Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ergo Proxy Review

Ergo Proxy
I Think, Therefore I am Confused

Ergo Proxy is a sci-fi/drama anime TV series that aired on Japanese TV in late 2006. Geneon recently released it on DVD in North America, for our viewing pleasure. Created by the studio Manglobe, famous for the hit anime show "Samurai Champloo", this series was directed by Shukō Murase, the director of "Witch Hunter Robin". And that’s not the only component Ergo Proxy shares with its brethren. The style, tone, and atmosphere are all reminiscent of Witch Hunter Robin, which is, to say the least, a good thing. As a dark, gloomy, and gritty anime, this 23 episode series written by Dai Satō follows an inspector from the Civilian Intelligence Office in the city of Romdo. Our leading woman, R-el Mayer, starts off investigating a string of murders under the suspicion that they were committed by androids. During her investigation, Mayer is attacked by a monster. The anime follows her attempting to figure out just what a Proxy is, the mysteries of Romdo, and the secrets of planet they live on. The plot is very deep, delving into philosophy and psychology quite often. The attention to detail, character designs and background are all of high quality. This is nothing short of breathtaking artwork, it makes us feel like pausing the DVD just to admire how beautiful, yet horrendously dark each scene is.

Just about the coolest looking anime character out there, Mayer is the epitome of gothic style, rocking crazy blue eyeliner and dark clothes, she is destined to go up there with many other famous anime character icons. Yet this anime isn’t just about Mayer, it’s also about an immigrant named Vincent Law, and his journey with an android named Pino who discovers the truths of his past, and “open his eyes” to the world. Vincent is an immigrant who was accused of a crime he states he had nothing to do with, and was being chased down by the government of Ramdo, and also by a Proxy. He decides he has no choice but to leave the city, to discover the truth about his past, and the secrets of the Proxies that keep finding him. His journey ends up criss-crossing with Mayer a few times before they finally end up traveling together looking for the truth. And did we mention that Pino is just about the cutest thing ever drawn?

The plot is very complex, and occasionally goes a bit John Nash on us. Obviously this anime is about the many mysteries of their world, and not everything is going to be understood by the first few episodes, but the way this starts off may be a little too overwhelming for viewers, and might incite some confusion. Still by the middle of the anime, it all starts to make sense, as we put the pieces of the puzzle together. The plot is very slow paced at times, almost dragging the viewer by the ending, yet never crossing the line into boring. Radiohead's work also makes an appearance in the show, adding an extra layer of depth to the anime's complexity.

Ergo Proxy is a refreshing mature anime that does not pander to the kiddies, nor fill itself with so much gore, blood, and sex that it pretends to be mature. So chalk up another win for Dai Satō.

3/4 Stars

- Written by Mike (Prede)
-Edited by Elke
- Originally posted on April 4th, 2009
*Official Planetzot Review*

1 comment:

  1. While I liked "Witch Hunter Robin" a lot, this one left me cold. Unsure what to make of this show. Design aspect was fantastic, if a little too dark. Story wise, I didn't fully understand what the hell was going on or why. Bits of it had me intrigued, but it really felt like there were great big chunks of missing story between some episodes. The Disney episode was really silly as was the game show. Surely they could have thought up a better way to explain what had happened to the Earth. Frustrating is probably the only way I can describe the show.

    Actually I finished watching "Texhnolyze" yesterday and felt that both shows were really similar in terms of overall plot. Except "Ergo Proxy" is a much more superior show, and a damn sight more happier.