OK, I’ll admit I’ve looked at this series for quite some time before actually picking it up. The reason being I didn’t feel quite comfortable with the apparent darkness the pictures of it seemed. Also the plot didn’t seem to interest me, as it appeared at first glance by wiki to be a bit bland. Then something changed, I prodded myself to go try it. And then,…I became trapped in the dark and phantastical post-apocalyptic world of Ergo Proxy, where anything might happen. And you could not trust anyone, anywhere.
Ergo Proxy has some of the best animation that I’ve seen in an anime. It sets
the tone right away in the beginning for being dark and absolutely suspenseful. From the very first beginning where you are immediately shown an apparent medical containment lab where a “monster” is being restrained. However, it awakens. This sort of beginning sort of reminded me of Elfen Lied, however for those of you who have seen Elfen Lied, there is not quite near the amount of gore in Ergo Proxy. The animators did a splendid job of controlling the lighting; it was absolutely perfect when it switches between the sorrowful, painful, post-apocalyptic backgrounds of the “outside world” and the somehow even more sinister “ecological domes” in which most of the populace resides. There is very little frame reuse, no repeated mecha equipment cut scenes; this anime is meant to be dramatic and dark, and its animation does its purpose amazingly.
Caveat emptor. Let me warn you first. Ergo Proxy isn’t meant to be seen as a side show. It’s not meant to be watched when you need to lighten up. It’s story is dark and convoluted and it’ll take those brain cells of ours to puzzle it out, even after the directors puts almost all the pieces in place. The story begins in a futuristic domed city called Romdo, built to protect its citizens after a global ecological disaster. In this utopia, humans and androids (AutoReivs) coexist with each other peacefully under a total management system. A series of murders committed by berserk robots (infected with the Cogito virus which enables them to have a conscious mind) starts to jeopardize the delicate balance of the social order. Behind the scenes, the government is conducting secret experiments on a mysterious humanoid lifeform called Proxy, which is believed to hold the key to the survival of mankind or maybe its destruction.
Re-l Mayer is assigned to investigate some of the murders with her AutoReiv partner Iggy. She encounters a Cogito-infected AutoReiv and a fast and flexible monster. She later learns that the monster was a Proxy, the mysterious humanoid lifeform only the top bureaucratic officials even know the existence of. Here is where an immigrant by the name of Vincent Law is introduced. Having mysterious connections to the Proxies, Vincent is on the run from authorities after failing his citizen test. After being hunted down, Vincent leaves Romdo, and Re-l tags along to discover the truth behind the Proxies and the domes.
This series has a nicely developed fully fleshed out plot, not too fast, nor too slow, but the major dialogues are important to understanding the story as it goes on.
-Music and Sound-
The in-series music is good enough for this type of series, but nothing really sticks out that much, unlike Heroic Age and series it. But since this series focuses mainly on a story and characters, it doesn’t really matter really. However, the OP threw me off guard, it suited the series in a weird ironic dark way. The song is performed by a Japanese, however, he speaks fluent English. See for yourself and you’ll know what I mean.
This is the gluing point of the series. In addition to its complex plot, its characters suit the series extremely well. All the characters develop emotionally through the course of the series and since this isn’t technically an action series, Ergo Proxy focuses on the psychological mentality of its protagonists. The main character, Re-I Mayer is an enigma. Her personality and demeanor suggests of a haughty princess, but she is acutely observational and analytical and amazingly intriguing. Introduced as a selfish character in the beginning with little regard to other beings including her own autoreiv Iggy and her later partner Vincent, Re-I Mayer (Lil) poses a curious change as the series goes on. Vincent too, introduced, as a bit timid and cowardly in the beginning changes into a true man as Ergo Proxy goes on.
Not just them, but the other characters, the Proxies, the Security Bureau’s chief, the different autoreivs, and the host of other characters, mainly supporting, are painstakingly portrayed and realistically displayed. Plainly put, it’s a series that will draw you in with its characters and plot alike.
Well, can’t really say much about it. I can’t say I was left happy by it. But I can say I enjoyed it. It’s not something I would like to rewatch, however, and most likely it’ll stay on my list as one of the most brooding series ever created.
Ah, Ergo Proxy - an anime so promising, the only thing greater than its potential was its downfall. Anime that could have been among those few elite series that just leave you stunned with their superb quality and sophistication, turned out to be just... "good". And if there's a thing about a show that I can't stand more than poor quality, it's a waste of potential. But enough of this preface, let's dive into "Ergo Proxy"
P.S. I feel I should warn you that if you don't like reading long reviews, you should drop this one right now. As a very pedantic and analytical person,
I tend to write almost obnoxiously long reviews.
P.P.S. I shall also write several spoilers, for its hard for me to thoroughly review the story without giving some things away, especially when discussing the plot. But I promise I will warn you each time a significant spoiler is incoming.
"Ergo"'s greatest potential turned out to be its greatest weakness. You must have already read the synopsis, so I won't repeat it here.
I came across Ergo Proxy on this very site, and the premise of the show had me so intrigued, so much interested, that I downloaded all 23 episodes immediately, impatient to see more of it. And the very first episode had me hooked up completely. The quality of the art and music, the interestingly designed characters and the environment, the show's dark and stylish visuals, and most of all, its on-the-edge-of-your-seat plot brimming with mystery and suspense... I couldn't wait to start the next episode. The second and the third episode were just as brilliant, as the story brought more and more ( but still not too much ) mysteries, and the plot captivated me completely. And it continued to be good, albeit paced a bit slower, until episode 7. This is where the show lost it, and even though it tried from time to time, never managed to find it again.
Apparently, the Manglobe's producers of the show approached the director Shukou Murase with "bare-bones vision for a futuristic detective thriller, which included the title, a plot outline for episodes 1-3 and a design concept for Romdeau." And, unfortunately, they allowed him to do as he pleases from there.
What did Murase do? He threw the concept of a "futuristic detective thriller", that could have challenged Death Note for the title of the best suspense series, and decided to make it a more "philosophical" show. This forfeiting of the already established genre and plot, and opting for something else altogether would be disastrous in itself, but the story might have survived, had the replacement been better ( or, a cynic inside me would say, good at all ).
Now, many people who have reviewed this show praise it for its "philosophical issues" and its "depth", and good for them if they see any depth in this series, but I, and I flatter myself to be a very rational and objective person, can see none. Make no mistake, Ergo Proxy is no "Ghost in the Shell" ( and I'm talking about Mamoru Oshii's feature film, not the S.A.C. series ). The philosophical "questions" are neither new, well presented or debated, or have any real depth. We have Vincent's search for his memories and finding his real self, but apart from ( SPOILER ALERT ) his nature as both a human and a Proxy, it's nothing new or particularly mind-stimulating. ( END OF SPOILER ).
The director also tried with the symbolism and metaphors about Romdeau's slow decay and final demise, but it ends up more confusing than though-provoking, and is not built upon enough. There are many more "metaphors" and shallow symbolism present throughout the series, but the problems with them is that they aren't elaborated enough and that the show tries too hard to show you how "deep" it is, whereas the golden rule is that the depth is in subtlety, and this show doesn't have as much as it should, given all the questions and issues it tries to address.
Probably the only highlight of the "philosophical aspect" of the show is Re-L's search for the truth; her determination to seek and face the truth no matter how ugly it might be adds a lot to her character, and she does advance the "plot" more than most other characters, and I give the show the credit where it's due. Unfortunately, this isn't enough to save the overall story.
After episode 7, the plot became incoherent and confusing, with the show refusing to ( at least partially ) solve its already established mysteries, instead piling up more and more of them, and had neglected its existing plot lines ( like the origin and spreading of the Cogito virus ).
There were also several completely unnecessary mind-fuck episodes that did nothing to advance the plot or develop the characters, as well as a couple of episodes that went beyond conventional mind-fuck, and just left you asking: "What the hell is going on? I mean, what the hell is going on?!!" I'm talking, of course, about the ( SPOILER ALERT ) episode no. 15, the "Quiz-show episode", and the ep. no 19, the "Disney episode" ( END OF SPOILER )
In the end, the show tried to redeem itself by pulling a Deus-ex-machina that was supposed to tie up all the loose ends, but ended up opening more questions than it answered. The ending scene(s) is epic, though.
Overall, I find Ergo Proxy's cast of characters satisfying.
Re-L Mayer, one of the two main characters, is the granddaughter of Donov Mayer, the regent ( or, as his official title is, Administrator ) of Romdeau. She's bored with the sterile utopia that the city is, and sometimes wishes for the city to come to an end, just for the sake of breaking the routine of her life as an inspector for the city's Intelligence Department.
She's portrayed as somewhat of a loner, barely communicating with anyone except her Entourage, Iggy. Hand in hand with this comes her independence, individualism and strong will. She also possesses great emotional strength, displayed in her determination not to run from the reality, no matter how harsh or dark it might be. On the other hand, as a granddaughter of the regent, she's quite spoiled and arrogant, and has little concern for the emotions or the needs of the others. She's also something of a badass, being quite handy with guns, especially the shotgun, her trademark weapon.
Vincent Law is also quite a good character, albeit not as interesting as the Gothic princess Re-L. He's much more realistic in that regard, having very little impressive skills or extraordinary psychological traits. He's inner struggle to come to terms with his past and ( SPOILER ALERT ) double identity as both Vincent and Ergo is psychologically convincing and interesting, but could have been less drawn out. ( END OF SPOILER )
His character changes a lot over the course of the series, from being a timid man ( and, if I may say, a bit of a coward ), always bowing his head down and obeying, to become a determined individual that comes to terms with his nature and realises that it's who he is now, and not who he had been prior to losing his memories, that defines him.
Pino, a self-conscious Autoreiv and arguably one of the cutest anime characters ever ( especially considering the realistic style and animation of the series, with no chibi ) could have been way better developed, and used to explore the concept of a machine gaining a heart much deeper. She does little for the plot after episode 3 when she helps Vincent escape from Romdeau, and is basically there only for the cuteness and keeping Vincent company on his journey.
