“My Own Decision”
This episode dealt with some heavy themes, however, the way they bartered with them was superficial at most, allowing little time for us to sit with the horrific events made by the side characters which this turmoil event circled around. It was never gross or delve deeper on this topic than it allowed itself, I’m thinking mostly because of the censors.
The story of this episode follows that of a murderer and rapist, the episode starts with his trial, showing a judge coming to a decision and hearing this man to 20 years in prison or something like that. Apparently to someone is not enough. We later learn that this man is the brother of the victim who got killed, this man later is recruited by the Dream Man (that’s literally the name) to try Somium Drops (the candy) and dream a little dream of revenge.
Meanwhile, the rest of the cast is trying to find out who exactly is The Dream Man and why are they
selling giving away for free, the Somium Drops. Aruto is on the case! With his pseudo hacking skills, trying to find out how exactly are these people employing their scheme. He manages to hack into a server, but they’re using more than proxies. D_Cide really likes its modern takeaways, and never actually dives deep into any of them. It’s surface-level at most, but still enjoyable to see; The Dark Net and other techno mumble jumbo thrown in just for fun.
Anyway, Aruto finds one of the circle images and connects something directly to their investigation. I’m not sure what exactly he manages to comply with, but he did something and found the sun image that dreamers get after they have been defeated and offered up their wish.
Later in the episode, the Dreamer who is the brother of the victim finds two Drops on a rooftop because Dreamer Man said he should go there. He gets a taste of what he could do with his revenge and decides to take another one to actually enable it. Doing so causes a Traumarei to expand and the gang is off to another dream. They beat up some hand monsters, and the brother of the victim turns into a giant Michellin like zipper mecha thing, that sees nothing but revenge. But Oda manages to bring him down his high horse and connect with him on an emotional level and blinds the man to his own rage. Of course, the killer dude at the end of it is all like ‘I’ll get out in 10 years, and I’ll continue my range of evil BUAHAHA!’
But electricity crackles and he is engulfed in flames because there was gasoline on the floor. Divine judgment or so it seems, there wasn’t a murder, but the bad guy got what he deserved.
Personally, I think this show would have faired better with current audiences (let’s admit it, it’s not exactly popular this season) if it got a Netflix ONA release. Instead of having a late-night slot.
Even with the late-night (10:30 PM JST) they still have to worry about censors casting out what could have been more impactful and shocking scenes. This week was a heavy topic, but it was touched upon in a very light and superficial manner. There was no emotional connection to the brother of the killer, and we hate the bad guy only because he is a bad guy who will continue to do bad things. He gets what he deserves but not by the hand of the main cast or the dreamer for that matter. These are good people who will never kill a fly. Sort of vigilantes at this point. Without the censors, I feel they could have gone deeper and really made us hate the guy to his root, not just because. Or go the other way around, make us empathize with the bad guy, blur the lines between right and wrong, make him the friendly type, charming, a punk underdog, and when he does in fact rape our victim and kill her out of despite, it hits that much harder. It goes without saying, I am not defending his behavior or his actions. They are absolutely despicable things to do, yet they still happen far too often. I’m not blind to reality either.
To my understanding, D_Cide is not really following or adapting the story of the mobile game. In fact, I believe it’s meant to stand as a side story to it, yet we are involved in the world through different characters, and when you do decide to play the game it’s a completely different story, or so I understand. Yet that familiarity remains. So if the anime is trying to touch on these heavy topics, I believe it would do a much better job at making them that much deeper if it was allowed to act outside the censor rules of Japan. But on TV there’s no such time for that. The violent acts were overshadowed by the team trying to piece together who exactly is selling the drops and why. Leaving little room for the actual B-story to develop and flourish in a manner that doesn’t feel forced.
On the other hand, maybe I’m being too harsh on D_Cide and it did what it could with what it had. A man did burn alive this episode, after all, so calling it superficial might not be the right word. Still, I do feel like they could have done more with this premise, and it fell short only because it’s not allowed to express itself to its full extent, or so I feel.
This is a topic I would like to see your opinions on, thanks for reading anyway and look forward to the next episode of D_Cide Traumerei: The Animation.
P.S. Oda drives a bike and I’m slowly falling in love with him.