Friday, August 17, 2007

Ergo Proxy

2006 Shukou Murase, Akio Matsuda, Michiko Suzuki (WOWOW), Takashi Kochiyama
Genre: Sci-fi, Horror, Myster, Supernatural, Drama

Ergo Proxy Item Shop Editorial Description:
The broadcast series Ergo Proxy (2006) attracted considerable attention because Radiohead let them use "Paranoid Android" as the closing theme. Detective Re-l lives in the domed city of Romdo, a pseudo-utopia where humans and robots exist under a Big Brother-esque government. When a powerful monster begins attacking the citizens of Romdo, Re-l discovers the word "awaken" scrawled on her mirror; she's attacked by the monster but somehow survives. As she investigates these events, she discovers the inevitable government conspiracy. Ergo Proxy borrows heavily from Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. and Boogiepop Phantom, but the icy Re-l lacks Major Kusanagi's fascination. Director Shukuo Murase employs a monochromatic palette so dark it's difficult to see what's going on. He tries to distract the viewer from the extremely limited animation with camera moves and dialogue, but the hokey, oblique story feels recycled and uninteresting. (Rated 16 and older: violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery) --Charles Solomon

Cogito, Ergo Sum. Asimov’s meets the Wachowskis. >>> by MegaManEXE (02.15.2007)
Cogito, Ergo Sum. Asimov's meets the Wachowskis.

Dai Sato's futuristic, stylish utopian world begins to crumble from the inside, when it's androidesque AutoRaives begin to "awaken" after contracting what's been aptly named the Cogito virus. The Shangri-La rivaling, dome city known as Romdeau becomes the scene of a brutal, vagrantly committed spray of murders being pinned upon the infected AutoReives. Unbeknownst to the metropolis's inhabitants their government is working behind its endless concreted facade to develop an advanced humanoid life form known as a Proxy.

Upon first impression Ergo Proxy seems to delve into areas that Science Fiction fans have seen in many flavours, using the principal ideas of what I, Robot was based upon or perhaps to an extent even Frankenstein's Monster. Those being the idea of a man-made creation adapting human traits, as shown in this case, the directly "given by God" gift of independent thought and choice. Having said this, however, I think Ergo Proxy does spread its wings in terms of the use of direct biblical reference. Although reminiscent very much so of Neon Genesis, I do feel it gives its reflections and parodies in some beautiful lights, which it truly makes its own. Through the talking portrayal of Michelangelo's iconic Night and Day statues within the Regents chamber to the direct reference to the flight of Icarus (down to naming a character Daedalus"!), this anime displays what could be chewed over by a thousand Otakus as the basis for many hidden Biblical undertones and literary inspired visual code.

Each of the characters onscreen development proves worthy of their constant "under control" emotional state, showing us how unaffected the cities "humans" can be. One perfect example of which is given when Raul Creed watches the mass slaughter of shopping Romdeau'S citizens, including his wife and infant child, and reacts simply by continuing to watch blankly and issuing an order for barriers and armed response. He does this as he looks casually upon his child's blood-splattered pram and his wife's blood-gushing corpse. Never sheding a tear. Being completely and utterly an ideal citizen, who has foregone every aspect of the human emotional spectrum, to obey the bureaucracy without question.

One of the anime's protagonists is Real Mayer, an inspector in Romdeau's Citizen Intelligence Bureau. Real is given the task of heading the investigation into the murders with her AutoReiv partner Iggy. After a proxy crashes through the roof of her apartment, without harming her, simply shedding a single tear while touching her lip, the bureau put her hallucination down to post-traumatic stress disorder. Discontented with this fabricated excuse she presses on, seeking to find out the origin of the Proxy and what it really is.

Visually I think the anime is where it comes into it's own. Using a masterful combination of 2D digital cell animation, 3D computer modeling and digital special effects to combine what I can only describe as a multidimensional aesthetic fantasm of cyberpunk revolutional elements, renaissance art and Garden of Eden ideals. Giving birth to grey miles of highway, while being driven in a perfect car by your robotic Entourage against a backdrop of a baby blue sky, paves the way for styles of what is to come within Romdeau. The opening scene within Vincent Law's apartment in the pilot is one of the most beautiful in the series. From the neon alarm clock to humming half-light that emits from his fridge when he opens it displays everything that can be beautiful about an early morning in a city. Something that a lot of people miss.

Individual Rating: Art 9; Story 7; Characters 8; Sounds 8

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