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 "Fellow citizens! The time is now to consume. Why skimp, when you deserve more? Fellow citizens! Do your part, and make waste. Life is easier when you lighten the load. Fellow citizens! The time is..."


This 23 episode sci-fi anime from Manglobe is set in a ravaged, blasted future where humans have confined themselves to domed cities in order to survive. Ergo Proxy is the story of an amnesiac immigrant named Vincent Law and the intelligence operative Re-l Mayer, as they are caught up in the tangled web of secrets surrounding the city of Romdeau and the truth behind the chaos. Central to all of this is the nature of the utopia of Romdeau and the powerful, mysterious monsters known as Proxies.

Ergo Proxy is notable for its beautiful animation as well as its love of Mind Screw. It contains elements of Post Cyber Punk, Steampunk, and Film Noir; and draws motifs from advanced psychology and philosophy.

Has a character page.

Compare Texhnolyze, Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex.


  • Above the Ruins: The last scene shows Vincent standing at the top of the ruins of Romdeau, with his caplet billowing in the wind. It's a very badass ending.
  • Achilles Heel: The Proxies and UV light. There's a good explanation for it, as the "Creators" intentionally designed the Proxies that way to prevent rebellion and to destroy them once their tasks of ecological cleanup and human regeneration were complete.
  • Action Girl: Re-l Mayer, some of the time.
  • Adventure Towns: Not always in a good way.
  • After the End: Most humans live in domed cities to escape the diseases in the wasteland outside.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: Every robot apart from Pino and arguably Kristeva. While there are a number of Cogito-infected AutoReivs that don't go on murderous rampages, they do inevitably go insane.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Vincent and Re-l both have feelings like this. Vincent feels that he'll never become a Fellow Citizen, while Re-l just feels that she's too different from all of the other residents of Romdeau.
  • All There in the Manual: Some nigh unreadable text in the opening credits actually reveals most of the backstory.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Iggy. Later episodes reveal that Re-l deliberately chose him to sound this way.
  • Amnesiac God: Vincent Law.
  • Anti-Villain: The Walt Disney Captain Ersatz, Will B. Good, in Smile World.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 1.
  • Arc Words:
    • The Pulse of the Awakening.
    • "Raison d'être."
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: A possible interpretation of the fate of Monad.
  • Badass Longcoat: Re-l and Ergo Proxy.
  • Beautiful All Along: Vincent starts the series looking kind of short and dumpy. Once he opens his eyes and lets his hair down, however, he's revealed to be rather attractive. After leaving Romdeau he also seems to grow a couple of inches, though this could just be down to him walking more upright. Fridge Brilliance hits when one realizes that as a Proxy, Vincent is a shapeshifter.

