2009 TV Series (episodes 1-23). Director: Shukou Murase. 580 minutes. DVD, bilingual, $69.98. Distributor: Funimation.
On the desolated landscape of a lost Earth floats the city of Romdo, a persuasive utopia in which humans and robots coexist under the watchful eye of a fatherly government. Utopian that is, until an awakened consciousness, called the “proxy,” emerges and infects the life-blood of this displaced civilization. The Cartesian “ergo” (I think therefore I am) suddenly overtakes the cognitive faculties of Romdo’s machines. Dubbed the “cogito” virus (Latin for “I think”) the very question of cognition and existence then seeps into the city’s population itself. What is Romdo? Who are they?
On this metaphysical beat walks Re-1 Mayer, a detective with the Intelligence Bureau. Charged with unraveling the mystery of the proxy, her chance encounter with the immigrant Vincent Law will unlock the puzzle of creation itself, and cast a debilitating light on the origins of this seemingly post-apocalyptic society.
Okay, all that verbiage should indicate one thing: this series is smart, or at least tries to be. Overall, I like it. I like it a lot. The darkness of Ergo Proxy’s canvass, the moodiness of its city, and the detached citizens invokes Blade Runner-esque trappings that are a true anime/sci-fi delight.
And don’t let the metaphysical jargon fool you. This anime is an essentially a very human detective story. On the road to unraveling the proxy, Re-1 Mayer, Vincent Law, and their little android Pino will make an awkward, yet proper familial trinity for a world on the verge of re-birth. Hey, it’s anime, there has to be some kind of tense love element underscoring the action.
At any rate, this series just hooked me. Like any good show, the story became personal, and I just had to know where these characters ended up.
And it doesn’t hurt that Re-1, with her shapely black garb and sultry blue eye shadow, is now my goth girl fantasy.
Kids, put on your thinking caps and step into Romdo.