Ergo Proxy Volume 1 : Awakening

Image of DVD cover (55k jpg)

Released by: Madman Entertainment.
Region: Four.
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (anamorphic)
Disc 1:

At some point in the future humanity has retreated to domed cities to avoid an ecological disaster. These habitats are kept orderly and in balance by the ubiqitous use of AutoReivs, autonomous robots and androids, who accompany people and perform a lot of the more menial jobs all the while steering people towards a harmonious existance. In one of these cities, Romdeau, Inspector Re-l Mayer and her companion AutoReiv Iggy are looking into a spate of murders apparently committed by AutoReivs infected with the 'Cogito' virus. This leads her into a direct confrontation with a powerful entity known only as a Proxy.

For some reason not only are these entities being experimented on by the authorities but evidence of their existance is heavily suppressed. So despite having met one Re-l finds herself unable to convince anyone else about it, with the only person who might be even sympathetic being an immigrant from the failed dome city of Mosk named Vincent Law.

But Vincent has his own issues, he is living a lie himself having carefully suppressed his identity and past in order to present the image of a model citizen suitable for full citizenship in Romdeau. His plans are about to go by the wayside as a Proxy, recently escaped from an experimental lab, is quite interested in Vincent. This draws him into the conspiracy regarding Proxies and unlike Re-l he is eminently expendable - forcing him to flee for his life. But why do the AutoReivs, after infection, all flee the city? What are the Proxies and why is their existance such a secret for the authorities of Romdeau? And why did a Proxy show such interest in Vincent?

Welcome to Ergo Proxy a curious mix of dystopian futurism and an awful lot of European history & tradition. After Texhnolyze and the Ghost in the Shell : Stand Alone Complex series had both finished I had a hankering for another intelligent series with a bit of depth to it. This looks likely to fit the bill. Combine an intelligent plot with a good 16:9 transfer and a, in a first for a TV series dubbed by Geneon I believe, a 5.1 soundtrack and frankly I am eagerly looking forward to see where this all goes. To that end I've done another of my more in depth analysis and speculations documents here. These are spoiler zones so only read them after watching the volume in question.

Finally the disc is rounded out with a good selection of extras. Seeing behind the scenes of both the Japanese production of the original series as well as the English dubbing process is quite interesting. Although I do wish people wouldn't interview while wearing sunglasses, it just isn't a good look and makes them look more insincere than they are. We also have a glossary of terms presented in a short video presentation obviously designed to stimulate interest in the series in Japan before it aired. It is a nicely rounded set of extras and combined with the 5.1 soundtracks is a stellar presentation from Geneon and New Generation Pictures. Hats off to ya both Jonathan and Taliesin - the hard work on the dub and presentation for the English release really shows through. The dub in particular is stellar with strong performances all round. I must admit I got quite a giggle out of hearing Travis Willingham shift gears from the deadly serious Roy Mustang in Full Metal Alchemist to the flamboyant and very camp Iggy in Ergo Proxy.

All in all if you want a series with a dystopian science fiction future bent, then this series will scratch your itch nicely. Based on the first volume it deserves to be considered for many an anime collection.

Philip R. Banks
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