlike sequences, where characters are ensnared by a Proxy’s powers. Many of the dreams feel real, and their contents often translate to the real world, as seen by the books in Anamnesis aboard the Centzontotochtin and the dome holding the animated characters from Pino’s dream. On one hand, Ergo Proxy uses these dreams to elucidate the consciousness of the characters. For Vincent, it’s his ontological question of who he is and if he exists in the world. For Pino, it’s whether she possesses a soul and a capacity for morality. For Re-L, it’s her timidity to approach the truth, in fear that it will upset the balance of her orderly existence.
On the other hand, these sequences attempt to break down the characters’ tenuous relationship with reality. The experiences of their dreams can overcome the experiences of the real. Vincent’s admission of his identity as a Proxy is only cemented after his ethereal travels through the misty City Lights Bookstore. Pino’s intuition from her dream overrides her companions’ needs to stop for supplies. In both cases, these dreams, initiated by Proxies, have merged the surreal with the real to become a new sort of reality. Many within the world of the Ergo Proxy do not see any meaningful distinction between reality and a simulation of it precisely because the two have become one.
An exception to this is Re-L, who identifies her own dream as such. In Ophelia, Vincent is in a seemingly never ending cycle with a Proxy taking on every appearance but its own. Vincent is grateful that in the end, Re-L is capable of telling apart the impostor from himself. However, he quickly discovers that Re-L manages to differentiate Vincent from his double because she identifies that the impostor does not possess a shadow. For Vincent, however, this lack of distinction highlights his inability to come to terms with his identity. This slippery grasp of reality is a central conflict in Vincent's mind and is culminated in the final dream of the series, where Vincent is able to identify a fake world from the real, thus confirming his existence and place on Earth.
This dynamic between the bizarre and the normal, the dream and the real, and how they merge and separate is what gives Ergo Proxy’s search for a raison d’etre such a powerful poignancy. The reason is because inevitably we discover each of our main characters are themselves doubles of an original. Vincent and Re-L are copies of Proxy One and Monad, respectively. Pino is an alternative for a child. In addition, all three are failures of their original intention. Vincent never lives up to his potential as a model citizen, Re-L rejects the boring order of her grandfather’s city and is cast aside for another clone of herself, while Pino is replaced by a newborn child.
Even so, each character transcends his or her original place and assumes an agency over their own destinies, which allows them to overcome the destruction of Romdeau. They reject the artificiality of the order, and in doing so, also reject the simulated reality forced upon them thousands of years ago, when the desert of the real first came into being.
It is therefore fitting that those who survive to face the progenitors of Old Earth are dysfunctional copies, never meant to survive in the original system of waste and good citizenry. In a world completely artificial, here we have three souls: an amnesiac, a clone of a goddess, and an orphaned child, all of whom abandon their original duties to discover their reason for existence.
The word ergo is Latin for “therefore,” while proxy refers to one who may stand to represent something. As the dark clouds recede from the heavens, and the light of a never before seen sun scorches Daedaelus’s crafted wings, Vincent Law looks up and remarks that “this is the world that faces us, a world called ‘reality.'” He declares himself Ergo Proxy, an Agent of Death, and therefore, a representative for a new humanity.
Ergo Proxy is basically another puzzling, post-apocalyptic view of the future, which had the potential of being a superb show but there was way too much talk in this dreary show.
The first couple of episodes have a "Ghost in the Shell" feel to them, where only the setting is explained and not much is given away, forcing you to figure it out yourself. This show does a terrible job in it's explanations as it force feeds the viewer with so much jargon and it's only the illegal fansub version that will help it all make sense, with their notes.
Beyond this problem there is a brilliant
story that focuses on three main characters: Vincent (an immigrant with a hazy past and something special about him), Re-l (a detective in search of the truth) and Pino (an infected auto-rave). It isn't long before these three superb characters are thrown into a journey of self discovery and the stuff they discover is interesting and does a great job in revealing the link between Vincent and the title of this show "Ergo Proxy". In the midst of all this there are some spectacular action sequences however this occurs so rare that the show tends to get boring.
The production quality of the anime is way above average with animation so great you wouldn't want to blink. The artistry is amazing having a mix of 2D animation, 3D modeling and CG that go so well together. The action sequences are what show the full effect of the amazing animation where so much detail is put into every frame and what makes it even better is the slow motion effect. The only issue can be crowds, as the character models tend to degrade in quality when dealing with a lot of people.
The music is basically a compilation of alternative music that goes well with the eerie, moody atmosphere. For people who are fans of bands like Linkin Park will definitely like the opening and ending theme that will get you involuntarily humming the tune.
Overall this was a great show which had so much potential but with the lack of action, the superb animation does feel a bit wasted, plus there's all the winding talk. The 1st half of the show was done well but it did go downhill a bit in the 2nd half, where times when it's hard to tell if something is real or some kind of dream. There were also some incredibly stupid and weird episodes that attempts to be original but fails miserably. The show ends with some very confusing three episodes, which require a lot of thought to make any sense. So this anime is really just for people smart enough to understand its very obscure story and doesn't expect much from the action department.
Manga, Anime: Ergo Proxy does have a two-volume spinoff illustrated by Yumiko Harao, the final volume of which was released on February 19th, 2007. What it's about, I'm not sure, as there's not a lot of information about it. It has yet to be licensed Stateside.
Ergo Proxy is a 23-episode series that was created by Studio Manglobe (also famous for their work on Samurai Champloo) and directed by Shukuo Murase (famous for his work on Witch Hunter Robin). It ran on Japanese TV from February 26th to August 12th, 2006. Ergo Proxy has been licensed Stateside by Geneon (now
defunct), and its sixth and final volume was released Stateside on September 25th, 2007.
Story: This is going to be a doozie.
Ergo Proxy kicks off in the domed city of Romdeau (possibly Engrish for London?), a city-state whose citizens are under a system of complete micromanagement, focusing on Re-L (or Lil, or Real, it depends on who you talk to, really) Mayar, an inspector for the government, and her Autoreiv (more or less robot) partner, Iggy. Re-L is tasked with investigating murder cases that have to do with the Autoreiv virus Cogito (which more or less makes them self-aware and has varying effects), which leads her to recent immigrant Vincent Law, and Pino, a companion-type Autoreiv. At about the same time, she is attacked by an unknown, monstrous, humanoid-like creature called a Proxy, after she finds the word "Awakening" written in red on her bathroom wall. All of this combines to draw her further into the case and further into the mysteries of Romdeau and the outside world.
...Honestly, it's hard to write a review for this show. I finished it at the end of last month, and I've been holding off on reviewing it, mainly because I've been struggling to find the right things to say about it.
The story started out good. The characters were intriguing and tolerable (except in the case of Re-L, who was something of a bitch, but still, you could stand her), and Pino was the cutest damn thing I've ever seen, and you wanted to see what was up with them. There were mysteries and they were intriguing, and you kept watching to find out what the hell was going on, and things were revealed that only begat more mysteries that were intriguing that you wanted to know more about. And it was all good and well.
Then, after the halfway point, Ergo Proxy began to fall apart.
Before this point, the writers decided to have many episodes take place in peoples' heads, so that you couldn't tell whether the entire episode had actually happened or not, or whether or not it actually had any bearing on what was going on. I thought this was just a phase, but that turned out to not be the case. You really couldn't tell what was going on during these episodes -- I had a friend who was, shall we say, not sober watching this with me, and even he couldn't figure out what the hell was going on (up till then, he had been able to do it). It really frustrated me, because this felt like a waste of the show's amazing potential.