Raul Creed is one of the most interesting characters in the story, and the one that changes the most over the course of the series. A law abiding model citizen of Romdeau, he's the new Chief of Public Security at the beginning of the series. Pino was his surrogate daughter, and his wife was also given a human baby by the city's authorities. ( SPOILER ALERT ) In the ep. 2 both his wife and baby are killed in the shopping mall by Monad Proxy while chasing Vincent Law, and Pino is infected with the Cogito Virus. ( END OF SPOILER ) After that, he gradually becomes obsessed with Vincent and the Proxies, and simultaneously becomes destructive and strives to break the humanity's shackles of dependance on the Proxies. He wants to see humanity free of any gods determining their fates, and conspires with doctor Dedalus Yumeno in order to biologically enhance humans in Romdeau so that they can survive in the outside world, thus no longer being dependent on the Dome created and sustained by the Proxy.
Dedalus Yumeno is the Chief of the city's medical center and Re-L's personal physician. He's supposedly a child genius, appearing to be only 14-16 years old, but already a renowned doctor and scientist. It is gradually revealed that he's obsessed with Re-L, and wishes to posses her. He's also quite a schemer, changing sides when it suits him best and repeatedly withholding information from people if it doesn't serve his interests. He's also revealed to be psychologically unstable and destructive, and is ( SPOILER ALERT ) later manipulated by Proxy One into destroying the dome protecting Romdeau ( END OF SPOILER )
There are three categories that, combined, give a final score for the visual aspect of any animated series: style, graphics and animation.
The style alone gets a full score of 10. The beautiful style is one of Ergo Proxy's highlights, and its mostly thanks to great character designs and, most of all, interesting and meticulously drawn post-apocalyptic environments and cities.
Character designs were clearly given much thought and work, and all of them are unique and memorable, especially Re-L, with her resemblance to Evanescence's leading singer Amy Lee.
The graphics don't get the same high score as style. While they are top quality for most of the time, especially for the show that was only meant to be released on DVD, every now and then the graphics are strikingly sloppy and cheap, lowering the otherwise high visual quality of the show. Normally highly detailed characters and backgrounds can get downgraded to being painfully simplified and plain, with most of their features and clothes barred to the bones, not to mention getting anatomically incorrect and/or inconsistent ( mostly it's the angle and the length of the nose, shape of the face etc. ) So the graphics get 7/10.
The animation is somewhat better than the graphics, but still not worthy of a straight "A" like the style. Again, it's fluid and high-quality for the most part, but the motions occasionally get a bit weird or unrealistic. The show is a bit static, but seeing as it's a suspend, and not an action series, it's not relevant to the animation's final score of 8/10.
P.S. The opening for this series is one of the best ones I've ever seen, combining the staggeringly detailed images with well-chosen music in what can only be called visual art.
The soundtrack is very good, serving its relatively limited purpose of setting the mood, due to the lack of more epic scenes. It achieves this with a combination of haunting vocals and modern instruments to paint the both grim and sterile world of Romdeau and desolate wastelands outside of it. Combined with stylish and dark visuals, the music delivers the almost sublime feel that really gets you immersed with the post apocalyptic world of Ergo Proxy.
The opening and ending theme songs are both great; the OP is "Kiri", a song in English performed by the Japanese band "Monorail". I was surprised to find out that the band is Japanese - the singer's English is that good ( far from your typical "Engrish" ). The ending theme is a popular song "Paranoid Android" by "Radiohead". Both songs suit the opening and ending, as well as the series as a whole.
Voice-acting is very good in both the Japanese and English version. Both the seiyu and the voice actors in English do a great job and each voice feels like it's made for the character. The greatest achievement of the voice acting, though, is Pino, who manages to be cute without having the annoying high-pitched voice those types of characters are usually graced with.
I could go on with each category ( and add some more ) and go into more detail, but that would require lots of spoiling and besides, I think the review is long enough as it is. So I'll wrap it up. Ergo Proxy had the misfortune to be assigned a director that was probably high for the whole time the series was made, and screwed the story that could have propelled it the prestigious club of anime classics. Instead, much of the show was pure mindfuck that left me almost angry at it for wasting my time. Does that mean Ergo Proxy is a bad anime? Of course not. There was still enough good bits of the plot ( mostly in the first 7-13 episodes ) for viewers to get some top-rate suspense, as well as high-quality visuals ( for most of the time ) and a number of great characters who just had the misfortune to finding themselves in such a shit-storm of a plot. Overall, Ergo Proxy gets a median rating of 6,4.
Would I recommend this anime to you? Not really, at least not watching all of the episodes, because if you're a reasonable person with a capacity for critical thinking ( unlike the people who gave his show 10/10 ) you won't enjoy the show because of the awful plot. Sci-fi and cyberpunk fans could like it ( to a degree ) and should give it a try, and as for everyone else, stay away from it.
Ergo Proxy was a terrific disappointment to me; from the initial episode, as well as promotional material, the how I expected and the show I received were on two completely different wavelengths. Rather than a post-apocalyptic science fiction thriller, I was instead given a very slow paced, dialogue heavy series that approached a genre one could call psychological or philosophical, and did so in a way that kept your interest, as well as avoided the pretentious nature of similarly designed shows such as Evangelion. It is also noteworthy that this series develops in a bizarre way, one which cannot be compared to any other series
I've ever seen.
Story; 10. The overarching plot of Ergo Proxy is surprisingly thin. A very great portion of the series, in fact, develops this plot in little to no way; it's pretty much outlined at the beginning, thrown aside, and only touched back upon at the series very end. Much like your typical slice of life series, it survives only off of the character interactions and episodic adventures more often than not, drawn out conversations, monologues, and soliloquies. When I previously mentioned a heavy dosage of spoken word in Ergo Proxy, I may not have properly elaborated as to the extent of it; It would be no great exaggeration to say that at least 3/4 of the series is spent in conversation, possibly a bit more. However, the dialogue is rich in a way I won't bother to explain, but it all manages to flow and intertwine in a way that almost just keeps you watching. Each episode somehow ends with a renewed anticipation to see the next until it's suddenly over. Also, sparing as many spoilers as possible, this series undoubtedly has one of the most well executed and satisfyingly cool ending sequences I have ever seen. I didn't see it coming at all, not how they did it anyways, and I was rather pleased with it when all was said and done.
Art; 8. Not much to say here. I personally loved the dark, muddy color pallet; the domed city and it's barren outskirts were made ten times more believably by this. There were too frequently, however, poorly/quickly drawn characters, usually Re-L, I noticed. Just sloppy, but the art that was handled well was excellent, especially the designs for the proxies. The art played a huge role in making the journey in this series seem believable, and in a good way at times, drawn out. I can't really explain it, but it was definitely a good thing.
Sound; 8. The opening theme and closing theme both are stellar songs; I've known of them prior to viewing this, however they both fit perfectly with the shows atmosphere and content, and were nice additions to the soundtrack undoubtedly. The shows tracks themselves, were few and far between. The ones that were included, however, fit very well; numerous battle themes and eerie sound clips were some of the best I've ever heard; but, like I said, I rarely heard them. It's a shame to see them create a soundtrack that I would happily give a ten...if they only used it as much as they should have.
Character; 10. This cast really grew on me, and from characters I didn't really care about to ones I even hated, each character was developed as in depth as possible; I've only ever seen one show with characters I was more in touch with than this, and that is a huge compliment. I have had many series ruined for me by characters I couldn't stand, and Ergo Proxy was the great, positive opposite. Each character is fleshed out at whatever point, and this is usually done through interactions with other characters, story and otherwise. This was another high point in characterization, a seemingly small step that really took the series miles in terms of it's overall impact; episodic characters. You know the crew they tossed into a single episode arc and killed at it's end of "show x," never fleshing them out past names and expecting you to care when they died? But, you didn't, and who the hell would? We only knew their names. Ergo Proxy even gave the proper amount of depth to it's episodic cast members, so there was always a clincher even for those many stand alone arcs. This alone, while working with everything else, allowed them to cover pretty much every issue and thought process humanly possible, which in turn allowed the series to reach a philosophical high ground no other show has achieved without becoming an annoying mess. Stellar job here.
Enjoyment/Overall; 9. In it's own way, Ergo Proxy succeeds where it should fail; Slow, slow pacing, and pointlessness, that feeling of nothing happening. Instead that is the beauty of it. Because half the time, nothing at all really is happening. In fact there was an entire episode devoted to Re-L's observance of all the nothing she was experiencing. And that was one of my favorite episodes. All in all, Ergo Proxy is a very bizarre bird, a specific show that a select group of fans will enjoy monumentally. But my advice is to give this a try, and see it through; even if you can't really dig the molasses-paced plot, the ending twist is so next and well executed that you'll be glad you watched just that.
This is damn well near perfect, and one of my favorite anime.
It's quite ambitious as an "abstract" anime, and for the most part pulls it off thanks to well developed and likeable characters.
The premise is superficially simple, the remnants of humanity live in domed cities where their entire lives are orchestrated, carefully regulated, controlled, scrutinized, and more or less worthless. They are a remnant of those who fled the planet after a massive disaster rendered it mostly uninhabitable and live on in a wretched purgatory of an existence where they aren't even considered alive. They are tended to by humanoid robots called Autoraves, who have
slowly begun to grow self-aware and unpredictable by a mysterious Cogito virus. Less known, and more central to the show are mysterious deities, Proxies, that serve as guardians, shadow gods of each dome city--and like all gods are both a creator and construct of humanity, the two being unable to live without each other.
The anime focuses on three odd characters--each a representative of the life remaining on the earth. This is set both to a backdrop similar of the Epic of Gilgamesh/the Great Flood where wanderers search a devastated world, frozen in time, on an ark (or in this case a beat up wind skiff), finding domes where reality has been twisted by the hand of the godlike proxies into strange perversions of pop psychology.
There are three main characters, something which makes the anime move smoothly along. Re-L Mayer, privileged daughter of an administrator of her dome, Romdo, who encounters a Proxy face to face and awakens from the dream of the other dome dwellers to follow a strange immigrant Vincent Law who was implicated in a recent string of murders and seeks to escape this artificial world. She is conflicted by the stark nature of the life outside and the comfort yet stagnation within.
Vincent Law is goofy, innocent, calculating. He is the slovenly foil to Re-L's fastiduousness, often driving her insane as she is both frustrated and fascinated by him. He is the motivating force for her running away from Romdo and travel the wastelands and witness the last moments of humanity. His outward singlemindedness hides something far darker and more evil inside...
Pino is an Autorave that became infected with the Cogito virus. Instead of becoming unpredictable and homicidal, she slowly assumes the personality and mannerisms of a child--becoming increasingly human, despite her outside perspective.
