by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 13 of
ID: INVADED ?
It's a terrible fact, but it's true – not everyone can be saved. There is no magic fix that brings Narihisago back in time for real to save his wife and daughter. There is no alternate past where Fukuda gets the help he needs and never becomes The Perforator. And there is no easy and obvious way to save Kiki Asukai from her own brain so that she never has to experience other people's dreams again or can live outside the Mizuhanome.
It'd be nice if there was, and that there will eventually be the possibility of salvation for Kiki Asukai does seem to be a piece of the relatively open end to ID: INVADED. This final episode certainly does touch on the idea of the power of one's own mind in determining your fate – Fukuda died in the well and remains dead in the outside, which can be seen less as a strict “die inside, die outside” correlation and more as further proof that he didn't want to stay alive. His initial discussion about his arithromania and why he drilled a hole in his own head seemed to say that he was trying to commit suicide, not just shut down a part of his brain, so it may very well be that he seized his chance to simply fade away. It's certainly a choice Kiki Asukai tried to make.
I'm definitely torn on whether it was too cruel of Momoki not to let her kill herself. Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of death and outside of fiction I wouldn't be rooting for it, but Kiki really doesn't have much of a life. She's doomed to die over and over again to help a police force that has never helped her – and could even be said to be exploiting her – so might it not have been better to honor her wishes here? But in a narrative sense, that would have disrupted the parallel that the show has been trying to draw between Narihisago and Momoki. Once partners, Narihisago was blamed for his self-defense killing of The Challenger and branded a serial killer himself for the way he was able to talk killers into “self-murder;” to have Momoki, the by-the-book half of their partnership, kill Kiki or let her kill herself would have made him the same. And while that would have been an interesting statement on some of the more arbitrary decisions made in this series, it also would have gone against the point: that Momoki and Narihisago saw their roles in different lights, with Narihisago's flexibility of mind making him a perfect Brilliant Detective.
As a whole, this episode plays less with the basics of crime shows than the rest of the series has, being largely devoid of pointed references to shows like Bones, The Mentalist, or Criminal Minds. Instead it tinkers with the idea of the Brilliant Detective character in mystery fiction. It certainly goes back to the brilliant detective/police inspector partnership played with when Fukuda and Narihisago first teamed up in both the Narihisago/Momoki comparisons and the fact that it ends with Narishisago and Hondomachi working together, but it also shows us the fine line between the Brilliant Detective and his maniacal rival, a duality best known (and probably still best shown) in the Sherlock Holmes/Professor Moriarty rivalry. (Although of shorter duration, the Kogoro Akechi/Black Lizard pairing is another good one with a more complicated morality.) And if you think about it, more contemporary Brilliant Detectives are likely to have gone back to the Sherlock Holmes model (as opposed to the Hercule Poirot or Ellery Queen, who are strictly moral and don't engage in risky behavior; Ellery's heavy smoking doesn't count in the context of the time period), with detectives showing more of a manic tendency, making morally murky decisions, or indulging in harmful behaviors. Thus the whole theory of only those with the capacity to become killers themselves being able to become ID Well Brilliant Detectives can be seen as playing into this sort of Lisbeth Salander-model; the only difference between detective and monster then becomes how they choose to act on their potential.
Was ID: INVADED fully equipped to handle these themes? Eh, kind of. It tried its hardest to, and perhaps a bit more solidity to each story element would have served it better; as it stands, individual episodes stand out as very good while as a coherent whole it leaves a few too many gaps unfilled. While I wouldn't say it's screaming for a sequel, it certainly could handle one, and I would be interested to see where it would go from this point.
A world without government cover-ups about corrupt officials, where Kiki Asukai can just live freely and Narihisago is released from prison may not be a possibility. It's kind of an odd note of realism in an otherwise fairly fantasy-based show. But I think that it does make the chapter ending (as opposed to novel ending) feel of this episode work better than it otherwise might have, even if there's a certain emptiness to have come this far and realize that in terms of the characters' lives, we really haven't made that much progress after all – although we do get a little bit of hope in Narihisago's meeting with a living Kaeru, and in some ways, that's a much bigger deal than the episode makes it out to be and as close to a happy ending as we can ask for.
ID: INVADED is currently streaming on FUNimation.
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