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Ergo Proxy Review

by: sothis
July 6, 2007

story 3/10

Ergo Proxy screenshot

Ahh, Ergo Proxy. You stole my heart like a thief in the night and promised such visions of grandeur that I could hardly wait to see what came next. Why, oh why, must you have disappointed me so?

There are so many things wrong with Ergo Proxy that it's hard to begin. First, the parallels between it and Ghost in the Shell: Innocence are eerily uncanny; both have an empty and vacuous excuse of a story, combined with stunning visuals to distract you from the blatant stench. The problem is that while GITS2 was terrible from the get-go, Ergo Proxy begins with a drool-inducing bang that ends up being nothing but incredibly false advertising. It's boring, it's slow, and like the chalked-up goth teenager who won't shut up about his pain and suffering, Ergo Proxy tries desperately to sound intelligent and mature but rather comes off as pretentious, obnoxious, and is the root of much eye rolling.

For clarification, consider the following: Ergo Proxy's first episode is gorgeous, badass, and promising beyond belief. Reminiscent of a hybrid between Hellsing, Ghost in the Shell and Witch Hunter Robin, one can't help but be drawn into its world, fiending for more. However, then the rest of the "story" kicks in, complete with both a lack of movement, and a lack of enough caffeine pills in existence to keep any sane person awake and functional. There are way WAY too many episodes dedicated to a single character performing an inner dialogue with himself over and over and over, discussing the fact that he doesn't know who he is. Imagine Evangelion episodes 25 and 26, but only a single person, and then repeat it throughout at least 6 episodes of the series. OK guys, we saw it once - why must we see it a billion more times?

Gee, what else? The creators tried so very hard to make the dialogue sound "intelligent" that it fails miserably. Also, any semblance of "plot", with the exception of the last few episodes of the series, is revealed only during one-off episodes which have nothing to do with the story (such as a random game show episode). But wait, don't get excited! The cluster fuck of an ending does nothing except raise even more questions, and ultimately does nothing for you.

So, in summary, the story is a complete let down on basically every level, period. Do yourself a favor: don't assume that just because you saw and liked episode 1, that you either know what the series is about or will like it for sure.  

animation 7/10

What Ergo Proxy is lacking in story, it makes up with the gorgeous visual imagery. Fans of cyberpunk will appreciate the detailed computer consoles, dark appearance and attention to detail. In the cyberpunk and gothic regard, Ergo Proxy is PERFECT. Everything is sleek, sexy, and stunning.

That being said, I have some major problems with the character designs. First of all, Re-l is too much of a Michael Jackson impersonator for my tastes - meaning, her facial design changes so much from episode to episode that it's mind boggling. In some episodes, she looks gorgeous. In other episodes, her facial features appear to have been scribbled on by a three-year-old child. It also doesn't help that the majority of the secondary male characters look exactly the same, as that makes the "story" all the more confusing. The Proxies' designs are great, though... as are the backgrounds. More detail definitely could have gone into the character designs and outside-the-city backgrounds and environments, however.

sound 9/10

Industrial music is my roots; thus, Ergo Proxy's unusual industrial and dark electronica soundtrack suits my tastes perfectly. If you've listened to any older Delerium albums, that's the kind of music you can expect. I lowered the score by a point because of the travesty that is the OSTs: there are two and they are long and amazing; so why is it that only three to four songs total are repeated over and over throughout the entire series? Where are the rest of the songs? Not only does this not showcase the music director's genius, but it also makes the few songs you hear repetitive and semi-annoying after awhile.

MONORAL's "Kiri" as the opening is amazing and enthralling. Not since Stellvia of the Universe have I chosen to listen to an intro song each time an episode starts.

characters 4/10

Like the story, Ergo Proxy tries really, really hard to be deep and meaningful with the character development, and fails. There are a few relationships being explored: Vincent and his relationship with his inner psyche and memories, Vincent and Re-l, and the education of the young and infected autoreiv known as Pino.

As previously mentioned, Vincent's incessant inner dialogues are tedious and tiring. Re-l and Vincent's relationship seems forced and awkward, and Pino, though the only form of comic relief to be found, still manages to be obnoxious with her endless third-person speak.

