Sunday, December 16, 2012
25 Days of Anime - #10: Ergo Proxy
One of the first (and one of the few) dystopian anime I've come across, Ergo Proxy is set in a future where humans live in domed cities, cut off from the outside world. People go about their everyday lives, and there is a distinct separation among the social classes, with a handful of individuals influencing the social and political structure therein. It is forbidden for anyone to exit the city, and those who do so are essentially left for dead.
Re-L Mayer, a young female investigator and granddaughter of the city's Regent, gets caught up in a conspiracy early on that revolves around the Proxies - greater than human entities with unique powers - and the experiments that the scientists of Romdo have been performing on one of them. She finds one immigrant worker named Vincent Law of particular interest, and ends up following him beyond the walls of the city. Re-L comes to learn that the outside world - while desolate - is not nearly as lethal as the people of Romdo believe it to be.
The true threat, in fact, lies within the cities. The experiments carried out in Romdo ultimately lead to grotesque mockeries of both humans and proxies, while the mechanical AutoReiv companion Re-L was assigned ends up turning on her. As Re-L, Vincent, and another child-like AutoReiv named Pino explore other long-abandoned dome cities, they come to learn what caused the fallout that scorched the Earth. They also run into a number of other proxies, some of whom utilize direct combat and others who rely on psychic manipulation and illusions.
Ergo Proxy is a very well-crafted cyberpunk series presents both a pristine cityscape which is the lie people are constantly exposed to and a dark and dead land beyond that holds the truths Re-L and Vincent seek. There are elements of "science gone wrong" and "man vs. god" at play, but they are not overbearing and the story spends plenty of time setting up these points of interest. It's an entertaining break from other cyberpunk anime, as it is as much about solving the mysteries at work as it is about the sense of exploration of a world thought long-gone.