Ergo Proxy Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     October 18, 2007
Release Date: September 25, 2007


Ergo Proxy Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The thrilling conclusion of the series brings Re-l, Vincent and Pino back to Romdo to face off against the machinations set in motion by the Creator! Vincent must come to grips with who he is and what he wants to become while Re-l faces the ugly truth behind her own existence. Can these two travelers finish their journey of discovery and enlightenment or will they succumb to the malice implanted by the Creator?

The Review!
As everything falls apart, everyone is forced to face reality not only of the world around them but within themselves as well.

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:
Similar to the previous volume, this one has a slick looking pencil board included with it that livens up the front cover artwork nicely. The darkened nature of the covers continues here but with flames moving about it and the very striking visual of Vincent in his Proxy mode, it really looks fantastic. 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 wonderful image of Vincent and Re-l together. 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)
From the first stills that I had seen of Ergo Proxy I had fallen in love with it. It's sense of style both in characters and setting were highly enticing and the show played to those aspects quite well. Over the course of twenty three episodes, it put the leads through the wringer and teased out a fascinating – if disjointed – story that is at its core very traditional. There is a certain kind of pretentiousness to all of it but it managed to avoid coming off in a really bad fashion that would turn away people. Yet it still wasn't a series that was designed for mass appeal. Ergo Proxy really comes across as a project done by a group that believed in it and wanted to tell their story regardless of whether it would make them rich.

The odd nature of the series in its design culminates with the final three episodes here that bring us through episode twenty-three. As such, the volume feels very short but no less effective in finishing everything off. Atmosphere is a huge part of Ergo Proxy and that's not lost here as we see the Dome of Romdo fall to all manner of forces that are working on it. The series has long focused on a very small number of key characters so it's only fitting that they take up the bulk of time here at the end. The journey of Vincent, Re-l and Pino along with Daedaleus and Raul highlights all the aspects of how this place has fallen.

The larger story moments tend to focus around Vincent and Re-l as each of them views the fall from different angles until it comes together. Re-l has seen the loss of her grandfather, the man entrusted to run the city after the Proxy had left. The earlier revelations about the necessity of the Proxies was a surprise, much like the Womb itself, but to find that her grandfather has been killed ostensibly by the being that had set him to protect is unsettling. Yet even then, with Vincent in a near full rage, she cannot bring herself to kill him based on a promise that was made earlier when the two were on their journey.

Vincent's journey has been just as chaotic and revelator as Re-l's has, though I think he's suffered far more as these final stories play out. Understanding who he is, something that he had intentionally locked away before running off to Mosk, comes full circle in a confrontation that isn't a surprise but provides for some confusion. The nature of a power behind the throne certainly isn't new and it almost seems to be expected by Re-l as she goes along with Vincent on this final journey. Vincent is almost too confused by everything as he fights back what he's intentionally pushed away while still having it hammered at him by his other self. Re-l is able to provide some grounding for him but even that seems to go out the window when Monad makes her appearance and tries to change the dynamic of everything.

Yet as fascinating as all of it is with these two leads, it's the other characters that are far more interesting to watch. Pino's journey back to Romdo has led her to looking for her father in a sad sort of melancholy manner. Her strolls through the city as what few people are left are trashing AutoReiv's as quickly as they can alternate between eerie and frantic. Her journey is paralleled by Raul's own journey as he's realized that he's gone as far as he can now and just wants to see Pino again for some sense of closure. His rise and fall in the city isn't unusual, nor is his sense of self as he tries to set some things right at the end. This is highlighted in his confrontations with Daedaleus who has seemingly gone over the edge and is simply waiting for all things to end in the manner through which he wants them to.

In Summary:
Each installment of Ergo Proxy has been enjoyable to watch as they came out but I cannot help but feel that this will play much better in a marathon format. The gap between volumes isn't large but the storyline requires more attention to be paid to it than some others. The glacial pace at times will likely make marathoning difficult however but I can see how many aspects of it will come together much tighter, especially if you're not watching another couple dozen series at the same time. Ergo Proxy has some great designs to it, a traditional science fiction story in all its trappings, and a really strong sense of how it wants to tell that tale. I'm hesitant to call anything a "thinking man's" show since that comes across as too pretentious, but Ergo Proxy is something that really requires focusing and paying attention to what's going on. The payoff is worthwhile to be sure, particularly since that payoff comes throughout the series and not just at the end. Definitely recommended.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 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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