Elements of Ergo Proxy : V

March 14, 2015

Recall/Twilight

Timothy is the opening and ending character of this episode. He is a harmless boy, who taught Pino directly or indirectly some important life lessons. But his voice was of a developed teenager in pubescence. Looks like he is overprotected by Quinn that he still acted like a small child. And in the end when he looked at Pino diving, his face especially his enlarged nostrils somehow remind me more of a voyeur than anything.

As they played and drew pictures, the sound of gunfire was heard afar. The resulting casualty was what was shown right after the OP. And the antipathy towards Vincent among the older residents started to grow. So again, Vincent found himself unwelcome by yet another community. Just as a riot was about to break out, Hoody cheerfully lied to those idiots and saved Vincent.
Quinn was worried that Hoody was telling lies upon lies that it would get to some critical point where everything loses control. Hoody certainly didn’t have a long term strategy to cope with all these. But look just how humorously this crisis was solved by Re-l’s visit. There actually came a negotiator from Romdeau! More comical than Hoody’s doodled face.
The “negotiation” is both funny and information rich. Judging from Hoody’s sensational faces and hesitant fingers, he probably didn’t know very well what proxy is. But his words also contained some degree of truth. His knowledge could come from the books – Hoody loves reading. I doubt he has personally came into contact with a living proxy, since he was originally from Romdeau. Re-l probably also figured out he was just bragging out loud. So in spite of her strong interest in proxies, she just went on and ignored Hoody.
Oh but the most hilarious part was the “exchange” of words between Hoody and Re-l. Someone has designed a perfect conversation for Re-l and Daedalus so that everything Re-l said seemed like unconditional agreement to Hoody. Confused but more driven into ecstasy by the unexpectedly smooth diplomatic victory, Hoody’s mind was instantly disabled when the next second Re-l started talking about some cleanup operation. He couldn’t grasp anything that had came to pass except that he correctly felt the danger was real. So he seized Vincent as his last straw of hope. And his face spoke of utter desperation.

As Vincent was trailing after Re-l towards her aircraft, he asked “Can I really go back to the old life”. He wasn’t seeking reassurance as Re-l thought. But that was a more fundamental self-questioning. Re-l diverted his philosophical line of thought by supplying him the only realistic option: back to Romdeau. But that wasn’t what Vincent wanted. Just then, perhaps inspired by the word “going back”, he suddenly had this idea of going back to Mosko, to where he thought he originally belonged.
But before he could entertain this idea, he spotted security bureau’s drone. Soon both of them were cornered to a dire situation. Re-l tried to rescue Vincent, who was on the verge of falling off the cliff, at the same time also to fend off the attack from the probe. But she was hit and paralyzed by her broken “space” suit. And then as I’m pleased to see, Vincent’s self-rescue program was triggered (right at the bottom of the cliff where nobody could see him) and for just a blink of an eye, Ergo Proxy blasted out and flew before Re-l’s eyes like a missile. To be frank, this flash was so short that at first I just had this vague idea that something strange happened. But then I quickly dismissed it. Simply put, I didn’t realize that was a proxy Re-l saw! The real highlight of this episode, easily missed on me…

But the suspicious part of it is that when Re-l got out of her suit to examine what happened at the bottom of the cliff, Ergo Proxy retired just in time to let her see an unconscious Vincent floating on the water. If this can be explained away by saying Ergo Proxy only came out to kill the probe that threatened him, then what about the probe’s camera? Its camera certainly should have captured everything Vincent did. Raul was able to read out Vincent’s face in the last few frames of the first probe Vincent killed. Now this second probe even pursued Ergo Proxy for a second after his transformation. So by now everybody inside the dome should have known that Vincent can transform to Ergo Proxy. But there doesn’t seem to be any indication in the coming episodes! Ah okay, I guess the many bullets Vincent and Re-l shot at the probe didn’t really go wasted. Its camera was probably still working but the transmission unit was likely damaged.

Finally let me collect some cute moments: 1) Pino stretching her rabbit ears after reproducing Timothy’s drawing in the beginning and 2) Pino pretending to be a Maneki Neko after doodling Hoody’s face.

Another side note on the name of Centzon Totochtin that first appeared in this episode. Wikipedia says it means 400 rabbits in Aztec mythology. Hoody simply read too many books. One only has to recall that Joe Bousquet episode.

