Ergo Proxy Anime | Story Writing Web
My name is Michael and I am from St. Joseph. I like stories...
This week I’m here to unravel the web of connections in Ergo Proxy, a post-apocalyptic philosophical science-fiction mystery set in a dead world. A dead world barely populated with test-tube humans relegated to dystopian dome-cities, their entourage robots known as AutoReivs, and the elusive god-like creatures called Proxies. Episode 13 titled, “Wrong Way Home” stood out to me the first time I watched this show about 10 years ago and it has stuck with me upon re-watch. I would like to go scene by scene and analyze this episode to explain why it is so well written and share the love I have for this mid-2000’s punk anime original.
The episode begins with a brief flashback of our main character’s personal entourage robot being chastised by the Collective. A cryptic presumed-to-be group of artificial intelligence who stand before the grand Regent and are tasked with maintaining the city of Romdeau. The rebellious granddaughter of the Regent named Re-l Mayer often ignored the instruction she was given by her superiors. If you’ve seen any clips or promotions for this show you’ll know Re-l as a badass blasting things with her tactical shotgun. Despite her assignment to the Intelligence Bureau and her prestige as princess she was not supposed to be gallivanting around investigating willy-nilly.
And so, her entourage AutoReiv lovingly named Iggy had the responsibility of keeping the tomboy princess in check. As demonstrated in another brief flashback this “keeping in check” rarely happened. Re-l knew which buttons to press, literally and figuratively, to coerce Iggy to help her on whatever dangerous mission she set for herself. Iggy’s drive to protect Re-l overrode its directive from on high to prevent her from getting into danger to begin with.
Thus, adventure ensues. It is this exact set up that starts the show and it is this troubled cycle that brought Iggy to where it is now. At a crossroads reflecting on condescending remarks from the Collective which threaten its purpose. Its raison d'être (or, reason to exist). “Lose her and you will lose your meaning,” threatened the floating speaking statues. Meaninglessness doesn’t sound quite so bad at first until you familiarize yourself with how Romdeau operates. It is a scientific city where each human or AutoReiv is created for a specific assignment. If you cease to be useful, if you lose your raison d'être you very quickly become targeted for disposal. The dead world we find ourselves in is one that is slowly and steadily receding into nothingness. Atrophy. All resources must be accounted for.
Even one troubled AutoReiv who struggled to manage a 19-year-old hotshot who thought she had it all figured out. “You’ll never understand,” snapped Re-l at her sidekick. The magnificent writing in this episode begins with this line. “You’ll never understand.” It is emblematic of not only the events that will transpire in this episode but encapsulates the entire theme of Ergo Proxy as a narrative production. Understanding purpose. Losing purpose. There is micro and macro level foreshadowing that reinforces the message of the show itself. Also, it is a perfectly apt line for a late-teen know-it-all like Re-l Mayer.
The best story writing does not waste a single line. Intention must permeate every word and present manifold meaning that ties all narrative threads together. Doubly so if you’re writing with a flair for the thought-provoking and philosophical. Quadruply so if your story has audio/visual components that require a directors hand. The first minute of this episode achieves all these things and more before the drop of the very stylish anime opening.
But we aren’t quite done with the first minute yet. The series of flashbacks end and Iggy is startled awake from its trance. A close up of its face in the dark. Pan out and we are in the cockpit of an aircraft flying through a snowstorm. Iggy was alone. Another cut to see Re-l taking shelter from the storm in a cave while the Collective repeats in the audience’s ear, “She is your raison d'être. Lose her, and it will be taken from you. That is the bond between an entourage and its master.” Another close up of Iggy’s face, this time its eyes were glowing red.
Obviously, Iggy was upset. However, the red eyes are not only for dramatic effect but also indicate another important plot point. The investigation Re-l pushed too far into that initiated this series of events began with the Cogito virus. The Cogito virus is said to give AutoReivs’ self-awareness, self-consciousness, and a soul. It is revealed that Iggy is no longer a simple automaton strictly bound by its programming. It can break the rules.
He can disobey.