    The gameshow episode is particularly good for showing these changes; Vincent starts in his "I am meek and small" appearance from the beginning, and gradually returns to his later look as his confidence improves.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the last episode, when Romdeau is collapsing, the platform that Re-l is standing on crumbles beneath her and she is clinging for her life to some debris above the fire below. But then Pino and Kristeva come in the Four-hundreds Rabbit Just in Time before the the rest of the platform falls.
  • BLAM Episode: Smile Land.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Several episodes do this on the side the Gameshow and Bookstore episodes especially, as watching both a second time you realize that the old guy in the bookstore is clearly dumping the director's own take on philosophy rather than simply musing to himself, MCQ also spends half that episode addressing the viewer...
  • Breather Episode: Episode 16, "Busy Doing Nothing." The episode is taken from the point of view of Re-l as she suffers from Cabin Fever after their ship is stranded for several days from lack of wind. She keeps a diary of her observations as well as her intent to busy herself with almost meaningless tasks to prevent herself from going crazy. As the episode goes on, Re-l begins to loosen up as she sees Vincent and Pino making the most of their situation by just being laid back.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: Well... After the End (or just before) the human race went into space to flee from the dying Earth, although they realized that given enough time and some help the world could be healed. They created the Proxies for this specific task, and at the end of the series when the clouds open (signalling the world has mostly been healed) you can see the spaceships returning home.
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Robots are Autoreivs, though that's pretty much the only example.
  • Camp Gay: Iggy. He's even billed as "Iggy, the gay robot" in the Japanese commercial included on the special features disc.
  • Character Title
  • City in a Bottle: Romdeau.
  • The Comically Serious: Re-l keeps a diary of their journey, recording daily occurrences with utmost gravity. It is Serious Business.
  • Cool Boat: The Four-hundred Rabbits. It hovers!
  • Cool Guns: Re-l's gun looks somewhat like a sawed-off shotgun.
  • Crashing Dreams: Vincent, when he's sick and unconscious at the Commune.
  • Creepy Child: Pino, before she left the city.
    • Also the child clone of Re-l, which is especially creepy in the sense that Daedalus made her to, um, "replace" Re-l.
  • Cry for the Devil: Happens with Raul towards the end of the series, showing him as more complex than his Smug Snake personality would suggest although it's hinted earlier, an episode reveals that the woman and child killed at the mall at the beginning of the series were his wife and child, and that Pino was his daughter/MoralityPet. What makes this affecting, is that his android (gynoid?) assistant scolds him for losing his temper at the mall- a perfect citizen should apparently be stoic even when his family is killed in front of him; and you can understand why he hates Vincent so much--he blames Vincent for the deaths of his family, and is hurt even more when he sees that Pino now treats Vincent as her father.
  • Cyberpunk: Well, it appears to be from the first few episodes, at least. "Post Cyber Punk" is another option, come the finale, at any rate.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Rapture. After all, it is a great sin to give a name like rapture to a thermonuclear bomb - one of the few things Raul Creed states correctly. Truth in Television, too; have a look at Operation Smiling Buddha.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Re-l's condescension knows very few limits.
  • Death Faked for You: To Re-l.
  • Death Seeker: Several of the proxies; notably, the super-cheery MCQ seems keen on ending it all.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "I'm no longer conducting examinations anymore."
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The Proxy-killing bullets. Fairly useless unless it hits the vitals though. Ergo takes one in the arm, rips the arm off, grows a new one and keeps going.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: Oddly, it's likely the viewer thinking this, as towards the end of the series, after months of Unresolved Sexual Tension, Vincent and Re-l abruptly start being nice to each other and acting somewhat couply.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Re-l kisses Vincent to distract him long enough so she can hide her gun.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Vincent to Re-l.
  • Driving Question: "What are the Proxies?"
  • Emotionless Girl: Re-l gets very close to this a lot of the time. She is, however, very well acquainted with anger and exasperation.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: By the end of the series, Raul is on the wrong side of sanity, but he still comments that Daedalus is over the edge for cloning Re-l and raising the toddler clone as part of Wife Husbandry.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Vincent Law in his "harmless immigrant" persona.
  • Eyes of Gold: Monad.
  • Flash Step: Any Proxy fight; often taken to extremes. Completely justified, but still, extreme.
  • Gambit Pileup: This show is a good example of what can happen when you plan too much. The human "Creators" planned on coming back on their own after the Proxies finished cleaning up their mess. But if they didn't make it, the plan was to have the Proxies create their own batch of humans to repopulate Earth with. If the regrown humans didn't work out, the Cogito Virus was designed to make the AutoReivs take up the role. The "Creators" didn't really think about what would happen if ALL of those things happened at the same time. And they certainly didn't think a Proxy would still be alive when they came back.
