Ergo Proxy

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Ergo Proxy
Cover of the limited edition DVD Set 1 released in 2012
Created byManglobe
Anime television series
Directed byShūkō Murase
Produced by
  • Akio Matsuda
  • Satoshi Fujii
  • Hiroyuki Kitaura
  • Takashi Kōchiyama
Written byDai Satō
Music byYoshihiro Ike
Licensed by
Original networkWowow
English network
Original run February 25, 2006 August 12, 2006
Episodes23 (List of episodes)
Centzon Hitchers and Undertaker
Written byYumiko Harao
Published byShogakukan
ImprintSunday GX Comics
MagazineMonthly Sunday Gene-X
Original runFebruary 18, 2006November 18, 2006

Ergo Proxy is a Japanese cyberpunk anime television series, produced by Manglobe, directed by Shūkō Murase and written by Dai Satō. The series ran for 23 episodes from February to August 2006 on the Wowow satellite network. It is set in a post-apocalyptic future where humans and AutoReiv androids coexist peacefully until a virus gives the androids self-awareness, causing them to commit a series of murders. Inspector Re-L Mayer is assigned to investigate, discovering a more complicated plot behind it that involves a humanoid species known as "Proxy" who are the subject of secret government experiments.

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, with a subsequent television broadcast on Fuse in the United States. 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.



The series is set in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future. After an ecological disaster thousands of years prior rendered the outside world inhospitable towards life, domed cities were built as safe havens for the population. Inside these domes, one of which is Romdeau city (where the series takes place), humans and androids called AutoReivs coexist peacefully. Romdeau city government adopted a bureaucracy system, in which the government is divided between several entities such as the Intelligence Bureau, the Information Bureau, the Health & Welfare Bureau, and the Security Bureau, all under the control of the Administration Bureau led by an Administrator referred to as the "Regent".

The primary AutoReiv types are referred to as either "Companion"—(AutoReivs who physically possess a human-like appearance)—or "Entourage"—(AutoReivs with a robotic appearance)—depending on their role. There are others designed for leisure or combat; AutoReivs seem to be constructed of varying degrees of bio-cybernetic complexity to fit their specific functions. The humans in the city are grown in artificial wombs but are still biologically related to their ancestors. Throughout the series, it is shown that the humans living in the domes believe they cannot reproduce naturally. Likewise, when a new person is grown, they are done so to fulfill a specific purpose, thus ensuring that person's role in society through a "raison d'être".


A series of murders committed by AutoReivs infected with the Cogito virus (which causes them to become self-aware) begins to threaten the delicate balance of Romdeau City's social order. Behind the scenes, the government has been conducting secret experiments on a mysterious humanoid life form called "Proxy"; these Proxy beings (often described as god-like and immortal) are said to hold the very key to the survival of humanity.

Re-l (pronounced /rˈɛl/ or "Ree-EL"; also represented by the spelling "R.E.A.L." in the Romdeau citizen database) Mayer, the Regent's granddaughter, is assigned to investigate the murders with her AutoReiv partner, Iggy. She encounters two unknown and highly powerful humanoids. She later learns that these humanoids are the Proxies. The other central character, an immigrant named Vincent Law, is revealed to be connected in some ways with the Proxies. After being hunted down, Vincent temporarily lives in a commune on the outside of the dome. 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 and cannot function without their presence within the domes.


It is set in the future. A group of robots become infected with something called the Kojiro [sic] virus, and become aware of their own existence. So these robots, which had been tools of humans, decide to go on an adventure to search for themselves. They have to decide whether the virus that infected them created their identity, or whether they gained their identity through their travels. This question is meant to represent our own debate over whether we become who we are because of our environment, or because of things that are inherent in us. The robots are all named after philosophers: Derrida and Lacan and Husserl.