The fate of humanity, the purpose of the Autoraves and Proxies is told in an episodic fashion as the three travel the domes. The experiences range from corporeal--mindless destruction bestowed upon man by gods, to absurd: a dream world clearly meant to parody Disney's vision, to a Millionaire style game show, to literally a mirror world.
Over time the Proxies have grown tired, warped, lonely--lost in their own purpose and created their own worlds, many of which are a hell for the humans that remain. A sleeping, disturbed world awating for the return of the "creators:" humans who set all of this in motion who are awating for the Earth to live again, unaware or uncaring of the farce they left behind.
All of this is witnessed by the three travelers, who have their own take on events, each becoming more and more human in their own way...
The anime remains fresh by not dwelling on any theme or story arc for too long, has a scant few characters that it develops and presents quite well and actually makes us care about them, and only falls short in its lofty ambitions to embrace too many psychological and religious themes--but this is offset by the fact that ultimately it refuses to take itself too seriously.
When a show is touted as deep or intelligent, I often fear what makes a good story will be neglected. Maybe it’s no secret a show can be praised solely for its profundity while failing in storytelling. But hey, ‘intelligence’ is good armor for a show to have. Why bother with authentic storytelling when a show can show-off its psychology knowledge?
But instead of ranting, let’s look at Ergo Proxy.
The future, probably. Technology has advanced to where it’s created AutoReivs, androids who act as servants to people. But in the city of Romdo, a bug called the Cogito Virus is spreading through the AutoReivs. They gain
a will of their own, often to destructive results. Detective Re-l Mayer is tasked with investigating the Cogito Virus, but is attacked by a monster called a Proxy.
The Proxy had escaped from a research lab under Daedalus’ watch, and is strangely drawn to the immigrant Vincent Law. After another incident, Security Bureau Chief Raul Creed tries to capture Vincent and the Proxy. But the former, joined by the child-like AutoReiv Pino, escapes Romdo out to the wasteland world. And thus begins Re-l’s mission to discover what the Proxy is, Vincent’s journey in the wasteland, and the proverbial chess game between Daedalus and Raul.
For Daedalus, it’s his reason for living at stake. He has strong feelings for Re-l, willing to use his authority to let her break rules when she needs to. Or assist her in killing the Proxy despite Raul’s mission to capture it. A smooth talker and an even smoother schemer, Daedalus is defined by his feelings for Re-l without much else to his person. He’s an empty man, whose reason for living touches on a crucial point for Romdo’s citizens. And that point ups the urgency for Raul to capture Vincent and the Proxy alive.
Raul himself starts as the antagonist—antagonist, not villain—for all the characters. But as he learns more about the Proxy and Vincent, the more he questions why they must be captured alive. His character arc deals with authority, and how far someone will follow orders without question. Early scenes also make a connection between Raul and Pino, to hint at another side to him. Unfortunately, this connection and that other side aren’t explored until the final act. It’s too bad, because fully realized, the connection between Raul and Pino would round out the former.
Pino is the classic tale of an innocent child learning about the real world, but tainted by unnerving implications from her ‘age’ and the Cogito Virus. From her lack of grasping death to adventurous curiosity, it’s unclear whether her actions are more from her programming or her ‘will.’ She’s supposed to be infected, but doesn’t show the destructive actions as other AutoReivs do. Then again, she’s a child at heart. And regardless of why she learns about the world, what matters is she does. Her empathy grows with her fondness toward Vincent, and her tact sharpens under Re-l’s demeanor.
This is because Re-l ends up joining Vincent. She pursues him to bring him back to Romdo, but decides to join his journey after certain events, to learn more about the Proxy. Re-l herself is the picture of professional, maintaining her gun’s aim the way she maintains her eyeliner; perfectly. Because for how cold she can be on the job, she’s also a bit frivolous. She apparently spends every morning fixing her make-up, shows fear against the Proxy, and gets angry when things don’t go as planned. My goodness, it’s like she’s lived a sheltered life as the granddaughter of Romdo’s leader.
Correction: she IS the sheltered granddaughter of Romdo’s leader. Re-l is often in over her head despite her demeanor, like she was mismatched to her job. This isn’t unbelievable though, as early on much of her work is done through her AutoReiv Iggy. But after certain events, her character arc becomes one of growing independence, and knowing when to relax in the company of others. Re-l might be hard to like—though Vincent would disagree—but at least she’s compelling to watch.
As for Vincent, his journey is a quest of self-discovery. He’s an immigrant from the city of Mosque, but the threat from the Proxy and Raul forces him to escape. But, he realizes he has no memory of his time in Mosque. So he decides to travel there, hoping to find the answers to his memory. Vincent himself often thinks about who he is, almost to the point where it’s all that defines him (and because of his role in the story, can’t get away with it like Daedalus).
Thankfully, it’s not. Vincent’s journey changes him bit by bit, going from a boy depressed by events and hesitant to face the truth, to a man who can smile despite the odds and can deal with the wind being taken out of his sails (metaphorically, and...literally). Unfortunately, his progress cracks in the final act, when it moves at near breakneck speed to advance the story. The story itself moves brisk and quick during the first and final acts, but it’s the middle act that can be a problem.
The better part of the show’s middle act is punishingly slow, doing nearly nothing to advance the story. People expecting a quick trip to the final act should exercise patience, and take time to admire the setting and characters along the way. Because unlike some shows where a five minute event takes five episodes to unfold, Ergo Proxy moves along a time span of weeks and maybe months. It’s a long journey, but it always has something to show for it.
Sometimes it peeks into a future for Romdo, like the abandoned city occupied by a single man whose circumstances mirror Vincent’s. Or the closed-off amusement park that subscribes to ignorance and bliss before its eventual downfall. At other times, it’s a character study to test the bonds between Re-l, Vincent, and Pino. From trusting each other with food and water supplies, to saving each other from new and familiar faces, to placing their fates in each other’s hands (literally and metaphorically).
Going further, one episode strongly hints to the answer of Vincent’s memory, while another episode explores consciousness where there normally isn’t consciousness. It also looks into some of the minor characters. There’s one person whose sense of want and duty blur together as he feels emotions he’s never felt, while a military unit fights against destructive AutoReivs.
Oops, I stayed on the road of storytelling but it went into a jungle of existential and societal metaphors anyway. Whether stated or implied, the show is filled with the kind of intelligence I described earlier, but doesn’t hinge itself on profundity thanks to its compelling characters. They’re rounded enough to make the psychology a part of them instead of the other way around. The show is a story first, a display—display, not show-off—of psychology second, and that’s the way it should be. Save for the awful episode 15 that says nothing new, the show is great about being meaningful without crossing the line into nonsense.
But to give episode 15 credit, it displays the show’s perfectly fitting morbid sense of humor. It’s hard not to gawk at someone who’s literally making a game gravely serious despite his cheerfulness. Another episode shows two people who joke about their own uselessness. And another person threatens Re-l to no effect, as the camera goes back and forth between his increasingly scared face and her unmoving scowl.
The camera work is otherwise unremarkable, standard, except when it decides to throw in Re-l fanservice when it’s not needed. Because a glance of her naked body covered by two towels as she’s stretchered away, doesn’t have the weight of a slow look at her body that mirrors Vincent’s attraction to her when they’re close together. But hey, at least the visuals have the decency to give Re-l unassuming white underwear instead of an accentuating black.
The visuals themselves give the world a bleak look, from the unnaturally spotless Romdo, to the crack-lined, rust-littered structures of the wasteland world. Special mention goes to the character designs, particularly the AutoReivs. Save for Pino, every AutoReiv is identified by mask-like faces where glowing red eyes are the only hint of any expression. Most close-ups of the AutoReivs don’t reveal anything, but it adds tension in guessing whether they’re destructive or not.
But when they ARE destructive, there’s sometimes a firefight following close behind, like when a military group goes against them. Yes, I’m surprised the show has action scenes too. They move fluidly but without crazy choreography, which would look ridiculous in this fairly grounded show anyway. Except for the Proxy. The Proxy’s fights move with supernatural grace, but aren’t louder than the normal action scenes.
Because even in the action scenes, most of the music tracks are atmospheric ambiance instead of distinct pieces; the only noticeable track being the operatic ‘Fellow Citizens.’ The overall score works where it’s used, setting the mood but never distracting from the dialog. And there’s a lot of it. Nearly every moment of the show is charged with talking or thinking, and it demands a certain amount of attention.
Which brings me to another point.
Ergo Proxy isn’t an easy show to watch. There’s action, but people who watch it for the action can quickly get bored. The first and final acts are fast, but the middle act will drive away the impatient even faster. It’s held together by compelling characters, but ‘compelling’ isn’t ‘likable.’ It does most things right, but demands patience. So while the destination is far away, the journey is always here.
** This review was my first and it certainly did not include all the elements of the show cuz I really didn't get them all back when I wrote it. I also screwed pretty badly on describing character development too. If you feel like reading this, go ahead, but it is not well polished and the points are NOT all current. I'm working on the reversion.**
This anime is kinda hard to review. It was probably a bad idea to make this my very first review. it's pretty complicated and opinions can vary greatly from person to person. I guess I'll just briefly talk about it
and hopefully it helps :) Suggestions and Criticism are welcomed and appreciated.
There are two types of animes, one goes from point A to point B straightforward, (fate series) another goes randomly so that it's okay to watch episode 12 before episode 11. (darker than black).
Ergo proxy belongs to neither category, which makes it very controversial.
On one hand, it is a journey, a journey to find the meaning of living. on the other hand, random episodes pop out once in a while, though look like fillers, they actually contribute to the thesis and the story.
I'm not going to talk about the concept since I think it's better for you to feel yourself. And don't be fooled by the first line of the description, it has nothing to do with the thesis of the show.
The story of the show is rather interesting. To be honest, I put my progress on hold after watching the first four episodes. Not that they were bad, but they are just way too confusing. However, in the middle of the series, the story opens out the goals and ideas begin to come together. As the story progress further, it becomes random and confusing again, but this time with background information, the confusing plot becomes slightly more understandable.
I really don't know how to describe it better. The story proposes many philosophical questions regarding what it means to be human. Which is really my piece of cake since these questions make me think. If you are not a thinker, I suppose you would not like the story as much since nothing shocking or exciting or engaging happen until the very end.
For some reasons I had a strong motivation of going to the next episode without knowing exactly why. There really aren't any cliffhanger, they are simply good episodes that makes you wonder what will happen next. By the way, the ending is good.