  • Genre Shift: The first few episodes are straight-up Cyberpunk and Film Noir, but as soon as Vincent leaves Romdeau those themes are downplayed in favor of the post-apocalyptic setting. Then another Genre Shift occurs towards the end of the series when Vincent and Re-I return to Romdeau, and the Cyberpunk and Film Noir themes return at full throttle.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The main reason Daedalus ends up losing it big time.
  • Green Eyes: Vincent, used to great effect artistically. His file in episode three may say that they're blue, but there's a reason for that.
  • Harmful to Minors: Timothy's death might count, although Pino is too naïve to realise he's dead.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The original human race abandoned the Earth, but not before they engineered a race of sapient, godlike posthumans to fix the dying world, with a killswitch built into them which would cause them to die upon the completion of their task. The plan was also to wipe out any surviving clone populations on the surface. Nice plan. No shortage of genocide there at all.
  • Icarus Allusion: One of Daedalus's creations is given wings and dies from exposure to the sun (not because of wings melting, but because she was a Proxy and sunlight is their Achilles Heel).
  • Industrial: The entire soundtrack barring the opening and ending themes.
  • Jerkass: Re-l. She starts to get better after Iggy's death.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Too many to count.
  • Killed Off for Real: Good God, where to start? The majority of the secondary characters don't survive to see the end of the series, including all of the citizens at the commune, the soldiers stationed at Halos, and Re-l's grandfather. As far as the main cast goes Iggy, Raul and Daedalus don't survive to the end either. Re-l also dies at one point, but she got better.
  • Lecture as Exposition: Technically, Game Show as Exposition.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Two Proxies in the same room? They have to fight. At least one Proxy is shown to be tired of having to kill his kindred every time they meet.
    • This was mostly because some Proxies wanted to wipe out the human race to spite their creators, others wanted to save the human race their reason for living. Two Proxies with similar views, Proxy of Sunlight and Proxy of Moonlight for example, can easily coexist.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Re-L lampshades this at one point ("I've been wearing this for twenty-four hours" after her apartment is destroyed); Iggy tries to take her clothes shopping.
  • Literal Metaphor: All over the place, to the extent where it's hard to tell whether some things are actually happening.
  • Lotus Eater Machine: A tactic frequently employed by battling Proxies.
  • Luminescent Blush
  • Kryptonite Ring: UV bullets.
  • Magic Pants: Vincent's clothes.
  • Male Gaze: In the flashback from Vincent's perspective when he barges into Re-l's room. Somewhat Narmful.
  • The Masochism Tango: Oh, yes. Right down to shotguns being waved in people's faces, and stalking someone across most of a continent because they didn't bring you on their awesome wasteland adventure.
  • Maybe Ever After: In the end, Vincent/Ergo Proxy chooses Re-l over Monad, and they both escape from Romdeau unscathed, and Re-l, Pino, and Kristeva are about to pick Vincent up in the Four-Hundred Rabbits. Vincent also implies that he may wish to have words with the returning human "Creators" about the rotten mess they put everyone through.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Pretty much everybody's name either has a meaning within the show (like the Proxies being literal proxies of "the creator"), is a reference to a well known story (like Dr "don't fly so high" Daedalus and "I want to be a real girl" Pino (Pinocchio)), has a meaning within the context of the show's philosophical psychobabble (like Re-l (Real) and Monad (which in philosophy is the one God and embodiment of reality), which is all even more symbolic given that Re-l is a clone of Monad) or are a reference to notable philosophers and psychologists. The extensive proliferation of meaningful names would be insufferable if they didn't reference how pretentious such a naming scheme was in the dialog.
    • Vincent "Law" is key in exploring the boundaries of the established laws, and fails at his own quest to obey the law to the letter.
  • Medium Blending: The live action pigeons in the intro.
  • Mind Screw: Too many to count.
  • Mini-Mecha: Or maybe Powered Armor; some (?) of the "armed autoreivs" seem to be controlled by a human riding on their backs.
  • Mr. Alt Disney: Will B. Good
  • Ms. Fanservice: Re-l and her ever-present generic white panties and undershirt. Her Spy Catsuit also qualifies. Still fairly mild by anime standards, since she at least tends to wear a coat.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Raul becomes one of these with some Dark Messiah pretensions.
  • Notice This: The glint on Swan's pendant.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Proxies.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Re-l, taken to Amy Lee extremes--but with the permanent overcast and all it's not like there's a lot of sunshine to bask in.
  • Personality Chip: The 'Turing Program' that houses AutoReivs's personality can be turned off should it get inconvenient.