Meanwhile, the show did what I always fear might happen in this situation, and pulled a Rozen Maiden, refusing to address any of the mysteries it had spent so much time building up, and kept on building up more and more mysteries.
And the story was depressing enough already, but then it took turns into just plain creepy, and that didn't help its case at all.
By the end of it all, it rivaled Rozen Maiden for the things it left untouched, and Nishi no Yoki Majo: Astraea Testament for the way it rather clumsily concluded things.
Overall, the second half of the show left a really bitter taste in my mouth. And it hurts to say that, because this show had SO much potential, and came so highly recommended to me by people on here who I really respect, and mainly for the story, too.
Looking at my favorite episodes for this series is really telling, as of the eight that I really liked in this series, seven of them came before the halfway point (about episode fourteen or fifteen), and only one came from after that.
However, it does win some points back for its use of obscure references to literature and mythology and several other things. And for Pino, who is the cutest damn thing ever, without being annoying.
Art: The art for this series is absofuckinglutely beautiful. The animation is amazingly smooth, and the 2D merges beautifully with the 3D, to the point where it's difficult to differentiate between the two. The character designs are absolutely amazingly and beautifully done, especially (and for the record, I maintain that Re-L's design is based off of Amy Lee of Evanesence). There's overwhelmingly darker, bleaker tones used here, but it works really well with the story.
Also, props for them getting the style right in a later episode, which is more or less a parody of Disney, and closely mimicks Disney's animation techniques.
No problems here.
Music: I honestly didn't notice the background music for this series. I'm currently in the process of finding the two OSTs, so I may update this later.
However, I'm really happy with the OP and ED. The OP was done by a Japanese rock group, sung in all English, and really good English, too. The ED is Radiohead's "Paranoid Android". If you don't know this song, you are a failure to the human race and need to go and find it and listen to it. NOW.
Seiyuu: Sanae Kobayashi (Eleanor Campbell in Victorian Romance Emma and Lucy/Nyuu in Elfen Lied) has a role in this, which was really nice. Otherwise, no other voices that I recognize, and good acting, all around.
Length: I honestly think that Ergo Proxy could've done to cut out maybe four or five episodes. Perhaps some of the mind-fucks that didn't really serve to do anything besides screw with your head. Either that, or rework those episodes so that they at least take care of some of the mysteries.
Any longer and I probably would've dropped it.
Overall: An amazing story that starts out good, but falls apart by the time the end comes around, whose length probably could've been toyed with, but, to its credit, has beautiful animation, solid seiyuu and a good OP/ED.
I want to state a few things up front. I'm a former philosophy major and I still enjoy learning about academic philosophy. Pretentious is my first, last and middle name. I'm more than willing to defend the likes of Metal Gear Solid 2, Finnegans Wake and Beyond the Black Rainbow. You can't reach my levels of pretension if you tried. The depths of my tepid intellectual masturbation and pseudo-intellectualism have very little if any bounds. My inner fedora can't be breached by mere mortals. In my head where I am already a massive intellectual superstar they call me "the sophist with the most wits." If
I had enough courage to leave the house, I'd be one of those guys that puts on a suit with a bowtie and reads large non-fiction books at Starbucks and stares pensively at the air through my square frame glasses and I would order coffee with no accoutrements so it can be black like my soul. That's my level of pretension kids. So let me say up front my problem with this show isn't that I got confused, I'm not the kind of person who gets confused by big words and unneeded complication I live for it. I mean I've read books by Hegel and Heidegger. You can't get much more needlessly complicated than that. I'm also not averse to a little pretension in my media, I tend to be more forgiving of this than most people, especially if the art or media in question has other merits. I have a kinship with intellectual failures like myself and fake gotta recognize fake yo. I also didn't mind the so called "experimentation" in fact as you'll come to see it would be hard for me to dislike it as I never really "found" it to begin with. I like experimentation in media a lot, if I'm asked to choose between two musical acts for instance I tend to choose the one that takes more risks with experimenting and genre mixing as a rule. So if this show lived up to it's common perception, it should be 10/10 IGN for a chap like me self, but it's not really like the negative stereotype of what it is and it's not really what the fans think it is either. I'm going to argue in the rest of this review that this show is just a basic action show with a weak story.
For those not in the know, Ergo Proxy (EP) is a show about a post-apocalyptic future where a woman gets in a tussle with her robotic protector and some guy, then they go on a journey to some ruins and the story ends after they come back for the final boss fight. This is exactly how it happens, don't dispute it, just compute it. Some philosophy and psychological stuff is thrown in that we will go over later and some action happens in between.
Lets talk about what people say they like about this show and first I will discuss experimentation. The first and most fundamental way a piece of media can be experimental is to fundamentally change the format of the story entirely. By format I mean the basic framework around the story and the way you present it, outside of it's actually story content. Well this show doesn't really do anything concerning experimentation with this, in fact it's a straight linear line A to B plot. A show "experimenting" might tell things out of order, it might go extremely minimalist, it might go the opposite, it might try to transcend it's own media and or genre etc. It's hard to describe the lack of something and the positive of something vague like experimentation. That is the thing about experimentation, it's hard to describe on it's own but it's one of those things that "you know it when you see it." I gave tangible examples but I recognize that in some ways these are already mundane and limited in their own sense and might be a bit clichéd by now in their own right. The main point I want to make is that EP doesn't really do anything with it's plot or format that warrants calling it "experimentation."
You know what this entire show is exactly like down to mundane details of it's plot, the way the story is told and look of the characters? The Big O. Oh I mean "BIG O, BIG O, BIG O, BIG OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!." Only I never heard anyone call that show "experimental." You have a mysterious domed city, with an outside that's mostly pollution, garbage and Sword Art Online DVD's. A mysterious pale female character that looks and acts like a robot with la faux geisha makeup at the same time. A male character who is strong and mysterious in his own way. If you paint the butler in Big O silver you also have the robot character, they're both even servants by nature. It's Big O without the mech and a lot of exposition. I think the easiest way to explain how mundane the format is, if I told someone to give me a plot outline of the story the way they lay it out wouldn't be any different from how the actual show laid things out, showing how easily digestible all the information and lack of so called experimental barriers to entry there are here. To finally nail down this point lets compare this to another show that has been called experimental as well and deals with similar themes and ideas Serial Experiments Lain.
You have two shows that talk about the good aspects and the potential dangers of technology and philosophical concepts. Both attempt to delve into psychology and peoples sense of self to varying degrees of success. I don't think Lain is a super deep show either, but what I can say about it that I can't say about EP is that by the end of the series the show hardly looks like the same show that is was from episode 1. At some point in the mid series things go way off the rails and the shows animation and editing attempt to reflect some of the concepts they're trying to get across here, without just stating them outright through exposition. The format changes a lot in Lain and I can't say they just told me an A-B story. It also leaves a lot more to interpretation, due in part to it's more heavy reliance on imagery rather than words but also just from the way it's told. EP by contrast looks, is edited and has the same mid paced action animation all throughout the show. It makes no attempt to tie it's animation to the concepts it's trying to get across, unless fists equal philosophical arguments. Well in fairness to Ergo, I did want to punch a few people upon hearing their philosophical beliefs, but I wouldn't say this translated into my own argument unless I was arguing might makes right. I guess Thrasymachus missed his calling as an Anime creator. So the editing isn't experimental, the animation isn't experimental, the way the story is told is not fundamentally different from most shows, so what is? I would like to know that myself.
