I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives.
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 8 of
I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives. ?
For a few episodes now, I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives has been flirting with being a better show, and this episode is no different. This time, instead of focusing on character development, it dwells much more heavily on a moral issue: when is the killing of humans justified under these circumstances?
Almost since the beginning, the game – if that's what it really is – has penalized players for killing human NPCs (if that's what they really are) except in self-defense. A two-level de-leveling, as shown at the end of the episode, would be a steep penalty in just about any game or game mechanic-based setting. It has certainly prevented Yusuke from even thinking about becoming a “murder hobo” (as the practice is colloquially known in tabletop RPG play) just to gain experience. But is this a standard “you cannot attack the NPCs” condition seen in many games, or is that rule in there to discourage heroes from going down an amoral path? Or is it there because this really is a different world and those are actual, real people?
That is a question that Yuka confronts on two wholly different levels. One involves Yusuke using one of the Doekk soldiers to lend authenticity to his ruse that he has slain and burned the heretics. This is easily the edgiest thing that Yusuke has done so far; even though the soldier was part of the group which trapped them in the ancient complex, it feels an awful lot like outright murder, and a pretty nasty one at that since the guy is not dead when Yusuke sets the fire. Yusuke justifies both his actions and taking the penalty under the logic that, first and foremost, they have to protect themselves and their allies (in this case by keeping Kahvel's much smaller kingdom from having any semblance of involvement), but Yuka's skepticism over this justification is quite understandable.
The other side of the issue is a less serious one: whether a kiss in this setting can count as a first kiss if these people are just game constructs. Yusuke's response on this – that it's how the person sees it, rather than whether or not the other person involved is real that matters – seems a sensible one, though Yuka even bringing the matter up at all suggests that she is more of a romantic at heart than she lets on. (She admits to being into otome games, which is no surprise.) But would Yusuke react differently if he knew that he was involved himself?
Yusuke's scheme does not leave a lot for Iu and Kusue to do this episode, as their search for alternate “goods” is not bearing fruit so far. Hence they get relegated to mere back-up status while Yusuke play-acts at being ruthless – which, unsurprisingly, does not seem to faze Kahvel at all. But will things continue to go smoothly, and will there be greater consequences than just level loss for the killing? Whether this is a game world or not is also an issue still in play, as Yusuke seems to be of mixed minds about that. These dilemmas continue to contribute to buoying the series up from being just forgettable trash.
I'm Standing on 1,000,000 Lives. is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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