 

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Elements of Ergo Proxy: IV

March 5, 2015

Signs of Future, Hades of Future/Futu-Risk

The meaning of the subtitle is very unclear to me. So let me just forget about that.
The episode opens with Re-l investigating Vincent’s former residence. The report of possible escape routes of the infected Autoreivs also contains personal information of Vincent. As I have been wondering since I read Re-l’s iPad, what on earth was the exact detail of Vincent’s personality hexagon chart. (Is 720p not enough?) One thing is for sure: it looks rather a twisted shape. I bet that can be an official certificate to prove he is a real mug.
As she sat on the bed, Re-l asked

What was he searching for, just before he resigned himself to death.

So I am able to confirm that she still thought Vincent dead at this moment.

As for Vincent, it is another lengthy struggle in a series of nightmares like it has always been after going through the transformation process. In this fragmented dream, apart from his impressive depiction of Re-l’s slid-off eye shadow, an important but brief scene of him killing/hurting Monad was shown, which was overlooked by me when I could barely figure out who is who. I’m certain when Vincent gave that bloody blow to Monad, he was in his proxy form. In his dream, he just substituted his current self into the memory.

After he finally got over this, through the conversation with Hoody, Vincent suddenly remembered he previously jumped from the dome. Then he got infuriated and couldn’t comprehend how come he is still alive. Hahaha, now that’s funny! You are a proxy, dude! And I have this speculation that Pino probably saw his transformation back there for the first time. She has good eye sight. But for Pino who only recently got a heart, she wouldn’t find it dreadful. To her it’s the same kind of discovery of how this world works as that a green centipede will move when poked by a stick.
Aside from centipedes, it’s suggested by Quinn that there are also plenty of rabbits. Perhaps that’s how the wind boat got its rabbit related name.

As Quinn was giving a lot of information about how this small commune lives off the warmth and garbage of the dome, a probe came flying over to execute its daily routine. Before Quinn was able to tell him that Autoreivs are not targeted, Vincent ran to Pino’s rescue and neatly shot dead that probe. Just then, a creepy smile appeared at Vincent’s mouth corner which is totally incompatible with a mug person. Does he have a personality disorder even when he’s conscious? In any case, by finishing off this probe, Vincent revealed his continued existence to Raul and consequently to Re-l as well.

Having been baptized in a new kind of experience called agony in the previous episode, Raul found himself getting increasingly emotional, as if contracted Cogito Virus. He now doesn’t even care about the proxy anymore as he firmly believes Vincent holds the key to everything.

Around the same time, Re-l showed Daedalus the body of Monad. Such is the end of Monad, sigh. A huge hole on her chest. She died upside down, entangled in industrial cables. Never got to reunite with her lover again.
Daedalus couldn’t believe an undying proxy with Amrita cells can be killed. Re-l then went on to tell him another proxy killed her. Since Daedalus knows what Re-l had witnessed so far was probably true, he had all the reason to believe this statement of Re-l too. Perhaps it’s from this moment on, Daedalus came to know of the existence of a second proxy.

 

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Elements of Ergo Proxy: III

February 28, 2015

Leap into the Void/Mazecity

After Vincent’s hostile glare at Monad at the end of the last episode, we are abruptly brought to a tram. It is intentionally made so so that the audience cannot be certain that Vincent is Ergo Proxy.  How did he end up there? My imagination tells me he and Monad fought all the way down to some little known underground location and killed her (where later Re-l discovered the body of Monad), all without being captured on any security camera.
In Vincent’s sad dream he recalled Mosko being invaded with Rapture bombardment. As is the nature of a dream, which is often a fusion of past memory and perceptions of reality projected to the dreamworld, that mysterious man Proxy One so naturally crossed from Mosko to the running tram that on the first view, I completely lost the point that he was indeed in the cabin and watched Vincent for a while before stepping out. But actually, there is even stronger evidence of his presence. The exact opening frames, in fact, show the shadow of Proxy One and his hand holding on to a pole. I didn’t notice this until the fifth view!
After reviewing this dream for a couple of more times, I noticed that Vincent was initially sitting on the chair. But after Proxy One left, he was on the floor! This is another fantastic depiction of dream: the body in reality sometimes responds to what happens in the dream. In this dream Vincent was hit and fell to the ground.

