In a post-apocalyptic world, humanity lives in domed cities and are born from test tubes. In the city of Romdo, a bored investigator is attacked by a creature that turns her whole world upside down and sends her on a journey for the truth. Can you hear the Pulse of the Awakening? Synopsis and Narrative Re-L Mayer and her automaton companion Iggy are charged with investigating AutoReiv related murders around the city for the Intelligence Bureau. These AutoReivs are said to be infected with something called the Cogito Virus, which is rumored to give machines a soul since they drop to their knees in prayer after infection. During the course of her investigations, she increasingly runs into a man in charge of their disposal. Meanwhile, Vincent Law, a recent immigrant to the city, works for the AutoReiv disposal crew and is trying to make an honest living to become a "Fellow Citizen" in Romdo. Immigrants are not looked well upon, but if they can prove their worth to society, they might have a chance at citizenship. AutoReiv disposal is dirty and dangerous work. Vincent sometimes has to shoot down the AutoReiv's he's disposing of. One evening, a creature jumps through the ceiling of Re-L's home and she is pinned against the wall before a second creature attacks the first. The fight takes both creatures outside, leaving her place a wreck. After the incident, she devotes all of her time investigating the creatures and following leads surrounding the nature of beings called "Proxies". The subject is a closely guarded secret and her initial attempts at digging are obstructed. A confused Vincent is being pursued by authorities because he is suspected of having some kind of connection to the Proxy incidents. The pursuit chases Vincent outside of the city where Re-L follows. She's going to get the bottom of this if it's the last thing she does. Impressions and Analysis Ergo Proxy is a dark and dreary anime, both figuratively and literally. You can hardly see anything for at least the first few episodes. The coloring is tons of dark browns, grays, and various shades of blacks. The rare bright buildings like medical facilities are almost blinding by contrast. The tone of the narrative has a similar vibe, dark and foreboding. The soundtrack follows suit with its somber beats and harrowing electronics, perhaps the most haunting of which is the track "Hideout". Re-L herself is rather broody, and Vincent spends a lot of his time scared and confused. Not a happy-go-lucky anime. There's a surprising amount of philosophy to be found here, too. Maybe not quite on the level of the Ghost in the Shell films per se, but there are a number of conversations to be had about personal identity and how an individual defines their self-worth. It's also the anime where I learned the French phrase 'raison d'etre' which could be interpreted as 'reason for being', and is one of the central themes throughout. I will admit I had to check the Ergo Proxy wiki to explain a few things to me. There is so much symbolism in use that it's hard to keep track of. For that reason, I think the show is best appreciated on multiple viewings. The first pass is just to get a sense of the world and how things work, and every viewing after digs deeper into the questions of why and how. Judging the acting job here isn't terribly straight-forward because there's so little emotion built into the characters in the first place. The most emotive character is easily Pino, an AutoReiv with a child-like appearance. Her playful spirit is clearly out of place when compared to everyone else's temperament. Despite the general lack of expressiveness, Liam O'Brien as Vincent does well portraying his near-incessant anxiety, and Travis Willingham as Re-L's AutoReiv Iggy has his own moment in the sun late in the series. Who is it for? This post-apocalyptic sci-fi anime is for anyone who loves a good mystery to chase and theorize about. Even casual sci-fi fans will appreciate how Ergo Proxy's world was crafted and its dilapidated visuals. Availability Ergo Proxy is 23 episodes long and available to stream online at JustDubs.