Ergo Proxy Episode 07: RE-L124C41

Hello and thank you for visiting Anime Rants. Today, we have a review and analysis of Ergo Proxy’s 7th episode. True to the normal format, there is an episode synopsis, a discussion section, and a section for discussing real-world references like language or mythology seen in the anime. The links to previous episode reviews in this series are below for convenience. Let’s get started, shall we?

Episode 01

Episode 02

Episode 03

Episode 04

Episode 05

Episode 06


-Episode Synopsis-

(Cells that make up Proxies)

The episode begins with Vincent, Pino, and the last members of the commune on their journey to Mosk. The scarcity of food and the extremely cold climate lead to the deaths of the two humans leftover from the commune. Vincent is now alone with Pino.

Meanwhile, Re-L wakes up in Daedalus’ hospital care. She immediately remembers everything, leaves bed and starts looking around for answers or clues. It isn’t long before Re-L makes a startling discovery, stumbling into the “womb room.” Daedalus meets her there and explains this is the room where artificial wombs are kept and the embryos and fetuses of new citizens are developed. Re-L realizes this artificial way of producing human life is just as regulated and controlled as the production of Autoreivs, if not more so. It may have been necessary to be so controlling of life in order to keep people alive in the dome cities and prolong humanity’s existence on Earth. But these methods may no longer be needed.

After discussing that a bit, Daedalus volunteers more information– this time, he tells everything he knows about proxies. Monad Proxy was taken from Mosk Dome by force, put to sleep, and kept in a comatose state while analysis and experimentation were done on her. Despite the fandom and I generally interpreting Monad as feminine, proxies have no actual sex, so she is not “female.” Analysis showed that Monad is made up of mysterious, seemingly immortal cells called Amrita cells. Monad holds the key to understanding how the dome cities have managed to keep humanity alive. Daedalus calls Monad a god-like entity which, for the city of Mosk, represented its very life force.

(The restrained Monad Proxy)

According to Daedalus, humans could unlock new strength and powers if they can just find the secret to using amrita cells. But what he doesn’t tell Re-L is that she herself is an experiment, and was modified with Monad Proxy’s amrita cells. That’s why she grew up so fast and why she was able to recover from a completely debilitated immune system in only 3 days. Re-L is an experimental lifeform known to Romdeau as Re-L124C41. She actually has no relation to the regent, despite being given his last name (Mayer) and treated like his granddaughter.

Next, Daedalus takes Re-L to see Iggy. The lovable Entourage was going to be scrapped at worst, or at best “adjusted” to change his core programming. However, Daedalus intervened and saved the android. He also disconnected Iggy from the surveillance core of the city, so the Regent can no longer use him to spy on Re-L. It seems that although Autoreivs have no human ego, they can come to logical conclusions that differ from the conclusions or will of other Autoreivs. Iggy’s actions followed his programming for taking good care of Re-L, but they were deemed illogical and inappropriate by the regent and his Autoreiv Collective.

(Iggy the Autoreiv)

At that point, Re-L and Daedalus are attacked by Autoreivs infected with Cogito virus. Daedalus realizes that those in charge had weaponized the virus and intentionally turned those Autoreivs into assassins to target Re-L. I’m not clear on whether the assassination order came from Chief Raul or the regent/Collective. Maybe it will be explained later. Thanks to the shooting skills of Re-L and the fighting skills of Iggy, the attacking Autoreivs are defeated. Or so it seemed. One of them survived and surprise-attacked Re-L from behind. Re-L screams and collapses, and her blood is shown on the floor. The episode ends with a scene, sometime later, of Daadalus writing Re-L’s death certificate. We are left wondering what the hell really happened until next time.


-Discussion-

Interference with Life Debate

This episode might bring to light an interesting debate subject for some. Is artificial fetus development acceptable? Should human populations be carefully managed with such a system? what if it was a given that they would go extinct otherwise? It’s not really much of a dilemma for me, but it’s interesting to be sure. Let’s explore this topic more.

Re-L had an unusual response to the sight of the “womb room” and the idea of human life being managed like a production line. She said while she understood it all on an intellectual level, seeing it made her feel strange. She was clearly uncomfortable with the idea. Additionally, Re-L wasted no time arguing that this system has outlived its usefulness, since humans are able to survive outside the dome cities. (She argues this despite the fact that the humans in the commune needed supplies left in the trash by Romdeau; and those same humans are not surviving outside of the commune in the cold climate.)

