Monday, March 12, 2007

Ergo Proxy Review

(Picture credit - Boogybro)

Well, I decided that for part of my vacation, which I'm still enjoying, I would do a marathon run of all 23 episodes of Ergo Proxy. Well, while this may not have been my best decision ever, since both my eyes and mind feel in pain now, I do have to say that I was really glad I got to sit down and watch this show in full.

If you read my second post, then you know I first saw this in one of the viewing rooms at Daigacon, and was initially quite impressed. Little did I know at the time that when I said there might be a possible review in the future that it'd be the very near future. Regardless, here I am to give you more then just my thoughts on the first 2 episodes, as I had done, but my thoughts on the whole of Ergo Proxy, spoiler-free.

Begin the review...

Well, as any good reviewer knows, it's best to start out with the plot...

The story takes place sometime in the future, where Earth has undergone apocolyptic trauma. However, certain parts of Earth seem to maintain a relatively, almost high-end lifestyle, such as can be found in dome city of Romdo. In Romdo, we see a vast technological gap between our own moder technology since robots, known as AutoReivs, play an integral part in the city of Romdo, acting as companions and workers, among other things. In this city, we find our heroine Real (pronounced real), and what a heroine indeed.

Re-l Mayer is the grandaugther of the Regent of Romdo who is essentially the head of state. Real herself, fitting her somewhat fiery personality, is a investigator in the Citizen Intelligence Bureau. While she doesn't seem to like her life in the city too much, everything is fairly normal and relatively routine, as her job mostly consists of destroying AutoReivs that have achieved self-awareness, through what is known the Cogito virus. Yes, not your average lifestyle, but for all we see it suits her.

The other main character, the oh-so timid Vincent Law, is an immigrant who is working with infected AutoReivs as well, fulfilling his duty to Romdo so as to achieve citizenship. During one of his jobs he meets Re-l while she's on duty. Of course this meeting, and everything else at the time seems fairly normal, but little does Re-l, Vincent, nor most of the citizens know that the state leaders have been investigating a monstrous-looking being known as proxy, and not only that, but early on in the show it escapes.

Shortly thereafter, we are led on a tale of matrix-like proportions, filled with mystery, intrigue, action, and enough mind warps to pacify even the most die-hard Lewis Carrol fans.

Overall, I'd have to say that unlike many fans who have reviewed this after watching the complete show, I was pretty hooked all the way thru. What initially grabbed me was the quality of the animation, which was very well done indeed, even when not on a projector as my first viewings were. The styling is very dark all around, and there are many action/fight sequences where the designers get to show off their craft, and do so with gusto. (That's right, I said gusto) Although, the artistic beauty is often more simple that fight scenes, as the design of Re-l herself is particularly stunning (what can I say?), and the autoraves are also very cool, albeit quirky.

In terms of story, the first couple episodes definitely kick you off to a rocking start, and while there are times later, many times, where the episodes are really just one halluconeginic trip after another, in general I was very pleased by the story and it's progression. I do have to say though there were certain of these acid-trip episodes, such as 15 and 19, where, while they are referenced a couple of times later, they seemed mostly like 'filler' for the story, and not actually beneficial content, although I'll let you be the judge on that. Lastly, and I remind you that this is spoiler free, when everything kind of falls into place, you're still kind left going "huh?", although I guess if you know what the title of the last episode Deus Ex Machina means, as I do now, then you also kind of understand why (although not exactly...)

All in all, while this is maybe not my favorite of all time (not that my critic self will ever let me ever have one of those), this is definitely a nice, and in my opinion must watch anime that deftly ventures into the post-apocolyptic, cyberpunk genres (Akira & Ghost in the Shell) that have fascinated anime fans all over the world.

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