Ergo Proxy Episode 06: Homecoming (Domecoming)

Hello and Welcome to Anime Rants! Today we’re reviewing and analyzing episode 6 of the cyberpunk mystery anime Ergo Proxy. I’m doing a series of looking at each of the 23 episodes in detail. Here are links to the previous episodes’ reviews. As usual, we’ll start with a synopsis, followed by some discussion.

Episode 01

Episode 02

Episode 03

Episode 04

Episode 05


Episode Synopsis

Tension is high as the commune prepares for the sweep operation intended to kill them all. Most of the members plan to leave on the “Rabbit,” the ship Quinn has been building. However, Vincent is torn about what to do with the very sick Re-L. The shrewd girl temporarily wakes up and tries to seek out Vincent to bring him back to Romdeau. But she quickly passes out again from the intense fever. Hoody is also depressed and is making very little sign that he intends to leave the commune at all. On top of that he has to explain to Pino that Timothy is dead and she can never see him again.

Quinn, who has reportedly become crazier after the loss of her son, demands that Vincent and Re-L come with her in fleeing the commune. In exchange, she will give him the vaccine needed to cure Re-L’s illness. Vincent cares about Re-L and doesn’t want to be used as a tool or taken away from her home. The situation becomes even more intense for him when Hoody reveals the vaccine is a fake. Vincent only recovered because of some unknown natural resistance. The only way to save Re-L’s life is to take her back to Romdeau.

Daedalus is concerned for Re-l, but Raul initially won’t let the ship carrying her into Romdeau. He only changes his mind when he hears there is a passenger besides her that could be Vincent Law. Much to Raul’s disappointment, the passenger turns out to be Hoody, who volunteered to go in Vincent’s place so he could return to his home before dying. As expected, Romdeau orders Hoody’s immediate execution, and the lonely man is killed off. Back outside of Romdeau, most of the commune members were killed trying to flee. Even Quinn was finally shot and killed in the end. But Vincent manages to get the Rabbit running, and he plus Pino and a few other survivors successfully escape.


Discussion

Pino’s Understanding of Death

As usual, I have a small section about Pino. I’m fascinated by the idea of an android who is just starting to understand a lot of things about being a conscious, thinking being. In the beginning of the episode, Pino is looking everywhere for Timothy. Although she has heard that the boy died, she doesn’t yet understand what it means for someone to be dead. She was expecting “another Timothy” to appear and keep playing with her.

Hoody states that when someone dies, you can never see them again. Pino is surprised to hear that, and immediately expresses her wish that she had played with Timothy more before his demise. I think this reaction shows that Pino has a healthy response to death, and is already developing many human emotions such as regret, sorrow, and loneliness. We already knew Pino was smart and physically capable, but now we have evidence that she’s also emotionally on the right track, even though it may be painful for her.

Admittedly, Pino had a delayed reaction to Timothy’s death, and did not know how to process it or express her feelings. That’s why Hoody had to tell her that the name of her feeling was “loneliness.” However, when Quinn dies, we see Pino have an immediate sorrowful reaction. The sadness is obvious in her voice as she says Quinn’s name a few times, hoping for a response. When no answer comes, Pino touches Quinn’s body with a sad look on her face. “Quinn,” she says, “I am lonely.” It’s important that she had this reaction and was able to name the heavy feeling.

Raul’s Obsession

Raul has been having a very hard time to say the least. It’s sad to watch him going through this slow decline of mental health. But in a city like Romdeau, anyone who fights to keep their dignity and ask questions will end up mentally declining. Raul has always been the type to ask questions and be skeptical. As a result, he is always being analyzed and carefully manipulated by The Collective and the Regent. (Raul knows this, too. He remarks that there’s no point in the Collective analyzing a human who is already under “emotional control.”) But that’s only part of the problem. The other issue is, of course, Raul’s grief over losing his family so tragically and suddenly. He isn’t even allowed to grieve like a normal human. His position will not allow it.

There is an interesting little scene showing Raul’s state of mind early in the episode. After his meeting with the Collective, Raul is angry and feels alone. He can’t rely on his Entourage, either, since she is a potential means for the Collective to spy on him. When he sees his face reflected in the smooth elevator wall surface, he calls it a vile face. He seems to hate himself on some level. Then he sees a flashback of the scene at the mall where Monad Proxy’s rampage killed his family. The flashbacks upsets him and he punches the elevator wall, saying, “This is something that has tainted me.”

