Ergo Proxy Review & Characters – Raison d'être


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Raison d'être

  • Episodes : 23
  • Genre : Cyberpunk, Sci-fi, Mystery, Psychological
  • Airing Date : February 2006 – August 2006
  • Producers : Manglobe

Ergo Proxy Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Let’s take a jump into the distant future. The very distant future. 1000 years ago a disaster forced humankind to live inside dome cities that are portrayed as mini utopias. Romdeau is one such city where our protagonist Re-L Mayer lives with her AutoReivs companion Iggy. Together they work for the Intelligence Bureau and are assigned a bizarre case. Two AutoReivs have recently been infected with a virus that drives them mad. In order to protect and maintain the utopian harmony of Romdeau, Re-L and Iggy need to find out where the Cogito virus is coming from and stop it fast.

However, one day Re-L is attacked by a strange creature known as a proxy. At the same time as these incidents, a seemingly nonplussing immigrant named Vincent Law appears in the city. He doesn’t really stand out, but he always seems to be connected to incidents as they occur. How strange indeed. After an incident that forces Re-L and Vincent outside of the dome, Re-L teams up with Vincent to head to another city named Mosk, in order to help Vincent remember who he is, and discover why Proxies are ruining their perfect society.

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Who does Ergo Proxy cater to?

Ergo Proxy is a deep, engaging anime that has the viewer paying close attention. One of the best parts of this show, is the part where the viewer is forced to think. There’s use of Latin when characters question deep personal issues. Often the viewer is left with more questions than answers which makes you say, “One more episode!” The steampunk and futuristic elements almost seem too realistic in that one can view our societies becoming like the show one day.
This series has many hidden gems and tidbits of information, usually in the form of symbols or metaphors that makes the viewer pay attention. All that blossoms isn’t green in Ergo Proxy. There are some very serious, comical, or sad moments that do occur and the best way to envision it is to view it like a flower blossoming in a wasteland. You will be so focused on the series and what’s happening that if you’re too engaged (wasteland), you will miss semi-hidden incidents(flower).

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

To be honest, I’ve watched this show many times, and I always catch something new each time. I really enjoy it because of the philosophical elements as well. This series likes to throw curves at you by explaining as little as possible on more than a few occasions. Some things don’t even come full circle till the ending arrives.
I want to point out that some people are foolishly quick to discredit the show as pretentious or too difficult to understand. For that, I say first, the show isn’t pretentious, it’s complex. This is what makes some think that it’s pretentious, but Ergo Proxy just wants you to think. It is a philosophical anime for crying out loud. As for the difficulty complaint, google is your friend. One shouldn’t be too quick to disregard something that isn’t understood as immediately too hard or stupid. Challenge yourself to know more. That’s what this show asks you to do, and should you want to enjoy the show, why not learn a bit more?
A set of protagonists that doesn’t have everything figured out is awesome as well! It allows you to grow with them and become entrapped in their stories. You will find yourself sympathizing some actions and people, while sharply questioning others.
Don’t forget about the steampunk elements as well! It’s very interesting to see the clash of old and new technologies within Romdeau.

I found this fantastic fanmade trailer that is a great overview of the series and really sets the tone well. Check it out!

Ergo Proxy fanmade Trailer

Ergo Proxy Main Characters List

Re-L Mayer

ergo proxy Re-L Mayer

Voice Actor :Rie Satou

Serious and as steely-eyed as her trademark blue eye makeup, Re-L (pronounced real) Mayer is a 19 year old inspector that works for the Intelligence Bureau. She doesn’t play games and is quite coldhearted at first. Eventually she grows to understand that she needs to be more open in order to understand others. She is the granddaughter of the regent of Romdaeu which is probably why she has her job. While trying to understand the appearance of the Cogito virus and why it’s spreading, her fate becomes intertwined with Vincent. Together they will search for answers as door after door seems to close on them, blocking their paths.

Vincent Law

ergo proxy Vincent Law

Voice Actor :Koji Yusa

Vincent immigrates into Romdeau from Mosk and is working for the government finding infected AutoReivs and disposing of them. He seems to be a rather frumpy, flat character at first, keeping to himself. Since he has recently immigrated to Romdaeu, he is hell bent on becoming a “model citizen.” This is to make it go smoothly. However, twists and turns later, he’s being chased around the city by something. How strange. As the series progresses, he starts to become more confident and his eyes tend to be drawn as more open. His fate is tied to Re-L’s.

Pino

ergo proxyPino

Voice Actor :Akiko Yajima

Pino is the third main character of this series and a very interesting one at that. Pino lives with a family and appears to be the nanny for a baby. She is also tied to Vincent and Re-L. Childlike in nature for being an AutoReiv. She smiles just like a child and wants to play and laugh. She has been infected with the Cogito virus but at the same time, is unaware of her own status as an AutoReiv. This leaves her acting like a child, but not going mad as the virus is supposed to make her do. She loves Vincent and oddly follows him everywhere with a small toy melodica around her neck.


Contains Spoilers

Ergo Proxy Review

I want to start out saying that I’m really happy that I get to be the one to present this anime to you, the readers. This show is one of my Top 10 shows and I believe this show has fantastic re-watch value. At first, Ergo Proxy almost seems like any other post-apocalyptic anime. The world has been destroyed and humans live safely in dome cities that are paradises. That’s where the similarities stop. Welcome to humanity’s last paradise and chance probably. The city is run by what looks like a council of creepy Greek statues with voices and a regent that dictate what happens in the city of Romdeau. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything is all peaches and roses because their power is absolute and going against them isn’t advised. The society is actually a dystopia because of the totalitarian government. While it does seem like a paradise, it is so because the government has such a tight grip on the people. This could even be a satire of some modern governments. Frequently through the series, there are broadcasts that remind the citizens of Romdeau that they should be producing waste because that is what good citizens do. Yikes.

