Mania Grade: B+
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- 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. #4
By Chris Beveridge
May 29, 2007
Release Date: May 29, 2007
What They Say
Re-l, Vincent and Pino have been re-united but the danger is far from over. Pino enters a cave and discovers a mysterious giant, Re-l is taken over by a not-so-pleasant doppelganger, and Vincent is forced to participate in a game show with deadly results for the loser. Each encounter that obstructs the journey ahead is connected to an inevitable fate and a betrayal no one could expect.
Contains episodes 13-16.The Review!
Re-l takes a bit more of the spotlight this time around as she finds herself tied more closely to Vincent and his goals.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:
As much as I enjoy the show, the cover artwork is definitely having a hard time selling it I'm sure. Beyond the initial cover with Re-l, there hasn't been much to really get excited about. This cover provides a slight changed as it has a pencil board in the front that provides a slicker looking version of the artwork. The design uses Iggy for its central character with plenty of gears and general background bits highlighted in gold. For people watching the show it's certainly a good looking cover but for those who are curious about it, well, it simply doesn't click much. 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 a shot of Re-l with her weapon. 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:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While Ergo Proxy has managed to avoid coming across as too pretentious and aware of itself, the show is certainly one that isn't something that you can just drop into the player and watch whenever. With the action taking a bit of a backseat for these four episodes it's more intent on focusing on Re-l and bringing in some much needed background on the world overall. With an amusing bit of style and camp to it, Ergo Proxy continues to excel at fascinating storytelling.
The four episodes spread across this volume cover a fair bit of ground. Centering on Re-l adjusting to her new position, it has to resolve the issues up front for her. With Iggy now obviously infected by the cogito virus, he's able to catch her unawares and begin his plan to win her back. The time spent in this cold and desolate place hints at what once was and provides a stark contrast to what currently is. Iggy really gets to shine here as he alternates between his original self and his new self-aware soul-filled self. For Re-l, she has to take what's happened and put it into perspective as the only thing she can believe is that Iggy died when he was infected, leaving her with what she has now. It's all a little drawn out a times but the overall effect of strengthening the ties between her and Vincent works out well. Re-l is finally able to emote well.
No set of episodes without an encounter with another Proxy would be complete though. In an interesting take, the trio ends up in the middle of another Dome that's in perfect shape except that there aren't any people or AutoReiv's about. The eerie silence is unnerving in such an attractive city that's sprawled out before them and it makes Re-l rather nervous and anxious to leave. Vincent and Pino's more laid back manner has them wanting to hang out a bit before re-supplying and heading out into the wastelands once more. Of course a city like this has to be empty for a reason and through some fun little visual tricks it turns into a fascinating episode that puts the leads in a position where trust and detail is very important. Though parts of it is obvious as to what's happening, the way it plays out is quite engaging as you wonder just how the encounter will really go.
With the series now fully past the halfway mark it's time to start bringing out more of the background details to bring it all together. The method to do this is one that feels out of place at first since transitions between episodes are jarring. Through a game show format, an immense number of answers as well as more questions are presented that sheds a lot of light on what happened in the past to bring the world to this position. The presentation of the information is really just a lot of exposition but it's brought out in such small nuggets and with some apparent fluff that really isn't along the way that it becomes quite riveting. Though the material with MCQ can get fairly bothersome at times, the way it's all put together with footage of the back story and having it broadcast back to Romdo lets it stand above those issues.
Equally as interesting is the downtime that the trio shares later on out in the wastelands when their ship is out of order. With a human, an AutoReiv and a Proxy in the same location it becomes fascinating to watch how they all interact with each other. Vincent in particular since he knows he's a Proxy but has spent so much time in recent memory being human that he falls into that category fairly often when it comes to his mindset. Done as a case study by Re-l as she watches the other two, all three of them are under a microscope which brings to light a lot of little tidbits about how they all "operate" for lack of a better word. In Summary:
With a slow progression of key moments but a lot of smaller moments that help to build up a truly fascinating world and scenario, Ergo Proxy doesn't lend itself to being a show that's easily talked about. This is the point in the series where the background information comes up to flesh it all out and set up the ending. In that regard these episodes do a great job as it explores the past, the relationships between the main trio as well as the cogito virus itself. Where it will all end up is still unclear as it feels like there are still a number of mysteries that need to be dealt with. The lack of a standard manga plotline allows Ergo Proxy to develop its own pacing, one that teases out information slowly but with a focus on enlightening the overall picture. Similar the previous volumes, every episode has me on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next and then eagerly awaiting the next volume.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English DTS 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
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.