You wanna know a little secret that isn't that much of a secret about getting people to care about what you write? You include a little sex or violence. Totem and Taboo, Survival and reproduction. We instinctually feel an importance for this stuff because we're walking talking cell machines that feel the need to survive long enough to make copies of ourselves. So anything that involves danger or potentially doing the nasty makes us care because we want to learn to avoid one and get a lot of the other, I'll let you choose which. What If I didn't want to be cheap though, what if I wanted to engage people in intellectual ideas in a way that was new and yet still exciting? Well the first thing I wouldn't do is make it an action show, because we have seen that a million times before. I definitely wouldn't call a show that did things this way experimental in fact I would call it rudimentary for it's time and place. There are two essential basic defaults for anime right now as I see it, la tranche de vie and le show d'action. These are the first person shooters of anime and by that I mean they're the type of thing made most because marketing trends and ease of understanding dictate that this is what consumers want you to give them to imbibe like drone bees circling the hive cluster. Action ticks off that survival part of our brain and makes us feel an immediate emotion, so it is easy to make and its easy to get people to feel good about it and engaged. I'm saying all this for two reasons one is to illustrate that making this show action oriented detracts from the idea that it is "experimental" by virtue of the fact that action is an extremely easy and common genre to appeal to mass audiences with and two, to set you up to ask a question. Strip away all supposed psychological and philosophical window dressing from this show for a second and ask yourself this: Is this show fundamentally different from just a plain action show without these pretenses? Can you find anything about it that really warrants you saying it is more "experimental" than other shows of this genre? For my part I saw these as fundamental questions for this review and my answer was "no" to both of them. There is nothing about EP that makes me think it's any different from the hundreds of other action shows out there. Couple this with the fact that a lot of anime shows have similar post apocalyptic and science fiction leanings that are much better utilized. I would argue that this show and others would actually be more "experimental" if they went the more common route and made a slice of life anime about deep psychological and philosophical things. There have already been a lot of action shows that dip into these themes but the amount of slice of life shows that attempt to be experimental and thought provoking can be counted on one hand or less. At the end of the day most if not all of these shows are a product to sell figurines and make you feel good for an hour or so, but even when faced with the dichotomy of the two most common shows to appeal to the lowest common denominator viewer EP zagged hard and fast towards the easier more tread upon genre to do this with. So in going action it dilutes it's so called experimentation even that little bit much more.
People say this show mixes genres, but I don't really see it. It's essentially post apocalyptic sci-fi and in that genre its a pretty standard unimaginative use of the tropes and cliches therein. In it's slight defense it's kind of hard to mix genres when your baseline is post apocalyptic sci-fi, if you try to mix in any genre that isn't primarily about depressive atmospheric and heightened negative emotions you end up with a bad muted tone that nerfs what's appealing about this kind of fiction. In other words you wind up with a Bethesda Fallout, when I'm trying to make something serious like New Vegas. While we're on the subject of this show and it's genre, I would like to note that this show is pretty scant on the "science" in the science fiction equation. It doesn't really introduce any kind of cool technological innovations or ideas we haven't seen before and it doesn't have scientific concepts at the core of it's story telling. I mean I'm a philosophy fanboy but you have to have some of this in your Sci-Fi show kids.
So maybe in lieu of that you're probably hoping the content of the story is experimental. Yeah... Not so much. Everything is pretty easy to understand. It's complicated the way things like "Inception" are complicated in that if you don't listen to every piece of stated exposition with a little bit of brain power you might get lost. If you don't listen to what the people say because you have your cellphone out or you're playing sex VN's in another window, you'll be confused. Everything in this show is so spelled out that I find it really hard to believe anyone actually had a hard time following this. I'd like to use this review as a soapbox and show my humongous epeen knowledge on philosophy and how this show gets it wrong with all of my "ACTUUAAAALKLLKYS" but the reality is that the references to philosophy are window dressing at best and just nonexistent for most of the show. Some talking statues are named after philosophers... I'm not exactly sure why, they never really do anything philosophical. I mean one scene where they do logic tables, have a Socratic debate or use hermeneutics would have done wonders and saved this show... Ok so in all seriousness. I didn't really expect them to do that kind of stuff. I think they were trying to imply these AI statues were like philosopher kings, but at least a few of the philosophers listed had no political thought to speak of and a lot of them would not advise the things done by the shows society. In some cases it would be much better and much worse. I'd like to see how a Late Wittgensteinian society would contrast with an early Wittgensteinian society. Yeah actually animators would just go the lazy route and make the early stuff all about an extreme rules governed society like Chinese Legalism but worse. Or how a Derridean society would look like prior to his later romance with Marx and after. One can only imagine such a glorious anomic end to the dialectic of "free trade." I mean wouldn't we all like to see what a Foucauldian society would look like? I can just imagine the non-stop Bacchanalia and the glorious never ending bath houses. Power would truly be radiating out of my every pore and other bodily openings, now that's what I call bio-politics... Alas we get nothing close to this small amount of imagination. It's a standard futuristic society with some marble statues and stuff here and there.
Let's look at the characters and the perception that they have psychological depth. Psychological depth can mean a few things in fiction. The most obvious thing it can mean to me is that the creators are trying to emulate the findings in current or past psychological movements and infusing their works with them like Freudianism in Hitchcock films, Jungian in Kubrick, mild parodies of behaviorism in Kurt Vonnegut, Existential-psych in French New Wave films ETC. Maybe you want psychological realism in the actions of your characters like Yasujiro Ozu or maybe you like heightened fairy tale archetypes like Akira Kurosawa. Have I dropped enough names yet? Well anyway, the point of all these examples is that generally when I hear something has psychological depth I tend to think of examples like this where the creators gave their characters depth by having specific types of psychology or ideas in mind when making them, they may even include a mix of some of these things. Like maybe one character represents a classic Freudian outlook on life and the intrigue comes from them making contact with someone with a more modern take on psychologies outlook like through evolutionary psych or cognitive behavioral. I think I belabored the point enough on this definition and you can basically get what I'm saying now the characters can have or be used to represent these psychological ideas in their basic makeup. Ok, so good onto the next definition. The second definition is the more common one, that I assume most people praising this show think of when they talk about it and that definition is something akin to "they have a long back story therefore I think them interesting." To be charitable to this definition it can also mean that they have interesting tidbits and tadbits to their characters shown in the past, like a linear psychological bread crumb trail of trauma, pain, good times and angry stuff here and there. I can like stories that engage in either definition and most literature is a combination of both, but I don't really think EP fits either well. I don't really find these characters interesting at all. They have about as much depth as a Naruto character, but with a heavy facade blanketed over them to give the appearance that they matter more. They go through formulaic arcs and commit clichéd action after clichéd action. I mean I have a whole section just dedicated to that right here:
If I'm allowed to make one bold assumption here about peoples high estimation of this anime and what I think is their false impression that this is an "unorthodox" show is that it seems like and this is where the assumption comes in friendos, that a lot of anime fans are insularly only into this one thing. Anime and mango seems to be an all encompassing hobby and in a lot of anime communities here and elsewhere I have noticed a tendency for people who are into it to not be into most other types of media. Some of this seems to be snobbery but there is also a basic fact of reality, not everyone is a loser like me who can sit and take in tons of different crap from different types of media, so people naturally stick with what they're interested in. If I can give this a generous spin I would say most of you are specialists and not generalists. Well I'm the opposite I'm the jack of no trades and I can't review things in isolation, I see things as so interconnected that I can't quite stop myself from thinking of other media in reference to each other ever.
