Ergo Proxy Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     March 20, 2007
Release Date: April 03, 2007


Ergo Proxy Vol. #3
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
incent finds himself in an unfamiliar room where a mysterious individual who seems to know him quite well confronts him. While Vincent struggles against his inner demons, the delicate balance of control in Romdo begins a slow descent into chaos as Raul and Daedalus agree to work together and fix the growing threat. However, their intent is not entirely pure as each one of them has a deep and ugly ulterior motive.

The Review!
With a heavy focus on Vincent, Ergo Proxy delves into uncovering some of the mysteries while creating new ones.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The audio mixes on this release are pretty strong as both languages get a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix and one English track also gets a DTS 5.1 mix. In listening to the Japanese mix, it's got a strong sense of placement to it with a lot of dark and creepy scenes using sound effects well as well as using the entire forward soundstage to really draw out the music. Dialogue is well placed though a lot of it is focused through the center and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in early 2006, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Due to the style and design of the show, this is one where it's really hard to get it completely right on DVD. Heavy in blacks and all sorts of shades of gray in between, it has a certain oppressive feel to it that can be lost easily if the transfer looks soft or details are missing. While I doubt it captures it one hundred percent of what's in the source, this release does a solid job. Blacks mostly maintain a solid feel; the noise level is kept relatively low and the shadings as it moves from black to lighter shades looks decent. Some areas do have some very noticeable color gradient issues but this goes back to the source with its digital painting. Where it works out is that there isn't quite as much visible blocking when the camera pans over these areas. On most sets, Ergo Proxy will look quite good and pack a solid visual punch.

Packaging:
The she isn't key to these episodes, Pino taking the cover for the third volume isn't a surprise as she's becoming a very interesting supporting character. With her outfit and the heavy purple hues mixed into the abstract style background, it's almost an off-putting cover design but one that keeps you looking at it. The back cover has a good looking shot from the show that's close to an action pose while listing the episode numbers and titles over it. Below, the shows premise and technical features are listed clearly as is the production information. That section seems to get smaller and tighter with every new release. The discs basic technical information is in the single line strip below that as is the rest of the logos and information that's generally required. The insert breaks down the chapter lists for the episodes and has a shot associated with them while it opens up to interesting of Raul and his AutoReiv from the show. The back cover has more from the show and basic information about the property and Geneon itself.

Menu:
The menu layout is a rather busy piece that uses elements form the opening and closing sequences set to an angle with the menu selections overlaid on them. The visuals for the show are good and the menu does admittedly fit into the theme and style of the show, but it's a bit too, well, almost garish in a way I think. There is a brief bit of instrumental music that plays during it and navigation is quick and simple. Access times are nice and fast and we had no problems with our player presets being picked up.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ergo Proxy hits the midway mark with this volume and it provides quite a few changes. What's most striking however is that the further we get into the show, the more it seems to become Vincent's show. When the series first started, it seemed like he was an interesting supporting character but he's quickly become the central figure in all of this, often pushing Re-l out entirely from several episodes.

After the incident at Charos and his quick escape with Pino, this set of episodes picks up in a strange way as he's waking up from an accident. Confused and unsure, he finds that he and Pino were rescued by a curious man named Kazkis. This actually becomes a situation he finds himself in a couple of times and each of those incidents draw more of who he really is out of him. Ever since Vincent left Romdo, he's been less controlled and careful and these incidents push him further into it. Where he was once so clean cut and kept to himself, he's much more ragged now and almost a bit more talkative. Where he used to react to situations, he's slowly acting before and trying to gain an advantage. His journey back to Mosk is proving to be a difficult one but one that he feels he has to complete.

Much of his encounters, be it with Kazkis or the old librarian, revolve around psychological wordplay and sparring. Each of them are trying to draw Vincent out but for very different purposes. Kazkis is trying to draw him out to get him to admit that he was the one who killed Senex. The librarian is trying to draw him out to realize that before he left Mosk and its burning dome he has no recollection of who he was or what he did in his life. Vincent's oddness from the start is now getting a light shone on it and the revelations are scaring him. The only constant he has now is Pino, an infected AutoReiv with a penchant for cute outfits. Even when she's in just a pair of coveralls, there's something about the way she carries herself that really sets her apart.

Vincent's confrontation with Kazkis is confusing at first, as we see different interpretations of the area he resides in and the strange history of it, but the revelations made there are dramatic. Vincent's real self is slowly exposed and we start to learn more about what motivates him. The confrontation later on with the librarian is equally as confusing at times as it focuses on his mindset and origins but it is slowly laid out in a more linear fashion. Albeit with plenty of chunks missing. Interspersed with all of this we get the occasional nod to other story elements that are in progress. Raul is trying to regain his upper hand in regards to the Proxy's by using Daedalus to his advantage while fending off the not so subtle threads by the power behind Romdo.

What is surprisingly minimal is Re-l's presence in the show. She's gone for the majority of the first three episodes and when she makes a return to the screen in full she's still not entirely there in a way. Her reunion with Vincent as she's come to take him back has left her wondering what the proper course of action should be. She knows that there's far more going on than is visible and some powerful people are hiding secrets. She's used Daedalus just as much as Raul has and now she finds that she's going to use Vincent to try and understand what all this Proxy business means. Amusingly, she gets a bit more than she anticipated with some of what Vincent reveals and it's hard to tell which really shocks her more.

In Summary:
Though it wasn't a surprise after the first volume, this set of episodes certainly cements why Ergo Proxy won't really be a mainstream success. As engaging and intriguing as it is with its story and visuals, it doesn't have the makings of a show that anyone can just jump into. It's a show that requires a bit of thinking and to allow for the storyline to unravel at its own pace. The action is still minimal but the bursts of it work beautifully to enhance the show. The shows pretentious nature early on isn't quite so strong now as the characters pasts and motivations all start to become clearer. Ergo Proxy is proving to be more interesting the less commercial it gets and is earning itself some repeat viewings in order to unlock mysteries explained. Ergo Proxy is slowly but surely becoming a truly captivating show.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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