- - - - [ Ergo Proxy :: Episodes - 26 ] - - - -
[ Could contain minor spoilers. Sorry.. ]
Ergo Proxy. When I first saw that title, I was curious. I knew what a proxy was, on Internet and in real life. But I didn't know what Ergo was. So I got the series, mostly out of curiosity. I didn't expect much at first. The main female character, Re-L (Lil, Real, or any variant. Depends of fansub) has a freaky face with blue mascara, and wields a shotgun. I expect an all-out gun action series, with some mecha. But I was wrong! Ergo Proxy is a great series, definitely worth seeing, and has even made it to my favourites list. Beware, there are not much humour or laughs in this series. It's a deep, dark and philosophical series. But trust me, definitely worth seeing.
- [ Animation ] -
One thing that amazed me since the start of the series, till the very end is the quality of the animation. They combined modern and traditional to make a very good blend. The producers have been successful in creating a dark/moody atmosphere when needed. The light effects were amazing. They pointed out details wherever needed without flaw. The motion of the characters was very fluid, while maintaining the complexity of the backgrounds. If I may include a small spoiler here, the desolated lands pictured a bit later in the series are well made. You really get the feeling of sorrow and despair creeping in. However, although it may only be from my point of view, but in long-shots filmed from afar, you sometimes see the characters' features distort. Eg. an eye is above the other or toes seem strange. Can't expect much details from long-shots anyways but an eye above the other? Weird! Another dark point is that sometimes, the scenes are excessively...dark! You can't discern details easily. Apart from these, there are no major flaws in my opinion. Again, I should point out that the animators took some time to work on the scenes and have created beautiful and detailed backgrounds. Not overly detailed that you get the impression that you are in live-action, but just enough.. or just a bit not enough sometimes (dark scenes specially). Very little frame-reuse or even no frame-reuse if you ask me, just something nice to note.
- [ Sound ] -
As I said, I usually don't pay much attention to sound in animes. It's just there, nothing special. But here, it's different. The OP was great! The music suited my tastes entirely. Even the ED was very well made! The music really accompanied the moody and dark story. Just a side-tracking here, but I really like the way the ED credits is presented: A new, slanted type of presentation. Innovative if you ask me. The atmosphere sounds were well done, and did well in enhancing the moods and feelings of the Ergo Proxy. Not much in-series music available though. However, the OP and ED music don't seem to really fit in the quiet, dark and suspense-oriented Ergo Proxy. It's just too... lively. The music was great though!
- [ Story ] -
First, let me say it straight here itself: Ergo Proxy's story can be very very confusing and difficult to understand sometimes during some episodes, a bit Evangelion-like if you want i.e. Complex! But unlike Eva, most mysteries are eventually cleared, except for some. It's a series that you will want to go through once, get all the explanations, then go back and rewatch it just to appreciate the way the mysteries are introduced and pay particular attention to the minute details.
Another thing that adds confusion is that some episodes seem really out of place and do not seem to have any meaning at first. In fact, they are here to explain the details of Ergo Proxy in a non-intrusive and non-flagrant way. Be on the lookout for those and pay attention. They clear a lot of mysteries. Hint: Pay attention to the episode with the Quiz! :P Just like I said, some episodes seem out of place. Often, you are led on an episode with a very different story, only to find that one of the characters was dreaming or whatever like that. Sometimes, it's just too puzzling. You finish the episode and tell yourself "What the hell just happened?".