We have set the scene! An abrupt change in setting from episode 12 to episode 13, film-grain haze, and audio WHOOSH sound effects tells the audience from the first few seconds we are having flashbacks. As with any good story you drop breadcrumbs throughout, you keep a steady pace, and you follow through with your plot threads to completion or closure. If you were to drop in having not seen the previous 12 episodes you would still have a sense for what the episode is about, who it will be concerning, potential conflict, etc.
A flashback is a tricky narrative device to do correctly. It’s often used to patchwork a scene that was not set up properly. Throwing out new information by jumping back and forth in time can be jarring. It can cheapen narrative impact. None of those things happened here. What we had was an interlacing of threads of the web. There was some new information provided, some new context to Iggy’s plight. But it was woven together with events which have already transpired with words that have already been said.
Cut back to present and our main cast of characters were far from their original home city of Romdeau. Iggy was separated from Re-l despite the opening scene reminding him that it was absolutely wrong for him to be without her. It was Re-l that sent him away. She changed the plan, again. She ordered Iggy to leave her in the wasteland with a dangerous god-like Proxy disguised as a man named Vincent Law.
This wasn’t part of the plan.
She was supposed to use the weapon developed by her scientist friend to kill the immortal Proxy Vincent Law and take his body back to Romdeau for research. It so happened that the special gun with its 2 special bullets was used last episode to kill a Proxy. But it was not Vincent who received the deathblow, it was another he fought with. So Re-l decided she would continue her investigation up close and personal by joining the amnesiac Vincent on his journey to discover what a Proxy truly was. Thereby assigning Iggy to pick up the pieces of the old plan by delivering this other dead Proxy back to Romdeau.
But her plan could not be initiated through a snowstorm. Their wind-powered land ship referred to as the Rabbit wouldn’t survive such conditions. So instead we get to see little miss sourpuss pout in the dark and make royal demands of her two new travel partners. Vincent the Proxy and Pino the AutoReiv. Pino is a childlike AutoReiv infected with the Cogito virus who was surprisingly helpful in Vincent’s escape from the city.
“The ship isn’t helpful and Pino isn’t helpful either?” Asked Re-l rhetorically.
Another line from Re-l that makes a connection for us. Comparing Pino to the ship named “Rabbit” when Pino also had a propensity to dress up in a rabbit-suit. Surely you see the connection? I do love Ergo Proxy despite the criticisms of being overly reliant on reference and philosophy. I think if The Matrix can get away with Alice in Wonderland references then we can forgive them here. Pino the guide, the same as the Rabbit down the rabbit hole. The Rabbit as the ship that drove them through the wasteland, a.k.a wonderland.
Now who is this one-armed girl walking through a blizzard unfazed? She looks awfully sad but perked up upon seeing Iggy return in his aircraft. Iggy reminds us who she is after reflecting back on his deep disgust for Proxies. “Proxies… If it weren’t for them… Vincent Law.” These 3 simple lines tell us Iggy’s intentions. He’s interrupted by the one-armed girl banging on the exterior hull. “It’s that AutoReiv!” He exclaimed. What does that tell us? The two have met before and she is also an AutoReiv. That’s 3 robots, one living Proxy, one dead Proxy, and one mostly normal human woman.
Are you keeping track?
The reason there isn’t a tally of characters in an episode and check mark boxes for events is because that’s not how you tell a story. It is slight of hand, give and take, catch and release. We are subtly building the drama so as to not overwhelm. It takes time to unravel the web because stories are an analogue to lives we live which are all experienced in time.
“Did she come to retrieve it?” Asked Iggy, referring of course to the dead Proxy stashed for delivery. It is worth mentioning this nameless AutoReiv girl got her arm torn off in the fight from last episode between Vincent and the other Proxy. She was dead-set on prying this aircraft open. Before Iggy could confront her we are shown him grabbing something. He pointed the device at the girl. She paused only to rush inside and meet the dead Proxy locked in a sealed glass coffin. Out of hatred for Proxies and a desire to rid himself of the annoying girl Iggy gave the body back to her.
Worth noting again that this AutoReiv girl never speaks once. Not last episode nor this one. That is a keeping of consistency. AutoReiv’s can speak, this one does not. She’s an exception. As she dragged the body away Iggy felt a tinge of sadness. He realized something. “Wait. Is that your master?” A cold stare is all the answer he was given. You see the question of entourage and master brought up again. Why was this robot girl so attached to this freakish creature in a wasteland? It is because the Proxy is, or was, her reason for existence.
