Being a dick, because it’s god’s work.
Cutting out the middle man, we’re already at the part where the couple are trying to break open the doors. It fails, obviously, but we’re quickly shown our characters.
On the whole I must compliment Death Parade’s establishment of character. They are rather predictable, but at least they’re done strongly.
So our pair, Yousuke and Misaki, seem to be unrelated completely. Misaki is a reality TV star. with all the arrogance and presumption that comes with it, and Yousuke seems to be a nervous office type, or possibly some kind of computer programmer.
Misaki is convinced they’re on a reality, hidden camera show. Candid camera, she basically means.
…Which, to her credit, isn’t entirely off base. They ARE being watched for specific reactions to unusual circumstances. So good call on that one.
..I like the bar’s transformation sequences.
It’s video game time! In an amusing bit, each character is on the “character select” screen, and it’s entirely themselves. The afterlife is nothing if not amusing itself at humans’ expense.
So…are they playing a BlazBlue mod? there’s one round of this fighting game, and Misaki loses. This causes us to see flashbacks of her life. She goes through a series of abusive relationships, and we’d later see her reality show was taking empowerment from being a divorced mom. So these are things she has, more or less, worked past at this point of LIFE, but this is incomplete-memory-after-life, so let’s see how this turns out.
Misaki convinced Yousuke to let her win one round. She says to “be more dramatic”, though she may be intending for HIM to allow access to his memories as well. It’s hard to say, as she’s really not the person who seems like she’d do such things in consideration of other people. Of course, she does get an assist from Decim, who has a device that breaks the game machine for a specific player.
But before the third round part of the truth comes out. No hidden cameras, and they continue their act that the participants might die if they lose. Though, as per the rules, they never explicitly say so. It’s that Kyube sort of lying by implication.
So, Decim breaks Misaki’s game, who would be helpless against the gamer Yousuke. So Misaki decides to play the man, not the game. By beating Yousuke’s face into the game machine.
But she is instantly regretful, cradling his head instead of winning the game. She begs Decim and Kurokami to call an ambulance, but Decim tells her to just play the fucking game, lady.
Yousuke has a flashback while unconscious, he seems to not get on too well with his stepmom. Or, didn’t, we are, after all, unsure about her mortality.
Not that this matters, as he killed himself. Good on that.
And we do learn that the deaths can be unrelated, as Misaki was throttled by her manager, whom she beat her ass like her husbands did to her. Ah, the circle of life.
But Decim tells them both they did well. But one still has to go to void and one reincarnated because…them’s the rules?
This still makes no sense…
On the whole, this episode’s message was definitely that we all are equal victims of circumstance. Much like the abuse she suffered leads her to lash out, as that’s the only way she knows how to assert herself, Misaki’s interpretation of the Quindecim is the same way. She is bending the information through the lens familiar to her. Abusers themselves are often victims, and that is a shade we very often forget. And it is, likely, tied to her declaration that she “realized” what had to be done to live in peace with her children. She is used to power being thrown around, so she took that power, but, she did do it because she HONESTLY felt she was protecting her family. Even though, from what we see, she did a shitty job of being there for them.
Yousuke’s is more open ended. His question of “Why did I commit suicide?” is never really answered. We know his relationship with his biological mother was stunted, to say the least, the woman outright telling him she’d be better off if he was never born. Like Misaki, this is his experience. And he is unable to frame his stepmom’s GENUINE affection for him in any other terms. He knows that she wants to be considered part of HIS family as much as her husband does, but he cannot bring himself to say the words. That message of failure has certainly stuck in him, as even in death he considers himself unable to deliver “a simple wish”.
I’m a big fan of Kurokami’s lessons (I figured just calling her the intern was stupid. We have to call her something, so nickname it is!). She almost lashes out at Decim herself for fiddling with the game, but almost instantly is rewarded by the scene of Misaki beating Yousuke’s face in. And for his own part, Decim does feel like he’s doing this for their own good, as he demonstrates when he embraces the pair, just being the convenient shoulder to cry on (literally).
Again, still not BAD. But it still feels like we could be exploiting extra dimensions here.