Personally, I can only understand being uncomfortable in a room of artificial wombs because I’m squeamish about anything related to birth. But I don’t really know why it would cause emotional or psychological disturbance like it did for Re-L. What do you think? Does the idea of artificial reproduction and strict management of it make you feel anything unpleasant? I could also imagine being concerned about potential ethical problems, like how the new babies are cared for after exiting the womb, or like the issue of taking away a person’s right to have a child themselves. But those are things to discuss with logic and understanding, not things that make me feel existential horror. I guess everyone is different.

It seems to me that there’s a certain attitude in this anime scene, which shows itself through Re-L’s discomfort and Daedalus’ reasoning. It’s what you hear sometimes from people who are critical of science; the idea that humans should not interfere with natural life processes. It often comes from superstitious fear of some deity that will punish humans for being arrogant and doing what only a god should. This argument is ridiculous to me, who does not believe in the supernatural. If you are a theist, you may believe there is a god presiding over life and death, and I suppose that’s fine as long as it doesn’t lead you to reject science. Assuming you’re a reasonable theist, I think you will find it illogical to oppose something on the basis that “it’s only for god to do.”

Think about it. If some god intended for you to not interfere with life, then why is possible at all to interfere? The question should not be if we are “allowed” to do it, but if we are doing it for good or for harm. Once upon a time, people said that medicine was also an example of humanity playing god. Most medical advancements have had to battle with superstition for every step of the way. And yet, those medical advances have saved countless lives. They are being used for good. Any form of assisted birth, including Caesarian Section operations, could be “interfering with life processes” if you follow the “playing god” logic to its conclusion. In short, there’s nothing wrong with humans having the ability to manipulate life. The issues come with how the technology is being used.

(Re-L and Daedalus discussing things)

This issue of how and where the technology is being used is also what’s important for the debate in Ergo Proxy. Is the artificial birthing system acceptable given that humanity might have gone extinct without it? If so, is it acceptable to keep using it now that it’s theoretically possible for people to live without it? I would be on the side of Re-L, and the general attitude in Ergo Proxy, which holds that Romdeau’s once necessary procedures are now nothing more than tyranny. And that tyranny isn’t even for the supposed good of those in the domed cities anymore. It’s all for the sake of maintaining a habitable place for the people who fled the planet upon their return. Clearly, the system is not being used for good or ethical reasons.

There is also one other point in this debate worth mentioning. In the anime, gods might as well be real. The proxies and those who created them have “godlike” powers– not in the sense of being an all-powerful monotheistic god, but more like the polytheistic gods with specific powers related to life and the human world. Given this fact, wouldn’t superstitions be more justified in the Ergo Proxy universe? Perhaps. And perhaps that’s why Re-L felt uncomfortable. But the next thing to do is consider whether the proxies and their creators are working for the good of humans or not. There is no reason to start worshipping proxies like some sort of cavemen. They could be evil. Re-L and Daedalus recognize that to learn more, they will need to capture a second proxy. Because wherever you stand on these issues, you would need more information in order to proceed.

The Personalities of Re-L and Daedalus

(Re-L talking about the proxy encounter)

I would argue that skepticism of the systems in place is a central theme at least early on in Ergo Proxy. We already saw this when we talked about Vincent not being able to go back to his old life. He can’t shut out the truth anymore. This idea is repeated in episode 7 since Re-L is going through the same thing. She and Daedalus are good examples of skeptical characters. Let’s take this opportunity to look a bit more at their personalities.

Re-L and Daedalus have a lot of similarities despite being different personality types with very different roles in the story. In terms of the MBTI, I think Re-L would be INTJ and Daedalus would be INTP. Both types are typically found to value knowledge and learning. Often, they are very logical thinkers. While an INTJ like Re-L is future-orietned with a great ability to focus, an INTP like Daedalus doesn’t necessarily need a goal or purpose, valuing knowledge for its own sake. Both of these characters can seem emotionally distant and often have attitudes of superiority. It’s really only when they are alone together than Re-L may let her guard down. Daedalus relaxes too, although he still acts a bit like he thinks he’s smarter than Re-L (and maybe he is.)