Now, on with the main story which is about Re-L Meyer, grand-daughter of Donov Meyer - the administrator/head counciller of Romdeau Dome city and Vincent Law, an ordinary employee of the Autorave Division. At some point of time before the scene, Earth's environment became very polluted as a result of a Methane Hydrate layer combustion. This may be considered spoiler but it doesn't really affect the plot to know it. Anyways, 85% of Earth's population was wiped out as a result. The survivors now live in Dome Cities such as Romdeau, since the air outside the domes is nearly unbreathable. Later, you are explained the significance of WombSys and Amrita Cells. I can't reveal what these 2 things do without going into spoilers. However, Anikimeiski provided an elaborate explanation of Ergo Proxy's plot-line. If you require help after watching it, refer to his explanations. Google it to find out about the site.. (If you do not mind major spoilers)
Re-L, working with her assistant Vincent Law, is investigating something known as Cogito (Cognito) Virus which allows Autoraves (robots that co-habit and help humans) to gain something with resembles emotion. So, they tend to become unpredictable and need to be eliminated. However, the real plot starts early as episode 2. During one of these investigations, Re-L is attacked by a monster (guess what it was! Pr... *spoilers*) which is very agile and quick. It leaves a hand print on the crime scene. Wanting to get more details, Re-L goes to her grand-father Donov Meyer to get answers but none is obtained. The story starts from here and quickly evolves into something unpredictable, after Vincent Law leaves the Romdeau for the Outside World. Excuse me if I introduced a number of spoilers, but it was required to make the scene clear.
The story is very well presented, with a good pace, neither too fast, nor too slow. The action scenes, however, are fast-paced just as expected. There are no major loopholes, except for some later in the series. Refer to Conclusion for more details. The story is holds the viewer in suspense, and after watching an episode, it's difficult to resist watching the next. Until the end, the series maintained the suspense and mystery, spoon-feeding answers along the way as required. Nothing more to say here, I guess. It's a good plot-line, which kinda reminds me of George Orwell's 1984. Here too we got a seemingly perfect society but with severe flaws.
- [ Characters ] -
The characters in Ergo Proxy is what amazed me most! Every one of them and their backgrounds are well explained, leaving no details unexplained. Often, the characters have whole episodes to explain their past and their current self. This is awesome! I can't complain about lack of details regarding characters. with Ergo Proxy. They are all well developed into the story, and fade out as required. The main characters stay till the end, of course! What do you expect? If all main characters faded out, then there won't be any Ergo Proxy! :P
The characters each have well-defined emotional traits, strengths and weaknesses. Just to take an example, Re-L is very selfish at the beginning, caring only for her little self and not having any remorse regarding anything. She neglects everybody, included her Autorave Iggy and Vincent Law. However, as the series progresses, you can slowly see her change and evolve. Similarly, she is a very good fighter and observer, but fails to express feelings and be emotive enough, unlike Vincent Law, who is excessively emotive and weakling-like at first. Again, he'll develop his strengths as the story progresses. Amazing! Every character has his or her own motivations for what he/she's doing, whether good or evil. Sometimes, their actions seem wild or illogical, but it gives us an explanation of what the characters are actually feeling, whether it's love, hatred, duty or utter want for destruction.
As with series or movies that include robots and mechas, there is an emotion issue, that is human feel emotions and robots cannot. Here, even robots can feel after being infected by Cogito, but are in a way denied the right to feel emotions. That's what I was saying in the beginning, the stuff about philosophy. The Cogito virus introduces a very nice turn in the story, pushing the character development even furthur. Ergo Proxy explores such things as loyalty, denial of love, seeking acceptance, betrayal, friendship, companionship, split personalities, the good and evil side of oneself and such. It's pretty elaborate sometimes!
- [ Value / Enjoyment ] -
I'll keep this part short. There is not really enjoyment in Ergo Proxy since it's kinda dark and moody. However, it definitely has a good value for me and definitely earns a rewatch to clear up some points. Not much action, but if you want a good sc-fi type of suspence, mixed with action and spicy twists and turns, go watch Ergo Proxy. I definitely enjoyed Ergo Proxy which successfully maintained the suspense and surprises till the end. You won't be skipping episodes often here. However, the story can be kinda slow sometimes, which kinda annoys you.
- [ Conclusion ] -
Personally, I really liked Ergo proxy. You don't find many series with such depth and with enough elaboration and complexity to keep you glued. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are some dark points that are not solved, the biggest one being the statement made by Vincent Law in the last episode. Maybe there will be an Ergo Proxy 2 or a second season. Maybe an OAV at least. If not, then it would have a very cheap ending! But I hope there will indeed be a good and proper ending to this marvellous series. Go watch it. It's definitely worth it, if you like the genre. Thanks for reading! Was kinda long this time.. Gomen! And I rarely give perfect mark 10! :P Ergo proxy may earn it however. It deserves it, but I am too miserly to see 10 given! :P