Film Friday- Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy is a science fiction suspense anime television series, produced by Manglobe, directed by Shukō Murase and written by Dai Satō. The anime originally aired from February 25 to August 12, 2006 on the WOWOW satellite network, lasting 23 episodes.

The series, which is heavily influenced by philosophy and Gnosticism, features a combination of 2D digital cel animation, 3D computer modeling, and digital special effects. After its release in Japan, the anime was licensed for a DVD release by Geneon Entertainment USA, with a subsequent broadcast on Fuse TV. The show was also distributed to Australian, British and Canadian anime markets. Since its release, Ergo Proxy has received mostly favorable reviews which praised its visuals and themes.

Story

The story begins in a futuristic domed city called Romdeau, built to protect its citizens after a global ecological disaster thousands of years prior. In this utopia, humans and androids known as AutoReivs coexist peacefully under a total management system. A series of murders committed by robots and AutoReivs infected with the Cogito virus (which causes them to become self-aware) begins to threaten the delicate balance of Romdeau’s social order. Behind the scenes, the government has been conducting secret experiments on a mysterious humanoid life form called a “Proxy.” The Proxy beings (described as almighty, god-like, immortal, omnipotent) are believed to hold the very key to the survival of humanity.

Re-L (also represented by the spelling “R.E.A.L.” in the Romdeau citizen database) Mayer is assigned to investigate some of the murders with her AutoReiv partner, Iggy. She encounters two unknown and highly powerful creatures. She later learns that a Proxy was involved. The other central character, an immigrant named Vincent Law, is revealed to be connected in some ways with this Proxy. After being hunted down, Vincent lives in a commune on the outside of the dome for a while. During the massacre of the commune by Raul Creed of the Security Bureau, Vincent leaves the area for Mosk, his birthplace, in an attempt to recover his memories. Re-L later rejoins him to try to discover the truth behind the Proxies and the domes. It is revealed among other things that domes are all created by Proxies as well as the people inhabiting them who are created in special incubators.

In the Romdeau arcology, the government is divided between several entities: the Intelligence Bureau, the Health & Welfare Bureau, and the Security Bureau, are named in the series, all under the control of an Administrator who is referred to as the “Regent” and grandfather of “R.E.A.L.”

The primary AutoReiv types are referred to as either ‘Companion’ or ‘Entourage,’ depending on their role. There are others designed for leisure or combat functions; AutoReivs seem to be constructed of varying degrees of cybernetic complexity, as witnessed by AutoReivs on occasion producing blood splatter when shot and killed.

The humans in the city are grown in artificial wombs but are still biologically related to their ancestors. Numerous times throughout the series it is stated that the humans living in the domes have no capacity to reproduce naturally, or at least that’s what they have been told. Likewise, when a new person is grown, they are done so to fulfill a specific purpose, thus ensuring that person’s future-place in society through a “raison d’être” (i.e., a “reason for existence”).

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Manga Monday- Ergo Proxy: Centzon Hitchers and Undertaker

Manga

A manga spinoff called Centzon Hitchers and Undertaker was written by Manglobe and illustrated by Yumiko Harao. The manga was serialized in Shogakukan’s Monthly Sunday Gene-X from its March 2006 issue to the December 2006 issue. It was later released in two tankōbon format, the first in August 18, 2006, and the second on February 19, 2007.

It is set in a future where humans and AutoReiv androids coexist peacefully until a virus gives the robots self-awareness, causing them to commit a series of murders. Inspector Re-L Mayer is assigned to investigate, discovering there is a more complicated plot behind it that involves a humanoid species known as ‘Proxy’ who are the subject of secret government experiments.