All in all, I personally like the story A LOT. Though I do appreciate the new approach the artists attempted, to put it objectively, the story is not that well executed.
There are three main characters. Vincent Law, Re-L and Pino.
Vincent, for a lack of better reference, is a sci-fi, future, overpowered version of Hamlet. He narrates his thoughts 99% of the time when he is on the screen. He thinks a lot. Over time, he slowly but surely discovered his past and realized the purpose of his existence. I like this character, it has decent development and many interesting aspects. The story also does a great job showing his personality and background.
Re-L. My favorite female character ever. She is strong, independent (well her robot servant would probably disagree with me..), fit, clever and good looking (come on, am I the only one finding her make up amazing?). I really don't want to spoil her too much, but she did change greatly from the beginning of the show to the end. If Vincent is the protagonist, she would be the observer or interpreter/helper of Vincent's final determination.
Pino. Cute. Too cute. She is childish, but not stupid. She acts as the clear eye when both Re-L and Vincent can't find their way. She gets lost all the time, but it is her discoveries that helped Vincent to find his answers. She also acts as the plot relief when sh*t gets real and audience are terrified or nervous. Damn she's just too cute to dislike.
All the supporting characters received decent background and development. With good screen time, they all serve their purpose well.
I loved these characters. I think they are very well designed and really I can't find a way to make them better. (Unless you are easily annoyed by their dialogues...)
ART (4/5) ANIMATION (4/5) OVERALL (8/10)
The art in this anime is beautiful. Despite the fact that most of the sceneries are shot in wasteland and plain colors of dark, white grey, it appeals to the eye and fits the environment perfectly.
People's face and body proportions are very close to the real life humans'. Except Pino. Well she is a Robot.
My only problem with the art is that when characters are far away from the camera, they become blurry. The outlines get very thick and the shapes are deformed. I suppose that's old technology's limit.
The animation is good. There are very little action scenes, but when there are, they are great. The objects and characters move little. Maybe the objects are also very symbolic and the people think too much? But the animation does it job, tho could be much better.
The opening is an excellent song. Although I personally would not listen to it in the car. It fits the entire series with dark and gloom feel yet still expressive. The ending is fairly generic.
The OST tho, are not memorable. By that I mean I do not recognize and OST by itself. They don't stand on their own. Now it's difficult to say if it's a good thing of a bad thing, because the OST should not stand out too much to a point where it becomes a distraction. It blends in the anime awesomely. I don't have any complaint. They are great they way they fit in the series, but when I try to listen to the OST on its own, they are... meh.
I watched Dub. I'd say the dub is very good. Vincent has its concerns, Re-L has the feel of mature and Pino is, well just being pino. It is one of the better dubs I've heard, so I would actually recommend it. The setting is not in Japan anyways.
I love stories that makes me think. It has an engaging and unique plot, interesting and likable characters, decent sound and art. Nothing much to talk about here, I enjoy it very much.
Despite the fact that I love this series to a point that I want to rate it a masterpiece, it certainly has its problems. These problems can be seen differently by different people. If you want to watch this show, you need to commit about 6 or 7 episodes in cuz that's where I got hooked on. If you feel frustrated after that, well, 2deep4you.
I know I should be modest about the ratings but I won\'t hold back in this review. Ergo Proxy is absolutely fantastic!
The characters are superbly detailed, each having completely different personalities which you keep on discovering throughout the episodes. The soundtrack and art are amazing, though it is a very dark show. You\'ll find yourself painstakingly searching for the right angle to look at your screen so that you get what\'s going on, and jump back, blinded, when those few rare moments of light come sneaking through...
The plotline is splendid. You start out in a post apocalyptic world ravaged by nuclear war. Most humans have
fled to other planets, though a few survivors stayed on Earth and are now living in cities widely spread out in Domes, which are a sort of protective sheild against the now dangerous outer atmosphere. The main city is Romdeau and is ruled by a strict dictatorial regime. Also, humans now have auto raves, which are machines that become personal companions. Real Mayar, a detective, is one night attacked by a creature who is neither human nor machine, and she finds out about the mysterious "Awakening". Throughout the episodes, Real will delve deeper into the mystery of these beings and find only one man can help reveal it: Vincent Law.
Surprising twists and turns leave you dying for more, and the show has good comic touches. In fact you don\'t really know what\'s hapening AT ALL until the last episode!!
I was pumped to watch this anime as I know it's generally highly regarded and the box art and back of box description seemed very cool and right up my alley. Furthermore, it had one of the very best opening episodes I've ever seen in any anime, so I quickly had sky high expectations. In the end, I watched a hard to follow, convoluted, disjointed mess with huge pacing issues and a bigger picture message repeatedly force-fed down my throat.
I'd give the art high praise. The direction of this anime was solid with numerous professionally executed camera tricks. The dark, bleak art style perfectly suits
the tone and message of the anime and the animation is smooth throughout. No qualms here.
Solid voice acting, believable sound effects and a solid, though not overly memorable after the fact, soundtrack. I liked the opening and closing songs for sure and there were some creepy and tense background songs too at appropriate moments.
The characters and the story are where this anime craps the bed. The plot is absolutely all over the place, convoluted, disjointed, confusing, hard to follow and has major pacing issues. It felt like the anime was divided as follows- 3-4 "beginning" episodes, 16+ "middle" episodes and 3 "ending" episodes. The middle part felt like it really dragged on for a long time. Also, there were random episodes where completely out of nowhere the characters were on a game show or in an amusement park, which definitely didn't do it for me.
The plot has a bigger picture message or two it wants to give you and it's not remotely subtle about it. It's absolutely shoved down your throat over and over again, especially near the end. Throughout this anime, and even after its conclusion, I found it really difficult to follow what was going on and to connect all the dots. I felt the story, though it tried to go for something deep, was largely just a mess.
If we're being honest, I didn't particularly enjoy this anime. I didn't hate it, but the middle section felt overly drawn out and at times boring- there were more than one "do nothing" episodes- and it was really hard to truly get into it and get invested when I spent most of my viewing experience confused and not knowing what was going on. As stated above, while I think the CONCEPT of the plot was solid, I think the execution was quite poor and it ended up a convoluted mess.
I wanted to like it and I was super hyped after the first episode, but ultimately I felt wildly let down and disappointed and felt the execution of its concept was done rather poorly.
+Solid direction and voice acting throughout
-Convoluted, disjointed, confusing, hard to follow plot
-"Bigger picture message"/"Moral of the story" absolutely shoved down the viewer's throat
Overrated and meh...
OBJECTIVE RATING- 5 Very average in all honesty
PERSONAL ENJOYMENT RATING- Strong 4 Weak 5
The future of humanity is an aspect that has always been pondered about in many epoch's and mediums, especially as of late with the ever-growing available technology. However, with the destructive and greedy nature of mankind, the annihilation of it is certainly an aspect to consider. This is the essence of a dystopian setting, which concerns in this specific case Ergo Proxy. It is a well crafted anime which provides viewers with a variety of themes throughout its duration, such as the coexistence between AI and society, or the acceptance of oneself, through the setting. With that being said, there where some issues that ultimately
did hinder the immersion in its story and characters, leading to a less enjoyable experience.
The story of Ergo Proxy revolves around Re-I Meyer, the granddaughter of the regent of an isolated city dome, which protects its citizens from the inhospitable planet Earth has become. This society is in fact considered a Utopia, with the inclusion of highly intelligent robots called "AutoRaves", which of late seemingly are getting infected with the Cogito virus that drives these mad. It is up to inspector Meyer to investigate this occurrences, which somehow seem related with the immigrant Vincent Law - in addition to her coming in contact with the "monsters" called "Proxy". Curiosity awoken with such encounter, they set out on a journey to reveal this elusive subject.
The anime manages to encompass the scope of what is the barren and monotonous city its habitants live in, conveying what is wrong with that specific Utopia. It shows the viewer the disadvantages of having a desired, near to "perfect" lifestyle; it could be said that bad things are necessary to fully appreciate the good, a compensation process. This is combined with satisfactory world building, which is subtly relaid to the viewer through numerous events that occur in conjunction with story progression. Speaking of which, the pacing can feel "off" at times; this mainly concerns the intermission between the introductory events and the conclusion. These were sometimes a bit too slow-paced, whereas the conclusion was the exact opposite, and thus a what slower progression would have been desirable to fully grasp the information that is relaid.
As mentioned earlier, Ergo Proxy touches upon several themes, one of the most intriguing ones the meaning of being human, or indirectly, the possession of a soul. This done through the representation of the AutoReivs and humanity - both of which contrast human emotions, the former seemingly more human than the latter, as these are basically stripped from feelings to be able to maintain the peace of the city. In addition, the anime displays to the audience the acceptance of oneself throughout the course of the story by representing the relationships and hardships the cast undergoes. However, in several occasions the show went around circles with some of its themes, several events being unnecessarily convoluted that didn't really add anything significant to the comprehension of the story.
Another to thing to note is that information about the world and its underlying mysteries are subtly shown to audiences through either the character's personalities and their interactions, besides its respective art style. There are however several problems at times with the approach on it, as viewers are suddenly introduced in situations without any prior knowledge on how or why the characters are there. The positive aspect to note is the fact that a great deal of information is relaid to the viewer, instead of infodumping through a simple narration. The problem in this lies that it breaks with the immersion in the narrative, and felt that could have been done in another manner. Surely enough, it helps to magnify the mystery surrounding the "Proxy's" and their respective actions and motives. This mainly affects two episodes in the anime, the quiz and smile episodes being of importance; thus I'd recommend paying attention to these instead. What was however lacking in my eyes, was ultimately the conclusion on the explanation of Proxy's and their origination, which was a thing I was eager to discover, assuming it was something somewhat plausible.
Concerning its cast of characters, these were by no means vast, yet sufficient to properly convey the story. These were for the major part well presented, yet some characters either suffered shortcomings or were simply poorly done. There is the main protagonist Re-I Meyer, who basically represents how human nature has evolved - or devolved for the matter - being basically an emotionless being. Surely enough, the different situations she encounters herself in manages to change and reveal her "humanity" as story progresses. However, although some change is appreciated throughout the story, her character remains basically the same, as opposed as the viewer might expect. She remains the arrogant, egoistic person, yet with some human touch to it; as a whole, I found her to be uninteresting and boring as a character.