FOR INSTANCE gals and guys, people like to play up this shows "dream sequences," but having seen a lot of western shows and they seem pretty standard for television as a media. A lot of shows have an episode that essentially doesn't connect to the plot in a direct way but hints at it and points towards future developments within context of a dream. The most famous example I can think of is the ending of the 4th season of Buffy, a lot of episodes of Scrubs, a few Doctor Who's and countless Star Trek episodes where characters realize they were hung up on a dream. This isn't really experimental it's damn near a cliche that just hasn't been coined yet. How about "dreamsposition?" In fact this review is a dream sequence, a hallucination, brought on by drugs and your own self hatred. I'm your inner nagging doubts, now you just need to spout some vague exposition to me so we can move the plot and this review forward.
In reading other reviews I saw one phrase over and over and over and that was "this anime explores what it means to be human." I no joke heard a Hallmark movie described the same way in a commercial once, for those who don't live in the states Hallmark movies are just slightly above a soap opera in overall quality and I've said the phrase "it's Hallmark tier" to describe the low quality of a film before. I'm not surprised people use this phrase though, because exploring "what it means to be human" is one of the criterion of something being Literature. Which also means that like everything else in this section, it's been done before <History of writing here.> Yeah I really don't feel the need to cite single examples on this one as it is done so much that it would actually be easier to list things that tried not to do this while still telling a story in some way. I think what people specifically mean with this phrase in reference to this show is that the contrast between machine people and regular people is compared a bit here, but even when I narrow it down to that level the absolute deluge of stuff that exists also doing that and doing it better pours in hard and fast. I just want to toot my own horn a bit that this review is an exploration of what it means to be human and by that I mean myself and through me all humanity. It is a mado to my psyche and further a fenetre to the worlds soul.
Another way in which I think this plays out is in peoples constant citing of the "you're your own worst enemy" trope as some kind of deep revelation in this. I think the first time I ever saw this trope in action was in a really famous Manga called the Holy Bible. Not to be confused with the more popular anime adaption Bible Black. Jesus realizes on the cross that his own inherent selfish desires and sin are what might mire him in hell for all eternity if he can't escape his own predilection towards temptation. In other words he is his own worst enemy. Lilith is best girl by the way. In a little obscure film series called STAR WARS, a character named Luke in a galaxy far far away has to go through "training" by Yoda to learn about his force sensitivity. Some of this training involves a cave, at the end of his small journey in this cave one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history occurs and he realizes he is his own potential worst enemy. In the David Bowie song "The Man Who Sold the World" I gotta spoiler to lay flat on you here, he is the villain in his own song and the titular man who sold the world. He slowly realizes this after the years and years that he roamed and then it came as some surprise he is one and the same his savior and his own worst enemy. At least two Twilight Zone episodes, The Shelter and The Monsters are Due on Maple Street have this same message. In my own lifetime I remember seeing this idea as early as Zelda 2: An Adventure of Link. We have met the enemy ladies and gentlemen and it is us and are easy cliches. I think the Bowie example is the best illustration that this idea isn't that deep, but even in just a four minute song, he managed to do a lot more with than this show did with an entire television show. Thus was the power of the late great Ziggy Stardust. Like a neko from Japan, oh he could lick 'em by smiling. You know, I'm writing this when I could be doing more important things with my life, I eat all the wrong foods, I procrastinate at a level previously not believed possible by mere mortals and I never try to fix any of the major problems with my life. I just realized I am my own worst enemy, I was the villain all along. It was me who caused my own unhappiness all these years. My god how am I going to live with this revelation? I'm literally and figuratively hyperventilating right now, I think I might be having a heart attack. Someone call an ambulance.... OMG I... I-i close my eyes and seize it, I clench my fists and beat it, I light my torch and burn it, I am the beast I worship!
Actually, I already knew all this, back to the review. So the last clichéd arc is a character conveniently having amnesia and we have seen this a thousand times... Well I forgot what I was going to say so lets move on.
This isn't really a cliche but... People like to cite this shows use of Blade Runner's ideas as ground breaking as well, but I also see this as pretty standard in eastern and western media. Pretty much everything science fiction tries to be Blade Runner and if they aren't it's probably because they're trying to be 2001: A Space Odyssey. Pretty much everything tries to be Akira and if they aren't it's probably because they're trying to be Neon Genesis Evangelion. Pretty much everything tries to be Ghost in the Shell if they aren't it's probably because they're trying to be Serial Experiments Lain. Pretty much everything tries to be Bubble Gum Crisis if they aren't it's probably because they're trying to be Paprika. Pretty much everything tries to be Snatcher if they aren't it's probably because they're trying to be Xenogears. Pretty much everything tries to be Synthwave if they aren't it's probably because they're trying to be IDM. Pretty much everything tries to be- Sorry I got stuck on a tape loop there for a second, but I'm sure you get the point. I think specifically in Akira's case you can argue it was trying to be both Blade Runner and 2001 at the same time, while juggling it's own themes, ideas and other influences. Much like how this review is a dream sequence, an exploration of humanity and I realized I'm my own worst enemy within it's confines, it is also a cyberpunk neo-noir thriller. The reviews soundtrack was made by Vangelis. I'm a special police officer that might be a cyborg who is sent to track down rogue replicant anime reviewers from the MAL corporation who escaped the offworld forums. We are tasked with capturing them and if necessary to execute them. This is not called execution, as they had no life to begin with. We call this special police unit knife sprinters. My robotic girlfriend looks like a sophisticated Bettie Page and I dream of My Little Pony unicorns and electric rams when I sleep. Wake up, time to cry.
You may have got annoyed from me inserting all these cheap plot points haphazardly into this review and to that I say "good," because that is how I felt the entire time watching EP. Absolutely sick of every bad cliche, lame plot point and cheap character arc being inserted into the wrong places limply like a shaky hand on a first date.
Before I move on here, I want to anticipate a potential defense of this show and the criticisms I have leveled at it so far. After reading all this someone might scream "Simpsons did it" implying I don't know that most ideas are not new and that everything has been done before. Every idea is a package of other ideas that already exists. Nothing is invariant or comes wholly out of nowhere. I don't believe in divine inspiration or intervention, so ideas can only come from already known human sources, filtered through our collective knowledge. This is all true, but my problem isn't just that this stuff has been done before, it's that it ultimately doesn't culminate into anything interesting or worth watching. This show is just a muddled mess of ideas and influences and far from doing something interesting with them it just kind of tosses them all into a vat without properly mixing it or wondering if any of the stuff should go together in the first place. The philosophy is badly strewn window dressing, the characters aren't that deep upon any kind of critical examination and there isn't really anything that distinguishes this from any other action anime.
I also bring all of the above up to slowly erode the idea that this show is more "experimental" or thought provoking than other shows like it.
I also want to consider something before moving on and explain how I really want to be fair to something like this even though it might not seem that way given my review. I can only really know my own enjoyment and level engagement with something, but I also try like most people to imagine a fairer third person viewpoint when possible. Maybe this isn't "deep" enough or whatever for me but is it a good slick entry level piece of fiction concerning the ideas for others? My answer to that is also no, it doesn't really engage or lay out the ideas in a way that would give the viewer a good idea of philosophy or psychology. I think even Full Metal Alchemist does a better job explaining the fictional practices of alchemy better than this show does the real life practice of philosophy. Let's consider for a moment though that this show was a good representation of Phil and Psych 101 ideas. I wouldn't write up a review like this for the anime equivalent of Sesame Street, Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer and laugh about how people who watch these don't even know basic arithmetic and reading skills. I MEAN WHAT ARE THEY CHILDREN OR SOMETHING? A SONG ABOUT READING A MAP HOW DUMB ARE YOU? I'm cruel but I'm not unkind. If I thought this show was good for it's own sake and a fairly accurate depiction of the ideas within, I would simply say "it's not for me" and move on. I'd hope people learn from it and feel entertained and engaged enough to further research the ideas, but I wouldn't feel a need to review this my self. The problem is the show isn't billed as some introductory work to the subject nor is it aimed at lay watchers and it's defended by people as if it's one of the intellectual heights of anime. So that is why I feel a need to tear this down and also because I'm just a jerk with too much time on his hands.
