I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives.
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 12 of
I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives. ?
”Now that you've killed someone, what are your honest feelings?”
This question, first posed in text form by Game Master and later in person, is the one that Yusuke does not want to think or talk about, and that is why it is the defining element of the season's last episode. In typical teen angst fashion, Yusuke has said on a few occasions that he hates his city and that he wouldn't mind if everyone else died, but most people who say such things don't place much conviction behind those words, and Yusuke is no different. Now he is faced with the reality that not only did he really kill someone, but also that the death was not a necessary one for self-defense or defense of others, and it wasn't in a fight. It was outright murder, and the fact that the soldier was among forces that had tried to kill him and his party only mitigates that somewhat. That is weighty stuff for anyone, but especially a mere 14-year-old boy, and it's something that the girls not only cannot help with, but cannot even fathom how.
But why is Game Master so insistent on examining this point, so much so that they appear in the form of a chip-toothed little girl when Yusuke does not respond to the text? The penalty for killing in the alternate world is not light, which suggests that Game Master prefers or promotes a moral stance, but this seems more like analysis than accusation. And what will Game Master make of Yusuke's declaration at the end – that he's going to pursue what he sees as justice, even though he knows that doing so is the height of arrogance? Sadly, we will have to wait until the second season to find out the answer to that question.
The rest of the episode is pretty much a set-up for that season, which is officially announced at the end of the episode as coming in July 2021. After getting up to four people, the group has remained constant in size for several episodes now, but that will change for the next quest. The new team member is going to be Keita Torii, a 19-year-old who is a fledgling Yakuza member and about to make his first kill, with his 14-year-old brother also present. Although he is not officially added to the team here, Yusuke manages to thwart the thuggery that Keita had been directed to engage in (as he now knows that killing someone is no trivial thing) and in the process meet him, thus establishing circumstances for Keita being drawn in next time. Notably, with this episode Keita also starts appearing in the picture at the end of the closer.
On the whole, the first season of I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives. is an odd balance of elements. It deals with some weighty topics, but without the grim overtones most associated with such content. (It is certainly no Re:Zero in that regard, though that is not necessarily a criticism.) That makes for an uncomfortable fit at times. It has also only gradually started to live up to its name. Still, despite that and generally-weak technical merits, I did find it entertaining, and expect to watch more when the second season commences.
I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives. is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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