After making the successful Samurai Champloo TV series in 2004, Manglobe decided to make a hard sci-fi show, full of mystery and intrigue called Ergo Proxy in 2006. Director Shukō Murase, of Witch Hunter Robin fame, along with famed screenwriter Dai Satō, who wrote episodes of Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and the Blood: The Last Vampire film, worked together to craft and explore the domed and secluded city of Romdo. Re-l Mayer is a female detective with the Intelligence Bereau, that begins to investigate a series of murders committed by Auto-Reiv’s, androids that co-exist along with humans that make life easier. The androids are being infected with the Cogito virus, which makes them self-aware of their own existence amongst humans and makes them turn against their creators. Her investigation leads her to cross paths with a mysterious man named Vincent Law, an immigrant to the city of Romdo and a strange creature that the government has been conducting experiments on called Proxies. Re-l’s investigation will lead her to deep conspiracies that lie rooted in Romdo’s creation, as well as beyond the domed city in order to find the links of Vincent’s past and how all of these elements and the Proxies are connected. Ergo Proxy was released before by Geneon Entertainment and is now re-released by Funimation, under their Anime Classics line.
With solid production staff in its corner, as well as a fantastic studio behind it, Manglobe’s Ergo Proxy is a fantastic accomplishment in the sci-fi genre of anime. The backgrounds and the blending of 2D with 3D animation is really impressive, along with the fantastic character designs by Naoyuki Onda that make for a visual feast. The story is really good, but is at times poorly paced for the 23 episodes. Once Re-l and Vincent travel outside of Romdo, there are just a few episodes that don’t add much to their development as characters and just plod along to get to the next set piece. The parts that pertain to Vincent finding out about his past and their connections to the Proxy’s really helps the show move along, but once it gets to Re-l and him traveling on their boat to their next locale, the series just moves along slowly to the next major revelation. There were a few times where I thought that the series might have benefitted from being only 13, tighter episodes, as opposed 23. Other than this minor quibble, the show handles its characters, story and setting extremely well and is one of the better shows to be released in the mid-2000′s.
Funimation retains all of the extras from the prior releases, which include behind the scenes featurettes, promo trailers, commercials, textless intro and outro songs and trailers for other Funimation shows. The behind the scene’s footage gives a bit of insight to the series, as well as explore Manglobe’s intentions for creating the show in the first place. This set, much like the original set, is a little light in the extras department, compared to other shows coming out at the time, but still manages to offer up enough supplements to enjoy next to the TV series.
Overall, Ergo Proxy is a well made, sci-fi anime that has a really great story and delivers most on what it promises. Amidst its poor pacing, it contains some great characters, awesome action and some really great design work that is likely to appeal to many. I’m glad that Funimation is re-releasing the series and hope that it can find a new audience to engage and connect with. Recommended!