Both of them are killers, eh? Well, last episode made it clear The Woman is also judging Decim. The real judgment is always of the Arbiters’. They need to understand humans, without having life experiences that’d allow them to relate to them, or the emotions that’d allow the bond otherwise. So, who’s really being judged here? Let’s see how it plays out.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) The Ever-Speaking Mannequin:
1) Now that I think of it, Decim’s jaw looks quite like a mannequin’s when he speaks. Quite unlike the other characters’.
2) “Indeed, the memories appear mixed, with cryptic memories, so you can’t judge a person’s life through their memories alone.” – Or perhaps they appear cryptic to you as you don’t truly understand people. Now we’ll see what someone who was an actual human could do with the same memories.
3) Decim repeats what he said last episode, about how he takes the darkness in. But he’s not absolving them, though it might seem that way from when he hugged the mother (in episode 4), but he takes it in to judge. Or perhaps he removes their darkness, but they still must pay for it. Pay for the actions wrought by a part of them that is no longer there. So, why is it important that the dead get rewarded or punished based on their lives, if the living cannot tell their afterlife is impacted by their life?
2) Mirrored Desires, Shared Descent:
1) Two people who share their revenge. No, not the same revenge, but they understand one another. They relate. But they’re negatives of one another. One still has hope, for humanity, for life, of the other. While the detective, he’s given up, now he knows he achieved his revenge, and wants to make sure the young one, that he’ll be suitably hardened, cynical. The detective hasn’t given up on life, but on humanity, after all he’s seen.
In other words, after achieving his revenge, the detective decided to help others’ achieve their revenge, and prevent the need for more, by eliminating those he saw as scum. To be killed by another scum-killer, oh my. So, what about Shimada? How did he die, and what of the other who attacked Sae?
2) Oh… so Shimada did kill the one who only watched. So, why didn’t the detective stop Sae’s attacker? Because he must let them sin before he can pass judgment? O.o This is so weird here.
3) And had he “only” stabbed Sae, that wouldn’t have been enough? Yeah, there’s watching, and then there’s watching…
3) The Suffering Watcher:
1) Onna is horrified, to know the judgment is not yet over. Not all the darkness is out yet. What would they do now, if they could? How much further would they go? But don’t you see, Decim, you can always keep pushing. You push, and push, until your puppets snap. They’re held by your strings, it’s not like they can avoid getting strung about.
2) Decim is like the detective, “I cannot ascertain through words alone. We must watch Shimada’s actions to the end.” – Yes, the detective left his humanity behind, and Decim never had it. But Onna can’t watch as Shimada is forced to shed his humanity entire, as he’s still pushed, still tortured, even beyond death.
Giving someone in the grip of an emotional turmoil a bloody murder weapon, giving him his object of desire, of revenge, and telling him he can kill him. Yes, Lestat from Interview with a Vampire truly comes to mind. Is it truly free will, after events and emotions have been manipulated to this degree?
3) And now Onna says what had been subtext for the entire run of the show, what had slowly been drawn out and spelled out. But Decim resists. Decim hurts. He feels it is not true. He does not wish it to be true. A show of emotions. His entire purpose, subverting his own goals. He loves humans, he looks up to them, but he can’t understand them, so is actually casting them down in his ignorance.
4) Batman and Twoface, Angel and Demon, All In One:
1) “I decided to live my life to take vengeance for victims.” – He is The Kindly Ones, he hunts those who harm others, who spill the blood of innocents. But innocent blood must be spilled first. It’s more like the detective is a classic superhero, or a super villain. He had underwent a traumatic event, and now his whole view of the world is warped, every single thing is seen through the lens of “Sacrifice”, any goal, any objective, any growth, must be accompanied by a sacrifice.
So why do you kill the scum? They help people lose their innocence so they could grow…
2) Ooooh, I did wonder how from “Void” and “Reincarnation” we moved to “Heaven” and “Hell”, and which is which. But it’s just a mask, to hide there’s stuff beyond. But why lie about it? Because it’s hard to tell who would consider which a reward and which the punishment? Or, as always, it’s given to us through someone’s point of view, Onna’s, this time, and she might be wrong, just like everyone else.
3) “If you can’t change the world, then you have to change yourself!” – By making sacrifices. By killing people, and in so doing killing parts of yourself, sacrificing your innocence, your own soul, for the sake of others? Or perhaps the detective is just trying to harden Shimada, and is trying to sacrifice himself, to gain entry to the afterlife? He’s crazy, either way.
The post-“ED” bit matters. Decim finds people interesting. He keeps trying to draw the darkness out, because he thinks there must be something more, something he’s not understanding. Well, he might truly not understand even the simplest of things, and keep looking for a puzzle, but in order to “draw it all out” he ends up tormenting people, when they’re quite simple. Their memories aren’t cryptic, they’re really that simple, that moved by emotions and urges.
“They”? We, humans. You don’t need to torture us, we do it on our own. You don’t need to torture us, we’re quite easy to tell apart, once you can move beyond the superficial lies we tell ourselves. No, not ourselves as humanity, but to our own selves, as single people.
We saw the demon mask. Whose? Probably both. How did Shimada die? We don’t know, but it’s not really what matters. This isn’t a show about what happens to people, but the decisions they make.
This episode could’ve been the episode to end the series. Many people would’ve disliked that, but it’d have been with how the Death Billiards short was handled, and how this show started early on, where it’s unclear what the question is, let alone the answer – did Decim understand? Why did Decim suffer? Does he truly lack emotions? Is he proto-human, or post-human? How does he differ from the detective?
But we’ll get answers, of a sort. There’s still room to see what Decim’s purpose is, not just to himself, but to Nona. We might still get truths, but as always, will they settle it all, or would we merely be left with a different configuration of the eternal question, is it a tiger, or a princess? Or in other words, are we demons or angels, us poor humans?