If I ran the toll booth at the River Styx…
I am dreading how long this review will get. Because we still have a lot of unfinished business with this series that the show seems to want to move away from.
Central to this story, beyond the characters that are introduced, is the function and facilitation of judgments.
In the past weeks, we’ve tried to discern what the “rules” are supposed to be. For example, why does Machiko get sent to the eternal dark for sleeping with someone who wasn’t her BOYFRIEND (remember, they weren’t married yet, they had no “sacred vows” or anything), yet her husband, Takashi, is given a pass to reincarnate because he wants to throttle his WIFE.
Why does Miura and Mai’s game not feature any Arbiter dickery?
Why does Yousuke get reincarnated yet Misaki get eternal dark, when both were as sorrowful and regretful over their lives? Because Misaki hit Yousuke during the game? How is that different from Takashi literally BEGGING Decim to release him so he can “hit the bitch”? Maybe it’s because Misaki did it during the game, and the game is the only part that counts? No, wait, we see from this week that isn’t true either.
In short the judgments so far have been very confounding. Perhaps that is the point, but this set of episodes is going to behave like there are ACTUAL rules here. Rules that we REALLY should have an understanding of before the characters begin picking them apart.
Now we’ve understood the part about “drawing out the darkness” for some time.
But I always figured that it was a sort of “you don’t truly know someone until you fight them” motif. Lots of people hate that phrase, but I subscribe to it. Perhaps more eloquently, “you don’t understand the content of a person’s character until they are your enemy”. The difference between the “good ex” who parts amicably and you still talk to, vs. “the bad ex” who texts you death threats for weeks and weeks following your break up. That sort of thing.
I always felt that was what was at play here. Break someone down without social constraints restraining them, and see the true content of their soul when they have nothing to hide behind, no excuses to make. See what a person must do when they are entirely self-contained emotionally and see their sides emerge.
But this story seems intent that, no, the darkness itself IS the scale we’re using. Which is an entirely different animal. Not only is that the opposite of a method that exposes someone’s base nature, it obfuscates everything about their personality.
Even Mr. Rogers on his worst day might not pass this test. WHATEVER THE HELL IT’S MEASURING.
There’s a lot more to say, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Let’s examine the episode properly. Continue reading