Cogito Ergo Proxy simulwatch [RS] (29/11 - 21/12)

Lordhippos

Thousand Master
Ergo Proxy
MAL Link
[Part of the Renegade Simulwatch]

I know very little about this one but I do know that it's quite dark and it looks dystopian/cyberpunky to me, but otherwise going in blind!

Start date Monday 29th of November, with an episode a day and 23 episodes, expected finish date is 21/12.

DateEpisode #
29th November1
30th November2
1st December3
2nd December4
3rd December5
4th December6
5th December7
6th December8
7th December9
8th December10
9th December11
10th December12
11th December13
12th December14
13th December15
14th December16
15th December17
16th December18
17th December19
18th December20
19th December21
20th December22
21st December23
 
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Dai

Magical Girl
I'm mulling over whether to upgrade my US DVDs to the blu-rays. I understand that the show was originally broadcast in 720p (which is probably why the DVDs look so good), but I can't find any mention of the frame-rate it was originally intended for. Do the blu-rays have motion judder in panning shots from 30->24fps pulldown, or was it always designed for 24fps in the first place?
 

Neil.T

Titan
Seeing as the forum just dinged me, I'll elucidate. My comment regarding the show being HD was not so much about its resolution, as it is about its place in history. Ergo Proxy was apparently one of the first anime TV shows to be broadcast in HD in Japan, enough that the promotional material made much of that fact.

Many of the shows from that time that have subsequently been released on Blu-ray leave you questioning whether they are SD upscales or not, but you don't do that with Ergo Proxy. I don't know what resolution it was originally animated at, but I assume it would have been broadcast at 1080i.
 

Neil.T

Titan
NOTE: For the duration of this simulwatch, I intend to post while recalling some of my own thoughts and impressions of my first viewing of this series. As Ergo Proxy has a strong mystery element running through it, I feel like this is the best way for me to join in without spoiling any of the story for our first-time viewers. With that established, here we go.

Episode 1

Caro m'è 'l sonno, e più l'esser di sasso,
mentre che 'l danno e la vergogna dura;
non veder, non sentir m'è gran ventura;

però non mi destar, deh, parla basso.

"My sleep is dear to me, and more dear this being of stone,
as long as the agony and shame last.
Not to see, not to hear [or feel] is for me the best fortune;
So do not wake me! Speak softly."

The opening text relates to a sculpture known as Night, by Michaelangelo.

According to Wikipedia:
The Medici Chapels (Cappelle medicee) are two structures at the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, and built as extensions to Brunelleschi's 15th-century church, with the purpose of celebrating the Medici family, patrons of the church and Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The Sagrestia Nuova ("New Sacristy") was designed by Michelangelo.
...
Night is a sculpture in marble (155x150 cm, maximum length 194 cm diagonally) by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Dating from 1526–1531, it is part of the decoration of the New Sacristy and part of an allegory of the four parts of day. It is situated on the left of the sarcophagus of the tomb of Giuliano di Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Nemours.


In this first episode, we have a situation where "AutoReivs", which is the term for "robot" in our domed city of Romdeau*, are showing a tendancy to run riot after becoming infected with something called the "cogito virus". This gives the opportunity to introduce us to our major players. We have Re-l Mayer, an inspector with the Intelligence Bureau; Iggy, her burly AutoReiv "Entourage" or assistant; and the elegant Raul Creed, who is the newly appointed chief of the Citizen Security Bureau.

We're also introduced to the put-upon immigrant Vincent Law. He labours away at the AutoReiv Control Division with the job of neutralising machines that've gone haywire, with the promise of being granted official citizenship. If ever there was a side character who seemed earmarked for death, it's this meek and hapless fool. I wouldn't expect him to last more than three episodes at this rate.

Creepily, the letters of his alphabet breakfast cereal that rise to the surface of the overflowing milk spell "awakening", the same as the word that Re-l finds scrawled across her bathroom mirror at the end of the episode. What does it mean?


TRIVIA:
• The way that the monster in the opening scene that's referred to later as a "Proxy" breaks free of its restraints is quite similar to Eva Unit-13 doing the same in this year's Evangelion 3.0+1.0.

• In another early scene, Re-l uses a voice command to deactivate the "Turing application" in Iggy's software. This is a reference to the British mathematician Alan Turing.

From Wikipedia:
Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS (23 June 1912–7 June 1954) was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist.Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer.Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

• At one point, Vincent hands Re-l a piece of a neutralised AutoReiv's brain that he refers to as the "hippocampus file". The Japanese word he uses is kaiba. This might ring a bell for anyone looking to pick up a certain Masaaki Yuasa anime in the upcoming Christmas sales.

• Iggy talks in the way that a gay man might in Japanese, using some typically feminine turns of phrase. The Ergo Proxy wiki page on the character describes as "misleading" the on-disc bonus promotional material that refers to Iggy as "sounding like ‘a gay robot’", but this is in fact an apt description of his mode of speech. More successfully, the same wiki page explains that Iggy is named after Ignatius of Loyola, a 16th-century Spanish Catholic priest and theologian "known for extreme piety and loyalty".
⚠️ Article linked above contains MAJOR spoilers for the show

• I couldn't help but wonder how much the shot of a frightening message written on Re-l's bathroom mirror was inspired by this well-known controversial image:
welcome-to-the-world-of-aids-picture-id108130208

• The largely Engrish-free on-screen text we see throughout the series was mostly handled by Michael Arias, an American living in Japan who directed Tekkonkinkreet and was co-director of Harmony.