Switching to Re-l, since she found Vincent’s pendant in her bathroom she had been trying to reach him in vain. Then Iggy found some suspicious database access records and pushed to Re-l a window titled “Analysis of the access”. Well I am far from certain but the content appears to be HTML codes… If indeed it is, I wonder what page it generates. More importantly, what they figured out from this analysis is a mystery. Re-l mumbled “これは…” as if something dawned over her. מה מי מו? And then? これは何?? We only learned that an unknown account with high-level permission accessed intelligence bureau’s database many times within a short period of time. Is it security bureau or Proxy One? I guess it could be from Raul as he is now unmistakably bent on capturing Vincent.

As we speak of Raul, the scene switched to him alone at home in the darkness. Only now I understand, how playing piano with Pino a cherished memory of Raul’s is. Now his wife and child dead, his favorite Autoreiv is to be disposed of. And he is facing a crisis at work. All these translated into a single smash on the piano and his face twitched with misery.

As the focus cycles through the main characters, it’s Vincent’s turn again. Having received Dorothy’s call, Vincent returned to the AR facility. Pino’s photos were conspicuously shown on every computer screen with the label “in pursuit” bickering. I could remember I was very puzzled by Vincent’s being attacked by the security. It is understandable because I was in no where told that it’s a crime to kill an Autoreiv. As for who actually murdered Dorothy, in contrast to Re-l’s conclusion in the next episode that it’s the security bureau who framed Vincent up, I’m inclined to believe it’s Proxy One. If the security bureau wants to arrest Vincent, they could do it directly without all the tricks. Because he was seen on the security camera footage to be chased by the proxy. Naturally security bureau could at least order him to come for an interrogation, if not arrest him. On the other hand, it is always of Proxy One’s interest to mess up with Vincent.

Vincent meets Pino! It seems after infection, Pino started to establish a sense of self-awareness, indicated by her questions

Is Pino really Pino? Does Pino like to be Pino?

Her answering Re-l’s call in the stead of Vincent is absolutely cute. But at this point Vincent couldn’t care less about her. After the phone call, Vincent just let Pino tag along. Pino showcased her superhuman strength, which makes it all very reasonable in the last episode when she caught a free-falling Re-l by hand. And then she goes “待て待て!” read more …

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Elements of Ergo Proxy: II

February 23, 2015

Confession of a Fellow Citizen/Confession

In the beginning, the interrogator said unable to confirm Vincent’s claim that there is an infected Autoreiv case to handle. It’s unclear whether this refers to Pino or the one afterwards. Since as of now, Raul (appeared in an everything-under-control confidence) believed that Monad was going after Re-l and that the immigrants had nothing to do with it, there is no reason for the security bureau to frame Vincent up. So it must mean that the records were deleted by Proxy One the manipulator. And that makes sense because Proxy One would hate to see Vincent living a bland fellow citizen life. Vincent has to suffer and be rejected by the Romdeau society so as to be awakened.

Shortly before the center mall trip, Pino was seen rocking a toy to the baby in a scary look. (I do like her cute black dress a lot.) Her mother probably often turns her chat mode off, implying a cold, unkind relationship between them. At this stage there is almost no trace of how Pino and Raul regard each other, except that Pino calls Raul papa instead of father. In fact, at first I wasn’t even sure if Raul is the father of this family. When Raul and his wife made phone calls, it ever only shows one person and the voice of that person; it never makes it explicit that it’s these two people that are talking to each other. Add to that is that Raul was never seen being together with the family. The closest moment being when they were all in the center mall but never got to meet. To me it also works if Raul didn’t know them and he could simply be shocked to see the massacre. Because at that time I didn’t understand, if they were indeed family, how Raul could show no sign of grievance after witnessing the deaths of his wife and child. Now I can see that suppression of emotion does seem an essential element that makes a good citizen.

After the phone call, it’s curious to see Raul concealed his discovery from Kristeva that there were two proxies as opposed to one. Why would an exemplary fellow citizen do something unhonest like that? My guess is that in the previous episode, the regent did not respond to Raul’s request of information regarding the proxy and consequently, Raul felt like withholding this information from the regent. He might feel this extra little piece of intelligence could help him further his own investigation.

