|A great, but flawed cyberpunk series.||5 out of 5 users found this review helpful.|
I never really payed attention to Ergo Proxy when it came out as I really didn’t care for this type of shows, it was only after I rewatched Ghost in the Shell that I got interested, and I’m glad I did, because even though it’s not perfect or a must-watch I had a pretty good time with it.
The series, directed by Murase Shuko (Mobile Suit Gundam Wing) takes place in a futuristic society called Romdeau, a place where humans and robots coexist and is supposed to be a paradise for its habitants. Re-I Mayer, a member of the Citizen Intelligence Bureau and granddaughter to the representative of Romdeau is sent to investigate a series of murder supposedly committed by Robots infected with the Cogito virus, a virus that makes robots become aware of their own existence. During her investigation she encounters a monster, which she later finds out is called Proxy. She then meets an immigrant named Vincent Law, a person who’s driven to become a model citizen but has a mysterious past that involves the Proxy. Now, Re-I has to overcome a series of psychological dramas to find out the truth behind Vincent and the Proxy.
That’s the plot in a nutshell, and in and off itself it’s pretty good; however, it’s confusing and it gets more complicated and hard to follow as the series progresses. But somehow I feel that maybe that was on purpose, like the creators were trying way too hard to confuse the viewers and that ends up hurting the end result, making the story weak, pretentious and giving it a feeling that it’s building up to something that never really happens.
The great thing about the story though is the characters, all of them have great personalities and they’re easy to get emotionally attached to, even if you don’t feel the same for the overall plot. The best ones are the little cogito-infected android Pino who is charming, innocent and cute and Re-I, who starts off as the protagonists but takes a secondary spot as the series starts to focus on Vincent, which sucks because she’s incredibly awesome. As I watched, I noticed that many of the characters borrowed from characters of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, but they have enough differences to make them unique.
Speaking of Ghost in the Shell, Ergo Proxy has a lot of things that reminded me of it. And it’s no surprise since they were both written by Satō Dai, a mastermind who also wrote classic animes like Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain, Samurai Champloo and Eureka Seven. Both shows take place in corrupted futuristic utopias, both have badass female law enforcers trying to find out the truth behind a problem as protagonists, both have psychological drama and they belong to the Cyberpunk genre. Not only that but they both have similar structure since they’re both composed of a main storyline and a series of stand alone episodes, the difference here being that the stand alone episodes in Ergo Proxy are actually related to the main plot.
While this worked fantastically for GitS: SAC, it makes a mess out of Ergo Proxy because these episodes are not pulled out well. For example there’s an episode that takes place in a Who Wants to be a Millionaire-type of game where the three main characters are playing, and while it includes a few hints to the main story, it feels completely pointless to have it there. And there are a few others like that, they feel unnecessary and in the end they only ruin not only the pacing, but also the overall quality of the series.
The art style and animation of the series are a pleasure to watch because it’s gorgeous. My jaw literally dropped when watching some of the scenes, they are absolutely mesmerizing and the few action sequences are also fantastically well done; there just aren’t many series that look as good as this one does.
The music is another high point of the show. It’s just epic and makes even the dullest of moments feel epic as well. The opening is great too, the ending…not so much.
Even with all the flaws in the story and the few dull and boring as hell episodes, Ergo Proxy is still enjoyable to watch, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but if you can keep up with the story and tolerate the fact that it tries incredibly hard to confuse the viewer then a pretty good experience awaits you.