• Lastly, the episode's end credits use a short section of the Radiohead song "Paranoid Android", found on their 1997 album OK Computer. For me at least, it's a surprising and welcome addition to the show's soundtrack.


*Additional note: in my posts here, I'll be using the spelling "Romdeau", in line with how the name of the domed city is spelled in-universe, even though this goes against the subtitles found on the UK Blu-ray release, where it's written as "Romdo". This spelling originates from the subtitles of the original DVD release, which was released one volume at a time, and thus a spelling had to be committed to by the translator without yet having seen the later episode where the name appears on-screen. In fact, the spelling "Romdeau" itself is possibly incorrect and was perhaps intended to be "Rondeau" in reference to a form of 14th- and 15th-century French lyrical poetry.

Translation is a difficult thing. In one online fansub of the series, Re-l's name is rendered as "Lil" based on its Japanese pronunciation, a completely logical choice made without the benefit of seeing her name written down.
 
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WMD

Cardcaptor
Episode 1

Here we go! God I love this show. I'm pretty sure in was within the 10 animes I ever watched and along with things like Ghost in the Shell, Texhnolyze, Death Note, Elfen Lied and Darker Than Black really set the tone for what I view as top tier anime and shows.

Aesthetically it's just perfect. The character designs are so good. The use of light and shaddow is incredible. The use of camera angles is immense. Lots of unsettling off kilter angles and camera movements. Lots of super close ups of tech to establish scenes. Everything about the way this show looks I adore.

Even in these first 20 mins we get glimpses of the world building and lots of weird, as yet indecipherable, places/people/events. We also get some action thrown in as well that carries this horror vibe alongside the general cyberpunk trappings.
 

Lordhippos

Thousand Master
Episode 1

Alright so as a first time watcher there is definitely an eva-esque "throw you in at the deep end see if you can swim" style of story going on, it's more of a show rather than tell type affair, and to be honest, I'm perfectly good with that.

With this kind of thing I am quite sure you're not meant to know what everything is on your first viewing, and instead the mystery and the world will come to make sense in time. I really like this kind of thing, although I hated that in EVA they didn't eventually really explain all of the jargon they used! :)

So my initial take on this is that the art is really nice for a 2006 show. A lot of stuff in this era can look dated, but I am pleased to say that I don't think this is the case here. The setting is very nicely done with very muted tones, and a clear cyberpunk influence (though to me much more of a dystopia). An interesting juxtaposition against the much more vibrant/bold Cyberpunk show I just finished - Akudama Drive.

I'd say this feels kind of Blade Runner-esque in terms of setting, with a side of Detroit: Become Human (if anyone has played it). The setting for Detroit is similar, androids who start to get their own intelligence. I can tell there is going to be a lot of social commentary here too, with things like androids having their own intelligence, consumerism being an agenda that is pushed.

Does Re-l have cat ears hiding under her hair? certainly looks like it! 🤣 - Part of me is wondering if she is like an advanced android rather than a human, but as there are no obvious signs that she is, I'm only going to give that a low chance.

That is definitely not how I would want to greet a shower. The altercation between the two proxies was interesting, the one that looks a bit like Voldo from Soul Calibur was the one in the experiment at the start, but the other one is clearly a different beast.

Ghost in the Shell, Texhnolyze, Death Note, Elfen Lied and Darker Than Black really set the tone for what I view as top tier anime and shows.

Interesting side note, I have only seen Ghost in the Shell, Death Note and Elfen Lied out of those. I am intending to do Texhnolyze soonish though but not at the same time as this. A bit too much I think.

I've heard of Darker than Black, is it good/worth a watch?
 

WMD

Cardcaptor
Interesting side note, I have only seen Ghost in the Shell, Death Note and Elfen Lied out of those. I am intending to do Texhnolyze soonish though but not at the same time as this. A bit too much I think.

I've heard of Darker than Black, is it good/worth a watch?
Personally I loved Darker Than Black and would totally reccomend it. It's another one where the premise and world building is really well done. A great mix of characters and some really cool action.
 

Lordhippos

Thousand Master
Personally I loved Darker Than Black and would totally reccomend it. It's another one where the premise and world building is really well done. A great mix of characters and some really cool action.

Cool thanks, it shall make my list for the future :)

@Neil.T nice post dude, a long one but a good read. Didn't realise the statue they used was a mimic of the real thing (I think?) but of course the old Turing test is the test that all good Androids must pass to be put into Gryffindor by the sorting hat to pass as human.

Also cool ED song as an old school Radiohead fan I recognised it right away, hopefully we don't hit Eva-esque licensing issues like with Fly me to the Moon in the future.
 

Dai

Magical Girl
It's been quite a few years since I last watched this. I've been wanting to rewatch it for quite a while, so it's been a long wait for this simulwatch. Now the difficulty will be limiting myself to one episode per day!

Episode 1
I've watched this series half a dozen times, and the sheer ballsiness of the large-scale misdirection going on in the first episode never ceases to amaze me. There's a lot of straight foreshadowing here, and many threads that will be important later on, but there's just as much that is leading the first-time viewer on a merry chase in figuring out what the story will be like.

The other thing that always impresses is the sense of design. There's such a distinctive visual language on display, and it all helps to build a quite unsettling atmosphere. That goes for the autoreivs in particular, which are both eerie to look at and unnerving in their mix of subservience and dominance in relation to the humans.

Control is an important element in this episode. Autoreivs and the mysterious proxy are rampaging out of control in an oppressive city where it's hard to tell just who control whom. Everyone and everything seems to be shackled by expectations, responsibilities, and constant surveillance.
 
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