Enter Re-L, granddaughter of the regent overseeing the city that for the most part has free reign to do what she wants with her AutoReiv, Iggy, by her side. Sent on an investigation into the self-awareness virus affecting AutoReivs only, she has her first encounter with a Proxy. Proxies, she comes to find out, are only known by the elite and feared within Romdeau. Recently, the government had one under their control. However, it’s escaped… Re-L is stubborn, which is a good characteristic I believe for a protagonist. She’s a no-nonsense kind of go-getter. Her Achilles heel though is how stubborn she is which makes for a good conflict within her character.

After she gets kicked out of the dome, it’s interesting to see how the life that she used to question heavily, is suddenly all that she wants to return to. This is where we see Re-L make a turn towards real humanity by questioning the paradise, and the series starts to really pick up on the mystery aspect. With more questions than answers, she sets off with Vincent and Pino to figure out what happened to the world, the proxies, the domes, and Vincent’s memories. Her fall from grace into reality is fast. Especially when the people who are living outside the dome are attacked by the government of Romdeau, which knows fully that Re-L is among them. She suddenly turns her stubbornness into firm determination for answers. The only major time that she wavers is when Iggy comes back for her, infected with the Cogito virus.
The best part of the series I think is before and after the visit to Mosk when they are travelling. That is when the series really shines through with elements of somber sadness and comedy. The funniest part is where Pino starts mimicking Re-L and puts on her makeup!

After encountering various proxies and learning more and more about why proxies exist and why the earth has become the way it is, they reach Mosk? Rather what was Mosk… All evidence points back towards Romdeau, so they pack it up and head back. Back at Romdaeu, the city has started to fall with Raul basically going crazy at the loss of his wife and child. He blames all AutoReivs and is on an extermination mission. Raul’s own AutoReiv even becomes infected with the Cogito virus, but Pino’s childlike personality gives her a raison d'être (a reason to exist) which allows her to not go insane from the virus.

One of the craziest plot twists, which yet plays up to the whole dystopian society aspect, is the part where it is explained that humans don’t actually reproduce anymore. Instead, they are born in incubators and all humans are only produced in order to fulfill a specific role. They are still related to their human ancestors, but their relation comes from the help of the proxies. The real major plot twist is how the proxies were made by the previous humans of 1000 years ago to help rebuild society. They have the power to create the domes and protect humanity. Spoiler, there are 300 of them which leads me to believe that there are many cities like Romdeau and Mosk out there. The strangest thing though is that while proxies seem to be eternal, they’re weak to sunlight which will kill them. This is a kill switch that the previous humans installed in them to protect themselves from the proxies. The proxies are, or rather were, supposed to rebuild and cleanup earth and then disappear… but they didn’t.

Oh, and a final great plot twist is Vincent’s origin as a Proxy himself and his unwillingness to recognize it for a while. Vincent is the clone of Proxy One or the main antagonist. As he wears a mask, like Ergo Proxy at first, I believe this represents his inability to control his powers. Now for a little backstory. Vincent killed the Monad Proxy which is why Mosk died. Dome cities cannot survive without their proxies since that proxy is the one who made the city. So, when Vincent, as Ergo Proxy, killed Monad Proxy, Mosk died with it. This is why Mosk is in ruins when Re-L, Pino, and Vincent arrive.

I could easily keep talking about this series, but I’m going to stop here so I don’t talk your ears off. Let’s keep it going in the comments!!

1. Re-L Mayer and Vincent Law

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Re-L and Vincent are our two heroes through the series. Re-L struggles to shed light on incidents and Vincent struggles to just remember who he is. Together they left Romdeau dome, albeit not willingly, with Pino to figure out what is going on. At odds at first, Vincent learns how to deal with Re-L’s dominant personality and a romance forms between them. Eventually Vincent’s discovery of his memories allow him to remember his existence as Ergo Proxy and give him control over his powers.

2. Ergo Proxy

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Ergo Proxy or the alter ego of Vincent is someone that for a large part of the series is quite an enigma to the viewer. All powerful, he only appears when necessary. Ergo exists as just a different personality within Vincent until the end of the series when it is revealed that Vincent can control his powers. It’s inferred here that he has absorbed Ergo Proxy’s personality into his own and controls it.

3. Pino

ergo proxy highlight3 pino

Pino is what keeps the series from just becoming another dark, brooding cyberpunk anime. Lighthearted and always looking for amusement on her own, Pino’s laugh, that bunny suit, or her ridiculous melodica keep the viewer enjoying her. Oddly it’s her humanlike nature, even though she is an AutoReiv, that keeps everyone feeling human. In the darkest moments, she make you laugh and keeps it upbeat. In fact, it’s because of her that they seem like a family. Vincent as the father, Re-L as the mother, and Pino as the child.


As I stated in the beginning, Ergo Proxy is an awesome anime that has tons of re-watch value. It doesn’t matter where you stand in your likes of anime, this show rocks! I could go on and on with this show, theories and facts, but that’s what the comments are for. Please fire off in the comments below and let’s get a discussion started about this show!

Nagareboshi

Editor/Translator

Author: Nagareboshi

American by birth; international by choice. I am trying to bring attention to one of my favorite causes; me. I translate by day and write by night. Aspiring polyglot. My dream would be to be the personal translator for Amuro Namie. Other than that, my hobbies include languages, weightlifting, sleeping, karaoke, GOOD coffee and music. When I’m not doing any of the above, I am most likely laughing hysterically at Willam Belli videos or EV farming. I ain’t gunna Rupologize for it neither. Waifu are Shirai Kuroko & Euaerin.

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