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Ergo Proxy - volume three
voice cast: Akiko Yajima, Kouji Yusa, and Rie Saitou

director: Shukou Murase

106 minutes (12) 2006
MVM DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Michael Bunning
Volume three of Ergo Proxy starts with another plot twist, as Vincent awakes to find himself in a mysterious tower, the guest of a stranger (named Kazukizu Hauer) who rescued him. Through discovering Hauer's story and meeting more AutoReivs, Vincent learns more about himself and his destiny, particularly that part of it to do with Ergo Proxy itself.

As with the previous volumes, Ergo Proxy volume three doesn't make for easy turn-the-brain-off viewing. The plot's moving fast, and important details are often only hinted at, and can get lost in all the new cast members, new locales and strange occurrences. The narrative is split about 50-50 between Vincent and Re-I, with Vincent making all the interesting 'new' discoveries in terms of places and people, but Re-I's story much more tightly plotted in terms of the politicking and conspiracies of the city of Romdo. Vincent's story is very intriguing, but there's a definite sense that Re-I's story will pick up more pace next volume.

The fairly abrupt change from Romdo (in volume one) to the commune (in volume two) to the tower in this volume, although extremely interesting, does feel a little overwhelming. The viewer's just starting to get to know the world outside the city, and they're shoved into another, very different, location. It helps move the plot along, but there's a worrying feeling that this might be the pattern for the rest of the anime: Vincent meets a group of people, there's fighting and suddenly he's somewhere else, not knowing anything about his new location or anyone in it. Re-I's story does help keep the narrative grounded, but there's a chance that by the end of the series there'll be too many loose ends to tie up. At this stage, though, the viewer can just enjoy the ride without worrying about conclusions.

The visuals, although very impressive, aren't the best you'll see in modern anime. The character designs lack detail in some cases, and don't look as unique as they might. It's also worth pointing out that the English cast voices don't fit the characters (as is often the case with anime dubs). Vincent in particular is wrong: the Japanese character is bitter and angry, but the English voice acting makes him remarkably passive, confused and a little dumb. It's consistently inventive though, both in story and in visual direction, with odd angles, unexpected cuts and editing, and it's well worth the effort in keeping up.
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