 Chat mode off!

  • Quivering Eyes
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Done by Raul, and then later Vincent.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The ending theme is a heavily cut version of "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Iggy gets infected with the Cogito virus he really let Re-l have it. After that, she progressively gets better. And by "progressive", we mean a really slow defrosting stage.
  • Recap Episode: The odd gameshow episode functions as this, except that the rest of the cast who aren't traveling in the Power Trio get to see the Clip Show elements as well, and thus learn plot important information.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Iggy is shown in darkness with red eyes in one scene after he's infected with the Cogito virus, and before he kidnaps Re-l.
    • Subverted with Kristeva, who is also shown with red eyes at times after getting the Cogito virus, and is an Entourage class like Iggy, but doesn't go Yandere and escapes Rondo with Re-L and Pino, assigning herself as Pino's guardian as her final order from Raul.
    • Uninfected Autoreivs tend to have red eyes when being overridden remotely.
  • Red String of Fate: The fake Re-l has a red ball of wool.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Dr. Daedalus attempts to clone the woman he is infatuated with.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots:
    • The Cogito infected AutoReivs. Mind you, they weren't built like that on purpose; they gain souls when infected with Cogito.
    • They were however designed to respond to the Cogito virus as an alternative, by gaining souls the 'reivs would replace humanity's role in the plan. It wasn't a last resort but due to everything going down the toilet, it activated while the humans were still viable, therefore causing Cogito infectees to be Ax Crazy. Kristeva drops this one to Pino near the end.
    • Kristeva is a robot that, for some reason, wears lipstick.
  • Robot Kid: Pino.
  • Robot Religion: Apparently, the first thing a Cogito-infected Auto Reiv does is pray.
  • Royal We: Re-l's grandfather, the regent of Romdeau, speaks in this manner through four Auto Reivs.
  • Rule of Cool: When asked why he named the show "Ergo Proxy," those being two words that would never otherwise be next to each other in a sentence, the writer, Dai Sato, said, "It sounds cool."
  • Scavenger World: The settlement outside Romdeau.
  • Scenery Porn: Either that or Scenery Gorn, YMMV, but you can't deny it's beautifully done.
  • Self-Parody: A brief one; when Vincent is sick and hallucinating, he has a nightmare where Re-l's already-copious eyeshadow expands to exaggerated proportions.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Pino is named after the creation of a certain Japanese Doctor, who was herself named after "Pinnochio."
    • Vincent also bears similarities to the Final Fantasy VII character Vincent Valentine. Aside from having the same name, both wear red capes and have demonic alter-egos, Ergo Proxy and Chaos respectively, who have a passing resemblance to each other.
    • Episode 15:
    • Rogi the Cricket needs little explanation.
    • Re-L Mayer's citizen Number is 124c41, Hugo Gernsback wrote a novel with the title Ralph 124C 41+, see the similarities?
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: So gritty that you can't even see the picture half of the time.
  • Smarmy Host: In the game show episode, Vincent and co. end up trapped by a Proxy who acts as a gameshow host and has this personality to a T, and delivers exposition in the form of quiz questions.
  • Something Completely Different: Happens twice; the first time with the Gameshow episode, and the second with the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? -esque episode. Both utilise a completely different format of telling the story; the first with a gameshow/clipshow, and the second by seeing Toon World from Pino's perspective.
  • Souvenir Land: Has its own episode.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Re-l vs Real, Romdo vs Romdeau, and countless others.
    • Seeing Re-l's name on a computer in one episode suggests that both spellings could be correct, as it shows "REAL" with "RE-L" superimposed on it.
  • Spoiled Brat: Re-L pulls this off when she first joins up with Pino and Vincent on The Thousand Rabbits. She gets better eventually.
  • Spoiler Opening: Both Iggy's red eyes and Vincent turning into a Proxy when the camera zooms out.
  • Spotting the Thread: In the episode "Ophelia" Re-l was able to tell the real Vincent from the imposter Vincent because it didn't leave a reflection on the water.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: The Proxies. At least, Ergo Proxy, at any rate.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids:
    • Averted with the "civilian" robots who die incredibly easily; the military robots are entirely distinct.
