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Ergo Proxy: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT ANime DVD Review)

August 24, 2012 by  



“Ergo Proxy” is a smart and slow-paced anime series that gets better and better with each episode.  For those who enjoy complex anime series with a darker cyberpunk theme and a storyline that requires your full attention, will find “Ergo Proxy” to be entertaining, smart  and worth watching.  Another welcomed addition into Funimation’s “Anime Classic” lineup!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Ergo Proxy: The Complete Series

DURATION: 23 Episodes (575 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, Japanese and English Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV M

Release Date: August 28, 2012

Directed by Shukou Murase

Screenplay by Dai Sato, Junichi Matsumoto, Naruki Nagakawa, Seiko Takagi, Yuuko Kawabe, Yuusuke Asayama

Music by Yoshihiro Ike

Character Design by Naoyuki Onda

Art Director: Kazumasa Satou, Toshiyuki Yamashita

Art by Takashi Aoi

Anime Production: Manglobe

Featuring the following voice talent:

Akiko Yajima/Rachel Hirschfeld as Pino

Koji YusaLiam O’Brien as Vincent Law

Rie Saitou/Karen Thompson as Real Mayar

Hikaru Hanada/Patrick Seitz as Raul Creed

Houchu Ohtsuka/Dameon Clarke as Proxy One

Kiyomitsu Mizuuchi/Travis Willingham as Iggy

Sachiko Kojima/Carrie Savage as Monad

Sanae Kobayashi/Yuri Lowenthal as Daedalus Yumeno

The domed city of Romdo is an impenetrable would-be utopia where humans and robots coexist, and everything is under complete government control – or so it appears. While working on a mysterious murder case, Re-l Mayer, a female detective from the Civilian Intelligence Office, receives a foreboding message that something is going to “awaken.” That night, she’s attacked by a deformed super-being…

What was this unidentified monster that attacked her, and who was the figure that came in between them? As Re-l attempts to unlock this spiraling mystery, a metaphysical battle cry leads her to the unknown outside world.

What happens when the world that you knew…was all a lie?

This is the story of “Ergo Proxy”, an anime series produced by Manglobe and aired in Japan back in 2006 but also featured in America via Fuse TV.

Directed by Shukou Murase (“Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”, “Nadia – The Secret of Blue Water”, “Gasaraki”, “Ronin Warriors”), the anime series features character designs by Naoyuki Onda (“Berserk” “Blue Gender: The Warrior”, “Gantz”), art by Takashi Aoi (“Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”, “Black Rock Shooter”, “Hellsing”, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”) and music by Yoshihiro Ike (“Freedom”, “SaiKano”, “Blood: The Last Vampire”).

Originally released on DVD in several volumes by Geneon back in 2007, “Ergo Proxy” will be re-released in the U.S. in a complete DVD set in August 2012 courtesy of FUNimation as part of its anime classics lineup.

“Ergo Proxy” is a sci-fi anime series that is set in the future where humans and androids known as AutoReivs, coexist in peace in the domed city of Romdeau (Romdo).  Due to a global ecologic disaster a thousand years ago, to everyone in Romdeau, they are kept in a dome for their protect because no one can live outside it.

But murders by robots and AutoRieves that are infected by the Cogito virus have started to grow in the city.  Why are AutoRieves become self-aware and who is releasing this Cogito virus and for what purpose?

Meanwhile, Re-l Mayer, an Inspector of the Citizen Intelligence Bureau is responsible in finding out why the AutoRieves are killing.  Daughter of Donov Mayer, the Regent of Romdeau, she is a proud young woman who will do anything to solve these murders.  So, together with Vincent Law of Romdeau’s AutoReiv Control Division, their job is to hunt and dispose infected AutoReivs.

But one day, Re-l comes face to face with a humanoid monster known as Proxy.  She is then attacked at her home by two of them.

When she awakens, no one believes that she has encountered monsters.  While she has a perfect memory of what had happened, it appears that no one believes her or has any memories of what has taken place.  Even her AutoReiv Iggy had its memory deleted and to make things worse, her father has taken her out of the investigation.  Making Re-l wonder why people are lying to her.

Vincent Law is then seen running away from a killer Proxy. And while running, he comes across a humanoid AutoReiv named Pino who has an appearance of a young girl.  Pinois infected with the virus but instead of being like others who kill, she chooses to help Vincent.

As Re-l goes to meet with Vincent who is scared for his life and not sure why he is being followed, both are attacked.  Depressed about his life and being wanted, Vincent jumps for his life outside of the dome to kill himself.

When he awakens, he finds out that he is outside of the dome in a city where other humans live.  This is shocking to Vincent as they were raised in Romdeau to believe no life can exist outside of the dome, but yet, he sees it with his own eyes.

Meanwhile, Re-l wants to look for Vincent, believing he is still alive and with the help of her friend Daedalus Yumeno, the chief physician leading the Proxy Research Team and Director of the Division of Health and Welfare, she tries to find answers of the monster that she came face-to-face with.