Dai Satō[4]

Ergo Proxy was directed by Shūkō Murase with Dai Satō serving as chief writer and Naoyuki Onda as character designer.[5] The anime was originally announced at the MIP TV Trade Show in France as a 23-episode TV series.[6] Manglobe initially approached Shūkō Murase with a bare-bones vision for a futuristic detective thriller, which included the title, a plot outline for episodes 1–3 and a design concept for Romdeau. Beyond that they let him develop the idea towards a more existentialist slant.[7]

"There was almost too much freedom", he laughs. "A show slated to be on a commercial network carries restrictions according to the time slot", he explains. "Sponsors often have requests intended to help propel the work to hit status; and merchandising entails another set of requirements altogether. By comparison, all Ergo Proxy had to deal with was a DVD release and a TV broadcast over a pay satellite channel."[7]

When asked about how he devised the title Ergo Proxy, Satō simply replied "[I]t sounds cool".[8] Murase explained he originally wanted to use the concept of everyone having another self inside of themselves: the idea that there are two personalities inside a person and noted that René Descartes' phrase "cogito, ergo sum" was the inspiration for it. Satō stated that they originally did not want to explicitly express the concepts of Gnosticism in the anime. However, their personal beliefs ended up reflecting the ideas of Gnosticism and realized how well these terms fit and decided to use them.[9]

At first they intended to have Vincent as the leading protagonist and Re-l as a supporting character; however, as they fleshed out her character, she became a much stronger character and began to steal the spotlight from Vincent. This gave them the opportunity to split the narrative between the two characters instead of having a single protagonist lead the story.[7]



In Japan, Ergo Proxy aired on pay-TV satellite broadcasting network WOWOW from 25 February 2006, concluding on August 12, 2006.[10] Ergo Proxy was then released by Geneon Entertainment onto nine DVD volumes from May 25, 2006, to January 25, 2007.[11][12] The series was licensed by Geneon Entertainment for Region 1 release, which began on November 21, 2006, and spanned six volumes. The English dub of Ergo Proxy premiered on pay-TV channel Fuse from June 9 to November 24, 2007, in the United States.[13] and a complete DVD collection was later released in December 2008.

On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment still retains the license, Funimation Entertainment assumed exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales, and distribution of select titles which included Ergo Proxy.[14] As of March 29, 2012, the series has been fully licensed by Funimation and re-released the series under their Anime Classics label on July 3, 2012.[15] Geneon also released a four-disc complete Blu-ray box collection on September 25, 2012,[16] and two DVD box collection on September 25, 2012, and August 22, 2012, respectively.[17][18]

In Australia and New Zealand, the Ergo Proxy DVDs were distributed by Madman Entertainment, the first volume released in March 2007. The first volume of Ergo Proxy was released in the United Kingdom by MVM Films on August 6, 2007. The English dub of Ergo Proxy aired on ABC2 (the national digital public television channel) from July 3 to December 4, 2007.[19] In Canada, the English dub aired on pay-TV digital channel G4techTV's Anime Current programming block from July 26 to December 27, 2007.[20][21]


A manga spin-off, titled Centzon Hitchers and Undertaker (センツォン・ヒッチャーズ&アンダーテイカー, Sentson Hitchāzu & Andāteikā), by Yumiko Harao, was serialized in Shogakukan's Monthly Sunday Gene-X from February 18 to November 18, 2006.[a] Its chapters were collected in two tankōbon volumes, released on August 18, 2006,[24] and February 19, 2007.[25]


Ergo Proxy OST opus01 and opus02
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMay 25, 2006 (opus01)
August 25, 2006 (opus02)
GenreAnime Soundtrack
Length57:00 (opus01)
53:46 (opus02)

Two soundtracks of the anime series, titled Ergo Proxy OST opus01 and Ergo Proxy OST opus02, have been released by Geneon Entertainment in Japan on May 25, 2006 and August 25, 2006, respectively.[26][27] Both soundtracks feature compositions of Yoshihiro Ike. The first soundtrack, opus01, contains several tracks including the opening and ending themes: "Kiri" (by Monoral) and "Paranoid Android" (by Radiohead). The second soundtrack, opus02, was initially packaged with a special edition of the first Region 1 DVD.[28]