The only way Raul can cope is to put all his energy into trying to catch Vincent. This will not only answer his curiosity about Proxies, but also give him some sense of closure from knowing why Monad rampaged the mall that day. Furthermore, Raul has nothing left but his livelihood, and that too may be taken away if he doesn’t find a way to catch the proxy. Capturing Vincent would be a good way to get more information about Monad Proxy and how to catch her. For these reasons, Raul is obsessed with Vincent. I can hardly blame him.

Daedalus’s Videos of Re-L

In episode 6, Daedalus is seen watching old video content of Re-L when she was a child. He was probably worried she might already be dead outside of Romdeau. We do know that he cares about her quite a bit. And while she is currently obsessed with the Proxy mystery, Re-L still has a long history with Daedalus, and reportedly used to call him her “prince.”

The relationship is interesting, but what I find more interesting is speculating about Re-L’s biology. We know from future episodes that she isn’t entirely human, being genetically modified with DNA from Monad Proxy. Many have observed that Monad probably looked more like Re-L before having her appearance mutilated by experiments. We also see, much later in the series, that Daedalus revives Monad in the form of a young girl who looks just like Re-L and who grows up incredibly fast. This makes me wonder if Re-L also grew up at an accelerated rate.

Monad went from young child to young adult in a matter of months. She had much more Proxy in her than human. Re-L probably aged to maturity very fast as well, but slower than Monad due to being more like a human. It’s quite possible thatRe-L is much younger than we previously thought. Though she has the brain capacity and body of a nineteen year old, she might only have a few years of experience existing. This would explain her emotional immaturity. So the videos Daedalus was watching might have been rom a relatively recent time.

Hoody’s Story and the Soldier Toy

During this re-watch of Ergo Proxy, I found myself more interested in Hoody than I was on previous watches. Considering that he’s only in 3 episodes, and is killed off rather coldly, he’s a very well-written character. So I have included some observations about this singular old man. First we’ll discuss his views on Romdeau and speculate about his past there. This will also lead to some better understanding of his decision to return to the city. Then I’ll also address the visual motif of toy soldiers and their meaning for the character of Hoody.

I think there have been subtle hints the whole time that Hoody wants to go back to Romdeau. Early on, he mentioned to Vincent that some people want to go back to the city, but there was no evidence of anyone like that– except Hoody himself, who called Romdeau beautiful despite its lies and corruption. Hoody was also clearly angered and envious at the idea of Vincent being able to go back to Romdeau. Hoody is a depressed but relatable man; one who wishes he never learned the harsh truths of the world. He wishes to go home, even if it kills him.

If Hoody loved the city so much, what happened to make him into an exile? The answer is never clearly stated, but there are hints. Multiple times, we are shown the clock in the center of a busy Romdeau area, which has automated toy soldiers and dancers moving around to the music box music. During one scene of the dancing soldiers, we see the shadow of a boy climbing the walls and reaching for the toy soldier. A toy soldier was also the one thing precious to Hoody that he had from Romdeau. He even brought it back with him on his return. It’s likely that young Hoody destroyed the old clock in town, ripping off one of the soldiers because he wanted it so badly. As a result, he became a criminal much like Vincent. Somehow, the clever boy escaped Romdeau and lived outside for many years.

Besides being special to Hoody, do the toy soldiers and musical clock represent anything else in Ergo Proxy? I was unable to think of other meanings, except in a very abstract sense. Romdeau is kind of like that old clock. It works mechanically and dictates everything. The people of romdeau are the soldiers and nobles who dance to the music when the clock goes off. They follow the will of the city. Hoody stealing one of the soldiers symbolized his leaving of Romdeau and its suppression of truth and freedom. It was only fitting that he would bring the toy back at the end. I believe Hoody was deeply lonely, which is why he returned to Romdeau. He also figured he might as well die in the place he loved, his old home, since he was unlikely to survive the cold world Vincent and Pino were fleeing into.

Closing Thoughts: Loneliness

It’s worth pointing out that loneliness and isolation are hugely important themes in episode 6, as well as the series as a whole. Everyone gets lonely, but the world of Ergo Proxy is like loneliness personified. It’s a cold world where one is always somehow alone. Pino is lonely after Timothy and Quinn die. Raul is alone since his family was killed. Hoody felt existentially alone apart from the city he grew up in. Even Daedalus seems lonely at the thought of losing Re-L. It makes sense that in a world like this, a person like Vincent might be the loneliest of all. He’s kind and sensitive, needing companionship. I think that is what drives Vincent/Ergo to fall in love with Re-L.

And with that, we’ve covered episode 6 of Ergo Proxy. Thanks so much for reading and take care until next time!

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