Ergo Proxy

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Ergo Proxy
ErgoProxyTitle.jpg
The title screen for Ergo Proxy.
エルゴプラクシー
(Erugo Purakushī)
Genre Science fiction, Cyberpunk, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Romance, Neo-noir, Supernatural, Psychological
Anime television series
Directed by Shukō Murase
Written by Dai Satō
Music by Yoshihiro Ike
Studio Manglobe
Licensed by Canada United States Funimation Entertainment
United Kingdom MVM Films
Australia New Zealand Universal Sony Home Pictures Australia
Network WOWOW
English network Australia ABC2
United States Fuse TV
Canada G4techTV Canada
South Africa Animax
Russia 2x2
Original run 25 February 200612 August 2006
Episodes 23 (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Ergo Proxy (エルゴプラクシー Erugo Purakushī?) is a science fiction suspense anime television series, produced by Manglobe, which premiered across Japan on 25 February 2006 on the WOWOW satellite network. It is directed by Shukō Murase, with screenplay by Dai Satō et al.. Ergo Proxy has been described as a dark science fiction mystery with philosophical underpinnings.[1] It features a combination of 2D digital cel animation, 3D computer modeling, and digital special effects.

Plot[edit]

The story begins in a futuristic domed city called Romdeau, built to protect its citizens after a global ecological disaster thousands of years prior. In this utopia, humans and AutoReivs (androids) coexist peacefully under a total management system. A series of murders committed by robots and AutoReivs infected with the Cogito virus (which causes them to become self-aware) begins to threaten the delicate balance of Romdeau's social order. Behind the scenes, the government has been conducting secret experiments on a mysterious humanoid life form called a "Proxy." The Proxy beings (described as almighty, god-like, immortal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient) are believed to hold the very key to the survival of all humanity.

Re-l (pronounced /rˈɛl/ or "Ree-EL"; also represented by the spelling "R.E.A.L." in the Romdeau citizen database) Mayer is assigned to investigate some of the murders with her AutoReiv partner, Iggy. She encounters two unknown and highly powerful creatures. She later learns that a Proxy was involved. The other central character, an immigrant named Vincent Law, is revealed to be connected in some ways with this Proxy. After being hunted down, Vincent lives in a commune on the outside of the dome for a while. During the massacre of the commune by Raul Creed of the Security Bureau, Vincent leaves the area for Mosk, his birthplace, in an attempt to recover his memories. Re-l later rejoins him to try to discover the truth behind the Proxies and the domes. It is revealed among other things that domes are all created by Proxies as well as the people inhabiting them who are created in special incubators.

In the Romdeau arcology, the government is divided between several entities: the Intelligence Bureau, the Health & Welfare Bureau, and the Security Bureau, are named in the series, all under the control of an Administrator who is referred to as the "Regent" and grandfather of "R.E.A.L."

The primary AutoReiv types are referred to as either 'Companion' or 'Entourage,' depending on their role. There are others designed for leisure or combat functions; AutoReivs seem to be constructed of varying degrees of cybernetic complexity, as witnessed by AutoReivs on occasion producing blood splatter when shot and killed.

The humans in the city are grown in artificial wombs but are still biologically related to their ancestors. Numerous times throughout the series it is stated that the humans living in the domes have no capacity to reproduce naturally, or at least that's what they have been told. Likewise, when a new person is grown, they are done so to fulfill a specific purpose, thus ensuring that person's future-place in society through a "raison d'être" (i.e., a "reason for existence").

Characters[edit]

A number of characters in the supporting cast are named after various figures taken from both history as well as mythology. Most notably, names of significant profiles in philosophical and psychological sciences appear throughout the series. The Proxies could almost be supporting characters, since they play such a vital role in the series. Though it is stated that there are many Proxies, about 300 as the Quiz revealed, only a few have been named: Monad, Senex, Kazkis and Ergo Proxies, as well as Proxy One, MCQ and Will B. Good. A sixth which Re-l sends back to Romdo with Iggy, is never named.

