"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..."
After the End: Most humans live in domed cities to escape the diseases in the wasteland outside.
A.I. 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.
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 game show 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.
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.
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/Morality Pet. 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.
It should be noted though, that in the second to last episode, Pino's drawings do depict both Vincent and Raul, and in her monologues she widely addresses them both.
Cyber Punk: Well, it appears to be from the first few episodes, at least. "Post-Cyberpunk" is another option, come the finale, at any rate.
Distracted by the Sexy: Vincent tackles Re-l to the ground to and declares his undying love for her to get her gun away from her. Re-l responds by kissing Vincent to distract him long enough so she can get her gun back.
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.
Executive Meddling: Averted. Being made for a pay-per-view satellite channel, the series creators were given much more freedom than if they were under other networks and pretty much told to do whatever they wanted.
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. It's possibly the only case of a Xanatos Gambit accidentally turning into a Gambit Pileup. 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 Cyber Punk 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 Cyber Punk and Film Noir themes return at full throttle.
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 is expected to die from exposure to the sun, not because of wings melting, but because she was a Proxy and sunlight is their Achilles' Heel. What exactly happens however, is very much left to interpretation, see: Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence above, for instance.
Industrial: The entire soundtrack barring the opening and ending themes.
Instant Illness: When Re-l goes to the commune outside of Romdeau to retrieve Vincent, she immediately gets sick from contamination exposure when she takes off her protective suit.
Ironic Echo: When Vincent first encounter Proxy One, he said, "I am Ergo Proxy - the agent of death." This was said when Vincent was not sure of himself or what he even was, but by the end of the series, he says the exact same thing only with more confidence and assurance, making it his Badass Creed.
Jerkass: Re-l. She starts to get better after Iggy's death.
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.
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. She ends up wearing that exact same outfit for at least several months, and who know if there are any other clothes left in the world by that point.
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. It is never directly stated, but the fact that Ergo appears to use this on Vincent to get him to recognize that he is Ergo Proxy implies that this is a power that all Proxies have, possibly to limit to collateral damage of their battles.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Re-L Mayer and Vincent Law, Vincent is easily more emotional while Real is usually expressionless, impatient, or angry.
Male Gaze: Taken literally in a 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.
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 Daedalus' Monad is a clone of Re-l) 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.
Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Our introduction to the city of Romdeau: "Romdeau City. This place is undoubtedly our final paradise. Today is just another day here. Nothing changes for the better in this cradle...A boring paradise."
Recap Episode: The odd game show episode functions as this, except that the rest of the cast who aren't traveling in the Power Trioget to see the Clip Show elements as well, and thus learn plot important information.
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.
Actual sequence of events: Daedalus attempts to clone Monad Proxy, but fails and creates Re-l. He falls in love with her, but when she leaves he creates another clone of her, this one a complete Proxy.
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.
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.
While it could be referencing any number of game shows, the chair setup and lighting for the final quiz is clearly based on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and the episode title is presumably a reference to Jeopardy!.
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.
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.
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).
Trouble from the Past: The whole purpose of the Proxies is to clean up Earth's ruined environment for humanity at large to be able to return from space. And then the Proxies are supposed to die.
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.
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.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Re-l spends the first six episodes thinking she's in an espionage thriller. Vincent spends that time thinking that he's in Kafta-meets-Lovecraft story, and Iggy thinks that it's his duty to make Re-L's life a rom-com with her and Vincent's encounters as Meet Cutes.
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.