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Dead Mount Death Play ‒ Episodes 15-16

How would you rate episode 15 of
Dead Mount Death Play (TV 2) ?

Community score: 4.3

How would you rate episode 16 of
Dead Mount Death Play (TV 2) ?

Community score: 4.5

dead-mount
Misaki makes a good vampire.

While the closing moments of episode four suddenly throw the main plot into full drive with the mole inside the police force being revealed and the return of the Fire-Breathing Bug, the vast majority of these two episodes is actually a trio of character pieces centered around Takumi, Misaki, and Xiaoyu.

Takumi is a guy who is, at his heart, a coward. He has run away from reality to the point that he wears a VR headset at all times so that he can pretend that reality is a game. The source of his trauma is the fact that he has been exploited his whole life—first by his family and then by the gang he joined. Even currently, he is being exploited by Clarissa—though in a way that gives him much more freedom than before. But because of this, he’s had no true loyalty to any of them—rather he just stays in line with them until a bigger threat comes along and switches sides to save himself. Now, that’s not to say that he doesn’t want to stay loyal—that he doesn’t feel guilty. However, when it’s a matter of personal safety, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to save himself.

Or at least, that used to be true. The fact is that he has found a group of friends who aren’t trying to exploit him. Sure, Misaki and Polka benefit from his tech skills but neither force him to do anything dangerous or against his will. In fact, Polka has explicitly said that it’s okay for Takumi to betray him if the situation arises—that Takumi’s safety is more important to Polka than any secrets he could possibly divulge. And as for Misaki, well, she shows in this episode she is more than willing to let the cat out of the bag to keep him safe (which is something we’ll get back to in a bit).

With the loyalty they’ve shown him, Takumi wants to be loyal in return. And that feeling, plus knowing Polka’s secret, gives him a courage he’s never had before. If he can hold out against the torture until he dies, he knows Polka will bring him back. Of course, thanks to Misaki and Xaioyu, it doesn’t come to that.

Xiaoyu’s issue is that he wants to be a good “son” to Rozan rather than a good bodyguard. This conflict between what he wants versus the orders he is under is at the heart of his character. But it’s in these episodes we see there is a third layer. As much as he wants to hate the fake Polka—along with Takumi and Misaki—he doesn’t. In fact, he wants to save Takumi right from the start. However, he needs an excuse to help him move past his own pride. Luckily, Momoya and Kuon give him one by threatening both Sayo and the Shinomiyas in general. What follows is a fight where Xiaoyu struggles against his own past—the people who crippled him and left him to a fate worse than death—to save someone he’s starting to become close to. And from the start, he knows he’s outmatched but fights anyway. Luckily, he’s not alone in the fight—which brings us to Misaki.

At this point, Misaki is the most fleshed-out character in the series. After her parents were killed in front of her, she dealt with the trauma by empathizing with the killer—experiencing the same joy at performing the act of murder. Likely thanks to Clarissa’s guidance, however, she only killed other killers. She was a monster, yes, but one who preyed on other monsters. This was how she was able to separate herself from her parent’s killer. However, once she got her revenge, she decided to kill an innocent (i.e., the Real Polka) to see if she still got the same rush she did when killing bad people—to see if she really was different from her parents’ killer or not. And when she got that same rush, the truth became clear.

Since then, she’s tried to take responsibility for her actions. Not only has she tried to kill herself but also tried to make the Real Polka, Rozan, and Sayo take some sort of vengeance upon her. All have either forgiven her or believe her guilt and inner suffering are part of her punishment.

With this pair of episodes, Misaki goes from zombie to vampire—her outside becoming ever closer to her monstrous inside in her eyes. But it’s here, with the kidnapping of Takumi that Misaki experiences the joy she thought she’d only be able to experience through murder from another source: from trying to save a friend. In a real way, this completely shatters the view Misaki has of herself. She may be the monster that delights in killing but she is also someone who delights in saving people. She has the makings of both a supervillain and a superhero—and the fact that she feels guilt for her crime against the Real Polka shows which side she is leaning towards.

All in all, this is a great pair of episodes that use exciting, high-stakes action to better develop our main and supporting cast. And thanks to Tsubaki’s investigation and Phantom Solitaire’s meddling, the main plot is set to surge forward as we head into next week’s episode.

Episode 15 Rating:

Episode 16 Rating:

Random Thoughts:

• In all fairness to Misaki, she does try to hide her powers somewhat—they’re fighting in an unlit warehouse after all.

• Is a pigeon’s vocal cord really capable of reproducing human-sounding speech?

• When they say they will tell Xiaoyu the truth, does that include that the Real Polka is a stuffed shark?

• Wait, is Takumi a shark aficionado as well? Don’t think I didn’t notice the shark sculpture in his apartment!

is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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