Ergo Proxy (Winter 2006) – Paranoid Android

The reason why I’m curious about this show is just because of Radiohead. It’s just a part of me when I say it’s so rare English bands fill the soundtrack of an anime. Now, it’s different from now. There is a lot of artists who fill their song of various anime. You can call it such as Oasis, The Who, Avril Lavigne, Backstreet Boys, Yes, Franz Ferdinand, Savage Garden, and more. And yes, I’m not saying that I’m only watching it just because of Radiohead. More than that, this show is one of the anime that makes you curious about what and why. However, this show is actually not as special as you imagine. If you look closely, it’s more than anything.

Its simple premise makes “Ergo Proxy” look more like “Psycho-Pass”. Both share the same theme with the dark, dystopian cyberpunk nuances, and with a little philosophical. Both also inspired by Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”. You can compare how both anime inspired each other from the movie. However, “Ergo Proxy” is so mind-blowing. Produced by Manglobe and directed by Shukou Murase, this show written by Dai Satou. This anime aired in 2006 as many as 23 episodes with various kinds of praise because of its powerful story and complicated plot.

The story tells of the future when humans and AutoReiv live peacefully side by side. Just like “Blade Runner,” the story shows a strong but complex relationship between humans and android. For “Ergo Proxy,” AutoReiv here is Android. However, a virus named Cogito began to attack the AutoReiv. This virus attacks the boundary between robots and humans. It’s become more complex. Therefore, AutoReiv has its own consciousness so that it creates a lot of chaos and murder events. Enter Re-l Mayer, one of the people who handled this case to resolve and find any irregularities. However, there is a pilot project called Proxy.

“Ergo Proxy” is not a crime-like as “Ghost in the Shell” or any kind. There are so many characters that play a role but these characters show more of their psychological side. There are Re-l Mayer, Iggy, Vincent Law, Raul Creed, Pino, and Daedelus Yumeno. This mind-bending altering story has an impact on each other. However, they were finally met at one point which made everything answered.

It starts with the first episode. And I don’t want to say it because it’s quite hard how to explain it even follows until the last episode. There was a proxy where they’re monster-like designed who uncontrollably. In fact, they are still conscious. There was Iggy, the AutoReiv, who seems suspicious from the start. The memory was vague and I don’t think that he’ll be a victim of the Cogito virus. It’s kind of neat to say at least yet so many thousands of questions arise. Philosophical and psychological things are the strongest elements rather than digging deeper into the story. As a result, it’s so hard to understand that.

Much of the information isn’t very helpful. It’s so vague and not so obvious. There is so much quote about who you really are, for what you live for, or else. Literary and philosophical terms make me have to find its definition before continuing to watch the episode. As a literary student, I’m just a little surprised how much this anime explores the theories of psychoanalysis. Like what I learned on campus, this show discussed René Descartes (including his popular quote: Cogito, ergo sum). There were Lacanianism, Sigmund Freud, defense mechanism, Jacques Derrida, solipsism, George Berkeley, and more. For me, that’s actually pretty shocking but it’s nonsensical for some it.

There is some sort of filler episode with it doesn’t really come with the actual story. If I’m not mistaken, there were two episodes. These actual episodes, if seen from the actual story, look insignificant. However, their role is also important to fill the fun part. In addition to going directly without anything blocking, this episode is useful for resting your brain besides trying to follow the actual story. It tells about Vincent who participated in a quiz show. The questions presented were historical, philosophical things, and much. There is an episode where Pino was stuck in a bizarre Disneyland-like. All the animal mascots come alive and Pino must be able to meet the creators of the world.

Manglobe has been in the world of anime productions for years. They’ve worked on many anime including my favorite (and of course you are) is “Samurai Champloo”. “Ergo Proxy” follows with a dark style of dystopian and cyberpunk. The stiff tone and a bit of horror make this show slow at the latest. It’s so natural and you’re hard to describe the feeling that exists. The AutoReiv designs are pretty good, by the way, and from this also there is a little creativity.

While the core is so simple, it really explores how much complexity on the characters. It’s about crisis, identity, who I really am, whether I am real or not, or other philosophical questions. It’s not that full of symbolism, metaphor or something like which. Philosophical and psychological are strong characters. Supported by a great soundtrack from MONORAL and Radiohead, it makes them even better. “Ergo Proxy” is a mind-bending experience full of theoretical from any kinds of philosophers. Problems that arise from the show may only be in stories that aren’t too much. Just try it. It’s the weirdest anime you’ve ever watched.

4.5 out of 5 stars.