I don’t want to stress too much what a disappointment is I’m standing over 1,000,000 lives went through that final story arc, lest my bashing might derail it into the dreaded double downer. But it’s hard not to feel a little weary of the show’s insistence on racking up misery and tragedy on those involved in this story. Perhaps that is the emotional purpose of what it affects here: to make us sympathize with the inflexible and seemingly unbeatable events of desperation that continue to encroach upon these characters. But besides communicating that level of empathy (which I honestly already had due to how much I’ve grown to love the main characters in this series), it makes me question his conclusion for the themes and ideas of series. As in, what is the point of it all, and will it be worth it in the end?
It feels like the answers are farther from the heroes – and from us – than they’ve ever been. There are some bright spots in the situations they find themselves in, mainly with the revelation that the encampment they found last week was actually made up of refugees from Zagroth’s “Voyage of Hope”, including the brother of Froc, previously deceased, Dan. But even that turns out to be a vehicle for more painful elements, highlighting unpleasant possibilities of what “New Eden” really is and ending up turning the corners of the groups gathered against each other with the heroes. At least Iu level up to a new Elite Warrior class, and the crew can enjoy a momentary warm welcome from the former villagers before things start to turn sour again.
It’s a refreshing contrast to how the Colony lets the heroes in, sharing their (presumably meager) food and lodging with them, versus the memorably less welcoming reception the gang received in Zagroth. I’m not sure if the show tries to pass a moral judgment on these now deceased villagers themselves, as much as the structure put in place by Cox’s management. This is shown by the characters who directly state the irony that all the people Cox kept in the village to “protect” them ended up dead while the “unwanted” he chased survived. Maybe it was a little more direct than it needed to be, but the way it’s vocalized Is Cox’s guilt-trip quite effectively. This is something he must experience, even if a few minutes later he returns to his own unconvincing justifications for “doing what he had to” for the good of the village. No wonder someone went to stab this guy.
Cox’s death is the keystone of this episode, but it is surrounded by other elements that are worth discussing. There are some points about cleaning up the goblin encampment that I honestly wasn’t sure the show would be successful at, given its track record. The sloppy moral relativity of killing the orcs in the previous arc is still fresh in my mind, so I was all set for more open-ended ambiguity in the form, I don’t know, of having the right one. with the Torii Children murder some of the helpless baby goblins or something like that. Fortunately, Millions of lives chooses not to take that particular path (for now), instead limiting his questioning to Iu expressing his disgust for the underhand way they steal and eliminate goblins. Although I’m sure the few they let slip won’t come back to bite them in the ass at all.
Another somewhat surprising inclusion for this episode is getting a bit more information about Glenda. While we had the basics on her before, it’s apparently important that we learn a little bit more about her own tragic story in the midst of this current tragic story. The rhythms are hardly unique, framed around his former soldier father with PTSD who fell into alcoholism and egocentric abuse. But I’ll give the pervading darkness of Millions of lives credit on the framing of this one, as these issues are much more relevant in the fantastic context of villages destroyed by monsters that they otherwise ask us to engage with. Granted, it also definitely undermines points from my perspective with its uniquely American-flavored tragedy, which centers on a self-obsessed war veteran who threatens his daughter with a gun when she comes across as a woman. lesbian for him. The resolution she had to walk away anyway portrayed a more powerful image of Glen than I already had. And there’s even a bittersweet resolution in the way she apparently carried her memories of her father’s battlefield photos as motivation to pursue her career as a photojournalist.
I love having that context on Glen (and how she delivers it by opening up to Kusue, another character who might need a little more to do lately), but it feels a bit stuck to me because she ends up being the one to play detective when Cox goes and gets killed. The “who” of the thriller is resolved relatively quickly, with Glen catching Jaca the Chief as the culprit based almost entirely on the fact that he said the wrong thing in the initial report of the death. The bigger unresolved question is “why” given the circumstances of what remains of the village population and the need to keep moving forward with the manipulated monsters. It’s also there to fuel another moral dilemma for the heroes, as they resign themselves to the point that the only thing they can do with Jaca is leave it behind and take into account the heightened tension they end up having. with the refugees. This issue so resolves with a bigger problem, as Jaca gets her face gnawed by an Iris now possessed by a wireworm!
As boring as I find Iris, I’m not sure if she deserved to be “punished” by the narrative the same way Cox did. She is simply the product of her education by a really terrible person. So the conga-line of trauma she goes through until the end of this episode sounds like little more than unnecessary tragic porn in a storyline already stuffed with it. This episode already had one of its only bright spots in the form of Jezby randomly remembering his “real parents” giving him information about New Eden, which is just a trick, so things like Cox being removed and wireworms appear again, I just want to make up some tricks. The level that things have come to at this point in history is starting to seem more overwhelming aimlessly. I want to believe it Millions of lives always goes somewhere with it all, but at this point I certainly couldn’t predict where.
I’m standing over 1,000,000 lives is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Chris is a freelance writer who appreciates cartoons, action figures, and additional auxiliary arts. He can be found staying awake too late by posting screenshots to his Twitter.