Grisaia no Kajitsu Episode 5: Dying While Living

After the events of last episode, Michiru apparently took an overdose of drugs in her depression. However, a few days later, she appears to be as active and normal as always. Unfortunately, the truth is that this is the “other” Michiru, and only Yuuji sees through her act. She claims that the original Michiru has fallen into a deep darkness in her heart, never to wake again.

Overdosing medication is no problem.
Overdosing medication is no problem.
It's like reverse plot armor.
It’s like reverse plot armor.

Sachi then brings Yuuji a box that Michiru gave to her to hold onto forever. She is apparently troubled that she cannot clean the inside and there is no key available. In exchange, Yuuji “takes care” of the box for her by later “accidently” unlocking it and looking at its contents. He discovers that the other Michiru and the original Michiru had conversations via a diary in the past, and that the other Michiru surfaced as a result of a heart transplant. Michiru requested that the other her take over her body forever because she is unable to handle the sadness of the world when people die. The other her explains to Yuuji that she thinks Michiru deserves to live in the body and that she is not interested in the freedom of having a second life at the cost of Michiru. Yuuji takes this as that he can do whatever he wants to her body – by forcing her to swallow more medication to force the original Michiru’s personality to surface. He says he will do whatever she wants, and she answers that her one wish is to die. Yuuji obliges.

Guess you might as well look inside.
Guess you might as well look inside.
Yeah, this plot twist is about that level.
Yeah, this plot twist is about that level.
Or you can just like, take over her life.
Or you can just like, take over her life.
Yuuji shall grant your wish.
Yuuji shall grant your wish.

She awakens inside a coffin, prepared by Yuuji, and he proceeds to bury her…the anime flashbacks to Michiru’s past, where she has black hair! She is under the impression that she is a worthless person and decides today is the day she will finally suicide. However, another girl apparently has beaten her to the jump. After stopping her, the two girls somehow become friends but in the end, she still ends up jumping off the roof, leaving Michiru alone. The shock caused Michiru to require a heart transplant, as her heart had always been very weak. When she awakens, the other Michiru’s personality appears in her mind.  One day, she trips in the hospital, causing people to laugh. She became convinced that she should become a person who could make others laugh since she was useless in any other area. This is the origin of her fake tsundere personality.

Kajitsu5_7
How generous of you
She can't even manage to suicide first.
She can’t even manage to suicide first.
That was a fast friendship.
That was a fast friendship.
The birth of the fake tsundere!
The birth of the fake tsundere!

Back in the coffin, Michiru is scared of the small confines, but the other her reminds her that this is what she wished for.  Furthermore, the memories of her dead friend still haunt her. Michiru then finally admits that her friend is already dead, and she cannot continue living trapped in the past. With her own power, she forces open the coffin, saying that she doesn’t want to die and wants to see everyone again. Yuuji appears by her side, saying it’s only been 3 days since she’s been buried. He explains that he knew she wanted to live and he had been waiting beside her for the entire time. He also explains the medicine he forced her to take was just candy, and that her personality coming out was because she truly wanted to.

Coffins are scary and dark, yes.
Coffins are scary and dark, yes.
This seems slightly suspicious
This seems slightly suspicious
That was some fast resolution
That was some fast resolution
Only 3 days. No big deal.
Only 3 days. No big deal.

Finally, Yuuji brings her from Japan to America so that the other Michiru can meet her parents so she can finally have closure on her own life. Afterwards, it seems she and Michiru have achieved a kind of coexistence in their shared body.

Include closure. Cut out actual closure.
Include closure. Cut out actual closure.

While the episode hit all the major plot points, I think it failed to explain all the emotional buildup within the route and sort of just threw facts at the viewers. There was a single line about her stating she was a useless person, but it should be noted that she was basically bullied by all her tutors for her entire life because of her lack of talent. It was then that she decided to commit suicide, met a likeminded (suicidal) friend for the first time, but then was left alone. Her friend was physically and possibly sexually abused and ended up suiciding by herself. She ended up needing a heart transplant from America, and the girl’s personality was transplanted along with the heart (note that I do take issue with this supernatural part of the writing). It was also not well explained that the other Michiru was much more talented than Michiru. For example, she was able to talk her way out of situations that otherwise would have resulted in trouble and could make friends easily unlike Michiru. As a result, Michiru felt she had no reason to control her own body when the other her could do everything better. As shown, she developed the personality of the idiot because she felt the only thing her life was useful for was making others laugh. But aside from that, Michiru felt she had no reason to live and could not handle the pain of losing friends.

