Welcome to Anime Rants’ review and analysis of Ergo Proxy episode five. This installment is mostly about Re-L’s visit to the commune, where Vincent and Pino have been living. As usual, there is an episode synopsis followed by a discussion section and then a section about any related topics like mythology, philosophy, or history mentioned in the anime. Here are the links to reviews of past episodes. Enjoy!
The number of armed surveillance drones has increased since Vincent’s arrival at the commune. One person was shot and killed. As a result, the people of the commune act hostile toward Vincent. Their behavior suggests they will beat and/or kill him, but Hoody intervenes. He tells a ridiculous lie that quite possibly saved Vincent’s life for the time being. It’s about Vincent is a revolutionary warrior bringing change to Romdeau. He’s too important and impressive to kill. The lie keeps getting more and absurd, as Hoody pretends to be in negotiations with Romdeau for the autonomy of the commune. He claims a negotiator will arrive soon from the city. Most of the commune members are fooled, but Quinn remains skeptical.
While Pino spends her time playing and drawing pictures with Quinn’s son Timothy, the rest of the commune eagerly awaits the negotiator from Romdeau. Much to the surprise of Hoody, someone does indeed come from Romdeau; it’s Re-L, and she’s here to take Vincent back. Hoody, to his credit, did try genuine negotiations with Re-L, not knowing she had no power to ensure their safety. Re-L breaks the news that Romdeau is planning a sweep operation to obliterate the commune. So she needs to get Vincent out of there quickly.
Vincent has major qualms about leaving the rest of the commune behind to die. While Re-L tries to convince him to come with her, a drone opens fire on them. In the ensuing scuffle, Re-L was hit by a shot, and Vincent stumbled off a cliff. Luckily, Re-L was not hurt, but her safety suit was compromised. Against the wishes of Daedalus, she removes the suit and is exposed fully to the outside air. Meanwhile, Vincent became a proxy just long enough to save himself from the fall and destroy the armed drone. Re-L didn’t see the moment of transformation, but she did see the proxy as it attacked the drone.
Re-L brings Vincent’s unconscious body back to Hoody’s shelter. She is now certain that Vincent is somehow connected to the proxy monsters. After all, one of them keeps appearing near him. (She doesn’t realize it literally is Vincent shapeshifting.) Unfortunately, the virus of the outside world begins affecting Re-L right away. She passes out from a fever. Meanwhile, a troubled Pino brings Quinn with her to where she and Timothy had been playing. Much to Quinn’s horror, Timothy has been shot dead by a patrol drone.
Pino’s Mimicry and Memory
Pino’s behavior has been interesting to me for the last few episodes since her awakening. Like many young children (and like human psychology in general), she learns a lot by mimicking others. She may repeat the words they say or copy their gestures, for example. When she draws pictures with Timothy, Pino copies whatever the boy draws. She’s excellent at mimicry, and a good student. She seems to be good at everything she tries, including physical activities.
Pino is easily entertained, with a maturity level much like that of Timothy. She seems to enjoy playing games like hide-and-seek and tag. Humorously enough, when Pino sees Vincent hiding from other members of the commune, she interprets it as him playing hide-and-seek. Although Pino is highly intelligent, she is still mentally a child.
Another interesting thing about Pino’s development is her lack of strong memories. Although she retained some basic knowledge about how to function, she has little or no memory of her life as an Autoreiv. She also seems to have good, natural survival instincts. Since Pino has had such a short life so far, her level of experience and sense of identity are still underdeveloped. That’s why, when Timothy tells her to draw what she likes, Pino can’t think of anything. She doesn’t know what she likes yet. She needs to get to know herself. It’s cute and interesting to watch her progress.
The name of the episode is “Recall” (Tasogare in Japanese), but Pino doesn’t have much to recall. Timothy told her she should draw and color a picture of a good memory she could think of. Interestingly enough, Pino looked like she had an idea. My guess is that she was going to draw her present situation, playing games with Timothy. It’s her first good memory. Alternatively, she remembered something about her life as an Autoreiv that made her happy. I don’t remember if we ever see what it is Pino thought to draw. If we do, it’s probably in episode 6. We’ll see.
No Going Back
The next topic of discussion is probably my favorite one of the episode: the idea that Vincent can’t go back to his old life. Re-L tells him he will forgot about the commune and everything else once he goes back to a normal, comfortable life in Romdeau. Vincent expresses doubt that things can go back to normal, to which Re-L says she will prove his innocence. In Re-L’s mind, Vincent’s criminal charges were the only things preventing him from going back. However, that’s not what Vincent meant at all.
