You know, going into this show, I picture this as a psychological mind-fuck series like Serial Experiments Lain or Texhnolyze but hope to follow some of the storyline better than those two, at least the latter. There is also this sci-fi Blade Runner type going for it. Also notable, this series composition was by known Japanese screenwriter Dai Satō, who’s known for writing for anime, such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, Wolf’s Rain, Tekken: Blood Vengeance & Eureka Seven. He penning this does peg a slight of interest in me to see how the show goes.
Tens of thousands of years ago humans destroyed the atmosphere, lost 85% of the population and had to evacuate Earth. In a hasty attempt to insure the survival of humanity, a human regeneration project was left behind under the care of an unstable management system. In one of the remaining pieces of that project called Romdo City, the proud and cool-minded Re-l Mayer works as an inspector for the Citizen's Intelligence Bureau. During the process of an investigation she meets the earnest and unassuming Vincent Law. Soon after Re-l has a disturbing encounter with a monstrous intruder in her home. Unable to shake the strange feelings she experienced Re-l is drawn into the mystery and terrible fate of the Proxies with which she and Vincent are somehow connected. Together, Re-l and Vincent work to unravel the mystery of Vincent's true identity, the fate of the Proxies and what their future holds now that Earth's atmosphere has finally recovered.
I won’t lie. You might get lost into watching this show and lose some focus into that but that’s not particularly the show’s fault as you might need to watch this show twice in order to get it or if you feel well enough to give it another chance after some time. I admit some episodes are kind of tricky and head-scratching like the game show episode or the one that basically parodies or lampoons Disney characters. I like that this show is a challenge to me, trying to figure out some of the questions in the show when you know you’re not going to get a quick answer that fast.
Sometimes the focus on some characters often switch, as in you think Re-l is the main focus and while she’s not really much of an interesting character (well, actually, she has character traits you can find in other female anime characters like her), she does shine well in the anime overall. Vincent Law was probably a very progressive character as you thought he would be this spineless fugitive on the law but as the show goes; his character development excels from being the little bitch character he was to a more evolved character. Pino is the cute little girl character in the show, possibly to contrast the dark and bleak atmosphere, and yet that factor didn’t become annoying. It helped the show a bit. Other characters like Daedalus went through a 180 change in the show from someone that seems utterly faithful to Re-l to one crazy son of a bitch the next.
Like I said about the setting and the atmosphere, the animation is very dark, bleak, and gray…..and I mean very, very, very gray. The studio in charge of the animation is Manglobe, who you already know made shows like Samurai Champloo & Deadman Wonderland. Most of the time, the bleakness of it will put you to sleep but it fits rightfully within the show’s tone. I will say what most people say about the character design of Re-l and yes, she does like that lead singer from Evanescence….you know, that band that was a thing a long time ago……..I think they are still a thing though.
The music especially fits the tone of the series as it is very ambient and often orchestral in most cases. I really like the opening theme, “Kiri” by Monorail, which is sung in English and I also give props to the ending theme, oddly enough is by Radiohead performing “Paranoid Android” (heh heh, get it? Get it? Get it? Because somebody in the show is a----- OK, I’ll stop now.)
I fully recommend you see this in the English dub from Geneon/New Generation Pictures as it has got amazing performances from Liam O’ Brien (Vincent Law) Megan Hollingshead or by her alias Karen Thompson (Re-l Mayer), Yuri Lowenthal (Daedalus), Rachel Hirschfeld (Pino) and among various voice actors with the bit roles they got.
FINAL VERDICT: This show is quite the challenge to watch but I think some people who want to explore anime deeper than the surface should give this a chance. I just think you really need to have your brain on when watching this. I would say stream it at first and then decide if you want to buy it or not.
In the end, Ergo Proxy gets the final say of: 7.5/10 – HIGH Watchable