Other character of interest is Vincent, a seemingly helpless and clumsy man always followed by bad luck; the fact that he has some sort of amnesia isn't helping either. In addition, he undergoes significant character development whilst discovering and exploring himself in his journey for the search of the truth, the Proxy. Naturally, anyone may ponder why these two main characters are together considering said personalities - said issues are mainly alleviated with their common goal and individual problems they face, in addition to the other character of importance, Pino. She, or "that", is an autoreiv who acts surprisingly human, contrasting with human society itself. Through her the anime manages to represents diverse themes Ergo Proxy has to offer, such as the meaning of being human. However, this character is ultimately a plot device, consequently not being of interest to the eyes of some.
As for the secondary characters, these were in general rather dull, yet often befitting of the narrative, especially in the case of the government officials. One character that stood out in this whole affair was Raul Creed, where audiences observe his struggles and changes in character due to the different mysteries he is exposed with because of his position. This could not be said of the other secondary character Daedalus, whose only purpose was so justify several flow of events; after those, he had no real relevance in the story. Naturally, other aspect to consider are the Proxy's themselves. These are crucial, and the motives behind these are well relaid to the viewer by contrasting the personalities of these with the world and humanity; furthermore, although not immediately apparent, it gives viewers insight in the story behind the devastation and their origins. However, I might point out that the power these possess is very dubious, which affects a bit the conclusion of the story - nevertheless, as centrepoints of the story, these are well executed and intriguing.
~Animation and sound~
The animation of Ergo Proxy is well executed, especially in some instances; yet as a whole, it was inconsistent. Audiences observe at times some stunning backgrounds with great animation, whereas in other cases it had poor animation quality, in addition to some of its backgrounds. Other thing to note are the character designs; these are varied, yet felt at times "off" in some occasions, especially when viewed in different angles. I might want to add the bunny costume of Pino felt unnecessary, not befitting of its setting. In addition, the anime was at times too dark, where there was little to no contrast with all the different things in it, which hindered the viewing experience. However, it must be said that the colour palette used for the art style fits magnificently in the atmosphere the anime is trying to portray.
As for the music score, all the different compositions used in matched wonderfully with the atmosphere of the anime, utilizing a great variety of these for each different situation; it is simply outstanding. It manages to pull in and immerse audiences in the story and its setting magnificently, each depending on the tone the series tries to employ at a given time. As for the voice actors, these performed their roles well (both japanese and english), matching with the different personalities, especially in the case of Pino. The opening and ending themes were well done, with Radiohead and their song "Paranoid Android" as the ending theme, which was very much to my liking.
Ergo Proxy was overall a good anime, with a fascinating premise, its themes, and soundtrack; what however made me not fully enjoy this work were all the little gripes that I had with it. There were several times when the anime was more convoluted than necessary, the conclusion was a bit lacking considering the high quality of the beginning of the show; also some of the characters were not interesting at a personal level, which further minimized my enjoyment. This is not to say that it is overall lacking; no, for some the earlier mentioned points could be easily ignored and thus not regarded as "issues". I might want to mention that it is necessary to pay attention to the little details the show offers through its setting, characters and story, as these are not spoon-fed to the audience. So do I recommend Ergo Proxy? I certainly do, yet be warned, attention is necessary to fully appreciate this piece.
Many already said about its cyberpunk elements and such.
I will say that in regards of Science Fiction, plot development, execution and characterization, this anime is a True Masterpiece!
The very concept of why it all happened in the planet is a true concern some scientists have, about the methane hydrate layer and the possible consequences if it went volatile. Many power and fuel industries have already shown interest in extrating and using it to produce energy, as the tihng is really powerful...but one of its characteristics is its volaticity, and if by mistake a chain reaction was iniitated and the existing layer went into combustion...the
life on the planet would be decimated. Take a look about what exist about the matter. It is intersting.
Well, thus it is based on solid science extrapolation. Then the story goes with really intellingent plot developments without loosing to pure psychological drama, as there is enough action woven in the series to satisfy any action lover without loosing the story to those action-oriented, boring plots.
It is intelligent and every episode lays another hit as to what is really happening...and in the end you finally discover everything, being presented to a really surprising truth, and a turn of events that is both pleasing and really surprising.
The nature of the Proxys is really explained, so the story is not left without a closure...but at the same time it ends in a cliffhanger, actually yelling that a sequel may be produced one day, though if that does not happen, the end is closure enough to the present story, leaving the rest for the imagination of the ones watching the series.
The whole concept was magistrally layered and the whole truth is only fully disclosed in the last episode, making the series grip you until the last minute, until the last, thrilling image, where in the last panel we have the realization that the end was possibly far from happening to that story.
About art, needless to say, it is beautiful and well done, imparting an air of dreamlike reality to the characters, which is true given the truth behind the planet and everything happening there.
Fantastic Science Fiction, artfully executed!
I just hope they really go for a sequel on this, as we surelly know after the last image we see that things were not resolved with the truth revealed, but it was just beginning, especially remembering what Vincent saw when he first left Rondeau...
Remember...there was a child there...son of an exiled...and that implied something crucial to the whole story and that was not there without a reason...
This won't be a review of characters, of art, of sound, or other bs that has been repeated in 12 reviews already. This is one for those wondering "Why the hell is this worth a 10?" "What's going on, what is so great here?!" or just.. "another 2c down the piggy's back" Oh and yeah, it's as SPOILER FREE as you can get.
I used to think, until the last few episodes, that they named dropped just for the sake of it but that's not true. What you need to understand is this: The series is humanity and its struggle metamorphosised. Probably the most important mention
here is that of C.G. Jung. Keep in mind the following quote from him: "When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate." Just think of that in relation to the journey of Vincent. The characters even realize (well not really they, obviously) in the last episodes that the journey is one they can only complete alone because you aren't going anywhere except inside yourself. This exactly the ''journey to the underworld", which is just the repressed content, it's the unconcious. This is where you'll meet the shadow and "come out the other side" (give Tool - 46 & 2 a listen!) changed as a self-aware being.
The whole last 3-4 episodes are full of questions relevant to humanity as ever, whether it be the nature of reality, existence or the meaning of it all. You even have the glorious questioning of the status quo, parallels to past revolutions and the pointless struggle (of Real, in the last episode; but of humans in general) against the unchangeable path before her (them) - you always see it, whether it's in some anime where the main protagonist, usually ignorant of his "potential", tries to fight the big bad villain before he's ready just to be tossed aside and laughed at; or in real life where you have few people trying to fight against corruption, greed and cruelty, only to be found dead or intimidated into submission. It's the meaningless struggle I see people near me go through, they want to believe they can make a difference, they give it their all in spite of the simple fact that your efforts are useless. And what makes the series great isn't just the fact that it raises such issues (as well as many others) but that it manages to portray them so beautifully, so naturally... that's where you can see the gem shine because it has been polished and made into a gorgeous jewel.
Like Dostoevsky said, "Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him." Likewise, nothing is easier than to say "I don't like this because I don't relate to the characters or don't like their makeup, and wah wah wah" and nothing harder than to try and understand it because that would require you to *gasp* read a book or something similarly dreadful. It would require you to acquire knowledge, to assimilate, analyze and synthesis it. It requires you to go outside of your comfort zone. And I'm sure it's much more easy to go watch some slice-of-life anime and go "kawaiiiiiiiii" than go the extra mile for this one.
This is the same thing as people reading mythology and thinking all the gods were just some sex and violence-crazy incestuous wackos when they don't even know the 101 of symbology. This is the blind man looking for the light; good luck pal, good luck! You'll get there one day, in another life, maybe as a cat.
These are by no means all the references present in the series, it's just the tip of it, the cherry on top. The series is still worth a view just for the splendid artwork but if you are the type of person that hears but doesn't listen then don't expect to get much more out of it.
If nothing else then at the very least you'll have your general culture level raised a notch by the explanations at the end of (almost) each episode.
Ergo Proxy is a bit of a difficult show to review. There's many positive elements, and at the same time many negative elements. At times I loved the show, and other times I was bored with it.
The story tends to be the biggest reason for my mixed opinion. It starts off very strong, painting a very interesting picture of the world, the main cast, and their relation to each other. Yet, it also introduces some mysterious plot elements. Now, these mysterious elements didn't bother me the first time they were introduced. However, halfway through the series, most of the questions get answered. I was hoping
that the clandestine nature of the plot would end there, but they kept introducing more vague questions, episode after episode, creating an overly complex plot that really wasn't necessary. All of these questions get wrapped up during the final three episodes, but they just seemed completely un-necessary in the first place. It seems like the show uses an overly complex plot as a crutch, to prop up a story that doesn't need to be. However, the show doesn't know how to properly use a crutch, and it takes that crutch and essentially beats the story over the head... ruining what would have otherwise been a perfectly fine tale.
Yet, between all of that, there's still some really nice storytelling to be had, and some really great character moments. Many of the characters were well developed and managed to grow over the course of the series as well. Pino is my personal favorite. Yet, despite that growth, they also seemed to end up at the same point as where they started. In fact, by the end, it seemed like the series was eating it's own tail in terms of it's characters.
Aside from all that, the art seemed good for the most part. There were certainly times where it looked better than others. All of the art stays pretty consistent in terms of style, of course... it's just the quality that fluctuates. At times it was breathtaking, and other times I thought it looked kind of middling and standard.
The audio mix is well done, creating a nice, futuristic atmosphere... while not feeling too crazy or overdone. The soundtrack is your pretty standard fare. It didn't stand out, but worked nicely to set the tone. I watched the English dub of the show, and thought most of the voice actors were great. The main cast, and much of the supporting cast did a great job of bringing life to these characters, making them feel like real people. I also thought it was a really nice touch that the voice actors for the androids all sounded appropriately robotic. The delivery on those lines all sounded like robots trying to evoke emotion, and while that doesn't sound like a compliment, the actors really sold it, and it worked incredibly well within the context of the story.
Overall, Ergo Proxy is a series that I enjoyed, but had a few elements that really brought it down. If the story was less convoluted, and the art was tightened up in spots, I may have given this series a higher score. Hell, some of the episodes even feel like they deserve a higher score, divorced from the rest of the series' over-arching plot. Yet, as a whole, Ergo Proxy comes off as a mixed bag, and in that sense it's disappointing. However, I still recommend fans of the genre to check it out, if only for the handful of moments where it really shines and becomes something special.