Iggy’s curiosity overtook him. He decided to follow the girl back to their decrepit dwelling inside another cave. The girl caressed the head of the ugly dead monster. Another essential line from Iggy followed, “Are you the one who took care of that Proxy?” Just as he was tasked with taking care of Re-l. He searched their home to discover the moss-covered cave hid an advanced science lab underneath. It was an exact copy of the birthing chambers back in Romdeau where the test-tube humans were manufactured.
While this scene is less relevant to the immediate unfolding narrative, it is noteworthy for 2 reasons. Number 1, it re-establishes that Romdeau is not the only place on Earth where these “wombs” were set up. Number 2, Iggy had prior knowledge of these test-tubes because he was taken under the care of Re-l’s scientist friend earlier in the show who headed this department. All threads tie together and nothing is unaccounted for. Curiously, the girl stayed Iggy’s hand as he uncovered. She covered it again.
“Did that thing create it?” Another macro-level plot point.
“Well, it doesn’t matter anyways.” Bringing the plot back to the micro-level. To the present concerns of Iggy.
“What are you going to do now that you’ve lost your master?” Lamented Iggy.
His lamentation wasn’t only, or even primarily for the AutoReiv servant girl. He was speaking to himself about Re-l. As proof of this we transition back to Re-l sleeping lightly by a fire. Asleep in a cave? Hmm. Vincent’s lovebird concern for Re-l is misinterpreted as an attempt to pry the Proxy killing gun away from her. Re-l always assumed the worst. Vincent assured her he was simply concerned for her well-being in the cold. Re-l’s attention turned away from him and towards her hair.
This is the second time this episode her hair had been expressly highlighted and it won’t be the last time either. Why does this matter? For so many reasons. The dialogue I have referenced so far hints at past and future events openly, loudly. Showcasing Re-l’s hair does this silently and to amazing effect. In the first minute we are shown a scene of Iggy doing Re-l’s hair. As evidenced by her peculiar hair-style and make-up she cared deeply about her looks. She trusted Iggy to do this for her.
She arrogantly threw the comb at Pino who was quietly reading a book by the fire. “Do my hair,” demanded Re-l. Pino, now dressed up as the rabbit, ignored her. Then she angrily responded in the third person, “Pino is reading a book.” A fun note here is how Pino turned the page of the book from left to right in the eastern style. This is funny because she was reading an English copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A book that had been featured more than once in the show and one that is certainly not read from right to left. Was this an error on behalf of the Japanese creators or an intentional idiosyncrasy of Pino the AutoReiv child?
Re-l picked up her discarded comb and handed it to Vincent. He held the comb uncomfortably in his hand beside the fire. The comb was a passing of the torch. Re-l was trying to find a replacement for Iggy. As confirmation Re-l despondently exclaimed, “My god, how am I supposed to survive without Iggy!” There is a layer deeper to this connection between hair and Re-l’s relationship with the other characters. In this brief few seconds we have 4 symbols of death. Cold, cave, sleep, and hair. Hair is a dressing, an adornment for people. But, simultaneously, it isn’t truly alive or exactly united with who you are. An extremity or flowing garment. We are being told repeatedly over and over someone is going to die this episode.
Who will it be?
We transition back to Iggy in the other cave. The transitions so far have been absolutely immaculate. This one is a stellar example. We have a flow of conversation between 3 characters, Re-l, Vincent, and Pino. This exchange ends with Re-l referencing Iggy. This flow eases the transition from character perspectives. It “greases the wheels” for lack of a better term. Before we transitioned to Re-l it was a close-up of Iggy’s face speaking to the AutoReiv servant girl about her master. The cut to Re-l’s face showed us who Iggy was truly speaking of. It was not a surprise.
There is a circularity at play. We have established a cycle from the beginning of the episode about who the characters are and roughly how long we’ll focus each one before transitioning to the next. This is a continual building of drama for eventual confrontation. When all points of the web intersect the cycle will be broken and give birth to a new one in due time. For now, we are back to Iggy working through the aching in his mechanical heart.
“A master is a master, no matter who they are. Entourages can’t live without a master.”