Back to Re-l, as nobody believed her testimony, she was instructed to see her physician by the intelligence bureau chief. As he saw Re-l leaving, his Autoreiv put her hand on his shoulder to remind him to say something proper. This detail illustrates how human heavily rely on Autoreivs. However the other side of this human-Autoreiv relationship is demonstrated by Re-l’s habitual ignoring what Iggy was saying while indulging in her own thoughts. Clearly human and Autoreivs are far from co-existence. Rather it’s an owner-servant relationship complicated by Autoreiv’s supervision function that sometimes cause human fear or resentment.

The climax of this episode consists of a series of events and human reactions, which occurs in the center mall. Raul was just watching Pino getting a red heart balloon for the new baby with his wife slowly ascending by accelerator, when some commotion caught his attention. First he saw an immigrant running in panic and bumping into random people. Then he was taken by shock: a monstrous looking creature he had never imagined appeared before everyone. The subsequent massacre including his wife’s throat being slit in an instant and the new baby falling down the accelerator to death, completely paralyzed Raul’s sense for a while. Thus is the vulnerable nature of human lives. Noteworthily, Pino’s beautiful prayer pose upon contact with Monad was carved into Vincent’s as well as the audience’s mind. While from another point of view, in Monad’s eyes there is nothing else but Ergo Proxy. She could sense him there, so she simply and recklessly pursued. In the end of the pursue, Monad reached out, her eyes radiating blue rays of happiness, while Vincent’s awakened inner self, with no reaction to her love but only perceiving another proxy closing in, became dominant. And Vincent slightly opened his eyes, displaying a scary face which instantly made him appear ten years older. read more …

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Elements of Ergo Proxy: I

February 19, 2015

In light of the abundance of “Fundamentals of Ergo Proxy” in the literature, albeit contradicting at times, to date there are no comprehensive documentation of episode-wise micro-level explanation. Therefore I decided to take the matter into my own hands for the peace of my bewildered mind.

Pulse of Awakening/Awakening

Watching the series afresh from the start, I was shocked to see Vincent Law’s debut. The hair that obviously took him great effort to tame still has those two uncompromising hairs funnily sticking out. This seems to coincide with his subconscious incompatibility with the Romdeau society in spite of his announced will. Then there is his “boring face of a fellow citizen”, as remarked by Re-l, constantly displaying a made-up submissiveness, though exceptionally young-looking. After a long journey accompanied by the gradual change of his appearance, during which I also acquired a taste for Law’s face, the shock (and possible resentment) from this first encounter for the second time indeed demonstrates the purposefulness of the character design.

Among the overwhelming information that the first few episodes poured into me and that I failed to register during the first round, is the appearance of Proxy One and his declaration of intention. Given the context, I now understand why this man has charcoal colored skin and why he has those glowing eyes, as are the common features of proxies. He has already discovered the utmost malice of this world, and has planned his revenge prior to this awakening stage, which is when the story begins. One also has to notice the distinct voice given to Proxy One in order to identify when he comes to manipulate things in later episodes. All these things about Proxy One were easily missed, which contributed to the total confusion upon finishing the first round.

After Monad’s escape, Vincent was called up at night to handle some infected Autoreivs and he fell down at the red light. What does this traffic accident signify? Some implies it’s the pulse of awakening at work in his body and mind. Or, think I, it simply tells us how hard Vincent has to work in order to become a fellow citizen. And the serious fatigue leads to this accident as well as him being knocked out by an Autoreiv later during a mission.

So here we come to this battle. At first it seemed to me the vehicle Autoreiv (later revealed on Re-l’s iPad to be a PK30 model) was chasing the escaping humanoid Autoreiv, as though the vehicle was on the AR control side. However as soon as Vincent finished the humanoid, he turned to aim at the PK30 but was beaten up. It then hops away to some other scene, leaving me profoundly confused: which side does this PK30 belong? And what happened to Vincent after he was punched flying in the air? Such is the story telling of this show. The next day Vincent showed up unharmed and from his conversation with Dorothy we can infer that PK30 did no further harm to Vincent and simply ran away. Now that I think of it, it’s only logical that Vincent is safe and sound since he’s a proxy! As for the first question concerning the PK30, after reviewing I found out it often bumped into sideways during its motion. That doesn’t look like normal behavior for a well-programmed vehicle. So perhaps at the time it had indeed contracted the Cogito virus and was simply running with the humanoid. And the story of this machine does not end here. Later when Re-l was in the abandoned immigration facility, she was attacked by this same guy – another thing I never figured out before! read more …

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