Ergo Proxy, while having its moments of promise, ultimately reveals the poverty of designing a series to fit a particular length. With an attention demanding initial episode, and some standard of quality until episode 3, it can be hard to stop watching, even as the series reveals that it didn't really have an idea where it was going after all.
Ergo Proxy takes place in an interesting world, where societies are maintained within domes dotting the wasteland the earth has become. The beginning episode of Ergo Proxy promptly inspired me to continue to the second, as it set a distinctive feel, introduced a variety of curiosity inspiring characters, and elements in the world that seemed well implemented.
However massive flaws boil up after the third episode, which could have been a powerful springboard into the middle of the series. Instead the series opts to, literally, wander around up until the last two episodes. Episodes are very inconsistent, the only thing that the middle ones could be alleged to accomplish would be developing the characters. I would argue that in reality they weaken the characters, and literally remove any legitimacy the plot has.
By that I mean that the story loses all sense of pacing, focusing on emotionless and boring fights between monsters, episode-long Evangelionesque inner dialogues(repeated several times), and at time some of the most inappropriately placed standalone possible.
The reason for this is obvious, and has been stated by those responsible for the series. The first three episodes(the only ones with any structure in their story) were all that was designed before the anime's production. Thus only the first 3 episodes and the last 2 which attempt to pull it all together have anything to do with the main story. Does the overarching story make sense? Sure it does, but that does not excuse the drastic drop in quality, unneeded episodes dedicated to sounding intelligent, or the numerous episodes which come and go with no explanation to how the characters entered or exited the situation within that episode.
Ergo Proxies animation is amazing at the beginning of the series, but deteriorates significantly after episode 1, and after episode 3 it is actually rather subpar, with some episodes of acceptable quality. The soundtrack is repetitive, but fairly good despite the scenes it is set to. I'm personally not a fan of the opening or ending, but this is just my preference, as I don't feel they match the feel of the series.
While the templates for characters provided early on are interesting, and there are several obscured by mystery, they all become extremely tiring as their behaviors are endlessly repeated and it is revealed that their development will be nonexistent. Lil is a bitch and little more. She provides the role of the main character, whose entourage(robot partner) is consistently more entertaining. Despite what the creators would have you believe, bitchiness is not profound.
Vincent Law is the typical outcast male lead role with a twist. He has an incredibly amount of inner dialogue which spans episodes. Furthermore his feelings towards Lil are awkwardly expressed but never explored. The only somewhat believable relationship is that between him and Pino, who is an enjoyable character, primarily in contrast to the rest of the mediocre lineup.
There are quite a few characters that exist for only an episode, which isn't to it's benefit, especially considering many of them are monsters. While some characters have their moments, like Raul, and Daedalus serves his purpose, you cant help but feel they didn't reach their potential.
Ergo Proxy has a plot to be sure, but one that could not be stretched over 23 episodes in the way that it was. As it stands, episodes 1-3 were that of a solid series, and episodes 22-23 were the conclusion. This means the other 18 were primarily filler, or at the best poorly structured character development. On top of the filler, some of the standalone episodes were very comedic and out of place in the bleak setting of Ergo Proxies world. Had the series been a 12 episode short series, with the journey segment heavily refined the anime would have been a far more impressive feature. As it stands Ergo is a false advertiser while promising greatness it did not know how to reach.