Ergo Proxy

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Ergo Proxy
ErgoProxyTitle.jpg
Title card for the anime series
エルゴプラクシー
(Erugo Purakushī)
Genre Cyberpunk, Mystery, Philosophical
Anime television series
Directed by Shukō Murase
Produced by Akio Matsuda
Satoshi Fujii
Hiroyuki Kitaura
Takashi Kōchiyama
Written by Dai Satō
Music by Yoshihiro Ike
Studio Manglobe
Licensed by
Network WOWOW, AT-X
English network
Original run February 25, 2006August 12, 2006
Episodes 23 (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Ergo Proxy is a science fiction suspense anime television series, produced by Manglobe, which premiered across Japan on February 25, 2006 on the WOWOW satellite network. It is directed by Shukō Murase, with screenplay by Dai Satō. 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]

Story[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 androids known as AutoReivs 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.

  • Re-l Mayer (リル·メイヤー Riru Meiyā?)
Voiced by: Rie Saitō (Japanese), Megan Hollingshead (English)
An inspector of the Citizen Intelligence Bureau (市民情報局 Shimin Jōhōkyoku?). She 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 (ビンセント・ロウ Binsento Rō?)
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 (ピノ?)
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]

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[2]

Ergo Proxy was directed by Shuko Murase with Dai Satō serving as chief writer and Naoyuki Onda as character designer.[3] The anime was originally announced at the MIP TV Trade Show in France as a 23-episode TV series.[4] Manglobe initially approached Shuko 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.[5]

"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."[5]

When asked about how he devised the title Ergo Proxy, Sato simply replied "It sounds cool."[6] Murase explained he originally wanted to use the concept of everyone having another self inside of themselves: the idea that there are two personalities inside a person and noted that René Descartes' phrase "cogito ergo sum" was the inspiration from it. Satō stated that they originally didn't want to explicitly express the concepts of Gnosticism in the anime. However, their personal beliefs ended up reflecting the ideas of Gnosticism and realized how well these terms fit and decided to used them.[7]

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.[5]

Media[edit]

Anime[edit]

In Japan, Ergo Proxy aired on pay-TV satellite broadcasting network WOWOW from 25 February 2006, concluding on August 12, 2006.[8] Ergo Proxy was then released onto nine DVD volumes from May 25, 2006 to January 25, 2007.[9][10] Geneon also released a 4-disc complete Blu-ray box collection on September 25, 2012[11] and two DVD box collection on September 25, 2012 and August 22, 2012 respectively.[12][13]

The series was licensed by Geneon Entertainment USA for Region 1 release, which began on November 21, 2006 and spanned six volumes. The English dub of Ergo Proxy premiered on Fuse TV on June 9, 2007[14] 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.[15] As of March 29, 2012, the series has been fully licensed by Funimation and re-released the series under their Anime Classics label on July 3, 2012.[16]

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 August 6, 2007. The English dub of Ergo Proxy aired on ABC2 (the national digital public television channel) from July 3, 2007 to December 4, 2007.[17] In Canada, the English dub aired as part of Anime Current, an Anime Television block, on pay-TV digital channel G4 Canada from July 26, 2007 to December 27, 2007.[18]

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]

Soundtracks[edit]

Ergo Proxy OST opus01 and opus02
Soundtrack album by Yoshihiro Ike, MONORAL, Radiohead
Released May 25, 2006 (opus01)
August 25, 2006 (opus02)
Genre Anime Soundtrack
Length 57:00 (opus01)
53:46 (opus02)

Two soundtracks of the anime series titled, Ergo Proxy OST opus01 and Ergo Proxy OST opus02 have been licensed by Geneon Entertainment and released in Japan on May 25, 2006 and August 25, 2006 respectively.[19][20] Both soundtracks feature compositions of Yoshihiro Ike. The first soundtrack, opus01, contains several tracks including the opening and ending themes: Kiri (by Monoral) and Paranoid Android (by Radiohead). The second soundtrack, opus02, was initally packaged with a special edition of the first Region 1 DVD.[21]

Track listing

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".[22] Newtype USA featured the first Ergo Proxy DVD in their "DVD of the Month" describing it as " show that rewards viewers with a deep, believable, and above all thoughtful sci-fi story instead of simply bashing robots together."[23] 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".[24]

THEM Anime Reviews praised the visuals and pacing of the plot while noting that the greatest flaw in the series is that the designs can be inconsistent at times.[25] 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"[1] Carlo Santos also from Anime News Network criticized the middle, ending and anime stating, "Some of the middle episodes fall back on experimental gimmicks and fail to advance the story, while the finale becomes a towering mess as it desperately tries to resolve every single plot point. Even the animation has embarrassing moments of inconsistency." S Santos however, continued to states, "for trying so hard to scale the heights of a difficult genre, Ergo Proxy still deserves credit. It accomplishes more than most other anime series ever hope to, flaws and all."[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bertschy, Zac (November 10, 2006). "Ergo Proxy DVD 1: Awakening". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ "US-Japan Innovator's Project". Japansociety.org. November 29, 2005. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Ergo Proxy". Anime News Network. November 10, 2005. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ergo Proxy". Anime News Network. April 19, 2005. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Wong, Amos (December 2006). "Profile: Shukou Murase". Newtype USA: 50–53. 
  6. ^ Virginia Heffernan (March 7, 2008). "Ergo Proxy: The Official Language of the Internet". New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Interview with Murase Shūkō and Satō Dai". Mechademia 4: War/Time. University of Minnesota Press. September 3, 2007. pp. 330–333. ISBN 978-0-8166-6749-9. 
  8. ^ "Ergo Proxy Season 1 Episode Guide". TV.com. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Ergo Proxy I〈初回限定版〉" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ergo Proxy IX〈初回限定版〉" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Ergo Proxy Blu-ray BOX [初回限定版]" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Ergo proxy SET1 <期間限定生産>" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Ergo Proxy SET2 <期間限定生産>" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  14. ^ Hanson, Brian. (June 9, 2007). "The Click: June 9–15.". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 16, 2007. 
  15. ^ "FUNimation Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement for North America" (Press release). Anime News Network. 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  16. ^ "Ergo Proxy: Box Set - Classic". Youtube.com. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Ergo Proxy - Awakening". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 July 2007. Retrieved May 21, 2011. 
  18. ^ "G4 Canada continues exclusive anime programming with six new concurrent series". G4 Canada. 25 June 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "Ergo Proxy OST opus01" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Ergo Proxy OST opus02" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Best Buy Ergo Proxy Exclusive Eligible for Signed Sketch". Anime News Network. November 14, 2006. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  22. ^ "New Anime 2006". NewType USA: 51. March 2006. 
  23. ^ Gifford, Kevin (November 2006). "Ergo Proxy Volume 1". Newtype USA 5 (11): p. 148. ISSN 1541-4817. Archived from the original on January 5, 2007. 
  24. ^ Luther, Katherine, "Ergo Proxy Series Profile", About.com Guide, retrieved 2010-05-30 
  25. ^ Foote, Aiden. "Ergo Proxy". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  26. ^ Santos, Carlo (September 11, 2012). "Ergo Proxy DVD - Complete Series [Anime Classics]". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]