Main characters[edit]

Re-l Mayer[2]
Voiced by: Rie Saitō (Japanese), Megan Hollingshead (English)
Inspector Re-l Mayer of the Citizen Intelligence Bureau (市民情報局 Shimin Jōhōkyoku?) is in charge of investigating a series of brutal murders apparently committed by AutoReivs infected with the Cogito virus. She is also the granddaughter of Donov Mayer, the Regent of Romdo. Given her privileged status, she expects respect from people around her, and speaks as such (she addresses Vincent as "o-mae"). Re-l accompanies Vincent on his journey in order to learn more about the mysterious Proxies.
Vincent Law
Voiced by: Kōji Yusa (Japanese), Liam O'Brien (English)
An immigrant from Mosk dome working for Romdeau's AutoReiv Control Division (オートレイブ処理課?) within the Temporary Immigrant Sector FG (暫定移民区域FG?), set up to hunt and dispose infected AutoReivs. Vincent appears driven to become a Model Citizen, but ultimately fails to suppress the burden of his traumatic past and flees from Romdo. He seems to have a deep connection to the second Proxy, having left his necklace at the scene of the first Proxy site.
Pino
Voiced by: Akiko Yajima (Japanese), Rachel Hirschfeld (English)
An infected Companion type AutoReiv owned by Raul Creed and Samantha Ross, Pino served as a surrogate child to the couple. She was scheduled for decommissioning after the Creeds were granted a real baby son by the government, but the untimely deaths of Samantha and her new son prompted Pino to flee Romdo. She accompanies Vincent on his journey.

Production[edit]

Manglobe initially approached Shukou Murase with a bare-bones vision for a futuristic detective thriller, which included the title, a plot outline for episodes 1-3 and a design concept for Romdeau. Beyond that they let him develop the idea towards a more existentialist slant.[3]

"There was almost too much freedom," he laughs. "A show slated to be on a commercial network carries restrictions according to the time slot," he explains. "Sponsors often have requests intended to help propel the work to hit status; and merchandising entails another set of requirements altogether. By comparison, all Ergo Proxy had to deal with was a DVD release and a TV broadcast over a pay satellite channel."[3]

At first they intended to have Vincent as the leading protagonist and Re-l as a supporting character; however, as they fleshed out her character, she became a much stronger character and began to steal the spotlight from Vincent. This gave them the opportunity to split the narrative between the two characters instead of having a single protagonist lead the story.[3]

In an interview,[4] Dai Satō describes the project:

It is set in the future. A group of robots become infected with something called the Kojiro [sic] virus, and become aware of their own existence. So these robots, which had been tools of humans, decide to go on an adventure to search for themselves. They have to decide whether the virus that infected them created their identity, or whether they gained their identity through their travels. This question is meant to represent our own debate over whether we become who we are because of our environment, or because of things that are inherent in us. The robots are all named after philosophers: Derrida and Lacan and Husserl.

Dai Satō

Asked about how he devised the title Ergo Proxy, Sato replied "It's cool."[5]

Media[edit]

Anime[edit]

In Japan, Ergo Proxy aired on pay-TV satellite broadcasting network WOWOW from 25 February 2006, concluding on 12 August 2006.[6] Ergo Proxy was then released on DVD from 25 May 2006 to 25 January 2007, spanning nine volumes.

The series was licensed by Geneon Entertainment USA for Region 1 release, which began on 21 November 2006 and spanned six volumes. The English dub of Ergo Proxy premiered on Fuse TV on 9 June 2007[7] and a complete DVD collection was later released in December 2008.

On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment still retains the license, Funimation Entertainment assumed exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales, and distribution of select titles which included Ergo Proxy.[8]

As of March 29, 2012, the series has been fully licensed by Funimation, who re-released the series under their Anime Classics label on July 3, 2012.[9]

In Australia and New Zealand, the Ergo Proxy DVDs were distributed by Madman Entertainment, the first volume released in March 2007. The first volume of Ergo Proxy was released in the UK by MVM Films on the 6th of August 2007. The English dub of Ergo Proxy aired on ABC2 (the national digital public television channel) from 3 July 2007 to 4 December 2007.[10] In Canada, the English dub aired as part of Anime Current, an Anime Television block, on pay-TV digital channel G4 Canada from 26 July 2007 to 27 December 2007.[11] In Italy was broadcast on Rai 4 on October 20, 2011 at 22.45pm.