The animation is just about average for it's time. It looks a lot like other shows of it's era only with more shadows and darkness/dark colors added in. To give it some credit the action is pretty good for what it is. The female lead is nicely designed and she is used well for what the show tries to get across. Her face in particular is nicely crafted and interesting for it's own sake, she shows more emotion than a lot of anime characters in shows like this, so her minimalist design wasn't completely without merit. I also like the robots unique design. I guess I can also say that this show doesn't go extremely cheap in the sex department at any point, all the characters look the way they should given the context they're in and there isn't any obvious cheap fanservice stuff I can remember. I think in general while it's animation isn't anything to write home about it has the highest peaks of quality out of all the shows assets.
This is another show I'm reviewing where the music went in one ear and out the other and I don't really have anything of note to say about it or the voice acting. I'm always kind of amused at how much people seem to care about voice actors in anime and how they generally don't leave any impression on me at all. I'd like to say it's a cultural thing but I've seen a lot of Japanese films and I generally think they are tied with the UK for having the best live actors. So I'm not sure that's it. Hmmmmmmm, something i have to think about I guess. Anyway, I just don't really have anything to say about the sound in this show.
You know this show reminded me of a deeper disappointment I have with film as a media but animation in particular. I think animation could be employed well to illustrate some intellectual ideas that aren't well described with words. The closest I have seen to what I'm trying to describe are terrible movies like Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi, where images and music are employed to try and get across a bigger intellectual idea without words. The only problem is the few times this is attempted the ideas they get across are as shallow as a wading pool. OMG NATURE CONTRASTS WITH HUMAN CIVILIZATION? DATS CRAZY DEW... I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT LIKE DAT. If only I hadn't been spoiled with that incredibly deep message with Fern Gully when I was five. Granted these films have other merits like the moving forward of filming techniques, editing and cinematography. The point is I'd like experimentation and intellectual motifs to go much much further than what I have seen in most animation. Go really abstract and off the wall. I mean beyond FlatLand levels. Like the Talking Head's I want you to stop making sense and start making abstract and creative choices that go far beyond what we have today. I didn't get any of this with EP, I got a bland action show. So I said this review was influenced by Blade Runner so here it's only fitting I end this like a true cyborg cut down before his time... *Rain falling everywhere.* I've imagined animation you people wouldn't believe. Anime warships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've seen "glistening" figurines in a neckbeards estate. All these inane complaints about media will be lost in time now... Like poorly animated tears.. In the rain...
Ergo Proxy, it's a darker show that makes you think. Don't fall asleep for a second watching this show or you'll miss something important. Every little detail matters in some way. You know what... I LOVE THIS SHOW! I will do my best to keep my fanboy attitude towards this show aside to make for a more professional review.
Ergo Proxy takes place in a post apocalyptic setting where mankind must live inside domed cities. They are all assisted in their everyday lives by AuroReivs which are autonomous robots. In the city of Romdo there is a virus infecting the AutoReivs that cause them to become
aware of their own existence. It is called the Cogito Virus. Re-l Mayer is the lead investigator of the infected AutoReivs. During her investigation she encounters a monster called a Proxy. Also in Romdo, a man named Vincent Law is running about and is suspected of having a connection with the Proxy. Re-l and Vincent then though a series of events begin to travel in in the outside world searching for answers.
Sound confusing? Good you should be confused, but it is also a great setup for a story. Right off the bat you are introduced to a new world, and in that world you see problems that need to be solved. The plot starts off right from the get go which I like. It grabs your attention; however, sometimes the pacing can get slowed down, but the amount of things you are learning about the world makes it seem like the writers aren't just writing filler even though that's exactly what it is. This story is a work of art. Ergo Proxy is the example of how to setup a world and maximize the potential that is in said world. It was also depressing as hell at sometimes and made me want to sit in my room and be sad. Now I mentioned confusing at the beginning, and it's true the story can be confusing, but I never felt lost during the show which is good and there was a reason for me not being lost...
Our main Protagonists are Re-l Mayer, a police detective/inspector and Vincent Law, an immigrant/nobody. Oh and Pino who is an AutoReiv infected with the Cogito Virus. The characters are what make this show's story less of a nightmare to understand. They ask all the questions that you want to ask. Personally I think that Re-l is by far the best character in the whole show. Her world has be turned upside-down and she has to tag along to find answers with Vincent. Vincent to be honest has a crap life, he can't remember who he is and was run out of Romdo. He is searching for who he is. The chemistry between these two is what really makes them stand out as characters. They aren't all buddy buddy like many shows. Re-l didn't trust Vincent at all at the beginning and Vincent wanted to just be around Re-l. Pino is hard to talk about without spoiling some plot but her purpose to me is making the viewer ask "What does it mean to truly be alive?"
The art is good. Nothing that just blows you out of the water but it does a very good job at bringing you into the atmosphere of the show. I loved the character designs in this show too. Their aren't very many action scenes in the show but when their are they are done very well. I have no complaints about the animation.
OHHH MY GOD THAT OPENING!!!! "Kiri" by Monoral is absolutly PERFECT for this shows opening! I've bought that song and no joke I listen to it every single day it is that good! I loved it. I'm also a fan of Radiohead so I liked the ending. The music during the show I actually didn't notice at all.... that's kinda bad but I also never remember the show being silent so that's good. The dub for this show is outstanding. I have no idea how Megan Hollingshead doesn't have more lead roles. She did an outstanding job as Re-l. Liam O'Brien also deserve high praise as well for his job as Vincent. At the beginning I actually thought he was Sam Riegel, but then Vincent got mad an I thought "Yep that's Liam." His angry voice is very good as is his regular voice. I actually thought that Pino was voiced by a child, but nope it was Rachel Hirschfeld... yea never heard of her but DAMN is she good! I mean seriously GIVE HER MORE ROLES!!! This dub is one of the best I have ever heard, on par with that of Death Note.
If you've seen my reviews you know what I do here. Does Ergo Proxy seal the deal at the end? Or does it leave massive plot holes? Nope. It ends perfectly in my opinion, I was very satisfied with the ending because it left the viewer with an idea of what the characters will do after the series, but it also makes sure to wrap everything up nicely. It ends well which is what I like to see anime do.
Ergo Proxy as of December 27, 2013, is the greatest anime that I have ever watched. If you have not seen Ergo Proxy, you have to see this anime. It truly is a masterpiece, a modern classic. Ergo Proxy is a show that can not be missed no matter what your preferred genre of anime is. Ergo Proxy is one of a kind. I give it a 100% recommendation. Ergo Proxy is a work of art.
Ambition in an audio-visual work can generally focus itself on artistical visual or sound-related features only, while the foundation in terms of plot is rather simple, or tries to define itself in terms of quality by touching upon more complex, indefinite questions about e.g. the human nature itself, not being covered in a lot of works, not being followed through that deeply regarding its core theme or not being covered in that big of a quantity of related questions/topics towards the main one the work tries to tackle. While it’s hard to classify Ergo Proxy between example #2 and #3, I might have to make
the point that Proxy leans more towards the third than the second. Maybe even solely due to the reason, that it constructs severally different presentational approaches, ranging from character introspection in the said person’s mind to cartoon-ish, dream-like sequences, merging it all into one bucket. And related to that, I simply can’t get out of my way to say this: On several occasions, it feels more messy than anything else, especially in its middle section.
