Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ergo Proxy

Hmmmmmm. The new series are too new to blog about. I haven't formed a definite opinion of any of them yet. So once again I guess I'll go back and review an old series. The series I picked to review this time is Ergo Proxy.

I liked Ergo Proxy. I watched it three times, and still probably missed nuances. To say the plot was complex would be a massive understatement. I didn't figure out what was going on until the end of the series the first time I watched it. If you've read previous blogs, you know how I love a series that keeps me guessing. This one did that . . . in spades!

Ergo Proxy is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The world is frozen, bleak and inimical to life. The people who are left exist in sterile domes run mostly by computers and robots. The robot population is susceptible to a virus that attacks their logic functions and essentially causes them to go insane. The people mostly live their lives without considering anything outside the domes, and police and laborers deal with the robot population when necessary. The story follows three main characters: a spoiled rich girl named Real (pictured just below), a poor immigrant laborer named Vincent (to the left below in the orange) and a small robot girl child named Pino. Important side characters include the dome's head physician, Daedalus, the chief of police, Raul, and Real's robot companion and guard, Iggy. At the start of the series a monster is loose in the dome and is slaughtering people. Real and Iggy are investigating the murders. Vincent is implicated in them because of several clues and because the monster, known as a "Proxy" chases him specifically. Also wherever Vincent goes another Proxy appears. Vincent ends up chased by the police, and to escape them he leaps from the dome, along with Pino who helps him.

Vincent and Pino survive their leap and find that humans are living outside the dome. Real comes outside to find him, and becomes infected with a virus that kills most poeple who leave the dome. Raul wishes to get rid of both Vincent and Real, however Vincent finds a way to return Real to Daedalus in the dome and at the same time he makes his escape with several other people on a small ship (called the Usagi) that glides above the frozen world using wind power in it's sails. Real's life is saved by Daedalus, and he sends her on a mission to kill Vincent because Vincent is a "Proxy".

Vincent, Pino and a few of the outside colonists travel on the Usagi for weeks across frozen wastes. Along the way everyone succumbs to the cold, loneliness and lack of food until only Pino and Vincent are left. They finally come across another group of people in the remains of twin domes that have been fighting each other for as long as anyone can remember. While there they discover two more Proxies, and Vincent discovers that he himself is a Proxy, a Proxy known as the Ergo Proxy. He has no memory of being this Proxy, but realizes that he becomes Ergo Proxy whenever there is another Proxy present. As Ergo Proxy, he kills these others as though it's his reason for existence.

After Vincent and Pino leave the twin dome ruins, Real and Iggy catch up to them and when Real tries to send Iggy home, he succumbs to the viral insanity and tries to keep Real for himself. He is defeated, and Vincent, Real and Pino continue the travels together, discovering abandoned domes and abandoned and dying populations. They continue on, trying to get to the dome which Vincent came from when he immigrated, looking for answers to what he is and what is going on with the world.

At the same time at the home dome, Daedalus is under house arrest for sending Real on her mission. Daedalus and Raul meet and agree to work together, and it's not until much later that you realize that neither of these men is sane. Along the way, Raul fires a nuclear weapon which destroys Vincent's home dome before Vincent, Real and Pino get there. So at that point the three travelers turn around and head back to the original dome. Raul is pictured to the right and Daedalus is below on the left.

For most of the series there is no explanation of what a Proxy is, and what is going on. Add to that, several of the episodes or parts of episodes occur in the various characters' dreams or states of altered consciousness. Often it is hard to tell what is really happening and what is not. "Reality" is basically subjective. . . or more subjective than usual. It's difficult to accurately portray the ambiance of this series and the detail of the plot. If you've ever seen the movie Blade Runner, that civilization gave me a similar feel to this series. At the end, and believe me, it's much more complex than this, but at the end what it's all about is this: the world was abandoned by the majority of people after they destroyed it, leaving it a frozen waste. The people who abandoned the world left several domed cities of people, with a Proxy in charge of each of them. The Proxies were meant to try to keep a living population alive on the world, but so many centuries passed that Proxies died, went insane and just generally lost their way, and thus most of the domes also died. At the end of the series, Vincent as Ergo Proxy destroys the original dome also, just as the people who abandoned the world begin to return. Real, Vincent/Ergo Proxy and Pino survive and leave the area of the dome on the Usagi, ready to deal with the returning people who abandoned them so long ago.

This series is a psychological tour de force, investigating people's conscious and subconscious minds. Everyone in the series does what they think is the right thing, even Raul when he fires a nuclear weapon, and Daedalus when he keeps cloning Reals. My favorite character in the series is actually Pino, shown here on the right. She's so matter of fact and so accepting of everyone and everything. She knows well before Vincent does that he's Ergo Proxy, and she still stays with him and helps him. In many ways she's more "human" than the humans in the series. Along with the very complex plot, I liked the music in this series and the characters. I could have wished that Raul and Daedalus had lived, but given their lack of sanity at the end, it's probably for the best that they didn't.

Obviously it was a decent series if I watched it three times, but mostly I was trying to understand exactly what was going on. Also, some scenes are so dark that I can only really watch them after it's dark outside if I want to see them at all. This was probably my least favorite thing about the series. I really hate really dark scenes. Togainu no Chi does this also, as does Deadman Wonderland. If you don't want to make something visible, don't put it in the scene, don't just make the scene so dark the viewer can't see it! Mataku!

Anyway, that's Ergo Proxy. I recommend it, but you'll need to pay attention.



  1. Great review, I enjoyed the series very much as well. I wish in went more into the importance of liberation instead of trying to derive meaning from confused the creators.

  2. I agree. This series would have been just as good if it was considerably less confusing.