Iggy didn’t hate the servant girl despite her service to a Proxy. It wasn’t the girl who chose her master or her creator. This lead to the final conclusion Iggy came to after his many self-reflections the first half of the episode. He reasoned there’s only one thing left to do. There’s only one way for him to get what he desired. To preserve his reason for existence.
“I’ll kill the one who took my master from me. Yes, I’ll kill him. If I kill the one who took her, she’ll come back. You’ll be a good girl and come back to me, won’t you, Re-l?”
Iggy was not without his own sarcastic quips. Re-l was not a good girl who did what she ought to do, so Iggy would force her to. Instead of being the one who was bent, he would do the bending. We cut to the servant girl’s face after he said these things. Why? Because she heard him speak this line...
“If I kill the one who took her, she’ll come back.”
Who was it who killed the servant girl’s master last episode? It was Re-l. She fired 1 of the 2 special bullets from her gun and killed the monster. Iggy just taught the girl a dangerous lesson. Perhaps if she killed the one who slayed her master the master would return to her, return to life? Her meaning could be restored. The director silently connects this dot again by immediately transitioning from an image of the servant girl’s face to a close up of Re-l’s face. She’s satisfied with Vincent’s impromptu hairdressing.
“I’ll have you do it from now on,” said Re-l.
Iggy’s replacement had been found.
Also, conveniently, in case you missed the subtle connection between the servant girl and Re-l, we are shown the girl again with the exact line from Iggy, “If I kill the one who took her, she’ll come back.” Re-l left to check up on the ship despite Vincent’s protests. She was alone until Iggy arrived. His arrival completes the circle, connects the dots, weaves the web. The sequence was set in motion the moment Iggy called out to Re-l.
She was upset by his presence. She ordered him to go back to Romdeau. Then, finally, she realized Iggy was not the same as he once was. He’s infected with the virus. Iggy had no obligation to entertain Re-l anymore. His true feelings were revealed. He’s been infected for a very long time now, about half the show’s runtime at this point, and Re-l never noticed. Oblivious. Self-centered. He insulted her intelligence to hide the hidden pain of being ignored by his master.
Revealing that Iggy bypassed the tests designed to detect the virus achieves two things narratively. Firstly, it explains the twist of how he was infected for such a long time without detection. Secondly, it shows how clever and smart he is as a character. Much more so than Re-l.
“All this time,” said Re-l.
Iggy responded to comfort her, to comfort himself, “But I haven’t changed at all. You’re the only one I’ve ever obeyed, the only one I’ve protected.”
He reached out and stroked her hair. This is the 3rd and final time Re-l’s hair is used this episode. Re-l had returned to Iggy so he may fulfill his role again. The first time her hair was shown it was Re-l’s willing participation. The second time it was for a replacement. The 3rd time Iggy reprised his role forcibly. As a reminder, someone is going to die this episode.
“How can you not need me?” The last line from Iggy before he punched her in the stomach so hard it knocked the braggadocios woman out cold. Knocked out, asleep, synonymous with death. It happened right after Iggy touched her hair. It happened in a cave. Repetition with slight modification creates progression. You see the cycle? You see how it repeats the pattern bit by bit, piece by piece as we build a much grander structure? He took her out of the cave into the pure white snowstorm.
We are back to Vincent and the fire was running low. Pino was still a little grumpy so Vincent went alone to find more kindling for the fire. He couldn’t let the torch burn out. This is a good motivation to move him out of the cave and into the world for a wider conflict, for future confrontation. Really this scene is a simple breather for what comes next. The greatest roast of any fictional character I’ve ever witnessed.
Re-l woke up from her second slumber this episode. The first willingly by the fire, the second unwillingly in a reinforced glass coffin. Fitting that the beast she killed and stored there is now where Iggy trapped her. This scene is my favorite scene of the entire show and one of my favorite scenes of all time. It is a perfect example of a character reaching their lowest point. The icing on the cake is Iggy’s Japanese voice actor who gives one of the best performances I have ever heard. At risk of AI copyright algorithms striking me dead where I stand I’d like to share you this scene in its entirety.
Now full credit to Re-l’s actress as she portrays a weak, defeated, unsure girl very well. But Iggy absolutely steals the show. His sly laughter that often descends into madness or rage shows an unparalleled level of versatility. A versatility that required a very diverse and complicated set up to make worthwhile. All the elements are brought together in this speech of pure hatred. Not only this, but we get lots of juicy plot details throughout.
