Shi – Death

[Created by Me]

“There is nothing more important in life than death!”

In an anime where a person betrays his two best friends, where a powerful yet virtuous outlaw refuses to kill, where a former soldier unwilling to live yet unable to die seeks death, and where a man who jokes about committing suicide all come together in a convoluted conspiracy resulting in the death of two of them, this quote stands out to me the most.

To provide some context for this quote, it was spoken during a confrontation between the virtuous criminal and the former soldier, who both have the same abilities that prevent them from dying which also provides them with the ability to kill each other. The criminal believes that the most important thing in life is living because he feels that he has killed too many people in the past while the soldier argues that death is the most important part in life because he seeks death due to his inability to adapt to a life besides that soldier’s. The person who spoke the quote was the former soldier as his beliefs would imply.

The concept of death is constantly present throughout the anime, and this anime has no qualms with making jokes about death or killing off important even children onscreen. What makes this quote stand out to me is that it simply summarizes in words what the show has been presenting to its audience through pictures for numerous episodes. However, what I am really delighted about isn’t this quote but rather the events of this week’s two episodes.

In the former of the two episodes, the events that I really enjoyed watching unfold were the previously mentioned fight between the virtuous criminal and the former soldier as well as scene where the former soldier’s organization had kidnapped and killed the orphans that the criminal was taking care of, forcing the criminal to kill people again sweating to himself not to kill. However, my favorite of the two episodes was without any doubt the latter of the two.

The second episode contained several revelations as well as the deaths of both the soldier and the criminal. The criminal is revealed to have swore not to kill anymore because of his dream to start writing because someone told him to finish his favorite story on his own, and he felt that he lost his right to achieving his dream if he continued killed. Additionally, the man who was joking about committing suicide is revealed to be searching for a reason to live because he didn’t yet possess one.

Perhaps what caused me become most ecstatic was the fact that most, if not all, of the characters in the show were named after famous Japanese authors, like Osamu Dazai, Akutagawa Ryuunosuke and even Edogawa Ranpo (which is actually a pen name and a pun on Edgar Allan Poe).

This connects back to the fact that the man who told the criminal to stop killing was Natsume Soseki, which was the true reason why I was so delighted about this anime and these two episodes. At this point, I was in complete jubilation as I am currently reading his famous 吾輩は猫である (I am a Cat) in its original Japanese version.

On a kanji note, I find the kanji for death so elegant yet simple, and I feel that the fact that it takes 44 strokes and three syllables to express “melancholy” 「憂鬱」 but only a mere 6 strokes and a single syllable to depict “death” is somewhat morbid yet moving.

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