Ergo Proxy OST opus01
3."new pulse"3:14
4."No. 0724FGARK"3:15
6."raging pulse"3:26
7."autoreiv contagion"2:33
8."Romdo overshadows"2:26
10."deal in blood"3:13
11."wasteland nostalgia"4:02
12."vital signs"3:11
13."written on clouds"3:22
15."last exit to paradise"3:38
16."he the empty"2:56
18."Fellow Citizens"2:46
19."Paranoid Android" (performed by Radiohead)6:23
Ergo Proxy OST opus02
5."wrong way home"2:49
6."busy doing nothing"3:22
8."angel's share"3:15
12."terra incognita"3:22
13."deus ex machina"3:30
14."eternal smile"1:57
15."life after god"3:14
16."Goodbye Vincent"2:49
17."shampoo planet"2:28
18."kiri" (performed by Monoral)4:18


Ergo Proxy received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising the series for its intricate visuals, cyberpunk aesthetic and intellectual themes; while criticizing the uneven narrative and its over reliance on philosophical references. Newtype USA stated that they were "excited by the premise of the show, which features complex drama surrounding the strikingly beautiful crime investigator Re-l Mayer, and an intricate sci-fi setting, incorporating robots, living in human society and a grotesque array of unique monsters". Newtype went on to praise the "tremendous supporting cast and carefully woven plot".[29] Newtype USA featured the first Ergo Proxy DVD in their "DVD of the Month", describing it as a "show that rewards viewers with a deep, believable, and above all thoughtful sci-fi story instead of simply bashing robots together".[30] Katherine Luther of praised it for its cyberpunk themes and mix of 2D and 3D animation as well as its deep psychological storyline, calling it creepy, intense and "edge-of-your-seat-delightful".[1]

THEM Anime Reviews praised the visuals and pacing of the plot while noting that the greatest flaw in the series is that the designs can be inconsistent at times.[31] Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network gave it an overall score of B+ and criticized the characters, stating "It's an unfortunate stain on an otherwise excellent series." However, he praised the animation stating "The backgrounds in particular are breathtakingly detailed and beautiful, which is a surprise given the bleak, dystopian surroundings"[32] Carlo Santos, also from Anime News Network, criticized the middle and ending of the anime, stating "Some of the middle episodes fall back on experimental gimmicks and fail to advance the story, while the finale becomes a towering mess as it desperately tries to resolve every single plot point. Even the animation has embarrassing moments of inconsistency." However, Santos continued to state "for trying so hard to scale the heights of a difficult genre, Ergo Proxy still deserves credit. It accomplishes more than most other anime series ever hope to, flaws and all."[33]

IGN contributor D. F. Smith reviewed the series DVD box set in 2008, giving the series a 7.0 out of a possible score of 10. Smith overall found the visuals, music and voice acting of Ergo Proxy to be exceptional, but stated that the overall story was too complex and relied too heavily on philosophical references rather than a strong narrative. In conclusion, D. F. Smith wrote "Ergo Proxy isn't without its share of disappointments, but even so, it has a heck of a lot going for it. What it lacks in the way of a truly gripping, involving story, it makes up for in part with a powerful soundtrack, some powerful visuals, and the occasional powerful insight. If those are the sort of things you go to Japanese animation looking for, you might not find this series disappointing at all".[34] Another IGN columnist, Ramsley Isler, placed Ergo Proxy's opening as the 10th greatest anime opening. Isler praised the opening's use of dark visuals juxtaposed with the opening theme song's optimistic tone, comparing it to a Nine Inch Nails or Lifehouse music video.[35]

On June 12, 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Culture announced that they had listed Ergo Proxy among 38 anime and manga titles banned in China.[36]


  1. ^ The manga was serialized from the March 2006 to the December 2006 issues (cover dates),[22] released on February 18 and November 18, respectively, of the same year.[23]