While Re-l tries to look for Vincent, the newly appointed Director-General of the Citizen Security Bureau is also searching for more information regarding Re-l and Vincent.  He has a secret distaste for the ruling order of Romdeau and his mentality starts to fail him for some apparent reason.

As Re-l risks her life to go outside of Romdeau and leave the domed city looking for Vincent Law, she is surprised that a city with human inhabitants are living outside of Romdeau.  She is shocked that life could exist, when all this time, she and many in Romdeau are taught that life is not possible outside of the domed city.  But she also sees it with her own eyes and wonders why her grandfather and the ruling order have lied about this.

And now she seeks answers to find out the truth, but knowing that if she reveals any signs of investigating the matter, she is taking a risk.

The evidence of life outside of Romdeau has now becoming a goal for Re-l and for Vincent who is outside of Romdeau, his goal is to find out his true nature and why he is able to heal so quickly.  But for some reason, why are the Proxies weaponizing themselves and what plan does Raul have for the city of Romdeau?  And why is Vincent the key to figuring out what is going on with the Proxies.

What will Re-l discover as she continues her secret investigation?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Ergo Proxy” is presented in 16×9 widescreen with audio in English 5.1 surround, English DTS 5.1 surround and Japanese 5.1 surround.

The video quality is pretty good.  While the series tends to showcase a dark background outside of Romdeau with art backgrounds that compliment a world where it seems nothing exists.  A lot of purple, black, brown and gray are used to showcase the post-apocalyptic scenery.  The character designs may seem a bit simplistic compared to other series but it is different compared to other series that made it a bit fresh.  But I do feel the character design of Re-l was pretty cool and for the most part, this is a series that is more story-based and artwork that compliments it.

But the art backgrounds are nicely painted.  Some mechanical designs and structures are well-painted.  Some scenes tend to have its fair share of banding and artifacts as expected on DVD, but for the most part, the series does look good for its age.

As for the soundtrack, the DTS soundtrack is great on DVD as you hear more dynamic range and the sound effects during the more active action sequences take advantage of the surround channels.  Dialogue is clear as with the music but I was surprised by how immersive this soundtrack was on DVD.  It would have been great to hear a lossless soundtrack if released on Blu-ray, but I was quite amazed by how good the soundtrack was!

And I also have to compliment the music.  Music by Monoral and Radiohead was fantastic and the dark composition by Yoshiko Ike was also amazing and rather fitting for this type of series.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ergo Proxy: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Featurette 01: Key Words of Ergo Proxy – (3:33)  Three keywords to understand of “Ergo Proxy”.
  • Featurette 002: Behind the Scenes – (4:33) A behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the series at manglobe, Inc.
  • Featurette 003: English Staff Interview – (32:24) Featuring interviews with the U.S. staff discussing the voice direction and English script.
  • Promo Trailer Full Version
  • Promo Trailer Half Version
  • Promo Trailer Quarter Version
  • Commercial Full Version
  • Commercial Half Version
  • Commercial Quarter Version
  • Textless Opening #1
  • Textless Opening #2
  • Trailers – Funimation Trailers

 

Rarely do you come across anime these days, especially those that are released in the U.S., that are serious, dark and a bit complex.

Back in 2006, “Ergo Proxy” was a bit of a surprise when first watched it because when you watch the first half of the series, you wonder if the series revolves around Re-l, but the more you watch, it’s a story about Re-l and Vincent Law.  Two people searching answers about the world, about the proxies and eventually discovering more and more until they learn about themselves.

The dark atmosphere of “Ergo Proxy” lends to its appeal but its characters and their circumstances are what makes this slow-pace anime series quite captivating.  It’s not a series that has a lot of answers earlier on.  In fact, each episode builds upon the episode before it and its complexities lies within its philosophical interpretation.

The first half may seem like your kept in the dark and with each discovery in an episode, you still feel that there are many more answers that have yet to be discovered and you stick with the anime series in hopes to find out more of who the humans are fighting, who is this long white-haired Ergo proxy, what is Raul trying to accomplish and what are the destinies that lie ahead for Re-l and Vincent.

As for the DVD release, it’s great for Funimation to bring this series back once again.  Back in 2007-2008, these were released as separate volumes and special editions did come with a soundtrack.  But back then, it was a bit pricey to collect this entire series until now.  You get the full complete series as part of Funimation’s “Animated Classics” lineup (although, not sure if I can count anime series released in 2006 as “classic”), so for those who missed the series last time because of price, now you can get the entire series on one DVD release.

Overall, “Ergo Proxy” is a smart and slow-paced anime series that gets better and better with each episode. Each episode is continued one after the other, so if you are an impatient viewer, then this anime may not be for you.  Answers are not really revealed until later in the series and one can hope that there is a sequel in the near future because some questions have yet to be answered.

For those who enjoy complex anime series with a darker cyberpunk theme and a storyline that requires your full attention, will find “Ergo Proxy” to be entertaining, smart  and worth watching.  Another welcomed addition into Funimation’s “Anime Classic” lineup!

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