“Open it!” Re-l was still making demands.
“Are you awake, Re-l Mayer?” This line is another example of weaving the web. Micro and macro level connections. Episode 1 begins with the “awakening”. Most especially, the awakening of Re-l to a grander conspiracy. Is she finally awake? Truly awake? Is the truth seeker finally awake with open eyes? Has Alice finally woken up from the dream? To Iggy it was a snide comment but for the purpose of the narrative it is so much more.
“My speech is simply a matter of my customization, isn’t it?” Earlier in the show Iggy referenced Re-l’s customization of his speech patterns. Iggy’s sarcastic droll speech originally came from Re-l herself. Look at Iggy’s design. What else do you think she customized? She put the make-up on his eyes and his head. His eyes have heavy eyeshadow like hers, the 2 dots represent the 2 horns she styled her hair with. We aren’t ever told exactly how long Re-l and Iggy had been together but it is assumed to be a long time, maybe even Re-l’s entire life. She made Iggy cute and probably gave him his cute name.
Re-l’s only defense throughout this exchange was undermining Iggy’s sense of self. She was quite literally trying to escape by giving Iggy an existential crisis, something he’s been grappling with this whole episode and half the show prior. Iggy did not like that. His instability is presented so masterfully it’s almost hard to put into words. Re-l was afraid.
“You always were a selfish bitch, Re-l Mayer. But that doesn’t give you the right to kill me off just because I don’t serve your purposes anymore.” Iggy’s protection of Re-l served his purposes now. It gave Iggy purpose to protect Re-l whether she wanted his protection or not. He countered her claim that the virus killed the real Iggy by attesting to his faithful service. Why, if he wasn’t truly him, would he have stayed with Re-l who he secretly loved and despised? Re-l didn’t have an answer to this.
“I’m your favorite. You’re the one who customized my speech settings.” He didn’t want to be replaced by Vincent, the one who stole her away.
“Now now, you’re letting that pretty face of yours go to waste. Girls shouldn’t make such unpleasant faces.” More snark from the red-eyed robot.
“Then you’ve been deceiving me all this time?” Re-l was defeated in the last verbal exchange so she changed tactics. She’ll catch her servant in a moral wrong. Lying. Disloyalty. “It’s unacceptable for an Entourage to deceive its master. A loyal entourage would never act like this. Once you deceived me, your master, you ceased to be Iggy.” An admirable attempt from Re-l all things considered... But this persuasive parley was dispatched even more easily by Iggy.
“Don’t get smart with me, Re-l Mayer. Who the hell do you think is responsible for all this?” It was Re-l that pushed the investigation into truth too far. She initiated this series of events. Iggy was completely prepared to cast all blame on her. An important note here on the writing of this dialogue is how Iggy referred to Re-l. Almost every time in this exchange he referred to her by her full name. This is a rhetorical tool used by people to hold power over the person they are talking to. To speak more directly to them as a whole person. It is a closer, more personal, and more manipulative form of reference.
It was after this Iggy unleashed his final barrage, “Selfish Re-l. Useless Re-l. Incompetent Re-l. Besides me, who could handle a woman like you? You’re much more incompetent than you think. Posing as a hot-shot career woman in Romdeau, without even knowing. But who do you think made it all possible for you? Who was always there to support you, you reckless, arrogant bitch? Me! You say I’m unacceptable? That’s my line. I don’t accept that you don’t need me!”
Re-l had been completely and utterly crushed into dust. Throughout this novel length string of insults she had nothing to offer but offended gasps. The only thing she’s left with is herself…
“What are you going to do with me?”
Iggy’s confidence was bursting at the seams, he cheekily laughed in response, “Are you finally starting to worry about yourself?”
The sarcastic quip was another slight at her, who up until this point did what she pleased with reckless abandon expecting Iggy to pick up the pieces. Ultimately, nothing had changed. Iggy would continue to protect Re-l. We near the end of the argument by connecting another plot thread of the episode.
