Character Analysis: Re-L Mayer

Ergo Proxy is one of those things you can stare at for a long time. It’s deeply grounded in philosophy and puts together a look and sound that matches its bleak world view.

At its center are the three main characters, Vincent Law, Pino and Re-L Mayer. Together they form a really warped Father/Mother/Child trio, but, appropriate to main characters, they each have some form of development in their DNA.

Vincent, we know, IS the Ergo Proxy. His story as a character is his desire to keep the beast under control and failing, being transformed into the proxy, and consequently saving humanity. Pino, well, they told you who Pino is when they named her. She’s Pinocchio, the toy who becomes a real child.

Re-L’s story, on the other hand, is a lot more complex. The other two characters move from one state to another, reluctantly in Vincent’s case, acceptingly in Pino’s, but they are one state at a time.

Re-L, on the other had, has two natures that war within her throughout the series. She is simultaneously the tough cop and the spoiled daughter of the system. (Literally, her grandfather is the man in charge, right?) And now, here we go: Because the system is doomed and corrupt, her two natures go to war with each other.

Boom. Conflict. Doncha love it?

Re-L Mayer, cop, brat, in cop mode

Early on her cop nature predominates. She wants to know what’s going on with the city and with Vincent, and while she routinely identifies herself as the Regent’s granddaughter, it’s to throw her weight around in her search for the truth. Crap, she might as well be “Dirty Harry” Callahan.

But one of the key sequences in the show occurs when the three of them escape Romdeau Dome City and go sailing off to, well, does it really matter? They are engaged in a Voyage and Return plot, and the Voyage and Return plot requires change in the characters. Vincent comes back aware of his identity. Pino comes back human.

It’s in the course of this journey that Re-L’s second nature, spoiled brat, starts to come to the fore. It has before, of course; nothing says, “spoiled brat” more than dropping your grandfather’s position into the discussion in order to gain some kind of moral authority.

But on the boat it’s just Vincent, Pino, and Re-L, and there’s no use in namedropping there, ‘cuz Pino don’t know and Vincent don’t care. Instead, cut off from her natural surroundings and her access to information – the things she needs to be a cop – she turns into a whiny b, complaining about the food, demanding ginger ale, ordering Vincent to do her hair, and so on. Her nature as spoiled upper class woman starts to dominate her, and being who she is, she takes it out on the others.

Even then, though, she can’t stop trying to be a cop. She makes systematic observations of the other two, especially Pino, who is changing in ways that Re-L the cop is supposed to prevent. She’s conducting surveillance, right? Even though there’s no point to her observations and no one for her to report them to.

You see, those are very different natures at war within her. The society bi-atch (for lack of a better word) is a passive character, one who leans back to be waited on and does her work with her mouth, ordering servants around and berating them until they do as she says. But the cop is active, curious, inquiring, and (yes, this is part of it) violent. The two go to war, but it’s clear which of them will win; in fact, the end of the show comes about when all three reveal, if you like, their final stages: Pino as child, Vincent as Proxy, Re-L as cop.

In fact, the story line practically demands that the cop in Re-L comes to dominate. It’s because she is a cop that she demands the answers she needs at the end, especially from Daedalus.

And when she gets the answers she demands, we, the audience get them, too, right? That’s what’s so useful about the cop trope: You use the cop to get the clues and when they get the clues the writers can feed them to the audience.

It’s useful to Re-L that her cop identity dominates her at the end structurally as well. The corrupt Romdeau Dome City falls and Vincent leads the survivors away to a Brave New World. That’s a world that Re-L Mayer, society queen, can’t survive in. No one’s going to fetch her a ginger ale on command there, or do her hair, or whatever.

But Re-L Mayer, tough cop, is a survivor. There doesn’t have to be a place for her in that new world. She’ll make one for herself. At the end, the cop wins the war for her soul, so to speak.

All three of them are written well, but the toughest to write must have been Re-L, the woman at war with herself.

I always look at comments and feedback, and I’m sure I’m not the first to see what I’ve seen, so have at it. Just keep it clean and keep it on target…no personal attacks, okay? Thanks.

6 thoughts on “Character Analysis: Re-L Mayer

  1. I’ve always thought the character Re L was interesting, but I never really noticed that her character could be defined into two distinct characters! Great observation! Very interesting read. I don’t know if you accept requests, but I would really love to read a character analysis from you of Kino from Kino’s Journey 2003. I think the character is interesting and has depth, but I’m not very good at character analysis, so I don’t really know why.

    Liked by 2 people

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