Ergo Proxy
Volume 1 - Awakenings

Starring (voice): Akiko Yajima, Kouji Yusa and Rie Saitou
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 06 August 2007

In a world ravaged by ecological disasters and nuclear warfare, the surviving humans are forced to coexist with their android servants, AutoReivs, in a huge domed city called Romdo. A utopian dream where every aspect of life is controlled and regulated, Romdo is a paradise where feelings have been discarded and emotions are no longer required.
But this peaceful idyll is threatened by a series of murders believed to have been committed by berserk robots, sent out of control after becoming infected with the Cogito Virus, which has made them aware of their own existence. Tasked with investigating the murders are Re-l Mayer, a young female inspector from the Civilian Intelligence Office, and her AutoReiv partner, Iggy...

Ergo Proxy is a futuristic, science-fiction suspense thriller with gothic cyberpunk undertones. Directed by Shuko Murase (Witch Hunter ROBIN, Samurai Champloo) and scripted by Dai Sato (Samurai Champloo, Casshern, Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Cowboy Bebop), Ergo Proxy comes to DVD having already attracted considerable attention due to the fact that Radiohead liked it so much they allowed the producers to use their song "Paranoid Android" as the show's closing theme.

Episodes on this DVD include:

Awakenings: In the idyllic city of Romdo, where crime is virtually non-existent, a strange virus is infecting some of the city's AutoReivs (obedient servant robots). Called the Cogito virus, this infection has the undesired affect that it gives its victims self awareness. Vincent Law is an immigrate whose main job used to be the maintenance of AutoReivs, although now he spends most of his time terminating the infected AutoReivs - a job he only sticks at because it's the quickest way of gaining full citizenship. When a spate of murders occur Re-l Mayer, an inspector from the Civilian Intelligence Office, is given the job of investigating these crimes. During her investigation Re-l is confronted by a terrifying creature that appears to be neither human nor AutoReiv.

Confession: Re-l Mayer's claims of confronting a monster are ignored by her superiors. Re-I soon realises that an official cover up is being conducted on the incident when she discovers that all records, reports and any other information on the monster has been erased. The Bureau send Re-I off for a psychological examination. She learns more about the monster known as Proxy, and is determined to find out what it was she actually saw. In another part of the city Vincent Law is running for his life. The Proxy has tracked him down and chases him through a shopping centre - killing numerous innocent bystanders. But what can the Proxy possibly gain from killing a lowly immigrant?

Maze City: Re-l Mayer's investigation uncovers evidence that the police have been accessing the Civilian Intelligence Office's data bank, but she can't fathom out why? Re-I discovers that Law was being chased and attempts to contact him. Having escaped the Proxy, Law is framed for a crime he didn't commit and subsequently chased by AutoReivs (who he thinks are infected with Cogito). While attempting to escape from his pursuers he discovers Pino, an AutoReiv who is designed to look like a very young girl. Re-l eventually manages to contact Law, who has had enough and is determined to kill himself to ensure a quick death. Law exits Romdo city and jumps to his almost certain death.

Futu-risk: Law awakens to find that he is not dead. He and Pino are outside the Romdo city limits. The two of them are soon discovered by a group of people who appear to have been exiled from Romdo. A routine patrol droid opens fire on Pino - which is impossible as droids are not programmed to recognise AutoReivs. Meanwhile Re-l's investigations uncover something interesting about the Proxy that was chasing Law.

Extras include Keywords Of Ergo Proxy (4 min featurette that looks at the three keywords ("Romdo", "Cogito" and "Proxy") for this series); Behind the Scenes (4 mins look at the construction of the series); English Staff Interview (32 mins interviews with English voice director, Jonathan Klein, and English script writer, Taliesin Jaffe); Clean Opening (Episodes 1 & 2); Promotional Trailers; Commercials; Galleries; and trailers for other anime shows. Audio options include English DTS and English/Japanese 5.1 with optional subtitles.

I was really impressed that the DVD producers actually go out of their way to ensure that nothing from future episodes is spoiled for viewers. Even the interviews have been carefully thought through - with the interviewer obviously informing the interviewees that their comments would be included on the first DVD which only covers episode one to four.

I was a little confused as to the title for this volume. All the press information and the pack shot shows this as Awakening. However, the DVD menus call it Awakenings. It's not a problem, just something I thought I should point out in case anyone is doing an Internet search to find the cheapest online price.

Possibly the most interesting and original anime to be released since Akira. I, for one, am really looking forward to see how this series develops.

Darren Rea

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