Pino-chan is the GODDAMN CUTEST thing I have ever fucking seen. I use the word "thing" and not "person" or "child" because Pino is neither. But she is cute. And she is already one of my all-time favorite characters EVER, in any entertainment medium. Not only does she look cute (especially in that cat-suit), but she acts cute. This is apparently the HARDEST thing for a storywriter to ever accomplish, as most just can't write "cute." They usually write "annoying" for cute characters and think that that does the trick. I want to hurt these people. They're the George Lucases (with his "Anakin as a kid is cute, and so I wrote him to be the most annoying turd in my movies next to Jar-Jar Binks... I love Jar-Jar Binks!") and the Gosho Aoyamas (who's pissy, annoying, kid groupies to the titular Detective Conan make me want to strangle a bunch of animated characters with my bare hands) of the world... They just don't get it. The people behind Ergo Proxy DO get it, though -- this is their story.
Ergo Proxy is a bleak show. Not that it's a terrible experience to behold (far from it actually), but the look and feel of the world in which the story takes place is very depressing. It feels like the world of Wolf's Rain, or that of Blade Runner, only more dreary and desolate... like there will never be any redemption for any of the characters within.
Onward to the plot! Humanity appears to be huddling together in fancy-schmancy city-domes while the rest of the world outside of the domes slowly goes to Hell (there's some kind of global contamination going on throughout the planet). In order to help themselves along in life (what little there is left of it) the people in the domes have created androids, known as AutoReivs, to do a good chunk of their workload for them (or to act as anchors to keep everybody under the heel of the shadowy government that seems to run everything). Pino is an AutoReiv (the cutest AutoReiv EVER!), but I digress.
So, into this society we find Re-L Mayer, a hot, female inspector in the CIO (which stands for something ominous), who finds herself becoming the center of attention of many people and things... I'm guessing this is because she wears even more eye-shadow than the lead in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance wore, but that's not the point. The point is that some Proxies (charcoal-colored, human-like beings with enormous power [both physical and mental]) start popping up all around her, and Re-L has no idea what the hell is going on, or if she's just a puppet in this whole thing or simply the instigator. Hell, even after watching all 23 episodes myself I'M not even sure. Yes, I did/still do eat crayons if they're lying around, but no answers come quickly or straight forward during this series... It's not like I stupid or nuttin'.
Okay, so Re-L is in Romdo City Dome, and she's being stalked by at least one Proxy... And by Vincent Law (a meek and strange recent immigrant to Romdo who develops a crush on Re-L and her blue eye-shadow). Vincent seems to be going crazy, and he's being tormented by Proxies too. But soon Vincent teams up with Pino (Yay!) and together they book it out of Romdo and go on a great adventure out in the wilderness of what is left of Earth in order to find Vince's hometown of Moscow and some answers to all the "why's" and "wheres". Of course Re-L (and Iggy, her AutoReiv) goes after them in order to bring Vincent in under suspicion of doing many naughty things, and to question him about his role in everything that's going on.
Throw into this story the fact that AutoReivs are becoming self-aware due to the "Cogito Virus" (apparently named after Descartes' quote of "Cogito ergo sum," or "I think, therefore I am"), and the fact that Proxies are more abundant than anybody had thought possible (and waaaaaaaaaaay stranger), lots of interesting things happen before the final credits role. No specifics are given here because it's the journey, not the destination that makes this show so rugged... Kind of like Kino's Journey in that respect.
Looking back on it, Ergo Proxy is kind of like a loose and strange retelling of The Wizard of Oz. All of the characters who end up going on this pilgrimage (and even some who stayed behind in the dome, like Raul Creed, the really creepy guy who plans to control everything in Romdo after his family is taken away from him) are looking for something different, yet still almost unattainable, as they move forward and meet strange new people/Proxies with each leg of their odyssey. No flying monkeys or anything that blatant, but I did say that it was only a loose retelling (Do I have to repeat EVERYTHING to you so that it sinks in?!?!). Pretty much every episode provides several big surprises and plot turns (some of which you have to pay very close attention to in order to really grasp their significance, like Pino's final drawings that we see in the last episode), and you really get sucked into this world, and the people who live there, almost completely. Like Kurau before it, it's totally the characters and their goals and dreams that makes this thing so fan-fucking-tastic! Well, that and Pino.
And now for a few random things about Ergo Proxy that really lubed my engine:
Just like in Ergo Proxy and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, some of my ancestors kind of goofed when it came to populating, or repopulating, planets in humanity's golden age of "space spawning" (i.e. dropping off a few hundred to million pioneers on a planet and then leaving them for a few dozen to a few hundred years, and then coming back to see if they were able to "make it"). Most of the registered 2,300,019 space spawned planets were utter failures. It turns out that the Genesis-devices that they left each group of pioneers with (in order to make the air breathable, and the land able to sustain Earth crops) were either broken from the known galaxy-wide recall (in which they blew up when plugged in due to a faulty nuclear fission rod) or because the colonists were mistakenly using them as porta-potties on the long trips to their destinations. Or if they worked, they apparently acted like a dinner bell of sorts for those ugly, bumpy-faced humanoids that kept showing up at our space spawning drop points and eating the Earth pioneers. Those bumpy-faced creatures are extinct now, but the ultimate irony is that I read once that those beings were originally genetically created to be man's new best friend -- something that could fetch the paper and something that their owner could have intercourse with without being labeled a "Dog Fucker." Apparently this was a very large problem a few hundred years ago. Not in MY time, let me assure you... But years before I was even born. Trust me, our scientists have learned their lessons about dog fucking and bumpy-faced humanoid fucking. Now they just make living, warm and juicy dog vaginas and anuses for the mass market. We even hang them on the wall when they are not is use. The newest fad is "flavored dog vaginas and anuses." Mine is "cherry."
Oh.. My... Goodness! I want a cute, little, robot person like Pino all to myself! I would dress her up, do her hair, and make her call me "Momma." ALL my friends would be so jealous!
Though if I had to put on tons of eyeshadow to get my own Pino I might just say "forget it." Unless I could choose what color it'd be. I'd go with lavender if I could. But I wouldn't wear nothing but black. And definitely not any leather. Ugh, what the hell was that Real Mayor girl thinking?