you're new to Ergo Proxy then you'll find
an overview of the story and series in my coverage of Volume
1. I'd advise reading that before you progress
here, as I'm assuming that those coming to Volume
2 are already familiar with the first four episodes
and will hopefully have seen them. If not then beware, as
there are definitely going to be spoilers for newcomers. Starting right now.
story picks up where it left off in episode 4, in the wasteland
community into which the fugitive Vincent and his AutoReiv
companion Pino have fled. Regarded with suspicion by the
locals because of an increase in patrol flights since his
arrival, Vincent finds a friend in the community's
ageing patriarch Hoody, who talks him up to the others as The Chosen One. Just who Vincent really is proves
to be the key question posed by the four episodes here.
Volume 1 suggested a mysterious link between
him and the rampaging monsters known as Proxies who were at large in the domed city
of Romdo, and this is underlined here
when Proxy activity within Romdo ceases, only to briefly
reappear in the wasteland when the community comes under
attack. Later even Vincent muses on the possible connection
and who or what he actually might be. As those around him
start dying, he grimly observes, "I bring death to
not the only one wondering about the possible Proxy link.
Intelligence Beureau Detective Re-l Mayer breaks the Romdo
rules to venture into the wasteland to locate him, but on arriving
at the community she is mistaken by the inhabitants for
the Romdo negotiator that Hoody has claimed is coming, part
of his information smokescreen to protect Vincent that offers
false hope to those wishing to return to the city. In fact
Re-l has come to take Vincent back to Romdo, but when her
electrical connection with co-conspirator Dr. Daeldus fails
and she abandons her protective suit during an attack on
the community, she falls victim to the toxins in the wasteland
air and collapses. Her only hope of survival lies with Vincent
voluntarily taking her back to Romdo, a decision that would
likely result in his immediate execution and the hands of
Security Bureau chief Raul Creed and his minions.
2 kicks off in fine form with an episode entitled Tasogare,
a gripping blend of intrigue, character development, exposition
and action, the focal point being a security patrol assault
on the encampment, which disables Re-l's protective suit
and provides her and us with further (albeit circumstantial)
evidence of a link between Vincent and the Proxy. It also
results in a death that starts Pino on the road to the development
of human-like emotions, once again recalling Blade
Runner (the series borrows some of that film's
key android concepts) and even having echoes of the development
of the android Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
remains the most intriguing character, her programmed girlish
joviality providing a sometimes surreal counterpoint to the
dark events unfolding around her, while her awakening awareness
of possible emotional responses is touching
and intelligent without ever stooping to mawkishness. A
shift in character emphasis from Volume 1
moves Vincent to centre stage, to the degree that episode
8 is devoted entirely to his
homeland quest at the expense of almost all other regulars,
including one whose end-of-episode fate will remain tantalisingly
unconfirmed until Volume 3. It's in episode
7 that we get inside Vincent's head for the first time, his thoughts
and actions compellingly alternated with those of the recovering
Re-l, while the cross-cutting climax of episode 6 has to
rank as one of the series' best sequences yet.
2 delivers on the promise of the first four episodes
of what is shaping up to be a stylish, intriguing and well
developed series. It keeps you guessing in the way such
series should, puts is borrowings to effective use and balances
action with exposition and socio-politics with rare precision.
My only reservations concern a slight shift of focus in
episode 8 that suggests a possible future emphasis on generically
familiar fantasy elements at the expense of the altogether
more intriguing character drama in which they sit.
four episodes of Volume 2 are titled: Tasogare
(Recall), Domecoming (Return Home),
RE-L124C41+ and Shining Light (Light
with Volume 1, the 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer
here copes well with some of the darkest imagery I've seen
in an anime series, while the lack of banding or bleed on
the deliberately burned-out whites is also pleasing. The
artwork is as impressive as ever and the animation sometimes
better than the genre average, especially when the action
same three soundtrack options on Volume 1
are on offer: Japanese 5.1, English 5.1 and English DTS.
Dialogue aside, they sound identical, with an involving
though unflashy use of the soundstage made by all three.
English subtitles are easy to read and cope with two voices
speaking at once by simultaneously displaying subtitles
at the top and bottom of the screen. This may require pausing
to clearly read, but is welcome nonetheless. Once again
the Japanese curse "shit" has been downgraded
to "dammit," though during the attack on the ship
in episode 6 its frantic multiple usage is accurately translated.
that's here are a trailers for Trinity Blood
(1:31) and Basilisk (2:01).
standard set by Volume 1 is maintained in this visually
and aurally arresting 4-episode continuation of a still
compelling narrative. It will be interesting to see where
the series heads in Volume 3, given my uncertainty about
the development of the fantasy elements, but for many this
will work fine – it's all a matter of preference.