“That’s not it,” Vincent snaps at Re-L. “I’ve found out that there is a world outside. Even if I go back to Romdeau now, I can’t become a model citizen.”
What Vincent is saying is that he can’t bring himself to shut out the truths of the world anymore. Now he knows there is an outside world where people can survive apart from the dystopia of Romdeau. That’s dangerous knowledge, and that plus his experiences at the commune have changed him forever.
My life experience has been similar to this as I escaped from a religious fundamentalist upbringing and found the truths of the world. Just like in Vincent’s case, going back to the previous sense of normality was impossible. I could hypothetically shut out the world and try to brainwash myself into believing bullshit, but it wouldn’t work. We don’t choose our beliefs; we are either convinced or not. Similarly, Vincent could go back to Romdeau and perhaps have his innocence proven, but he would never be able to forget the fact that there is an outside world, or the fact that Romdeau is corrupt. In fact, given the new truths and possibilities, alongside the corruption of the city, Vincent probably doesn’t even want to go back. And neither do I.
Thoughts on Re-L
First of all, I just wanted to point out that Re-L’s interest in Vincent is already quite clear. She’s thinking of nothing but him. But the question is the nature of her interest. Romantically, nothing is there yet. There is her pure curiosity about him as well as her intense desire to solve the mysteries of the proxy. But I also think Re-L has a level of admiration for Vincent. She wanted him to be a model citizen. Even though the two only met a few times, they seemed to get along alright. Re-L was sort of terse with him, but I think she’s just like that with everyone. I believe Vincent reduces Re-L’s boredom, which is why she lowkey likes him. Whatever combinations of reasons she might have, Re-L is extremely invested in continued contact with Vincent.
I was interested in Re-L’s expression when Vincent was saying there was no way he could go back to Romdeau. It’s right when Vincent was saying the part about discovering an outside world. The expression on Re-L’s face, which you can see in the image above, suggests she is sad and serious. I think it’s because she didn’t want to hear those words, since they also ring true for her to some degree. Re-L has also discovered the commune and the possibility of an outside world. She has also been lied to and treated poorly by Romdeau. So it’s quite possible that Re-L is feeling similar to Vincent. That being said, she is still convinced that there’s no future for her outside of Romdeau. It would take a lot to shake that certainty.
Hoody’s Proxy knowledge
When he’s talking to Re-L, Hoody mentions something interesting. He is familiar with the term “proxy.” Re-L asks him how he knows about the monsters, to which Hoody responds that they are not monsters. He says that proxies are those who can use magic to do things like shapeshift and invade the human mind. There are many proxies in the outside world, he says. For some reason, Hoody also added the absurd idea that proxies can “call forth flaming planets.” This was obviously a move to try to maintain Re-L’s attention.
Certain parts of what Hoody said are somewhat true. Proxies can invade and manipulate human minds, and some of them (like Vincent) can shapeshift to appear as humans. The rest of what Hoody said was garbage. But what I don’t understand personally is how this old man got any information at all about proxies. It isn’t explained in the anime, or at least not in this episode. This could potentially be a little plot hole, but I think it’s more like a side of Hoody that the anime didn’t have time to develop.
Most likely, he read stories about proxies in his numerous rare books. Additionally, he may have heard accounts from people who came to the commune fleeing Romdeau. Some of them could have conceivably become outcasts because they were unfortunate enough to see a proxy, the existence of which is highly classified. Wherever it came from, Hoody’s knowledge of proxies definitely makes one wonder how much the humans of the outside world know.
Mythology, History, Etc.
In Ergo Proxy episodes 4 and 5, the people at the commune make reference to a “rabbit.” It’s eventually revealed that rabbits refer to small sci-fi air-ships for travel. This is also what Hoody means when he mentions there is a hidden escape mechanism called Centzon Tototchin. That’s the name of the ship. Interestingly enough, that name means four hundred rabbits, and it’s a reference to Aztec mythology. The four hundred rabbits together make up the god of drunkenness and parties.
There doesn’t seem to be much connection to Ergo Proxy other than the fact that rabbits are fast and small and good at escaping. Therefore, an escape ship should be named after rabbit gods. You rarely see Aztec myths mentioned in anime, so this little tidbit was refreshing.
That pretty much wraps up what I wanted to cover for Ergo Proxy’s fifth episode. Thank you so much for reading my work today. Take care and I’ll see you next time at Anime Rants!