With Proxy’s setup, there’s almost nothing to not love as a fan of futuristically dystopian prospects, a category in which I’d count me in for sure. In the forlorn city of Romdeau, we follow the story of the state-serving investigator Re-L and a man who recently immigrated to the city, Vincent Law, and how they’re being confronted with the rising spread of a ‘cogito virus’, which seemingly infects Auto-Reivs, not even stopping at the personal assistants of a notable amount of citizens in Romdeau (Entourages), turning them against their owner, enforcing them to commit the final act of killing against human beings themselves. With mysterious beings, called “Proxies”, said to be around the infected Auto-Reivs when these crimes are happening, Re-L, her Entourage Iggy and Vincent Law get entangled in a conspiracy, that shakes the foundation of Romdeau and those of the main characters to the core, as it is being made apparent by our investigator’s virtually epiphanic encounter with the ‘Ergo Proxy’ at the end of episode 1.
What might’ve been made pretty obvious by my part, due to the last part of this rather vague summarization of Proxy’s setup, is how the narrative focus shifts from a more political-emphasized lens, to straight up character/idealistic introspection with related ideas of breaking the invisible wall that cages one’s individual ability to think. The initiation for the characters to take that pebbly way of “self-discovery” might have diverged a little for each person, willingly putting themselves in the unforgivingly dangerous world that surrounds Romdeau. For our main duo, they were set-up reasonably well and grounded and are deductible by the way their personas affect their behaviorism during the growing conflict between them and their environment. The significant repel from Romdeau towards Re-L and Vincent, be it either the inequity imposed by Romdeau, caused by seemingly supernatural events Vincent has to suffer through in the starting episodes, or the apathy and incomprehension showed by the apparatus of the state and her granddad, the regent himself, them joining up for a risky quest for answers got itself the right groundwork to be one of the amazing tales ever told in the medium. However, even if the episodic exploration of different themes and ideas is one of my favourite ways to elaborate upon them, Proxy left with a sour taste in that exact section after watching through it. It would be a long shot to call it inherently bad, very far from it, but I’d much rather call it: indecisive. But more regarding that later.
Connecting with Vincent semi-forcefully expel from Romdeau and Re-L’s hunt for more leads and info regarding the mysterious and very confined matter surrounding ‘Vincent Law’, the show takes the unexpected episodic approach, which actually feels rather jarring from what we’ve seen from the starting 3-4 episodes beforehand. It’s a bit hard to get used to and hard to call very good either. Of course, with strictly referring to them as “filler-episodes” and the more cohesively presented ones as the main-plot, missing the point is unavoidable, but that doesn’t stop numerous of these to either feel a bit overdone and, surprisingly, pretty stale. Those two impressions don’t go hand in hand all the time, counter-acting the believe that it’s incompetent in what it’s doing entirely, but there’s a rarity of episodes I’d call both, a lot of episodes I’d call one of them and some episodes I’d call neither.
While the start-off for Re-L’s journey is very reminiscent of bad political movie clichés (“You’re ignoring me because I get to the heart of the matter”), got paced out a little too fast and showing too little hindrance for what she’s trying to do, it still works and isn’t shifted with much of a focus upon either, more of a mean to justify in what it will expand to. The plot progression is ridden by a summation of minor conveniences in the first quarter of it, which are not to be taken too lightly considering the serious and still coherently narrated route it set itself up. Opportunities presenting each other on a plate for Re-L, hacking a computer in 5 seconds while her interviewer makes no efforts to lock the confidential data in it while leaving shortly etc. Also, the rather one-sided affection Vincent develops in a total runtime of 60 minutes towards Re-L should have been developed of more apparently graspable moments, since it should be deductible in that short of runtime in the starting-phase to not feel a tad forced, especially since it doesn’t get that much of a focus for a long period of time later. The concluding episodes did erase half of my initial complaints about this since it gave this aspect a somewhat satisfying conclusion, but from a watching-experience standpoint, it still does strike me as a flaw.
Successfully changing one's general approach of storytelling is a big risk with (more or less) great reward if executed right and while saying this, Proxy takes a turn for the more experimental in the early-mid section of it and in the same vein, sadly a turn for the worse initially. It constructs several approaches and a big variety on how to tackle it in terms of audiovisuals while giving further insight into its several ideas revolving about identity itself. In numerous episodes, it takes a turn for the surreal and usually follows them up with ones which ensure its “usual recipe” of the tried-and-tested storytelling, shown in the first couple of episodes. Additionally, we get episodes with a lot of expositional dialogue regarding one single matter, creating a lot of routes regarding presentation, but actually master none of them, as the contrast between two consecutive episodes can be mood-killing or actually responsible for one not coming up in the first place. While some of these are enjoyable as a standalone, the setup of Proxy doesn’t allow such an eclectic way of mixing storytelling-techniques that easily, especially with it lacking a distinctive identity (pretty ironic) and more refined directing, making it to feel slightly devoid of life and simultaneously a tad insipid at the same time. Additionally, these constructed narrations do feel to feed the viewer a very different amount of information, contrary to the belief that people who dislike it just need to be taken by the hand through the story. No, the show switches from explaining already pretty evident facts in a very convoluted way that can even make up the runtime of a whole episode at points (episode #11), to hit you with hardly explained turns of events in the next one. Of course there’s value in some of these lines which come from an overflow of dialogues that way, but there’s this overarching feeling of they trying to ramble 20 minutes about and actually trying to waste your time when not trying to *insert meaning* in every line of this oversaturated dialogue. There’s even a minor and easy to miss instance of a clear message of “death of the author” in episode #10 (the script writer's name on a tombstone), which actually is kinda infuriating, because the next episode is exactly the one which is obviously raising a question and follows up to answer it in an excessively long way.
Contrary to my rambling about episode 11 in particular, there are not that many episodes meeting that said criticism in such a strong way, but most of them only do so rudimentarily. In what almost all episodes do lack though is impressive directing, which actually could complement the well-planned scenes on paper, I more often than not thought to myself, that this was the primary reason of why I actually found the atmosphere not sparking over, even during good scene montages. The visuals have a distinctively dark tone and with more audio-visual competency, they could’ve capitalized on that particular aspect of lifelessness greatly like Texhnolyze, but only came off as a decently pictured, dark Anime set in a dystopian future with cool “Deus Ex”-esque soundtracks playing in the background. Especially during action-scenes, the lack of distinctively cut-out audio-visual focus to create a thrilling composition and maybe a budget-restriction partly causing that is kind of detrimental, as there are some of those especially in the first half (people looking like matchsticks flying around during the Proxy chase in the shopping center). It gives me the feeling that Watanabe might have been the more appropriate choice for sound directing, as he has proofed himself to deliver there over and over again, as opposed to only him providing the storyboard.
Normally I am not hailing the OPs/EDs of Anime greatly, especially not during reviews, but with Proxy I just can’t ignore it, as it provided Top 10 worthy ones in both categories. The OP is eerily addicting song-wise and balanced absolutely superbly with the visuals touching the screen, which is absolutely amazing in its own right. They offer a colour palette and a scene-transitioning on a very high-level, which I wish that only the Anime itself had. And with incorporating Radiohead as the band who's providing the respective song for the ED, there’s probably not much more I have to add, an absolutely amazing track with a melancholic atmosphere.