    • Also averted in several specific cases with Pino, a companion-type AutoReiv, having no useful features whatsoever, except for being mind-bogglingly adorable.
    • The Proxies themselves are ludicrously potent, possessing honest-to-God superpowers, when their job was to fix the atmosphere and maybe grow and/or manage some pseudo-humans. Hmm... come to think of it, that last part might have justified the superpowers.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Depending on your perspective, either Vincent or Re-l could be this.
  • Surprisingly Good English:
    • The opening, "Kiri" by Japanese duo Monoral, is sung entirely in perfect English. Both members of the band are fluent.
    • Anytime English shows up in the episodes (the "fellow citizens" broadcast or just in the grocery store) it's also very good.
  • Take My Hand: Pulled a few times. The crowning moment came from Pino when she rescues Re-l in the last episode.
  • Title Drop: "I am Ergo Proxy, emissary of death."
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Vincent is Ergo Proxy, who erased his memories in an attempt to live as a human.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A mall full of people and AutoReivs come across as having the worst reaction times in the second episode. So they'll just gawk at an immigrant running hurriedly by them, firing a gun, and won't even look back at the long-haired freak chasing him in a very noisy Foe-Tossing Charge? Sure, they finally start reacting and getting the hell out eventually, but only after the Proxy's already cut a bloody path through half the main hall right in front of them.
  • Tsundere: Re-l can be quite unpleasant to Vincent (when she's not threatening to shoot him that is).
  • Took a Level In Badass: Vincent Law. Several.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: One episode features the characters on a game show, albeit the questions are relevant to the plot. Later in the series, there is an episode that seems like something out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. This is also mind-bogglingly canonical and relevant.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Complicates things between Re-l and Vincent. Better keep that pistol handy.
  • Uterine Replicator: All citizens are born from artificial wombs.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Proxy Project.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Philosophical, literary and even programming references. A lot of fansubs give a crash-course in philosophy at the end of almost all episodes. Thanks!
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Averted; computer terminals are just as cluttered with windows as any of ours would be, although depressingly blue-tinted.
  • Walking the Earth
  • Wasteland Elder: Hoody and a bunch of others in the Commune.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Completely averted with the immortal Proxies.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic:
    • Too many to count. At one point, a character even lampshades the pretentiousness of calling a nuclear missile "Rapture."
    • Why don't we start with the Council members? We have Derrida, Lacan, Berkeley, and Husserl. Speaking of pretentious...
    • The Cogito virus.
    • Raul's AutoReiv, Kristeva.
    • Daedalus, and his autoreivs Deleuze and Guattari.
    • In the very last scene of the show, as the spaceships of The Creators break through the dark clouds and descend to the earth, their tiny shadows against the sunlight look very much like falling angels. And considering the guy standing in the foreground...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?
  • White Mask of Doom / Cool Mask: Ergo Proxy himself with his half-face, Harlequin-esque... thing.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: The episode "Ophelia" starts out with the Vincent, Re-l, and Pino on the Four hundreds Rabbit bickering about something that previously happened. The rest of the episode flashes back to what had happened.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Vincent and Re-l.
  • Winged Humanoid: Monad in the last episode.
  • Worth Living For: Deconstructed. With the theme of raison d'etre in the story, characters presented with them are willing to go outstanding lengths in order to achieve it - even if it means losing their sanity over it.
  • Yandere:
    • The Cogito virus makes infected AutoReivs experience human emotions. Entourage-class robots can arrive at psychotic jealousy from their initial quiet obedience
    • Daedalus also qualifies, especially when Re-l runs off with Vincent, and he decides to clone himself a new Re-l as a replacement.

      He then completely breaks after that Re-L begins showing more interest in Vincent as well.
  • You Call That a Wound?: Upon taking a UV shell to the arm, Ergo Proxy tears off the affected limb and instantly regrows a new one.