Ultimately, the trainwreck that is Ergo Proxy's "intelligent" plot managed to destroy any possibility of good or believable character development - especially with the rushed and forced ending.

overall 4/10

Ergo Proxy is easily one of the greatest let-downs I've had, out of the 600 or so anime I've seen up to the point. Had the first episode been structured like the rest of the series, I wouldn't have given it the time of day. A poor story, weak character development and inconsistent animation make Ergo Proxy an almost worthless viewing in every way. The soundtrack is amazing and the cyberpunk elements are fantastic, but there just isn't enough to warrant a good recommendation. Though people either seem to love or hate Ergo Proxy, I'm convinced that people who can see through fluffy pseudo-intellectual babble would agree with the latter folks. Unless you are completely set on watching this anime, stay away.

Anime Info

In a futuristic world almost barren of life, mankind is confined to mechanized domed cities where A.I.’s control all aspects of life. In this world, humans are no longer born, they are manufactured in a production line; and alongside them live androids known as autoreivs. Within one of these domed sanctuaries named Romdeau lives Re-l Mayer, one of a few citizens who aren’t entirely prevented from thinking. Her grandfather's prominent position and the affection of the scientist Daedalus have left her more free will than is normally allowed, but Re-l has started to question the sanctity of the city and the citizens' perfect way of life. With mysterious beings known as proxies causing havoc and a man named Vincent causing great influence on her life, Re-l must travel outside of the city to find the answers she seeks and discover the mystery behind "the awakening".


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About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

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comments

PhantomPhreek avatar PhantomPhreek
Dec 24, 2010

This review is SOO wrong!..Never expected one of sothis's reviews to be this...well...wrong..

l33tmomiji avatar l33tmomiji
Oct 12, 2010

How people get away with saying Ergo Proxy has weak character development is something I will never be able to comprehend.

I think, that of all the anime I have seen, the character development in Ergo Proxy is by far one of the top few.

The characters progress in a steady, believable way, without pretending to be anything they aren't.

Their relationships with each other, their reactions to the situations they are in, the steady way in which they develop and what instigates each development, are actually plausible. Making them deep, solid characters that, though they aren't all trying to be the hero, or even trying to be like-able, you can still understand them, follow their thought patterns, and empathise with them.

I too will assume you did not completely understand Ergo Proxy Sothis, passing it off as "fluffy pseudo-intellectual babble" initially alluded to this, but if you did not see the relevance of the game show episode there is no way you could have understood the foundation of Ergo Proxy's setting and story.

If you passed that episode off as ridiculous and random (as I did the first time round) without paying attention, there is no way you could fully understand Ergo Proxy's story.

The soundtrack, especially KIRI as the opening IS amazing yes...but somehow...you didn't like Pino.

The most like-able character from any anime I have ever seen.

Mind you Sothis, from the comments and reviews of yours I have read, I already know our opinions are, 99% of the time, complete opposites.

Personally I gave Ergo Proxy a definite 10/10. And I'm not extremely liberal with my 10's.

Thall avatar Thall
Aug 6, 2010

I agree with Shadow2k10. it's not the greatest show in the world, but it absolutely merited much more than this score.

@sothis : i'll assume you didn't understand certain episodes...

but regardless of your so-called "trying to be intelligent" failures, i thought it was succesful in being an interesting and thought-provoking anime.

also, is it really hard to pay attention while watching this? granted i watched it a long time ago, but i payed attention fine I don't see why you had any problems.

AnimalSoldier avatar AnimalSoldier
May 27, 2010

I couldnt agree with a review more. Spot on! This was the first time i listened to the intro of an anime every episode...

Shadow2k10 avatar Shadow2k10
May 27, 2010

Completely disagree with everything in this review, most of what you've said and complained about stems from the fact you've failed to understand the meaning behind most of the episodes.It's a bit sad that you say some of theepisodes have no meaning and that the ending just raised questions - because the ending in itself was a masterpiece even though it would've been nice to have been drawn out a bit longer.

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