Ergo Proxy Volume 3 - Cytotropism

Image of DVD cover (68k jpg)

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

Picking up where volume two left off we find Vincent has awoken in the care of the stranger we met at the end of that volume. Through interacting with him he begins to understand more about the tragedy that has befallen Helos and discovers more about what a Proxy is then he might want to. Meanwhile back in Romdeau Daedelus and Raul maneuver respectively. Due to Re-l's death and the escape of the proxy from the city Daedelus has fallen somewhat from grace - now he awaits his fate under house arrest. Raul meanwhile, without the distraction of chasing the Proxy directly, turns his attention to the deteriorating situation in the City and begins maneuvering things to try and deal with that.

It is hard to do a plot summary of this volume justice as it does contain one or two very juicy plot reveals that the viewer deserves to come across cold. Overall though this is the mid season transitional volume where the pieces are being moved into place to begin the big plot reveals and head into the end of series arc. As such there is a little less direct action or mystery building than the first two volumes but by volume end we have all the main characters established and in place - so volume four promises to be full of interesting reveals as it becomes a road trip across a blasted wasteland seeing what has become of the rest of humanity out there.

Of particular note is episode 11. This is one of the bigger plot reveal episodes so it is difficult to express here what a great job of direction and writing was done. It also helps that the sound designers have really tapped into the trippy nature of the tale being told and go to town a bit in using the 5.1 soundscape to good effect. In some ways this episode would make a good addition to introductory philosophy courses as a strong visual exploration of Subjectivism. In many ways if this episode is a sign of what is coming it makes me even keener to follow the series as it shows signs here of some serious plot depth to the story. That and the writing with the phrase 'This is not a dream, Vincent Law' cleverly given to various characters to say and each time it has a slightly different subtle intention and meaning behind it. It made me chuckle with delight and is by far the standout episode of the series thus far.

On the technical front we have a nice presentation but again little to no extras. Now I am perhaps being a little hard but after the first volume spoiled us with some good behind the scenes featurettes to have them almost completely absent from the next two volumes is a little jarring. And there is room for some good glossary and explanatory content here to provide the viewer with some help in interpreting the series. I can see how many viewers might be a little non-plussed with episode 11, much as I love it, simply because it is an episode stepped in philosophy and philosophical terminology. This is the kind of thing I enjoy because I get the chance to dig in, do a little research and uncover more the of meaning that I might have missed at first glance. But for viewers who aren't so keen to do that a little glossary action would perhaps be a good thing to have at this point.

Of course assembling such featurettes does cost extra money to do and a lot has already been lavished on bringing this series over well to the English speaking world. The dub in particular has been assembled with care and love to match the story - it well being possible that this is Jonathan Klein and co's finest work to date. I know the anime market has been under considerable cost pressure of late to reduce production costs so the cost of putting the extras I outline on the disc might well tip the scale into making the title not commercially viable. So I do get why they aren't here - I just can't help thinking that the series would sell even more with just a little further work. Certainly ADV's excellent Chevalier D'Eon release benefits greatly from the historical notes that have been included. I just wish Geneon would follow ADVs example a little more here and perhaps with ADV now becoming Geneon distributor in the US this might well happen.

This is pretty minor nitpicking though. Ergo Proxy is a series that is quietly getting better and better with each volume and so far gives me a lot of the same vibe of being a story that knows where it is going that RahXephon had at the same point in the series. It deserves to be in many collections and if you want an intelligent dystopian science fiction tale then you should be snapping this series up.

As is usual speculation and interpretations notes on this volume can be found here.

Philip R. Banks
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