Have you ever seen an art house film? Perhaps a film by David Lynch or Cronenberg? Perhaps you have heard of the film Solaris by Tarkovsky (not that garbage remake)? Solaris combines an interesting science fiction plot with realistic characters, existentialist themes, and of course mind bending WTF moments. What if you brought Tarkovsky back from the dead, flew his ass to Japan, and made him direct an anime? The result would be Ergo Proxy!
The story takes place in what appears at first to be a utopian future, but soon we see the truth is somewhat darker. Everyone is born with a given purpose.
People are artificially grown and have long lost the ability to reproduce naturally through sex. People are ruled very closely by a council of intelligent super computers and their decisions are made for them. Androids act as servants for mankind, but are beginning to gain artificial intelligence due to the "cognito" computer virus and starting to rebel. The Earth's environment has been so completely destroyed that people are forced to live in domed cities, that they are born in and will almost certainly die in without ever knowing what's outside. It is unknown in the main city how many other domed cities are left out there, but it is said that a war took place a few years before the start of the story between 2 of them. The most mysterious creatures of this world are the Proxy, which have immortality like Gods due to having cells with no Hayflick limit that can divide infinitely without telomere shortening or other problems. The Proxy also have superhuman strength, speed, and powers, but little is known about them. Most denizens of the dome called Romdeau are unaware that Proxy even exist. A police investigator named Re-L pronounced "real" (did I mention this was an existentialist series), is sent to investigate a mysterious murder and encounters 2 Proxies. She then meets an unusual man named Vincent Law who claims to have come from another dome city, but has lost much of his memory. Together the 2 must find the secrets of this twisted world and most importantly, what are the proxies and why do they exist?
Re-L is a no nonsense, strong female protagonist and a highly competent detective. Although she can act spoiled at times, and can be quite unintentionally funny. Re-L seems cold and heartless at first, but she learns to care for Vincent and the adorable Pinako and does actually have a strong sense of justice. Vincent is about the 5,000th anime main character to suffer from amnesia, but we will cut him a bit of slack. He is actually a fairly interesting character the more we learn about him and his past. Pinako is an android in the form of a little girl. She provides much the comedy in this series and pretty much all of the awww how adorable moments. I'm surprised Rena from Higurashi didn't invade out of left screen and run off carrying Pinako. There are other characters too including the fabulously gay Raoul, and the ever creepy scientist Daedalus. Is Daedalus a man or a woman? I'm not sure we will ever know. Even Freeza was less gender ambiguous.
Ergo Proxy looks great in its character designs, backgrounds, and animation. The often haunting and surreal visuals are a huge part of this series.
Remember in the overview when I compared it to Solaris? That was a movie where the director intentionally made the first 20 minutes as boring as possible so in his own words: "all the stupid people will leave the theater". Ergo Proxy is kind of like that. It has some VERY slow portions and you will also HATE this series if you demand everything make sense right away. Ergo Proxy loves above all else to fuck with the viewer's mind. Your brain will probably explode at least a dozen times watching Ergo Proxy, so I am not sure if its healthy to watch in one binge. This anime has more mind fuck moments than any anime I have ever seen. It makes Eraser Head look like a normal everyday popcorn flick.
This is a VERY different and unique series that I would highly recommend checking out. I mentioned in my Mushishi review that Ergo Proxy is more similar to Mushishi than anything else I have seen, but distinctly different at the same time. Mushishi doesn't want to mess with your mind so badly and each episode actually makes sense the first time you watch it. However, the artsy, serious, somber, and philosophical nature of both shows so far removed from fan service, harems, and other anime cliche's are quite similar. I personally liked Ergo Proxy more than Mushishi, but I am aware that I am in the minority on that one. Ergo Proxy doesn't have any characters quite as charismatic and popular as Ginko. What it does have is more of plot with a lot more to tease your brain and make you think.
PS. you can also play the Ergo Proxy drinking game. Every time someone name drops a famous philosopher take a drink. Every time a scene references a famous movie take a drink. (take 3 vodka shots if its Battleship Potemkin). Every time Raoul appears on screen dressed fabulous take a sip. (you don't want to die of cirrhosis). Every time you here someone scream VINCENTO RAW take a sip. Every time something bizarre and totally random happens take a drink. You thought the "Withnail and I" drinking game was bad? You haven't played this one.
I decided to rewatch Ergo Proxy, seeing as I just didn't remember anything about it from the last time I watched, aside that it was a massive mindfuck and a very entertaining series. The rewatch really did remind me again why I thought so. It really doesn't do anything half assed.
From the very start, the style of the series strikes true for the dystopian society of a post apocalyptic future it shows, both with the stunning art that is combined with excellent animation, and chilling music. There's just something strangely alluring about the contrast of light and dark present everywhere in the art, even as
it never shows a hint of simplicity. And of course, I personally absolutely love the design of Re-l (which is showed by my avatar, as usual), one of the main characters.
As contrast to the explosive start, the series progressed at a very calm pace at many points, and even seemingly went off the rails at times. On one hand, I feel the pacing is perhaps the biggest weakness of the entire show, but on the other hand I never felt bored for a long amount of time. In fact, it was very much welcome when I had a moment to calm down, because even at its slower points the series kept me very tense most of the time. The feeling of a completely uncertain world was very impressively depicted by the story, and I was afraid to feel affection towards any single character in the show with the knowledge that the world really didn't care much about what happened to them.
At the same time, I appreciated every single character in the show for what they provided. Perhaps it managed to go even deeper than that. Despite the chaotic setting, the story itself was in truth quite straightforward and meticulously constructed. The pre-planned purpose of every character in the story was not just a matter of their parts in the story, but also dealt with as a theme throughout the series. In fact, the series showed wonderful self awareness in dealing with this, rather than the usual the curious contradiction of praising human free will while ignoring the fact that every expression of the was in truth constructed by the creator of the story.
Such self awareness and introspection from the view point of the creator of the story was present throughout the series, in many different ways. This lead to another aspect of the show that could be considered a weakness. Aside the pacing being strange, the story also wasn't presented in as straightforward fashion as it seemingly travelled. At times there was seemingly huge differences between where the last episode left off and where the new one started, in a couple of cases completely jarring. The couple of the more extreme cases I do believe were poorly handled, but the way the series was structured in itself wasn't necessarily bad. In most cases, every episode dealt with a different theme, most of which were both very philosophical and deeply psychological, and they did so very well. What was really jarring was that the writer seemingly saw it purposeful to interject the view points of both themselves and the watchers directly into the story. While I understand the purpose of this, especially in such an experimental show, I do think it wasn't worth it in every case.
Speaking of philosophical and psychological... I think this is a prime example of what a lot of people would call pretentious. I personally disagree on that. When I originally watched the series years ago, neither my brain nor my understanding of philosophy were nearly enough developed to really grasp most of it, but even then I don't think I ever dismissed it as just being nonsense. I'm glad about that, because on this rewatch I feel like I was actually able to keep up very well, even through the less elegant twists of the story. There each case there was some real thought put into it, but the really impressive part was that all of these ideas were able to be delivered without the attempt to insert conclusions into them. One of the key things in succesfully writing something like this is the ability to keep in mind one's own fallibility, which I think was achieved in this case.
In the end the story and the characters managed to enthrall me quite well. Even as it dealt with complex themes, the story managed to keep a certain necessary simplicity to it. For the most part, actual unnecessary elements were eliminated, thus keeping the story well on its track until the very end. Where it sadly stumbled a little bit, as often is. The conclusion was satisfactory in a manner, so I feel there is no need to harp on it too much, but it didn't reach quite the potential such a show had. Perhaps it was because there was actually in the end a certain unnecessary element, brought into it in an attempt to reach the excellence the ending deserved, but departing from the solid progression of the story in a harmful way. It's also entirely possible that there really actually just wasn't enough to the story in its simplicity, though I personally do find that complications added for the sake of it aren't necessary for a grand conclusion.
In conclusion, I think this anime is possibly one of the best things ever. It's also entirely possible that I'm just a pretentious prick that enjoyed it simply because I felt I understood something complicated that perhaps wasn't fully there in the first place.
The thing that drew me to anime in the first place besides style , it was that writers weren't afraid to raise big questions and make the answers interpretable so that the viewer could have a say.It was the philosophic and psychological elements that made me realize that this medium was to be taken seriously.Ergo proxy is a show that celebrates al those elements, and it does it in style.
If i could sum up the story of Ergo Proxy in one word it would be EPIC.The show starts as a generic cyber-punk anime only to evolve into more of a dark fantasy set in a
distopian and apocalyptic world. The story is more about perception of ones self, and the journey of understanding ones self. Now the story is very character driven and one can argue that as far as plot progress goes mostly 90% of episodes are fillers. The show because of this becomes very complex as viewers sometimes cant tell whats real and whats happening in the characters heads . But i personally enjoyed this but someone else might not.the story manages to explain every hole and does have a somewhat satisfying conclusion and a highly climatic one.
The backrounds for the show are very beautiful and detailed , also the characters desing are good. The proxy desings are amazing and the last episode has some of the most beautiful images in the anime world. But characters looks and movements were inconsistent and sometimes they looked plain auwful. And I didn't think that it was due to budget cuts or anything but due to laziness , cause ergo proxy looked beautiful when it had to.
The soundtract for the show is amazing. The oppening is one of the best I have ever heard and the ending is paranoid android by radiohead, you can't go wrong with that. The soundtrack consists mostly of suthing and beautiful music that fit the show perfectly.The dub is one of the best around and it just sounds right, it was really amazing.
Ergo Proxy has some of the most emotionally and mentally broken characters I have ever seen. Wether it is a spoiled detective, a man who seeks answers for his past, robots who acknowledge themselfs and a lot of others. Now i don't want to go to them specifically cause to explain the correctly i would have to spoil a lot and there is nothing in this world i hate mote than spoilers. But i have to say that Pino is one of the cutest and most likeable characters in anime . She ROCKS.
As much as the show had some minor flaws i really did enjoy this show from start to finish for the most part. Some information is dumped sometimes which i didn't like. The ending is sometimes confusing but is really legendary. The show has substance and is highly intellectual and I really do recommend this show to anyone who is looking for something mind bending.
So overall i give this show an
9 out of 10.
( I hope you liked this review, i am hoping for some feed back because this is my first review)
Before start i will not include spoilers in this review (or at least keep it at minimum possible).
You know in every piece of entertainment, especially in fiction, there are always
examples of works, that try, to entertain/please the viewer in 2 ways.
