The 2nd Dimension

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Viewing Journal: Ergo Proxy (complete)

Series Overview
DVD Info

Overall= D+
Story = D+
Video = B+
Audio = C


In a future where the world has been ravaged by a nuclear apocalyse, there exists salvation in a domed city named "Romdeau", where humans and their android servants, the autoreivs, live in. Under the implementation of complete management control, it is a paradise where feelings are literally discarded, and the governing council dictates the way of life the citizens should live. But this utopian landscape is soon broken by a series of mystifying murders. Re-l Mayer, a female inspector from the Citizen Information Bureau, along with her autoreiv partner Iggy, are tasked to solve the murder cases. She is soon attacked by a creature drawn to her which is neither human nor android, and learns about the mysterious phenomena called "Awakening", an event which draws her further into the case...and to the world beyond the limits of Romdeau. (Source: ANN)

Watching the trailer and opening animation, this looks like it's going to be an awesome show with dark sci-fi action and drama. As it turns out, it does have those elements, but the tone, theme and symbolism are all done with such a heavy hand the it makes from some awkward storytelling. A lot of what happens in the show seems more like it is intended to push the show's tone and themes, and as a result it sacrifices having relate-able characters and a comprehensible plot.

One of the oddest things about the story is that there is a lot of very straightforward, even blunt explanation compacted into the first episode or two. But then much of the rest of the show is hard to follow, because there is little to no comprehensible explanation as to what is happening or why. Then, in the last couple episodes, it frantically tries to explain everything again. As a result, the beginning seems odd but somewhat promising, the middle is just cumbersome to get through, and the end doesn't have enough time in between all the lines of expository dialogue to build a satisfactory climax and resolution.

Another issue that I had it that the show is so forceful and blunt with its tone and themes that they actually distract form the story. For instance there's one episode where Pino visits a theme park where everyone is fascinated with her "spontaneous smile." So they all repeat over and over again how wonderful her smile is, and at some point I was just like "I get it, natural emotions, don't be manipulated, whatever! Now move on."

On the plus side, I did like the character designs. Let's face it, Re-l's eyeshadow is probably the biggest part of what makes this her look cool. The autoreivs organic and somewhat disturbing designs are also impressive.

As I mentioned before, the opening animation is awesome and is enhanced all the more with the song by Radiohead. The rest of the show's music worked well within the show, but wasn't especially noteworthy in itself (IE, I'm not rushing out to buy the soundtrack).

So in summary, at first glance this show looks like it has a lot of promise. But ambiguous storytelling and a heavy-handed tone end up making this a chore to watch.

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