Anime Quick Information
|Average Rating: 7.90|
Ryan scored this with 6/10. Disagree?
Having decided to continue her search for the truth with Vincent, Re-l prepares for the journey ahead, but her AutoReiv companion, Iggy, defies his orders to return home, as the suggestion in the last episode, that he's infected with the Cogito Virus, holds true, ultimately resulting in his death.
A fairly benign creature until this point, the change is dramatic, as he confusedly works through his feelings, angry that Re-l seems to be using him, and doesn't even care enough to notice that he's infected (though he made a point of hiding it, suggesting his now irrational state of mind). Jealous, and afraid of his nature as a Proxy, Vincent becomes the target, as Iggy resolves that through his death, Re-l can be saved from her inevitable death at his hands. Going one further though, Iggy shows a clear frustration with Re-l, kidnapping and locking her away - so he can take her home safely - while berating her with insults, his temper growing increasingly violent, or schizophrenic. After stealing Re-l's gun, armed with bullets that can kill the otherwise almost invincible Proxies (gifted to her by Daedelus), Iggy moves toward Vincent, but unwittingly leaves Re-l vulnerable to the AutoReiv that accompanied the last Proxy Vincent defeated. With Re-l's intention to one day shoot Vincent in the air, and fears that the Proxy inside him might be the better reflection of his true nature, tensions surface for all to see. As Re-l escapes Iggy's temporary prison and flees to the others, the Autoreiv dives on her and initiates its self-destruct mechanism, forcing Iggy to run out and carry it away from Re-l, with only his head surviving the explosion. Armed with the gun he managed to remove from Iggy, Vincent becomes the only remaining threat, but relinquishes it, calling for them to return to their journey.
Alone, and without much food or water, the crew (just Vincent, Re-l and Pino now) are lucky to find themselves at another town without people, stopping off at a well supplied cafe to relax and stock up on the essentials. In just a short while the place becomes far more sinister, however, with the battle between Vincent and another Proxy, who presumably emptied the town of people like the noble in the last volume, taking on similarly surreal dimensions as those of the earlier book shop episode. Deceived by a Proxy diving between their shapes, Vincent and Re-l effectively find themselves being mislead by doubles of each other, without realising until late on that there are of course two of each of them, and the second of each is the Proxy. Forced to repeat hallucinatory events countless times, Vincent is brought almost to madness, but fights off the other Proxy by the insistence that he can't die until he finishes his journey and knows the truth. Emerging from a pond that had been the centre of the illusions, Vincent rejoins Pino and Re-l, trying leaving the whole thing behind them.
These two episodes are good but not great, for their failure to advance the story in any major way, but like much of the series they benefit from repeated viewings. The rest of the volume, however, gives way to far less satisfactory episodes, one taking the form of a Japanese gameshow with an obviously eccentric host, resigned to death if Vincent gets 1,000,000 points, and the other a series of days cast from Re-l's perspective, as their ship is grounded and she succumbs to boredom. The first is a little awkward, and although it's occasionally funny, the questions of the host are dragged out for too long, while the whole episode amounts to way of revealing some previously unknown features of the Ergo Proxy's world history. Unfortunately this only makes up a fraction of the questions, and would have probably been better expressed in an episode with some bearing on the series, suggesting to me the staff had simply failed to convey the information by any other means. The fourth and final episode, on the other hand, is more character centric, with Re-l pouting around the ship and using her spare time to investigate her fellow crew members, while Vincent's tiniest transgressions cause her no end of frustration. But while all three characters are observable throughout this episode, Re-l becomes our narrator, and is developed more than the others - Pino and Vincent being relegated to comic relief and casual victims of her passive aggression. There are again moments of humour, but an episode about boredom is almost bound to end in boredom, and this proved the case for me here.
The animation and dub remain generally excellent - if only Vincent and Re-l's faces could be drawn with a little more consistency - and the first two episodes are solid contributions to the series. I still believe that the problems of the second two episodes can be attributed to the fact that Ergo Proxy is entering a mid-series decline, but others might disagree that anything is wrong at all. since Ergo Proxy is such a powerful and sustained piece of fiction, which is bound to work on different people in different ways. Personally, however, I believe the series is growing slightly tired; it's weighty atmosphere, deliberate obfuscations and ambiguity having yet to deliver much payoff for viewers, with a fairly ordinary journey replacing its earlier suggestions of a philosophical take on an Orwellian society and human life. The surreal battle between the Proxies, instead, seem be to most iconic feature of the series at the moment, and while many people might enjoy this, it is worth noting that nothing like it occurred at the outset of the series, so it's impossible to deny that Ergo Proxy hasn't changed.
Hopefully the remaining volumes will be carried by the direction and over-arching story that's been present since the beginning, but in these episodes it felt like the ambiguity of the series finally gave way to emptiness, with there being little to tell at this point in the story. The major problem with this volume, however, is that two of the episodes are obviously filler, which is inevitably unwelcome in such a narrative-led series.
The first two episodes are a good continuation of the story, but the second two drag the volume down, even if they're not unbearable or without any merit of their own. Effectively half a volume, for those who don't appreciate the latter.
|Score:||6 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Sun, 4 May 2008|
1. Comment by Trumpster
2. Comment by Ryan
|Your rating of "Ergo Proxy #4"?:|
|out of 10|
Type the characters you see in the picture above.