「デス・アーケード」 (Desu Aakeedo)
Just when I thought Death Parade couldn’t bring on any more surprises, they blew me away with an episode about the value of families. This is a topic that hits close to home for me and it’s because I haven’t lived in the perfect home or family that makes you appreciate them so much more. I also think that your situation at home can have a huge impact on the way that you grow up and the way that you live your life. It changes your outlook on life, your values and personally, it’s a huge portion of the “external” factors that influence my personality. This is the same case for Yousuke and Misaki this episode – but obviously to polar extremes and I think it shows just how different people can grow up to be.
Let me start by saying that I empathize with both their situations. Both Tateishi Yousuke (Morita Masakazu) and Tachibana Misaki (Yamaguchi Yuriko) were in sad situations that made me feel like they both deserved a second chance at life. However, the question that came to my mind in the end was why Yousuke? Why was Misaki sent to the void while Yousuke was spared? Well let me just point you all the scene where Misaki, literally, bashed this poor kids’ head in to screen! What was that all about?! I just can’t explain how shocking that was to witness because it was so uncalled for and terribly violent! If this wasn’t anime (and a crime TV drama or something), there would be blood and gore and just so much struggling that I can’t even take this scene lightly. To me, that single-handedly showed me what a horrible person Misaki can be and when it’s survival of the fittest, she’ll degrade herself to that level to live. That is just wrong because there are still limitations to what you should or should not do to another human being; regardless of what it means on your own life. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been put in such a dire situation, but I felt the same way while watching Grisaia no Kajitsu – disgusted and uncomfortable.
Now on the other hand, I definitely feel for Misaki and her history. Like I said, I empathize with both their stories and I actually give a lot of credit to Misaki for being able to come this far. She grew up making some pretty bad decisions in her life, got abused and had several children from it – but she still raised them and carried on trying to make a life for herself. She never gave up and that’s a characteristic that I really admire when someone’s been given the bad end of the stick. I think the reason that she was sent to the void, wasn’t because she wasn’t a “good” mother (although I don’t think she was a great mother either), I think it’s because her reasons for wanting to live again just weren’t very justified. It wasn’t because she wanted to see her children again, it was because she wanted to be alive again. I’m sure she does love her children on some level, but she seemed to love herself more. She was finally a successful TV star, and she created a name for herself out of nothing; and she was proud of it. It just didn’t sound like she wanted to live again to be there for her children and watch them grow, which is a huge shame. There’s also a few flashback scenes that indicate that she wasn’t the best mother and I doubt her children loved her much. I can argue it both ways (whether or not Misaki was a good mother), but I would say that the consensus is that she wasn’t the best mother she could be.
As for Yousuke… I can definitely also see it both ways although I lean more towards him being a pitiful individual. His situation wasn’t explained or illustrated as clearly but I get the gest of it. His mother was not the best growing up; his parents got a divorce and his father remarried later. Whatever the reason was for Yousuke to avoid his new stepmother, I felt that his stepmother was making attempts to try and become a motherly figure to Yousuke. If I were her, I would feel so rejected if he wasn’t reciprocating my feelings of at least “wanting” to be a family. Of course, having been a teenager myself, I understand where he’s coming from. Losing your parent isn’t easy, but quickly being forced to “get along” with a replacement is difficult as well. Although I wouldn’t go as far as suicide, I do think that Yousuke should regret his actions. His stepmother was trying and reaching, but he totally shot her down and seeing him tear up at the end… is the best way to show how remorseful he feels. A great way to end his story and thus why I think his feelings really shined at the moment. He deserves to be reincarnated just simply for regretting his actions and wanting to do better so that he could make his stepmother’s wish come true. That made my heart go out to Yousuke, so good for him.
So that explains why I thought Decim made the right decision in the end. It was interesting that he would go so far as to “sabotage” their game to get the result he wanted, and I don’t fully agree with his methods. Although his role is to be an arbiter, there are other ways to deduce who should get reincarnated and who should go to the void. It definitely makes for a more interesting anime though! But it shows a bit more about Decim and Nameless Girl’s characters. Decim’s deadpan face all the time only makes me want to break him and see what he’s really thinking – where did he come from and what does he think of his job? Why the fascination with mannequins? Anyway, another possible ending that crossed my mind this week was that Yousuke was the “given-up-for-adoption” baby by Misaki. I thought that would explain why Yousuke’s “mother” never loved him and Misaki had so many children, who’s to say she didn’t give one up? What I like about Death Parade is its unpredictability though. I can never guess the ending, but I like how they don’t completely leave the audience in the dark either. They still show a good portion of the individuals’ lives when they get sent away and I think it’s up to interpretation if you think Decim made a good or wrong choice. Next week, I’d like to see two people sent to the same place again… but maybe they’ll both be sent to the void next time.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Did not feel bad for the mother on #DeathParade. #Sorrynotsorry although I do think she lived a sad life, still doesn’t excuse her actions.