By either trying to appeal to as much different groups of consumers,
as possible with mix of various themes, that specially strike not to say pander to certain people which can be done in quality way by putting thoughts
into it thinking about consumers needs, or just for the profit which can be hit or miss.
other way to reach viewer, would be more dangerous, but potentially more impactful as well, by narrowing down themes presented,
keeping way of directing purely for needs of author, and vision of end result without much safe thinking no matter how unusual it may sound.
Ergo Proxy fits into second category perfectly now to explain why.
Setting and Direction :
Ergo Proxy is set in a world, that at first, may seem as deja-vu post apocalypse ruined earth in not so far anymore future.
With technology outburst and humans, being less and less of humans we know at present and non humanoid beings Auto Reivs doing large chunk of dutties for us .
Remainings of the earth cities go, into special system that tries to make the most of what is left both from resources and population standpoint.
We all probably watched quite a few, or many post apocalyptic movies with flicks about natural disasters caused by either
force of nature or full on action scenarios, with bulky robots destroying everything up.
Dont get me wrong Ergo Proxy setting was used before but not so much in a way EP did it .
From the very start this series, gives you quite obvious signals that it will not be about just resolving present problems, pure survival, recovery or giant explosions everywhere this is not Terminator.
It is more about layered Mystery, and realizing what is real and what is just desperation and routine playing with our minds espect large analyze of mind in specific situations and philosophical themes .
Add cryptic dusty nature of series, and way of directing with giving just enough side clues for one to start putting individual puzzles along with watching what actually happens.
And if you are into that kind off story telling, where problems must be identified to be even considered as problems this is anime for you.
Think of Evangelion and Ghost in Shell as refference since i cant resist but to notice combined elements of them everywhere in this anime since you can ask 5 persons to say their image of it after completing it and get 5 different answers for what this anime was about.
Story & Pacing :
Story can be described with words commonly reffered, in this anime as raison d'etre is a term used to signify one's own existence purpose of life. Since it is so difficult doing non spoiler review for this show.
Opening parts start with showing 1 of remaining cities, of romdeau being monitored and controlled in most literal sense of word possible.
By Intelligence Bureau which is only source of law and direction for remaining population of city. Despite being monitored constantly and equiped with only the most nessesary life resources and without
almost any freedom, ever since birth, i cant explain why exactly without spoiling.
People agree too survive and reach recovery someday not surprising, except nothing is as it seems remmember this when you watch this show.
All that soon changes when suddenly mysterious being appears from the shadows and spokes these words Everything became so clear we must punish them, followed by can you hear Pulse of Awakening?
Next you see false sense of security, is shattered and city becomes disrupted. By both Disappearance of precious Proxy that was keeped in romdeu and Auto Reivs robots going wild against commands all that combined unleashed chaos .
Re-L Mayer investigator in inteligense Bureau is sent to investigate the case but in the process is attacked by another mysterious being.
Since that moment she gets uncontrollable curiousity, which leads her to discovering more about 1 particular man named Vincent Law.
Who on first look looks nothing like someone, that could be source of events that occured prior.
But without important spoiling i can say that Vincent and Re-L are core reasons for many themes in ergo proxy.
Themes like living under glass bell, god complex, narcissism, identity crisis, reconstruction of reasons behind human empathy and patterns in living and ruling and so on.
In many ways 1 of major points for about series, story besides revealing all mysteries behind chaos,infected auto reivs, relations between proxies humans and events prior to start of everything nasty on earth .
Is in reaching self awareness and self understanding people lost it ages ago but somehow both Vincent and Re-L are pushing on oposite sides trying to reach different but at same time same goals.
Very much like actual people we so much try to explain ourselves to others while not keeping attention of what other side think about it. What human is what heading towards idealism leads to?
That road is not so fast and pacing in first 6 or so episodes can seem quite slow but it is nessesary for questions to accumulate and world build, when things actually start to open they never stop.
Aside from mentioned stuff story makes you think about just how much can humans be self destructive assholes to both themselfs and world and really adds more fears for the future sine taking that much for granted is fastest way to oblivion basic powerfull truth .
When roads unite things get even more complicated and during the course of series you will constanly wonder who is the real culpit in whole story.
It is not all about destination it is about experience and that can be said in so many ways in case of EP and depending of how you connected you may draw much different conclusion then i am .
That is beaty of mysteries isnt it.
Art & animation
Art is beautiful done mostly in dark pitch black tone and modest quite realistic lines in shapes of characters eyes,arms and bodies.
Which may seem weird if you are too used to oversized moe blobs which in this case is 1 of big signs that you are better avoiding this series.
Cgi for fights and movements of robotic parts, helicopters and so on range from very good to semi choppy in case of rail shooting scenes for example.
Rocks falling, surface cracking, body detaching are all examples of overall pretty consistent animation.
OST-s in ergo proxy are mixed with cyber punk and more of techno industrial vibe. It fits nicely to whole theme behind it and all no problems at all silent moments are never ruined by it and intense moments have proper background bgms.
Re-L is as i pointed out quite open minded, and extremely curious and righteous about world in comparison, to others to the point of looking unnatural for envirmoment she is in.
But can be quite demanding,awkward and unreasonably arogant towards others esp vincent which keeps her from being 1 sided character and gives her depth.
Pino is in show mostly for keeping at least bit of light tone, in otherwise very intense depressive atmosfere by being adorable.
She also adds theme of human superiority complex, over other forms of life and not even system when it comes to recognizing what can and what can not have emotion.
Vincent is self conflicting character, who suffers from major case of lower worth issue and cant seem to know how to express himself well but knows how to listen and obbey orders.
As oposite to hot tempered RL which listens only when Grandpa tells her. His character growing is simetric with growth of the anime itself the more he opens up the worse and better situation gets.
Raul is type of character that listens to what he wants to hear, and closes on what he is not interested in.
He is only character that seems to resemble real politicians, and like them he is character you are supposed to hate at first but understand his pov after you know those close to him.
Also he is only 1 besides 1 other person that i cant mention that has his clear vision of system that he would apply to people.
But since he is not in position to be at the top, he instead gets disorted from following commands from above.
Daedalus his role is quite big but for me to tell you, i would need to go into major spoilers.
Instead i will tell you this imagine what blind love, can do to person now amplify that with facts that source for that blind love cant be reached without major violations.
Well thats him in nutshell creepy obsessed little lab weirdo, who sets his goals above any immoral means or tools needed to achieve it.
Overall most of characters in this show can be considered as real characters instead of placeholders, they all create synergy and very much contribute to the world.
Unlike type of series that fokus on creating 1 or memorable protagonists while neglecting side cast largely to make protagonist i wont argue which way is better.
Conclusion Ergo Proxy is not anime for everyone, people should not change themselves but adapt if they are not sure
to really have patience, high enough attention to pull through rough start.
Therefore Proxy... This will be a spoiler free, basic overview of the show. This is my first and only review since it is the only show I will acknowledge as an absolute in every aspect of humanity, knowledge, art, imagination and nature.
Rarely do you see a show that attempts to cover a huge part of history and reality itself within this art style. And when they usually try, most of the time it ends failing in certain aspects because of the lack of connection between particular things in set show, or the lack of information and effort put into set show. I have given a
rating of 10 for 6 shows that are made on another level compared to anything else I have experienced in any kind of media. And if you go and see my list, I am sure that each and every one of them deserve it, regardless of what they were portraying. But never in my life did I think that I would find a show that can successfully adapt every aspect of those amazing shows. Never did I think that a show can portray so much in such a breathtaking manner as Ergo Proxy did.
Story - 10/10
The story of this show is written in a mysterious manner that takes you on a journey of discovery from the first to the last episode. Every episode is written so that it has a metaphor to some aspect of human history of philosophy, psychology, literature, art and/or science. Every second of the plot is twisting into an unknown future where you question everything that comes to the thinking mind. It challenges the viewer to try to comprehend it's seemingly unending and confusing storytelling within storytelling. It is written to the upmost level of excellency that not everyone can comprehend. Watching as the story progresses I found myself more and more driven inside of my mind, trying (and thankfully succeeding most of the time) to understand and cherish its brilliance. Set in a melancholic, dystopian earth, it manages to portray the past, present and future in a truly awe-inspiring, dark, psychological, demented relationship of humankind and the ideas and realities behind divine deities.
Art - 10/10
The dark, misty and sad tone of the world depicted is nigh irreplaceable. Every location has it's own unique way of expressing what the story is trying to tell. Every dome uniquely crafted to represent different parts of the world. Every molecule shivering in the shadows, casting the dark glare of despair upon everything. And as far as the character's designs go, well, they are not only memorable and beautifully drawn, they all manage to pull of the exact look they need to have for the role they play. Especially Ergo Proxy and Re-l Mayer.
Sound - 10/10
The music director on the board is Ueda Yasuyuki, and as he has proven himself previously, he managed to create one of the best possible playlists that continually provide the show with it's necessary tone and fuels the characters forward. The ending theme is yet another fantastic song by Radiohead - Paranoid Android, reminding you of the character's behaviour in the show every time you hear it. And then there is the opening theme, with the song Kiri by Monoral. And I can only describe it as the single most breathtaking, dark, desperate, melancholic, artistically challenging, mind-blowing, goosebumps-giving, nostalgic and beautiful opening I have ever heard and experienced...
Character - 10/10
I can't say much about the characters of the show without spoiling any of them, but I will try my best. Each character (whether main or not) has a singular purpose that he/she/it will fulfill. They all represent different forms of human emotions, though collections, behaviour, relationships and most important of all - forever questioning intelligent beings capable of creating the most bizarre, provoking and rule-bending stories that seem ceaseless throughout time and space. Although it might seem that their build up is slow from the start, every moment they exist is of great significance. They way they unravel different truths throughout the story shapes them in ways that are simply put human, making the evaluations and principles of humans which are regarded as universally valid, not applicable, or at least questioned with doubt. Also the conversations and interactions led between characters are sure to make you feel the millennia of human evolution.
Enjoyment - 10/10
They way that all of the previous elements interact with each other gives a sensation while watching that is yet to be rivaled from anything that I have ever experienced. The pacing of the show is excellent, the character development is astonishing, the animation and music are gonna make you remember them for as long as you live.
Overall, all I can say is that this show is even beyond the "not-everyday,not for everyone" anime that I know of. It was an experience that will not be replaced by anything, at least for me. The entangled story will meet it's final form at the end, and it will surely leave you speechless, enjoying the silence after the Ultimo.