Nearing the end of this review, the characters are what’s left to be covered during this write-up and who are very good for the most part. And I say 'for the most part' because there is Pino. While the flames of despise have died out for me the longer the further the series progressed, there shouldn’t have been an occasion where “flares of hate being quenched” is a thing while watching an anime in the first place. Considering I said that the switches in narrative construction from episode to episode are the most jarring aspect about Ergo Proxy, the Auto-Reiv Pino got through the finish line by .1sec late, actually almost satirically interrupting supposed to be very serious chasing scenes with her pretty obnoxious child-like attitude and seemingly lack of intelligence of her surroundings, she’s the main reason why Vincent gets into so much trouble while trying to avoid being caught. Apart from her playing with her melodica in the background and her being slightly important in the main plot, having some minor addition of easily-digestible thematic exploration, she is more of a forgettable aspect of Proxy, which only gets kind of likable through habituation effect. I’m still getting some PTSD from a girl in a bunny onesie in probably one of the top 3 darkest Anime of all time. Japan.
With Re-L, we have one of the best female protagonists I have seen in Anime, in both design and character. Her behaviorism is reflective on what she’s facing right at the moment and in a constant state of flux, which doesn’t come off as implausible throughout the anime and is very reflective on what she sets out to do in her relationship with Vincent Law. While the infamous episode of them doing exactly nothing an entire episode and drawing a conclusion that could’ve been expected from a Shounen-Anime at the end of the episode, I especially enjoyed her and her dynamic relationship with Vincent, who is the most complex character in the show actually which I actually can’t expand on too much without spoiling.
Side character-wise, a good portion of the past gets a reasonable amount of screen time, while the most belongs to Raul and Daedalus respectively, as they also play an integral part in the story and mystery that unfolds in Romdeau. They share a very interesting dynamic, with Raul excelling in going through a very similar development as Re-L, when trying to unfold the truth opposed to the regent and the core of Romdeau, but takes a different conclusion and a different decision from it, which is not all that easy to figure out at first, as the context of his actions is very connected to Proxy’s most bizarre episode, taking place in a “game show”. Daedalus gets presented a bit too heavy-handed with his creepy obsession for Re-L, almost trying to crave attention a little too hard, but being backed up by the backstory/progression of the plot, just feeling a bit out of place in terms of characterization.
As I’ve already claimed in the beginning, I made a distinctive focus on why especially the presentational aspects of Ergo Proxy didn’t quite succeed in making me feel engaged or drawing out the possible strengths of the show, it’s scary how good the show could’ve been with a set-up as interesting as that. Considering how it evolves into episodic-storytelling right in the middle, there’s a difference on how these heaps of different (minor) problems did affect me while watching, but when it got into the “right mode”, it was almost like watching a lecture while it tries to (refraining the use of the p-word) hammer in info in a very blatant and hard to enjoy way. Still, it is a work with one of the most complex lores in all of Anime, has a good leading duo of main characters and a rather big variety of related ideas, adding to its thematic exploration. It’s definitely not my raison d’etre, as the presentation did come off as suboptimal on numerous occasions, but definitely worth a watch to form your own opinion on the show, as the concluding episodes are undoubtedly very good and won’t waste your time.
Art (8/10), Animation (6/10)
Ergo proxy, for me, started off as a completely unknown story which I came across while randomly searching for interesting anime to watch. The anime remained on my PTW list for a while until someone mentioned how cool it was and they definitely would recommend watching it soon. So, of course, I had to check it out. My only thought when I began was, “the girl with the blue eyeshadow,” but after watching the first episode, I was very intrigued, especially with the entrance of two strange beings known as Proxies.
Like many anime, they throw you into the main story, introducing the main characters
like the female inspector, Re-l Mayer, who is the granddaughter of the Regent, and Vincent Law, an immigrant from another city who is trying to gain citizenship in the “paradise” city, Romdeau. The people of Romdeau may strike you as strange but only because they are made to become ideal citizens and function by the city’s schedule. The city exists within a dome, isolated from the outside world, a harsh world which was destroyed many years ago by a large scale chemical disaster. Within the city, a virus known as the cogito virus becomes an escalating problem. It is capable of infecting their personal robot assistants, Auto-Reivs, causing them to gain human-like traits and thought patterns. This becomes a problem as they begin rebelling against their masters, and in some cases, kill them. The being known as a Proxy, is shrouded in mystery as their exact purpose is kept hidden from society until one day, Re-l is attacked in her apartment by a masked Proxy. From then on, she develops a strange attraction and curiosity towards the Proxy and decides to investigate their reason for existence.
At the same time, the immigrant, Vincent Law, is accused of being involved with cogito virus after being attacked by another Proxy which has a strange attraction to him. He flees after being targeted by the Security Bureau of Romdeau and escapes from the dome and along with an infected child-like Auto-Reiv named Pino. Together, they discover that the outside world is not as desolate as they were led to believe… Anymore and this may just become spoilers.
This story may not be for those who prefer simple and straight forward shounen. It is not about the ‘power to protect’ or ‘loyalty to nakama’. As it is a seinen anime (though not mentioned on MAL), it is much more serious and complex. The series is extremely psychological to a point where the thoughts of the main characters begin affect their reality and it requires the viewer to be capable of certain level of understanding. Once you understand it though, the story is amazing to watch unfold.
The art can only be described as dark. Anything other than gray tones and deep, dark colours would detract from the story’s theme. The world itself, in the story, is somewhat dark so the anime’s art fits it perfectly. One note is that at some points, the facial features of the characters seem weirdly distorted. It make not affect the story but can but somewhat distracting.
The opening theme used for the entire series was "Kiri" by MONORAL. In my opinion, I would say that it was well suited to the story. It created a mood which I still can’t describe but nonetheless kept my interest in the anime. "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead was the ending. Both the instrumental and actual song was used to good effect also. The OSTs were neither corny nor overdramatic and helped set the mood for the anime’s events.
I have to say that the main characters, who all seem so different, actually mesh well once they begin to interact. Each of them is very relatable in terms of how they deal with various events in the anime. Their abilities and personalities are not unrealistic to a point where they are so strong, that no one can stop them. Also, their designs do not scream 'fanservice' since anything of the sort would just ruin the show.
First off, there’s Re-l Mayer, the strict, military-minded investigator. To her grandfather, as well as the Security Bureau, she is seen as a rebel. She goes out of her way to investigate anything she deems suspicious, even against advice of others. She considers Romdeau as a “boring paradise” until she is confronted by a Proxy. When she discovers the outside world, she becomes a bit obsessed with idea of people surviving outside the dome. At times, her vulnerability is evident but generally, she creates a wall between herself and those she interacts with. She comes off as a spoilt brat for most of the first part of series due to the fact that she is sort of royalty in Romdeau, with her grandfather being the Regent. After meeting and traveling with Vincent and Pino, her personality takes a turn for the better.
Vincent Law, the immigrant from another dome city, met with Re-l to get assistance on becoming a citizen of Romdeau. Their personalities clashed immediately. He, unlike Re-l, is caring and worries most of the time. This is due to the fact that he has amnesia and often finds himself in situations which he cannot explain. He is also infatuated by Re-l and seems kind of stalker like. Through his thoughtfulness, he is able to befriend others like Pino and eventually, Re-l. Most of his part in the show revolves around his journey to recover his memories.
Pino is a Companion-type Auto-Reiv designed to assist with household activities and was given to a rich family in Romdeau. After crossing paths with a Proxy who was in pursuit of Vincent, she became infected by the cogito virus. She developed an attraction to Vincent and followed him outside the city’s dome. Just like her appearance, her personality after being infected, is that of a child. Initially, she acts by mimicking others around her. Later on, she does learn to think for herself and becomes more of an individual. She provides support to Vincent on his journey to his home city. Her actions intrigued Re-l when they meet and she spent much of her time observing Pino. Pino is usually the one who would instigate comedic moment within the story, causing Vincent to become involved, and Re-l to be annoyed.