“Re-l, remember when you said I would never understand as an AutoReiv because I don’t have a soul? But I do have a soul. How could you not have realized?” Again, the elasticity of Iggy in this moment is enormous. Here he is more sentimental, more heartbroken.
“We can’t make it back to Romdeau in the U-4 anymore… But there’s still the ship.”
Very important plot detail here. It was mentioned in the previous episode that the aircraft only had enough fuel to return back to Romdeau from this point. Because Iggy turned back around from the home flight the fuel was now insufficient. He would have to commandeer the wind-powered land ship.
“Even if you go back to Romdeau you’re infected with the cogito and they’ll simply have you destroyed.” The entire exchange ended, surprisingly, with Re-l as the victor. This was a flaw in Iggy’s plan he either hadn’t considered or didn’t care about. He silently left to go steal the Rabbit. As he walked away we pan to the servant girl patiently waiting for an opportunity to be alone with the killer of her master.
The whole scene from every vantage point is masterfully done. How, as a writer, do you make 2 character talking with each other the most compelling moment of a story? Framing, stakes, dialogue, presentation, direction… You must bring all the threads together and use every tool at your disposal. That is exactly what was achieved here. Re-l was a wash of light in the luminous coffin whilst Iggy held a bittersweet parade in darkness. Only his piercing red eyes shown through.
After Iggy left Re-l realized she was missing a critical item. He took her gun with the 1 remaining Proxy-killing bullet loaded inside. Re-l had 2 guns. The tactical shotgun she kept slung on her hip and a small sci-fi derringer that fired the Proxy-killing bullets.
There is a narrative device called Chekhov’s gun that is at play almost everywhere this episode. It doesn’t always or even usually take the form of a literal gun but this episode it might. I’ll give you a hint, something is being shot at someone this episode but I guarantee you you’ll never guess it correctly. And it isn’t because it wasn’t set up prior in this episode or because I failed to mention it myself. That’s what’s so fun. That’s the trick. That’s the slight of hand.
Who appeared after Re-l discovered Iggy took her gun? The servant girl whose master Re-l killed with that same gun. Meanwhile, earnest Vincent busied himself with collecting firewood. Pino warmed up to the idea of helping collect so she gathered… Mushrooms. I suspect this is another sly Alice in Wonderland reference. We follow the rabbit until she bumped into Iggy who was also in search of a Rabbit. A deadly stare-down between a hyper fixated robot and a disguised god-like creature ensued.
“Re-l’s going to kill you someday. Why do you need her?” Iggy repeated the promise Re-l made to Vincent last episode.
Meanwhile the servant girl is trying to smash the reinforced glass and kill Re-l.
“You can’t protect Re-l. Because you are destined to kill her.” Iggy believed the half man half monster would lose control and kill his raison d'être.
Cracks began to show in Re-l’s coffin.
“I can see it… a hideous monster tormenting Re-l as she lies struggling in agony. That monster is you, Vincent Law.” Iggy lifted the gun and pointed it at Vincent. Vincent contorted his face in anger proving Iggy’s point.
“That look. It’s the same look you had when Re-l pointed the gun at you. It’s the look that tells me you’re invariable going to kill Re-l. My dear Re-l.” Iggy loved her.
Vincent swatted the gun away from Iggy before he had the chance to pull the trigger. The servant girl smashed Re-l’s coffin open allowing her to escape before the girl could swing again. Re-l crawled away on hands and knees. Iggy ran away from Vincent now that he’d been disarmed. The circle is getting smaller. The cycle is getting faster. The action is picking up as all the pieces fit together and the web pulls tighter!
Re-l was running away from the servant girl but managed to trip and fall on her face. She kicked at the servant with her feet pathetically, undignified. The servant girl pulled a knife and jumped on her chest prepared to kill her. But then, boom! A gun was fired! Not the special Proxy-killing gun or the shotgun but the strange device Iggy pointed at the servant girl in the first half of the episode. This brief scene was Chekhov’s gun! It was a flare gun used for emergencies Iggy repurposed to save Re-l.
The flash of light was the rapturous applause for Iggy saving the day yet again. Vincent arrived late to the scene much to Re-l’s dismay. He held her pistol. “Well done Vincent. Now I can’t kill you. I lose.” Vincent moved to apologize but was interrupted by the servant girl springing up from the ground to kill Re-l again. Her eyes blinked a beeping red countdown to detonation and her hand was tight around Re-l’s throat. Iggy swooped in and yanked the girl away from Re-l and ran away as fast as he could. Vincent slid to Re-l’s side to protect her as well.
