Title: Ergo Proxy
Manga, Anime: Ergo Proxy does have a two-volume spinoff illustrated by Yumiko Harao, the final volume of which was released on February 19th, 2007. What it's about, I'm not sure, as there's not a lot of information about it. It has yet to be licensed Stateside.
Ergo Proxy is a 23-episode series that was created by Studio Manglobe (also famous for their work on Samurai Champloo) and directed by Shukuo Murase (famous for his work on Witch Hunter Robin). It ran on Japanese TV from February 26th to August 12th, 2006. Ergo Proxy has been licensed Stateside by Geneon (now defunct), and its sixth and final volume was released Stateside on September 25th, 2007.
Story: This is going to be a doozie.
Ergo Proxy kicks off in the domed city of Romdeau (possibly Engrish for London?), a city-state whose citizens are under a system of complete micromanagement, focusing on Re-L (or Lil, or Real, it depends on who you talk to, really) Mayar, an inspector for the government, and her Autoreiv (more or less robot) partner, Iggy. Re-L is tasked with investigating murder cases that have to do with the Autoreiv virus Cogito (which more or less makes them self-aware and has varying effects), which leads her to recent immigrant Vincent Law, and Pino, a companion-type Autoreiv. At about the same time, she is attacked by an unknown, monstrous, humanoid-like creature called a Proxy, after she finds the word "Awakening" written in red on her bathroom wall. All of this combines to draw her further into the case and further into the mysteries of Romdeau and the outside world.
...Honestly, it's hard to write a review for this show. I finished it at the end of last month, and I've been holding off on reviewing it, mainly because I've been struggling to find the right things to say about it.
The story started out good. The characters were intriguing and tolerable (except in the case of Re-L, who was something of a bitch, but still, you could stand her), and Pino was the cutest damn thing I've ever seen, and you wanted to see what was up with them. There were mysteries and they were intriguing, and you kept watching to find out what the hell was going on, and things were revealed that only begat more mysteries that were intriguing that you wanted to know more about. And it was all good and well.
Then, after the halfway point, Ergo Proxy began to fall apart.
Before this point, the writers decided to have many episodes take place in peoples' heads, so that you couldn't tell whether the entire episode had actually happened or not, or whether or not it actually had any bearing on what was going on. I thought this was just a phase, but that turned out to not be the case. You really couldn't tell what was going on during these episodes -- I had a friend who was, shall we say, not sober watching this with me, and even he couldn't figure out what the hell was going on (up till then, he had been able to do it). It really frustrated me, because this felt like a waste of the show's amazing potential.
Meanwhile, the show did what I always fear might happen in this situation, and pulled a Rozen Maiden, refusing to address any of the mysteries it had spent so much time building up, and kept on building up more and more mysteries.
And the story was depressing enough already, but then it took turns into just plain creepy, and that didn't help its case at all.
By the end of it all, it rivaled Rozen Maiden for the things it left untouched, and Nishi no Yoki Majo: Astraea Testament for the way it rather clumsily concluded things.
Overall, the second half of the show left a really bitter taste in my mouth. And it hurts to say that, because this show had SO much potential, and came so highly recommended to me by people on here who I really respect, and mainly for the story, too.
Looking at my favorite episodes for this series is really telling, as of the eight that I really liked in this series, seven of them came before the halfway point (about episode fourteen or fifteen), and only one came from after that.
However, it does win some points back for its use of obscure references to literature and mythology and several other things. And for Pino, who is the cutest damn thing ever, without being annoying.
Art: The art for this series is absofuckinglutely beautiful. The animation is amazingly smooth, and the 2D merges beautifully with the 3D, to the point where it's difficult to differentiate between the two. The character designs are absolutely amazingly and beautifully done, especially (and for the record, I maintain that Re-L's design is based off of Amy Lee of Evanesence). There's overwhelmingly darker, bleaker tones used here, but it works really well with the story.
Also, props for them getting the style right in a later episode, which is more or less a parody of Disney, and closely mimicks Disney's animation techniques.
No problems here.
Music: I honestly didn't notice the background music for this series. I'm currently in the process of finding the two OSTs, so I may update this later.
However, I'm really happy with the OP and ED. The OP was done by a Japanese rock group, sung in all English, and really good English, too. The ED is Radiohead's "Paranoid Android". If you don't know this song, you are a failure to the human race and need to go and find it and listen to it. NOW.
Seiyuu: Sanae Kobayashi (Eleanor Campbell in Victorian Romance Emma and Lucy/Nyuu in Elfen Lied) has a role in this, which was really nice. Otherwise, no other voices that I recognize, and good acting, all around.
Length: I honestly think that Ergo Proxy could've done to cut out maybe four or five episodes. Perhaps some of the mind-fucks that didn't really serve to do anything besides screw with your head. Either that, or rework those episodes so that they at least take care of some of the mysteries.
Any longer and I probably would've dropped it.
Overall: An amazing story that starts out good, but falls apart by the time the end comes around, whose length probably could've been toyed with, but, to its credit, has beautiful animation, solid seiyuu and a good OP/ED.
Overall: 41/50; 82% (B )