Review of Ergo Proxy: Vol. 5 - Terra Incognita
Wah! `Ergo Proxy` will be over soon.
This fifth volume acts as the penultimate slice of nihilistic, sci-fi anime that seems to have split audiences like Moses - according to eye-witness reports - split the Red Sea. Now while I`ll be disappointed to see it end - something which will no doubt be obvious if you`ve read the previous volume reviews - I`m beginning to feel a little trepidation as to whether the show`s conclusion will match up with my high expectations at the show`s outset. While exploring the psyche of its characters has always been a main facet of its makeup, this element seems to have become a little more pronounced over the later volumes, with dedicated concept episodes eating into precious plot time. This is something that continues to a great effect in volume 5, and with only three more episodes to come with volume 6, you get the impression there`s either going to be an almighty exposition dump somewhere, or things are going to be left up in the air. Either way, I`m getting the impression I`m going to have watch them all again to truly get the most out of this rather deep anime.
Which, might I add, is no bad thing.
17. Terra incognita
18. Life After God
19. Eternal Smile
20. Goodbye Vincent
Even the most diligent scrutiniser will have a hard time picking up any major flaws here. A few of the common kinks that accompany animation transfers - it`s a little soft from its NTSC origins and there`s the odd minor artefact - will be apparent, but it`s yet another stellar transfer from MVM. The anamorphic 1.78:1 visuals are sexy and stylish, and the character and art design manages to keep a semi-realistic aspect, toning down the obvious signs of its Asian origins, yet still makes itself identifiable as being of Japanese origin through copious aesthetic zeal and stylisation throughout. It`s surprising the amount of detail that you can pick out in some scenes, while the contrast remains high throughout and the conceptual, moody and bleak colouring gives it an engrossing edge over shows that really don`t draw you into their distinguished world in the same way.
A cracking selection of audio tracks. Clearly realising stereo is for wussies and luddites, there`s no Dolby Digital 2.0 at all on the disc, instead 3 flavours of 5.1 digital surround (all together now - wooooo!). The original Japanese track is present in Dolby Digital 5.1 form with English subtitles, while the accomplished English dub (nothing less than great scripting and voicing would do on a show like this, and thankfully we get it) comes in two welcome varieties - Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. As usual, DTS only sounds better (read: slightly louder) because we`ve had it drummed into us that DTS is the superior of the two compression formats. Those without DTS-compatible equipment will still find a thumping 5.1 in the double-D, one which while not particularly soundstage-mobile, does sound full, bassy and really does justice to both the electronica-tinged score and spot effects.
Again, just a pair of trailers. One for `Witchblade` and another for `Trinity Blood`.
You`d be forgiven for forgetting there`s a point to the journey that the show`s protagonists have been on. It`s been a long ride, and the plot seems to have dried up since the blistering opening volume and its follow-up, forgoing narrative development for a deep, introspective look at the character`s personalities. I like this element of the show, but I do take a little umbrage with the way they`ve been doing it over the past few volumes, namely psychology through visually representative means. First it was a wacky, tonally out-of-sync game show episode, and now we get a double header of the same schtick, as both Vincent and Pino have their own dream episodes.
Again, there`s the worry that they`re leaving themselves short on time to wrap up the plot in three short episodes, but while volume 5 is heavy on the self-contained, there is enough in here to encourage the notion that they haven`t forgotten there`s an over-arcing story in there somewhere. Generally, the balance between the goings on in Romdo and those onboard the Rabbit have been an uneven split, with the main characters naturally burning up more air time, but the periphery characters back in Romdo finally seem to be injected back into the plot at large with volume 5, particularly the dome`s Chief of Security Raul and Daedalus, who`ve been treading water for a while as the show keeps pace with Re-l, Vincent and Pino. It`s another enjoyable volume of a great anime series, and the middling nature of a couple of episodes does little to quench the enthusiasm I have for the show, even if it`s never quite recaptured the glory of the first two volumes thus far.