Death Rally 「デス・ラリー」
Is murder ever justified?
Decim’s quite the baby arbiter in Nona’s tower. Abusing her powers, Nona fished out a conundrum for newbie arbiter Decim, so much so the guy had to call to check that there’s no mistake. Citing overwork issues i.e. everyone’s busy newbie so you’re up, Decim and his human assistant Kurokami no Onna welcome 22 year-old Shimada (Sakurai Takahiro) and middle-aged detective Tatsumi (Fujiwara Keiji). For Decim it’s business as usual because you wouldn’t see the panic on his poker face even if he really was panicking over the difficulty of this particular assignment. For Kurokami no Onna though, she’s reluctant to welcome them since she knows one of them’s a murderer, but which one? Such is the difference between humans and the arbiters.
Stereotypes again pointed me to Tatsumi because the guy looked fierce enough compared to the lost-deer-looking Shimada. Fujiwara Keiji again voices his namesake (Keiji is also what a detective is called in Japanese) after Psycho-Pass 2, reunited with fellow Psycho-Pass alumni of both seasons Sakurai who here as well, portrays someone meek and conflict-avoiding. Tatsumi’s detective instincts were surely wondering how Decim’s pulling this whole farce off with those emotionless eyes of his and his peculiar taste in using dolls. It’s said that the eyes are the windows to our souls and although I’ve noticed the attention paid to detail the anime eyes in Death Parade, I reckon those iris’ have never been better done than in this episode. It makes sense that as visually gorgeous Death Parade is, most of the animation team’s focus is devoted to the facial expressions that have to convey such extreme emotions in each customer, which they’ve done really really well.
And then *ziiiiip* whoa, Shimada’s the one with the bloody knife in his bag! It’s the first time we see any customers come with personal items and for good reason this week because we all think Shimada’s the murderer, until Kurokami no Onna gets literally shocked into realising they both are murderers. How’s that for a twist? That information download must be real nasty it’s no wonder the arbiters’ eyes go crazy. I’m sure it impacts humans more though since Kurokami no Onna actually feels the emotions in the memories of the customers up till their deaths. That explains why arbiters cannot be emotional and cannot have feelings. The intensity of it all will be too overwhelming to objectively judge anyone.
We see through the very slow game of air hockey, that Shimada’s done the oniisan duty of putting his younger sister through high school. He comes home to find his only kin sobbing in a corner on the floor, bruised and most of all, afraid of him, which can only lead to the conclusion that his dearest sister had been assaulted. Anger takes over and it’s very easy to see how he’d end up wanting to at least hurt the perpetrator. Similarly, detective Tatsumi who’s out there catching bad guys, couldn’t protect his loving wife whom he found murdered on the floor of their loving home. Was it just me or did his colleagues come across as especially cruel and cold to gossip that Tatsumi ought to be taken off the case/forced to rest? I suppose it’s true but their tone just irked me. Again, it’s very easy to see how Tatsumi would want to end up finishing the guy who apparently killed his wife in revenge for being locked away by Tatsumi.
But is murder ever justified? It’s the act of brutally taking away another human being’s life, no matter how rotten that soul is. It’s personal judgment and my guess is that even if both Shimada and Tatsumi realised what they’ve done, they wouldn’t regret it and would gladly spend eternity in the void if that’s the cost of enacting revenge with their own bloody hands. For now, their deaths were so shocking that their memories were too deeply entrenched, stretching out the psychosis of this pair of customers across 2 episodes (damn the cliffhanger!). Decim’s remote is broken (though I’m sure it can be easily fixed and Nona just refuses to) but he’s upped the game by linking each puck to an organ, very much in canon to the first pair of customers (Death Seven Darts) in the first-half of this show. How will Shimada and Tatsumi fight it out now that the stakes are higher and they both realise they have to get revenge? How then should Decim judge them for their actions when he thinks about what emotions his customers must be feeling? Will Kurokami no Onna sway him or will she herself be persuaded? Can Decim pass the test of objectivity in what must be his toughest assignment yet? Or perhaps, the emotions Nona planted in her little experiment might give us interesting results next week.