  1. ^ a b Luther, Katherine, "Ergo Proxy Series Profile", Guide, archived from the original on April 1, 2013, retrieved March 10, 2019
  2. ^ Bonthuys, Darryn (June 27, 2020). "The Best Cyberpunk Anime for Newcomers". IGN. Archived from the original on July 29, 2021. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Yegulalp, Serdar. "Ergo Proxy: The Complete Series". Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2021. What begins as a bleak dystopian noir thriller mutates not just once but several times over—through post-apocalyptic action, psychological-thriller territory, and finally a climactic orgy of destruction.
  4. ^ "US-Japan Innovator's Project" (PDF). November 29, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 26, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  5. ^ "Ergo Proxy". Anime News Network. November 10, 2005. Archived from the original on July 29, 2021. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  6. ^ "Ergo Proxy". Anime News Network. April 19, 2005. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Wong, Amos (December 2006). "Profile: Shukou Murase". Newtype USA. pp. 50–53.
  8. ^ Virginia Heffernan (March 7, 2008). "Ergo Proxy: The Official Language of the Internet". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  9. ^ Scally, Deborah; Drummond-Mathews, Angela; Hairston, Marc (September 3, 2007). "Interview with Murase Shūkō and Satō Dai". Mechademia 4: War/Time. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 330–333. doi:10.1353/mec.0.0064. ISBN 978-0-8166-6749-9. S2CID 121528786.
  10. ^ "Ergo Proxy Season 1 Episode Guide". Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Ergo Proxy I〈初回限定版〉" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  12. ^ "Ergo Proxy IX〈初回限定版〉" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  13. ^ Hanson, Brian (June 9, 2007). "The Click: June 9–15". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on May 17, 2021. Retrieved August 16, 2007.
  14. ^ "FUNimation Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement for North America". Anime News Network (Press release). 2008-07-03. Archived from the original on 2021-07-29. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
  15. ^ "Ergo Proxy: Box Set - Classic". Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  16. ^ "Ergo Proxy Blu-ray BOX [初回限定版]" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Archived from the original on August 12, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  17. ^ "Ergo proxy SET1 <期間限定生産>" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  18. ^ "Ergo Proxy SET2 <期間限定生産>" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  19. ^ "Ergo Proxy - Awakening". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 July 2007. Archived from the original on 5 March 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
  20. ^ "G4 Canada continues exclusive anime programming with six new concurrent series". G4 Canada. 25 June 2007. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  21. ^ "G4techTV Canada Continues Exclusive Anime Programming with Six New Concurrent Series". Anime News Network. June 25, 2007. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  22. ^ manglobe+原尾有美子 (in Japanese). Monthly Sunday Gene-X official website. Archived from the original on January 2, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  23. ^ 月刊 サンデーGX (バックナンバー). (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  24. ^ "Centzon Hitchers and Undertaker" (in Japanese). Ergo Proxy official website. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "Centzon Hitchers and Undertaker II" (in Japanese). Ergo Proxy official website. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  26. ^ "Ergo Proxy OST opus01" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  27. ^ "Ergo Proxy OST opus02" (in Japanese). NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  28. ^ "Best Buy Ergo Proxy Exclusive Eligible for Signed Sketch". Anime News Network. November 14, 2006. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  29. ^ "New Anime 2006". Newtype USA: 51. March 2006.
  30. ^ Gifford, Kevin (November 2006). "Ergo Proxy Volume 1". Newtype USA. Vol. 5, no. 11. p. 148. ISSN 1541-4817. Archived from the original on January 5, 2007.
  31. ^ Foote, Aiden. "Ergo Proxy". THEM Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on June 23, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  32. ^ Bertschy, Zac (November 10, 2006). "Ergo Proxy DVD 1: Awakening". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  33. ^ Santos, Carlo (September 11, 2012). "Ergo Proxy DVD - Complete Series [Anime Classics]". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on September 19, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  34. ^ Smith, D.F. (11 November 2008). "Ergo Proxy - The Complete Box Set". IGN. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  35. ^ Isler, Ramsey (25 January 2014). "Our 10 Favorite Anime Openings". IGN. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  36. ^ "China bans 38 anime & manga titles including Attack on Titan". Special Broadcasting Service. 2015-06-12. Archived from the original on 2018-08-31. Retrieved 2018-08-31.

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