Image Source: アニメ『18if』公式アカウント@リリィ‏ on Twitter

The dream world of 18if is screwed up, and maybe its common sense is a bit screwy as well.

Based off of a smartphone game, 18if follows the adventures of a boy named Haruto who adventures through a dream world to save “witches” who exist there. These witches are in fact girls in the real world that have fallen into a deep sleep due to something called the “Sleeping Beauty” syndrome. I say “save,” but in fact, the witches are the ones attacking him. In order to stop them and release them from the dream, Haruto has the duty to solve the emotional problem that is weighing them down. For one, it’s romance. For another, it’s an eating disorder. But for the witch in episode two, it’s revenge for the murder of her family.

Image Source: アニメ『18if』公式アカウント@リリィ‏ on Twitter

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 2 of 18if]

Mana Hayashida was once a rebel who wasn’t fond of her mother, father, and elder sister, but her heart died when they were all murdered by a group of random thugs who broke into their house ten years ago. Because the group of thugs who killed her family with smiles on their faces were still in their teens at the time, they were let off the hook by the police. For ten years, Mana couldn’t do anything to bring the murderers to justice. However, with the power of the Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, Mana gains the power to become a witch, drag the consciousnesses of the men who murdered her family when they fall asleep into the dream world, then kill them in cold blood.

And this isn’t even just a “dream death.” When you die in the dream world at the witch’s hands, you die for good. While she can’t be caught due to hiding in a dream, Mana is committing murder, no a doubt about it. Unlike many of the other witches who hate themselves for something—for example, lack of confidence or body type—Mana hates the perpetrators of her family’s death more than anything, and will manipulate her new powers to get what she wants.

Image Source: アニメ『18if』公式アカウント@リリィ‏ on Twitter

In basic stories of not just anime, but other media as well, revenge is often looked down upon. While a character may begin wanting revenge at the beginning of a story, they usually end up learning the error of their ways and atoning. This is because revenge is considered an act of malice in most any society. It can be seen in such stories as Tales of Berseria with Velvet and Sasuke in Naruto. Even if the character feels no remorse, they are looked down as an outsider and a lone wolf or something bad happens to them. Good examples of this can be found in the anime Hell Girl, where all the people who successfully get revenge suffer the consequences. Similarly, the “lone cowboy” in American Western films is usually a man who comes to get revenge, but has to leave society when his job is done because he doesn’t belong.

Image Source: アニメ『18if』公式アカウント@リリィ‏ on Twitter

The professor—who in this episode remains in the human world to confirm the effects of Mana’s vengeance—is the voice of societal reason, saying that Mana’s actions are wrong. On the other hand, however, our protagonist says that she should commit murder and get her revenge. He reasons that she’s killing people in a dream anyway and that she can’t escape from the dream she’s created unless she completes her goal.

The people she’s killing aren’t good people in the least. Even after ten years, they haven’t reflected on their actions, and don’t seem to regret what they’ve done at all. Haruto hates them as well, and wants to see them killed simply because they “piss him off.” Without any hesitation, our protagonist eggs on Mana to kill them all.

At the end of her killing spree, Mana is turned from a child locked away in a bloody past into a beautiful woman walking on a sunny sidewalk, waking up from the dream and heading toward her next stage in life. She feels no remorse for what she has done. She has killed three humans, but is happier than ever. And there are no repercussions for what she has done.

And, because 18if is an episodic anime, Mana and her sins haven’t been mentioned again. Haruto completed his mission—he awakened the witch from her dream. In a basic story structure, this is the happy ending: an ending where a girl gets away with vengeful murder and basically everyone is OK with it. It’s certainly a rare take on a common theme.

18if is currently streaming on Crunchyroll with subtitles, and with an English dub on FUNimation.

Anime News Newtwork Feed