Ergo Proxy Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy Vol. #2

By Bryan Morton     September 27, 2007
Release Date: October 01, 2007

Ergo Proxy Vol. #2
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
What kind of world will you find outside the walls of paradise?

Re-l leaves the safety of Romdo in order to bring Vincent back and clear his name. Leaving the shelter of the city is a test of courage, but dealing with the realities of life outside the dome is a test of conviction. The idyllic illusion of life within Romdo begins to crumble for Re-l and Vincent as they forge into the darkness that surrounds them and travel away from the light.

Episodes Comprise
5 " Tasogare
6 " Domecoming
7 " RE-L124C41+
8 " Shining Sign

The Review!
Re-l learns that not everything she's been taught as a truth is actually true, while Vincent learns to believe that his mere presence is a death sentence for those around him. Taking his future in his own hands, he decides to head for his hometown " the ruined domed city of Mosk " but misfortune seems to follow him, even into the wastelands far away from Romdo...

Audio is presented in English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English DTS 5.1 tracks. I listened to the Japanese track for this review, which like the rest of the show is of very high quality " sounds and dialogue are all places extremely well, with subtle sound effects used to help boost the atmosphere of the piece. Full use is made of the available channels, and it sounds very impressive. There were no obvious encoding problems.

Video is presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect, and again has been very well done to make the series and its setting as atmospheric as possible. There's plenty of use made of dark colours, making Romdo feel as oppressive as possible, without there being any significant problems with colour banding on gradients. Ergo Proxy was made in high-definition and broadcast as such in Japan " the DVD release obviously can't capture the full details of an HD original, but this transfer does a very good job of it and is a joy to look at.

No packaging was provided with our review disc.

Menus are a simple affair, consisting of the series logo on a background that looks a lot like an interference pattern, with some images from the series just about visible behind. Direct access is provided to the episodes along with a Play All option, while submenus are available for language selection and extras. That's pretty much the ideal menu layout, and with no transition animations it's all quick & easy to use.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
After venturing into the outside world in the hope of persuading Vincent to come back to Romdo and allow her to clear his name, Re-l is taken seriously ill and brought back to the city by Hoody. Her short trip outside has taught her something important, though: despite what she's been taught, there is life outside " so what other things that she considers truths are really lies? While she tries to decide where her loyalties now lie, some within the city are taking exception to her having been allowed back inside in the first place.

Vincent, meanwhile, opts to get as far away from Romdo as possible, and using a sailboat uncovered near the Commune begins the long journey to Mosk " another domed city and Vincent's original home, although it's apparently been long-since destroyed. Once away from the city it soon becomes clear to him that the world truly is an abandoned wasteland " but just when it's looking as though his journey is doomed to failure, he discovers a small outpost of human life...

The first two episodes on this disc cover Re-l's time outside in the Commune, and her efforts to persuade Vincent to come back to Romdo. These episodes also focus on Hoody quite heavily, and his efforts to hold the Commune together when most of its residents simply want to go back to the city " with only a death sentence waiting for them should they try that, Hoody's maintaining his control by claiming to be in touch with the city's authorities and negotiating for their return, but Re-l's arrival mark the beginning of the Commune's end.

You can't fault Re-l's determination, either " even once she's back in Romdo, she's almost got a fixation on Vincent that she won't let go. There are other issues inside the city, though, that are outside her control " and when she gets caught up in them, a completely unexpected plot twist sees her quest brought to an apparently permanent premature end.

It's the final episode that's the most curious, though, as Vincent heads across the wasteland towards Mosk. A lot of the time in anime, you see locations that are described as wastelands, but that don't really "feel" that way when you see them on-screen. In Ergo Proxy, when they say "wasteland" they mean it, and the feeling of desolation and isolation is captured so well by the animation that it's positively spooky. The negative feelings that you get just watching those scenes are reinforced by Vincent's voiceover, describing his own feelings about the journey " it's a hugely atmospheric set of scenes that are very successful at getting a feeling of real despair across to the viewer. Finding a small outpost of humanity breaks the gloom for just a moment, but as the story progresses it becomes clear that Vincent's gone from the frying-pan into the fire as a series of events, including the appearance of the Proxy itself, threatens to prove Vincent's conviction that death is following him wherever he goes.

Ergo Proxy is heavy on the style & atmosphere at the best of times, but the final episode here just takes it to a whole new level. I was hooked by the series before then " now I'm almost ready to call it the best example of its type out there. Early comparisons with Ghost in the Shell can be put to one side, as well, as further revelations about how Romdo is governed and survives further develop the show's setting into something much more its own.

Criticisms? A few " information on the true nature of the Proxy is still scarce, and for a creature that seemed to be such a key part of the show in the early episodes it's been surprisingly scarce on this volume. Pacing of the show could also be a little better in places, but overall this release has really impressed me.

In summary:
Ergo Proxy hooks you with its presentation and atmosphere, and the story gets you later " while it's not the fastest-moving plot of all time, it's intriguing and has enough of the unusual and unknown in it to keep you wanting more. This volume has a few surprises in that leave the next step in the story a complete unknown " and I, for one, can't wait to see how it unfolds.

Japanese Language 5.1,English Language 5.1,English Language DTS 5.1,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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