Manga[edit]

A manga spinoff called Centzon Hitchers & Undertaker (センツォン・ヒッチャーズ&アンダーテイカー Sentson Hitchāzu & Andāteikā?) was written by Manglobe and illustrated by Yumiko Harao. The manga was serialized in Shogakukan's Monthly Sunday Gene-X, beginning in March 2006. It was later released in two tankōbon format, the first in August 2006 and the second on 19 February 2007.[citation needed]

Music[edit]

Soundtracks[edit]

Two soundtracks, featuring the compositions of Yoshihiro Ike, have been released in Japan; the second, Opus 02, was also licensed by Geneon Entertainment and packaged with a special edition of the first Region 1 DVD.[citation needed]

Ergo Proxy CD Soundtrack: Opus 01

Ergo Proxy CD Soundtrack: Opus 01
Soundtrack album by Yoshihiro Ike, MONORAL, Radiohead
Released May 25, 2006
Genre Anime Soundtrack
Length 57:00

Ergo Proxy CD Soundtrack: Opus 02

Ergo Proxy CD Soundtrack: Opus 02
Soundtrack album by Yoshihiro Ike, MONORAL
Released August 25, 2006
Genre Anime Soundtrack

Theme music[edit]

Anime opening sequences

Title Artist Episodes
Kiri Monoral 03-23

Anime ending sequences

Title Artist Episodes
Paranoid Android Radiohead 01-23

Reception[edit]

Newtype USA stated that they were "excited by the premise of the show, which features complex drama surrounding the strikingly beautiful crime investigator Re-l Mayer, and an intricate sci-fi setting, incorporating robots, living in human society and a grotesque array of unique monsters." Newtype went on to praise the "tremendous supporting cast and carefully woven plot".[12] Katherine Luther of About.com praised it for its cyberpunk themes and mix of 2D and 3D animation as well as its deep psychological storyline, calling it creepy, intense and "edge-of-your-seat-delightful".[13] Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network gave it an overall score of B+ and criticized the characters, stating "It's an unfortunate stain on an otherwise excellent series." However, he praised the animation stating "The backgrounds in particular are breathtakingly detailed and beautiful, which is a surprise given the bleak, dystopian surroundings"[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bertschy, Zac. "Ergo Proxy DVD 1 - Review - Anime News Network." Anime News Network. N.p., 10 Dec. 2006. Web. 1 Nov. 2010. [1]
  2. ^ Ergo Proxy anime, episode 7, 4:13: record shows RE-L MAYER. It should be noted a more ambiguous REAL is shown at the end of the episode 7, 23:56; the A being barely visible
  3. ^ a b c Wong, Amos (December 2006), "Profile: Shukou Murase", Newtype USA: 50–53 
  4. ^ Sato, Dai. "Dai Sato talks with Doug McGray about anime" Sato-McGray Interview – in Japan and around the world –." US-Japan Innovator's Project 29 Nov. 2005
  5. ^ "A Japanese friend of mine, Dai Sato, writes anime. I asked him how he came up with the name of his new show "Ergo Proxy" — two words, both in Webster's, that would nonetheless never abut each other in English — and he said simply, "It sounds cool." " --"Ergo Proxy: The Official Language of the Internet", Virginia Heffernan, The New York Times
  6. ^ "Ergo Proxy Season 1 Episode Guide". TV.com. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Hanson, Brian. The Click: June 9–15. Anime News Network. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  8. ^ "FUNimation Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement for North America" (Press release). Anime News Network. 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  9. ^ "Ergo Proxy: Box Set - Classic". Youtube.com. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Ergo Proxy - Awakening". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 July 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "G4 Canada continues exclusive anime programming with six new concurrent series". G4 Canada. 25 June 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "New Anime 2006", NewType USA, March 2006: 51 
  13. ^ Luther, Katherine, "Ergo Proxy Series Profile", About.com Guide, retrieved 2010-05-30 
  14. ^ Bertschy, Zac (November 10, 2006). "Ergo Proxy DVD 1: Awakening". Animenewsnetwork.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 

External links[edit]