The servant girl exploded, taking Iggy with her. His dismembered head was discarded in the snow, still calling out to Re-l. We are back in a cave and Re-l cradled the head of what remained of Iggy. The conflict in Iggy’s soul was not yet satisfied, his sadness was ever-present, and his half-destroyed face displayed this turmoil openly.
“Look, Re-l Mayer. Look what you’ve done to me. A woman like you isn’t worth protecting. But your death would make my life meaningless. Why were you the master? You, of all people!” Spit Iggy in disgust.
Re-l looked down in regret.
Iggy whispered softly to her, “Re-l… Hey… Don’t hate me, okay?”
“Iggy…” Responded Re-l quietly.
“It was hard for me. But I wanted to be with you no matter what. I suffered for so long, Re-l.” Anger overtook him, “It’s your fault, you good-for-nothing bitch!” Softness returned, “Please, Re-l. Don’t hate me.”
Tears well up in her eyes, “It’s okay, Iggy.”
He continued his brokenness until the very end split down the middle of love and hate for the young girl. “It’s okay,” repeated Re-l as she solemnly lifted her shotgun. We hear the shot echo out of the cave interrupting Pino’s unintended funeral song.
“I know this feeling. This is sadness,” said Pino as she laid flowers atop Iggy’s grave. This line was another reference to earlier in the show when Pino lost a friend of hers. She, being a robot and a child, had no concept of death. She had to learn what sadness was.
Re-l began, “Does the cogito…” But she cut this line short. Speculating about the virus and its effects isn’t right for this moment. She re-framed the question more personally for the child, “I mean, does it make you unhappy to know what sadness is?”
“I think it probably makes me happy.”
“Why is that?”
“I don’t know. I’m going to put some flowers on that girl’s grave too.”
Why didn’t Iggy leave? With the virus he didn’t need to obey Re-l. She didn’t have to be his master. She cried.
After listening to all this you may think I have been very harsh towards Re-l. You may think I don’t like her as a character because she’s an arrogant snotty princess. You would be absolutely completely and utterly… Wrong. It is this episode that completes her character and marks a big giant tectonic shift in the show’s story structure. The second half becomes much more lose and experimental.
Iggy was used to reveal the shortcomings of Re-l to Re-l. He confronted her face to face and taught her shame. It was never that she disliked Iggy or disregarded him on purpose. On the contrary, she loved Iggy. But in her youthful ignorance she took advantage of him. Her mission, her purpose in this show was to seek truth. Yet, often, she found the truth and was too blind to see it. Are you awake? Are your eyes open? She faced a trial. She was brought low. She wasn’t the badass blasting crazed robots like in the promotions. The only time she fired her gun this episode was to end the suffering of the closest friend she ever had.
And who appeared at this lowest point? The replacement she found for Iggy at the beginning of the episode. Vincent arrived to console her. Still not wanting to show weakness Re-l put on a brave face. Vincent, the well-meaning monster man, gave her back the Proxy-killing gun. Why? Because he’s a simp! No no no, I’ll be nice. He did care for Re-l. He would protect Re-l, unlike the terrible prophesy given by Iggy. They would go on this journey together to uncover the truth. And besides, Re-l promised not to kill him yet.
What is the final story writing thread to examine? It’s the gun. Why did the writer choose to not have Iggy fire the last remaining bullet? The events of this episode would have remained almost exactly the same if Iggy fired the gun and missed. The reason is to keep this plot thread in play. If Re-l lacked the ability to kill Vincent, that excitement, that drama, that potential would come to an end. Our final lesson is when to find closure and when to keep spinning the web.
If you made it to the end, congratulations and thank you. You have the same level of fascination for niche weird stories, animation, and writing as I do. If you want more from me do please like, share, subscribe, and comment your thoughts. You can read this script and much more on my website, michaelofstjoseph.com. Links will be in the video description. When it comes to storytelling the end is never really the end. I’ll be back next week with another long-winded Story Writing Web about the League of Legends series Arcane.
Until then, spin on.