In a future where the world has been ravaged by a nuclear apocalyse, there exists salvation in a domed city named “Romdeau”, where humans and their android servants, the autoreivs, live in. Under the implementation of complete management control, it is a paradise where feelings are literally discarded, and the governing council dictates the way of life the citizens should live. But this utopian landscape is soon broken by a series of mystifying murders.
Re-l Mayar, a female inspector from the Citizen Information Bureau, along with her autoreiv partner Iggy, are tasked to solve the murder cases. However, she is soon attacked by a creature drawn to her which is neither human nor android, and learns about the mysterious phenomena called “Awakening”, an event which draws her further into the case…and to the world beyond the limits of Romdeau.
Ergo Proxy is a beautifully animated sci-fi suspense anime that is steeped in mystery and unanswered questions, all which the main protagonists, namely Re-l, Vincent Law and Pino, set out to solve over the course of this spellbinding 23 episode anime series. It is directed by Shukou Murase, with screenplay by Dai Sato et al. Ergo Proxy features a combination of 2D digital cell animation, 3D computer modeling and digital special effects. The series has both steampunk and cyberpunk elements and focuses heavily on the psychology and mentality of its protagonists.
It is one of the most gorgeously animated shows to appear on television in quite a while, with detailed character designs, stunning backdrops and a beautifully muted palette all combining into one sublime visual experience. The animation is smooth and the characters expressive facial details adds a whole other level to the artwork. Re-l is easily on of the most beautifully animated female character out there. The mesh of 2D and 3D together with various digital special effects is so well done that one cant help but feel they are watching a high budget feature film instead of a normal straight to TV release.
The voice acting is particularly strong and everything is complemented by a beautifully constructed soundtrack. The musical taste of the show flirts heavily with Western influences, so much so that even Radiohead gets a nod in with their Paranoid Android as the closing title track.
Ergo Proxy is a heavy-handed philosophical anime that needs to be watched carefully in order to grasp the full extent of the themes being pushed forward. However, it story is interspersed with burst of raw action sequences that can only be described as breathtaking and an ending sequence that will literally make you skin tingle. In fact, the series boasts a really satisfying ending for a change, something not usually associated with anime titles. Amongst all these story elements, the show even manages to devote episodes to the mundane happenings of life as it focuses on characters and their specific mentalities.
My only real gripe with the show is the purposeful obfuscation that Dai Sato throws into the script, purposefully losing you and advancing you in the story without specifically filling in the missing bits. Also, his penchant for experimental episodes (for example the gameshow episode and the cartoon characters episode) detract more than what they add to the series.
Still, this is a breathtakingly stunning title and highly recommended to all mature anime watchers.