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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.

More Reviews

comments

skrotkanon avatar skrotkanon
Apr 1, 2010

I as about to write a review but since this one more or less mirrors my thought on it exactly I'd rather not. It really did start out amazing but the longer it drags on the worse it gets. That episode in the bookstore was mindbogglingly bad.

So great review.

MonickerL avatar MonickerL
Mar 10, 2010

Great review!  I wanted so badly to like this series, but in the end it was too much of a mess.  And this is coming from someone who followed Serial Experiments Lain

dakotasapphire avatar dakotasapphire
Feb 14, 2010

Can i say something?

Well to be exact, this review is terrible in ways but grand in others.

Now, we all watch anime to relax right, this anime was made for those who want something violent, and superpowerful supernatural, apoctliyptic things. Now if the characters were all fully mature that would take all the story out, i mean this anime is about 3 creatures, one human, one proxy, and one robot, trying to get along with each other, it also talks about the end of the world begning again and thier existance just a "hurdle" the world has to go over to get by, Now i strongly disagree on an episode being interally based on one character, because this helps people to get to know the characters more and the story more.

I agree with some things, i as a musican my self love the music, it goes great with the show.

The animation should of gotten a better review, re-l was drawn like that because of the story, and pino and vincinet have only one outfit so they would stay the same, and vincent changes from time to time, so re-l is just ok.

Anyways i don't think the writters were trying to make all the characters, always intelligent, thier only things with emotions and the main characters aren't suppose to be real intelligent, some people in the show were doctors and police men, yes that does make sense that they are intelligent, but they were not being themselfs like pino, re-l, and vincent.

DrWebbwerX avatar DrWebbwerX
Jan 11, 2010

seriously story 3 - maybe even 2...

Alucard1 avatar Alucard1
Oct 16, 2009

I loved the anime, although I have not seen Ghost in the Shell, which seems to be the major problem. The "random" episodes were not random to me; the story clarified that those episodes were in fact "battles" with the other proxies. In the Quiz Game episode, the chairman was in fact a proxy that Vincent battled with. Only that battle was fought with seemingly random questions; in effect, it was a battle of the wits. In the Smile Land episode, it was clearly stated that another proxy was involved, but i do not want to ruin the entire episode by disclosing too much.

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