Michiru’s description is “dying while living.” Although she is now physically healthy thanks to the heart transplant, she is dying on the inside. She does not see any meaning to living, but at the same time, she is afraid of dying. This is why she locks up her own personality in the depths of her heart and lets the other Michiru live as herself. What saves her is being forced into a situation where she will really die. It is when Yuuji takes the extreme measures of stuffing her in a coffin that she finally realizes she wants to live for the future.

In some ways, Michiru resembles how all of us are also dying while living. Even while so many people can live such peaceful and health lives, going about their daily work, hanging out with friends, and perhaps truly enjoying life, they are dying spiritually. Some are not even aware of it, but on the other hand, many people feel that emptiness and desire to fill a void. Like Michiru who played the idiot, people try to find meaning to life through worldly things. For a time, it brings satisfaction and they can forget about how they really feel about themselves and the world. But also like Michiru, they will be eventually be reminded about the grating feeling of dying and of wondering what the real purpose of living is.

It is when Michiru is forced into the extreme situation of facing her real death that she gains the willpower to grasp hold of her own future. Yuuji had set the coffin up so that it would be fairly easy for Michiru to break out of, if she truly wanted to. The anime skips over how much she actually struggled to open the coffin, which was really a representation of how much she was still fighting herself about whether she wanted to live or die. The anime does, however, depict how simple it ended up being – she simply needed to  turn the knob of a door and step through. Michiru chose to live for the future, but people do not always choose to live for God, the everlasting future. Some people struggle with the “door,” even though it is as simple as earnestly asking Jesus into your heart, while others choose to “die,” rejecting the God who can grant them the greatest reason to live.

However, perhaps the most interesting parallel that the anime skipped over is the reaction of her fellow students. In the original story, Yuuji fully faked Michiru’s death, where the girls all ended up saying their final farewells in tears, believing she had actually died. Obviously, they ended up being both incredibly happy and also angry at Yuuji when finding out it was all a farce. For Michiru, these girls are like Christians who both mourn the spiritual death of others as well as rejoice at their spiritual rebirths. Michiru taking 3 days to “resurrect” may or may not be an intentional Christian allusion, but the one thing that is certain is that Michiru’s life has been redeemed in that period of time. She has transformed from a person who believed she was better off dead to a person who looked forward to living in the future. While it was with Yuuji’s help, she achieved her own redemption with her own hands. In the same way, while we can receive as much help and encouragement from others, in the end, it is our choice to make.  It is only in our own hearts that we can accept Jesus into our lives and find a new, redeemed life. Otherwise, we are doomed to a life of dying while living.

Kaze

Kaze is a graduate from the University of Tokyo who currently works on developing gene therapies for genetic diseases. He is a Nanatard since 2009 and mostly spends his time reading VNs and studying Japanese. Strangely enough, also a devout Christian.

4 thoughts on “Grisaia no Kajitsu Episode 5: Dying While Living

  1. So have you read the visual novel? Would you recommend it over the anime? Because I am liking where this anime is headed, but it’s been pretty light so far, and ripe with fanservice. I’ve been told that the visual novel is better, but how about the fanservice? Is it just as bad? Better? Worse maybe?

    1. I have read the VN, but it is hard for me to recommend it as of this moment. Mainly, the VN is an eroge – it is inherently worse than the anime in terms of “fanservice” because it has adult content, though that’s less fanservice and more just erotic material period. However, there are currently plans for an all ages English release, which I would then recommend. In such a case, the actual fanservice will definitely be less than the anime. In contrast, the dialogue is often very sexual heavy (almost always in terms of jokes, but still very direct and vulgar and no doubt very offensive to some). In terms of story, the VN is far superior. This is due to time constraints of the anime; they are doing roughly 5 hours of reading per episode. You are getting all the facts with none of the emotional buildup.

  2. Thanks for helping fill in some of the holes in the story. Even I could tell that this story was rushed and that a lot of story elements were skipped, despite never having read the original VN. I’m still enjoying the show, because I do like all the base VN adaptation elements that are there, though I do admit it’s less being interested in the show itself and more being interested in playing the original VN, especially if the Sekai Project Kickstarter for it goes through.

    Which means if the purpose of this adaptation was mainly to drum up interest in the original VN… it succeeded, I guess?

    1. The kickstarter is going to succeed for sure. Grisaia is far too popular for it not to, and as you said, the anime has only made it even more popular both in and outside Japan.

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