Other characters include Re-l’s personal “entourage,” the Auto-Reiv, Iggy, who takes care of her everyday needs but is also used to observe her actions when she goes on investigations. There is the young scientist, Daedalus Yumeno, who seems slightly obsessed with Re-l but is still her friend; Raul Creed, who is the appointed Director of Romdeau and the Regent, who is Re-l’s grandfather and the man controlling Romdeau from behind the scenes.
There are also the Proxies of which little is known. They are strong beings and are associated with spreading the cogito virus.
This series became one of my definite favourites after completing it. Every aspect of the show had me interested. I watched this anime out in two days despite having exams. Yes, I know I should have been studying but it was that good. If you enjoy shows that tax the brain, then this is for you.
Being one of my favourites, I give this a 8/10. I definitely recommend it as it has a bit of everything within the plot. It’s a great ride with a satisfying ending though by the end, you’ll be wishing there was a second season. Yes, there are many who would say that the anime’s creators were trying too hard to come up with something unique and are pretentious. Others might have dropped the series because of its complex plot. To those, all I can say is that they may not have the ability to recognize a great story and are just out there to criticize anything unknown to them. Hopefully, this review will get you interested so that you will go watch it and become a fan like I did. And if you liked my review, you can always stop by my profile and drop a comment to let me know. Thanks for taking the time to read this review.
So, the first thing that comes to my mind when asked to describe Ergo Proxy: ABSOLUTE MIND F*CK. But don't let that scare you away from this wonderful and though-provoking series--this is an anime definitely worth checking out for the more mature audiences out there.
I guess the genre I'd put Ergo under would be scifi psychological thriller (oops, that's more like three genres, isn't it? -.-;). It's definitely a treat for those who want a break from the mainstream, with outstanding original story and character development that seems to be rarely seen in most popular series. Ergo certainly takes the normal robot-living-beside-human-turned-crisis to a whole
new level and turns it on its head with a unique plot full of more than enough plot twists.
However, it is the plot that should make you wary of what you're getting yourself into when you decide to sit down with this series; it certainly is a lot to grasp, and more often than not you find your head swimming not only with questions at the end of an episode, but also with a general "WTF?!" kind of feeling. To be honest, I was still feeling something to that effect even after the series concluded. Many episodes have a fragmented, lost tone to them, which fits the mood of the series but still gets tiring towards the end--and in the end, while most answers are given, there are still more than enough left for you yourself to discern.
The story and the characters of the series are amazing, though, and make up for the at times wayward plot. Taking much-done ideas--in this case, robots with a conscious, a post-apocalyptic world, a disillusioned, totalitarian civilization--and making them bad ass and fantastically fresh is no ordinary feat. Yet, the creators of Ergo Proxy seemed to have done it with ease. The story, revolving around the human psyche, the sin of god-like creatures, and purpose of life itself, delves deep and keeps you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know and learn more the further into the series you get. The characters themselves all have their own charm about them, and only add to the story with the intense character development that hits each and every one of the characters seriously introduced. It would take a whole other review to go into the topic of and praise the characters and character development used in Ergo.
And of course, the art and music in this series are just as good as everything else--wouldn't want to distract from the already overwhelming plot, right? ;) Anyways, the fight scenes between the Proxies are amazing, as well as Vincent's transformations themselves, along with the battle scenes. While not for the extremely weak of heart, they are certainly not anything like Elfen Lied are something, so no worries. The opening and ending themes of the series are also noteworthy, and two of my favorites out of all the other anime opening and endings out there--the music used is haunting, yet befitting. And I could sing along because they're in English. :)
Another thing worthy of mention is the extensive Greek philosophy references, among other philosophical references, used throughout the series. I didn't feel all to guilty about devoted hours to watching this series, because I got some edumacation out of it too.
All-in-all, I give Ergo Proxy two thumbs WAAAY up. Definitely on my favorite anime list now if it's not at the top, and I can't BELIEVE I hadn't watched it sooner...
An anime that makes sense but at the same time it doesn't, even when answers are given in the last three eps. i was thinking of the things that are not answered and there are supernatural elements, a lot and Deus Ex explanations but still manages to be entertaining.
This anime has a very good story, since the beginning the story is thrown for ten episodes straight, fast paced with complexity, until when it takes a break to put filler episodes which were really good and had little pieces of the plot, especially the ''who wants to be a proxy'' episode where i was constantly
interacting saying the answers just like Vincent, but how did they get there in the first place? ; The ''Disney World'' episode is another example, it was a filler but a really touching one, Pino became my favorite character of the anime with that episode, (dethroning Vincent from the first place) she is a hero; Every episode has a jump time, and with an annoying Re-i (really, she was bitchy) you never know how they reached some locations, like in ep. 21 where all of a sudden they are back, what, is this a dream?, i thought it was, because the anime in those filler eps. is constantly playing between reality and dreams, is cool because i was fooled on this ep. thinking ''plot twist, is a dream'' but no. There is lack of coherent explanation as to why this gaps between eps. or how some events happened. The ending is good but unsatisfaying for some reason, it has a conclusion but at the same time open for another story, i have a lot of thing to complain storywise but this is not a complaint thread, at the end Pino still is a Hero and she is an AuotoReiv with more emotions than Re-i.
Art & Animation
I was expecting something darker for this kind of setting, a much dense atmosphere, that way would be better for me, but for what we got is very good, sometimes feels lazy with some shots at the faces and lookig at how they suffer from strabismus, it was hilarious, almost always with Re-i, i don't like the constant changing on the faces while moving from one angle to another and i'm saying every 1 cm move is a different face, despite this inconveniences it was very good for that year.
Maybe the best element from the anime, the music is great when is played after the silent parts, it sets a great atmosphere, it fits the theme, the OP is really great, the video clip reminded me of the 90's movies and TV series (like Buffy, Angel and specially to Charmed and the song a lot to Smallville) it was great, better than those series too, more emotion in just four words ''Come and save me'' while Vincent is screamig, just great and the ED is ok i guess, Radiohead, you get it. The VA is great as well, really enjoyable even when Re-i acted like a spoiled Brat, that voice was fitting, so good portraying that personality.
The characters were pretty entertaining with the combination of really great voice acting, personalities and back stories for the characters, Re-i is the exception, she needed more background to get to know her more but she was ok.
-Vincent Law is great, he suffers a transition from a nerdy looking shy guy who likes Re-i to a good-normal looking shy guy looking for his identity who still likes Re-i and cares and protects for Pino, he is a badass too, you'll see.
-Re-I, Lilu or Real is a gal who can be emotionless at times, she acts like a brat later, really spoiled and that's because her AutoReiv does almost everything for her (love the part where he was ''arguing'' with her in the snow, the truth was spoken) but she kind of grows and even feels something for Vincent, she gets better, but not enough.
-Pino is the best character, she's simple the best, the one that makes you laugh in every situation, she is adorable, naive, she even has more emotions than Re-i or every human and is impressive because she's an AutoReiv, she is a hero, she saves people believe it or not, the best character, i was thinking if something bad happened to her (in those eps. that could go bad) i was going to give this a bad score just because of that, wouldn't be the same without her.
The support characters are great too, Raul, Daedalus, Iggy, they all are great, there are a lot more that are interesting too. In general the characters were great.
I really had a very good enjoyment from this anime, i was expecting more tho, after everyone saying Ergo Proxy was better than Texhnolyzed, i was expecting something more darker and heavier, but i didn't felt that, maybe a little dense just at the last three eps. but i see that this has better art style and character development and has a ''happy'' ending while Tex. has a tragic one and has no filler eps. and is more slow paced but for me both are equally entertaining, both are must watch.