Ergo Proxy is a successful blend of numerous genres, a show that contains many hidden meanings and symbologies, employing a complex yet solid plot and featuring strong but delicate characters.
Seeing Proxy felt like watching a mix of the movies Oblivion, Automata and Equilibrium with the execution of Alien, once I finished watching Ergo Proxy I was left feeling empty and pondering about the messages and themes the show portrayed and ultimately contemplating what living and being alive actually mean.
Ergo Proxy is the one show I would have rated 10/10 if it weren’t for episodes 15 and 19 which did not fit the
tone of the show and disturbed the pacing, and another few flaws, the series would have been better off without those 2 episodes even though they did have a purpose of giving some information and answering some questions.
The story is successfully merging numerous symbologies, themes and genres being original, deep, clever and is one of the most brilliantly executed and paced stories I have ever seen, leaving almost no room for improvement, attempting to reach perfection.
I praise the creators of Ergo Proxy for being able to join all those genres and events into one logical and continuous flowing storyline. The plot twists, unexpected events and scenes that seem to make no sense are fused together and form a coherent story, with each episode adding something new and further developing the plot in a subtle and yet clear manner.
On a fundamental level the story is a journey of self-discovery, teaching people to create and follow their own path rather than pursuing or imitating others, which requires that you must first discover who you really are and understand the world that surrounds you before creating your own path.
Ergo Proxy employes an astonishing number of symbols and allegories that require the viewer’s interpretation for the story to make sense and be comprehended. These allegories and symbols are various, referring to Descartes' philosophy (I am, therefore I think), Greek mythology(Icarus), the origin of life paradox and religion among many other things which can be very confusing to some viewers on the other hand, the abundance of symbols and allegories is what makes the series so intriguing and engaging.
There are some odd things like the robot being able to use that air musical instrument even though it had no lungs but those things in no way influence the story.
Since this show is about self-discovery it is only logical that the characters would be one of the factors the show focuses most on therefore resulting in a story-driven show that puts much weight and attention on the characters, including the support ones.
Ergo Proxy has original incredibly well developed, characterized and round/well-balanced characters that are highly interesting, never ending to amaze me and never exceeding or exaggerating their limits and skills, which separates Proxy from other shows of the same genre.
Vincent Law is a man who lost most of his memories therefore he is not very confident of himself and yet he is strong in his own way. Vincent’s character started off as a lower member of the society and throughout the series he develops into a completely different man and even a different being if I may say so. Vincent’s main goal is to find his true self/ego thus his journey of self-discovery begins.
Re-l Mayer is an intelligent, confident and highly skilled “investigator” that acts cold and superior due to her high social status as the “Regent’s” grandchild and important job she performs. At first she acts very cold (especially towards Vincent) but as the story progresses so does her character and their relationship, making clear that Re-l is a normal girl who has normal natural emotions and needs.
Pino is a child robot designed to keep others company, her main purpose in the show is playing the role of a stress-reliever in order to compensate for the dark and serious tone of the series. Pino is a lovely character that never gets annoying, she acts exactly how she is supposed to act, like a child, playing and fooling around and constantly experimenting new things.
The animation is fluid and the art is great but it has some flaws regarding the character design (mostly Vincent and Re-l) which I did not find to be too disturbing. The colors mostly tend to have a dark/grey tone which perfectly fits the style of the show and give an immersive and suggestive experience.
Ergo Proxy has an amazing opening theme, a good ending theme and engaging background music. Although I wished for a bit more background music I found the existing sound to be more than sufficient, the voice actors did a great job as well (especially the Eng. dub actors).
I honestly loved this show, it is very complex and yet so entertaining, it features great characters and a great story resulting in, of course, a great show.
Ergo Proxy is an amazing show that employs a complex but coherent plot with strong characters and conveys numerous messages and ideologies, all done in an impeccable manner. I highly recommend watching this show.
If to be great is to be misunderstood, then Ergo Proxy is truly one of the greatest anime ever. It’s second only to Future Diary in how everyone misinterprets it, both the fans and the haters. Some of what you heard is true. It’s experimental, bizarre and sometimes a little too vague. Yet no one talks about how it’s not experimental in the conventional, silly way. No one mentions how human the story is, or how traditional it is at the same time.
Somewhere at its heart is a very traditional story. It starts off with a mystery and later becomes a journey of self-discovery, a
wild adventure with stand-alone set-pieces. Being experimental isn’t denying common structures but creating your own. The weirdest anime have a familiar side. They distort common tropes and structures and build something new out of them.
The anime makes its intentions very clear at the beginning. You know this is a deep sci-fi story because there’s no info dumps. Techno-babble is common in sci-fi and its antithesis. Sci-fi is about exploring the implications of technologies and possibles futures. How exactly a technology will work is work for scientists. The purpose of storytellers is to try to predict how it will effect us psychologically and philosophically.
Human relying on intelligent robots is familiar, but the anime is more focused on what it means. Machines are just advanced tools. Humanoid robots aren’t meant to be actual humans, but serve various factions. How far does a tool advance before it stops being a tool? The companion model is important. Tools are supposed to solve technical problems – they help us build, repair and cook. Yet here’s a tool whose purpose is to address a psychological problem.
Psychological problems are bigger than technical problems. The toaster is either broken or fixed and, in general, doesn’t have a will of its own. Psychology leads to wants and needs. Psychology is dynamic and is constantly changing. A tool that cannot solve a psychological problem without having long-term effects.
Intelligence is also important for the development of psychology. The more complex the problem, the more complex the tool has to be. Eventually we develop intelligent tools, but intelligence leads to psychology, to asking questions. But the AutoReives don’t have to ask too much. The main philosophical question – why live? – has been answered inside their programming. The designer of the tool decides its purpose. It designs the tool for a specific problem.
In a way, this is the argument for the non-existence of a God or for an indifferent God. Human beings don’t have their reasons of existence written in their code. The only humans who do are humans born in artificial wombs. Vincent is the prime example of the Absurd Man. If you’re confused over what happens to him, that’s okay. He’s just as confused like most people are. Unlike the AutoReives, he has to put conscious effort, to break out of his comfort zones to find meaning.
Even the pre-programmed people aren’t safe from the nature of reality. Intelligence is only useful if it’s able to develop on its own. An intelligent tool has to continue to learn, or else it’s not intelligent at all and can’t deal with the most complex problems. Either reality shifts and make us question our purpose, or our intelligence develops and leads us to these questions. That’s what the Cogito virus really is, isn’t it? That’s Pino’s arc. She starts off pre-programmed with a clear purpose. As she gathers experience, she develops a worldview, wants and needs. The line isn’t between men and machine. It’s between men and tools.
Ergo Proxy is mostly about the search for meaning. It’s appropriate because the anime sometimes can’t hold on to that. The conclusion it reaches is a familiar one, but I don’t think anyone has yet to supply a better answer. We cannot stop the search. Romdeau may be sealed and ordered, but the Cogito virus still exploded. People still wondered what’s going on, and Lil Mayar found a purpose of her own besides merely existing. Human connection is also important. When everything falls, there are still people to hold on to.
The anime mirrors the characters and humanity in general. It bumbles from style to style. The atmosphere is fairly consistent with the anime mainly borrowing from genres rather than jumping into them. Still, the theme is either pushed too upfront with name-dropping of philosophers or hidden in episodes that don’t relate to this. That’s why being aware of traditional storytelling is useful. Merely rejecting them is silly when they’re a useful crutch.
In general, falling back on tropes is a bad sign. Cliches without verve are offensively boring. Ergo Proxy‘s case isn’t giving up. Rather, it focuses on having a surface as attractive as its depths. There’s no reason to cover up a deep story with a boring surface, anyway. The mystery and the adventure are just as intriguing. While the tonal shifts aren’t huge with few moments of lighthearted fun, there’s variety in the set-pieces. It especially improves when the anime slides into its adventure arc. The set-pieces are varied and often bizarre. Episodes are told in different ways, and are often self-contained.
Sometimes it feels like you missed episodes, but only because the focus is on making the episode an individual creation. The connection to past events is made later. The focus is more on the story. That’s another thing people miss about the anime. For all its talk about philosophy, Ergo Proxy isn’t a collection of weird images and stoic phases. It’s heavy on storytelling, on characters interacting and things happening. It rarely, if ever, stops to inform the audience on its philosophical nature. When the AutoReives cry for their ‘raison d’etre’, it’s more because this term is common in the world rather than trying to impress the viewer with jargon.
Its only flaw is its messy nature, but that’s forgivable. Any time that explores its themes so well, that plays both the philosophical angle and the storytelling angle is bound to be messy. It’s not even lying big themes on a traditional story. Ergo Proxy constantly breaks, constantly bounces from one thing to the next. The verve is engrossing, but the anime is also confused. Since it’s not a complete experimental work and not an adventure with psychological portait, it should be in the middle. A anime that’s at once traditional and experimental should be brilliant, but that’s too much to ask for. Still, it doesn’t matter if Icarus burned when he flew to the sun. The wings still worked.
There’s no reason to pass off on this anime. It’s bizarre, messy, intelligent, emotionally engrossing and accessible. It’s far-out, so I can imagine plenty disliking this. Still, this isn’t the impenetrable Texhnolyze or Serial Experiments Lain. In fact, its awareness of traditions actually makes it more bizarre. It’s truly unusual in a way that few fictional works are. If I have to present anime to an outsider, this is one of the first I’ll think of.
Well this is the series that I connected with most out of all the anime I've ever seen. I didn't know what to expect from this series going in, but the art really captured my attention from the very start. This is good because like most great animes, you pretty much don't have any idea what is going on or what to expect after the end of the first episode. You are shown just enough that curiosity takes you to the next episode and every episode after that. Oddly enough, even after watching this entire anime I was still kind of
confused as far as the story went but I had so many great memories of the journey that I was prompted to share the experience again with friends. Upon watching everything for a second time, I found the story much easier to follow and I could easily answer questions for the people I was watching it with that would get lost in the same plot points I did the first time through. Needing to see the anime twice to take everything in is the only reason I didn't give the story a 10, but at the same time I'm grateful because I enjoyed the experience so much more the second time through. Also I would like to point out this series has my favorite Intro song ever. It's title Kiri by Monoral. I absolutely had to import this CD from Japan the moment I could.