Ergo Proxy Episode 19: The Girl with A Smile (Eternal Smile)
Welcome, readers one and all. We are nearing the final stages of Ergo Proxy. Things are about to get serious indeed. But before that comes episode 19, a small side story. This episode has been called a filler by some, and it may indeed qualify as such. However, it's still highly enjoyable, assuming you like Pino. Alright, with that out of the way, let's get started.
Pino wakes up in an unknown location in some kind of junkyard. Two strange mascot-like characters appear named Arl and Pul. They tell Pino she is in Smileland. The two strange creatures wish to speak to the creator of Smileland, someone named Will B. Good. Pino, Arl, and Pul are then joined by a cricket character who was pretty obviously inspired by Jiminy Cricket from the works of Disney. But unlike the cordial Jiminy, this cricket (named Rogi) has an attitude, disapproving of the goofy Arl and Pul. Rogi says Pino should come with her to talk to Will B. Good, and he'll know where Vincent and Re-L are. Pino starts her journey through Smileland with Rogi, while Arl and Pul tag along.
While exploring the city-sized amusement park, which is based on Disneyland, Pino notices some strange posters saying "Coming Soon: Ergo Proxy!" When she asks what it means, Rogi says it's a notice from the Creator that their world is ending soon. Some park police interrupt and try to seize Pino and company because they don't have passes. Pino dances and jumps around to avoid being caught, leaping onto amusement park rides and laughing. The people around are taken aback because Pino's smile is so genuine and cute as she experiences fun. At last, though, she gets captured.
After a funny interview with the theme park police, Pino and company finally meet Will B. Good, the Creator of all these mascot autoreivs and Smileland itself. The reason for Smileland is to keep this city's people ignorant and happy as the end of the world approaches. Good asks for information about Ergo Proxy, but Pino knows better than to give it. Even when Good promises to grant her wish, and demonstrates incredible power, Pino refuses. Then Arl and Pul point out that the smiles of the guests look sort of fake. Compared to Pino's natural and genuine smile, it becomes easy to tell the rest are pretending.
Good loses his temper and says there is no reason for any of them existing. The mascot autoreivs respond by pulling him out of the screen illusion and giving him a few whacks on the head. Then Good finally tells the truth. He is interfering with Pino's mind and dreams to give her this vision. He had hoped to use Pino to learn how to defeat Ergo Proxy. But now, that's not working. So Will B. Good humbly asks Pino to make Vincent avoid Smileland. If Vincent comes to Smileland, Ergo Proxy will awaken and fight Good, who is also a Proxy. Then the peace will be destroyed, the city will rot, and everyone will die. Arl and Pul also ask Pino to protect Smileland.
Pino wakes up on the rabbit ship with Vincent and Re-L. They are approaching Smileland. It takes a little bit of persuasion, but Pino succeeds in making Vincent change course. Thanks to Pino, one city of humans and autoreivs was saved.
There is really not much to discuss in this episode since it's so straightforward. The only note I would make is to say Will B. Good had those supernatural powers because he is a Proxy. We've already established Proxies can invade and manipulate the minds of humans, showing them visions and whatnot. But this is the first time we've seen a Proxy mess around with an autoreiv's mind. It probably only worked because Pino has her own will and consciousness from the Cogita Virus. Anyway, let's move on to the next section.
References and Resemblances
I will keep this section brief since it's straightforward and I'm short on time. Smileland is roughly based on Disney World/ Disney Land. Just like in Disney Land, there are many rides, mascots, and other fun things to do. Will B. Good was inspired by Walt Disney and vaguely resembles him.
Rogi was inspired by Jiminy Cricket in Disney's Pinocchio. (On that note, Pino's name is probably a reference to Pinocchio, too. It's very fitting since Pinocchio was a puppet that became a real boy, and Pino was a machine that became conscious. Just like in Disney's Pinocchio, the cricket character guides the protagonist.
Arl and Pul are cartoon-ized versions of Arlecchino and Pulcinella, famous characters from the style of theater called Commedia dell'arte.
And with that, we're done. Thanks for reading! I hope you'll join me in the next few weeks as I go over the last four episodes of Ergo Proxy.