These characters are both driven to find truth. They are also willing to go against the systems in place. In the case of Daedalus, he was supposed to manage Monad without ever asking questions. Instead, he grew curious. When given the opportunity to study Monad’s corpse on his own, he took it, without reporting it to the people in charge. In addition, Daedalus modified his Autoreivs to disconnect them from the surveillance system and prevent spying. From episode one, Daedalus seems extremely curious about proxies and amrita cells. He’s almost obsessive about it. And as we shall see, his project of reviving Monad indeed becomes his reason for living. Obsession is a weakness of Daedalus, along with accidental or deliberate blindness to “the bigger picture.” Despite these flaws, this young doctor is healthily skeptical, passionate about science, and extremely hungry for knowledge.

(Deadalus)

As for Re-L, she is equally curious, and seeks answers. A huge portion of the anime so far has been about her defying the systems in Romdeau. Like many INTJs, Re-L has an amazingly strong drive to get what she wants and a general proficiency at planning ahead to ensure her goals are met. This girl is also mentally very strong, able to deal with the psychological manipulation and gaslighting used on her in episode two. A highly independent person, she has trouble trusting others and treating them with due respect. Her stubbornness can sometimes be a hindrance. Like Daedalus, Re-L has character flaws, but she’s great at being skeptical with her naturally logical mind and drive to get things done. It’s truly refreshing to have a skeptical, intelligent, and skilled heroine in anime.

The question-asking natures of Re-L and Daedalus can be seen with this bit of dialogue from the episode, when Re-L is talking to Daedalus about having encountered a proxy.

Re-L: “When I saw it, something changed. Until now, my life required neither doubts nor answers. All I had to do was carry out the tasks assigned to me. Even now, it might be possible for me to go back to that life. But…”

Daedalus: “But?”

Re-L: “But I have encountered it. And I have seen the outside world. I can’t turn away from the facts after they’ve been uncovered.”

Daedalus: “It’s just like you to say that. Still, I am the same way. I want to know the answers.”

From Ergo Proxy Episode 07

Iggy and the Cogito Virus

(Iggy)

When we see Iggy for most of episode 7, he is still an Autoreiv, a soulless android with an AI designed to act warm and caring. However, we learn later that during the battle with the robot assassins, Iggy contracted Cogito Virus. We don’t get to see the moment of his awakening, but it must have truly been something. That was the moment when Re-L’s was critically injured, and he saw his reason for existing in life-threatening danger. Either Iggy was able to hide his awakening from Daedalus, or the young doctor knew and still allowed Iggy to live. From now on in these episode reviews, when applicable, I will include a section about Iggy and his developing consciousness. Like Pino, he is an android who now has a will and mind of his own, so he’s quite interesting to me.


-Section for Mythology, Language, Etc.-

Monad: A Quick Philosophy Lesson

The word Monad is taken from the Greek word μόνος meaning “one,” “alone,” or “unique.” It’s an important concept in the history of philosophy– particularly philosophy related to theistic interpretations of the cosmos. The one who started the philosophy of Monad was Pythagoras in the 6th century B.C. To the Pythagoreans, Monad referred to a semi-pantheistic concept of god: the supreme being which is the totality of the universe itself. All is one, basically. (In addition, Monad was used in geometry since it can refer to the number one.)

Much later, in the 1600s, the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz added some additional meaning to the idea of Monad in philosophy. Leibniz believed the universe was made of infinite particles that are shared by everything. (He believed they were immaterial particles, since there was nothing like atomic science in the 1600s.) Each of these elementary particles was “a monad.” To put it another way, Monad is the substance that makes up everything in the cosmos.

(Monad Proxy)

That’s about it for the history of Monad, at least as far as I am willing to look into it. But it’s interesting to consider the use of the term Monad in Ergo Proxy. As Daedalus said, Monad Proxy is the lifeforce of Mosk. Without this proxy, the city would crumble. And indeed, that’s what happened after Monad was forcibly removed from Mosk. To the citizens of Mosk, Monad was indeed much like a god.

Thank you again for visiting my blog today. It means a lot to know someone is reading, and the recent comments have been really nice too. So thanks! Stay well and safe, until next time!

2 thoughts on “Ergo Proxy Episode 07: RE-L124C41

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s