Logic takes a back seat in what is probably the weakest episode of the season, “My Perfect World.” This episode is about getting from point A to point B with a few corpses left on the way.
While the last episode explained the title of the first episode, “A Sparrow in a Swallow’s Nest,” and why Asako (Naoko Mori) told Luz (Cristina Rodlo) that giving birth to Chester took place so long ago she didn’t remember it at all, this episode makes the white servicemen at the relocation camp seem absolute bad, but only when it helps the plot.
Chester is back at Colinas de Oro Relocation Camp having been discharged from his service in the MIS (Episode 5 “Shatter Like a Pearl”) where Yūko took possession of his fellow Nisei MIS translator Arthur who then held Chester at gunpoint and they attempted to drive away in an army jeep. The white US GI shot out the tires and they overturned. A very blackened Yūko crawled out of a bag and called to Chester, saying, “Taizo.” In Episode 6, “Taizo,” we learn that Chester’s given name was Taizo Tanabe and that he was the son of Asako’s younger sister and a soldier who was killed in the war.
Beginning to the tune of the 1943 song “Paper Doll,” this episode begins with a Caucasian doctor performing a curious operation. He’s taking a thin layer of skin off of a cadaver and sewing it with a whip stitch–the kind that is long, large and uneven that you’d rather see on your version of Frankenstein’s creature then on any stitches you might require. He’s covered up the body of Yūko in this fashion to cover up that blackened flesh she had after being burnt by Chester, Asako, Henry and Yamato as they attempted to prevent her from returning. But remember: Yamato only knew snippets of information from the old traditional ghost stories. Yūko then makes the doctor inject himself in the neck. That’s corpse number one.
At the camp, Chester/Taizo is complaining to Amy (Miki Ishikawa), “If I’d known who I was, whose son I really was, I could have protected Luz and my sons.” He feels betrayed because Henry and Asako “liked to me my entire life.” He’s been writing letters to Luz, but she doesn’t respond and he isn’t getting much sleep because Toshiro (Alex Shimizu) has been coughing so much.
Back in Los Angeles, Luz’s father is encouraging her to go out with other guys. We see that Luz hasn’t opened any of the letters.
Back at camp, Chester gets a box. When he opens it and find that it contains all the letters he sent to Luz, he drops the box and walks toward the gate. Three privates with guns follow him and tell him to halt, but he dares them, “Want to shoot a sergeant in the back? That’s fine by me, private.” (Remember when the white soldiers shot Yoshida in the back during Episode 3, “Gaman”?) The three soldier beat him instead. While his adoptive parents plead with the major (C. Thomas Howell), Chester, handcuffed with his hands in front, is loaded on to a truck. He’s going to Tule Lake where all the troublemakers were sent. He tells Asako and Henry, “My parents are dead.”
On the way to Tule Lake which is miles and miles away in a different state, he asks to be let out to relieve himself. He takes that as an opportunity to escape, jumping from a bridge into a river.
Yūko isn’t far behind. She enters the men’s barracks where Chester had been staying and finds all his belongings neatly folded and in a pile on his bed. On top is the box with the unopened letters. Now Yūko has an address. Major Bowen accosts her when she’s leaving, but she briefly takes possession of his body, but doesn’t kill him or make him commit suicide. Why not? Because Major Bowen still is part of this plot.
Amy realizes that not only is Toshiro sick, but others at the camp have fallen ill with fever and coughing. She doesn’t know if it is TB or influenza. The only two camp doctors have caught it was well. She eggs on Ken (Christopher Naoki Lee) to do something. And he does. He confronts the now paranoid major who puts a pistol to his face. To avoid being killed he holds the major captive until help is brought to the sick, but he won’t be going to Tule Lake to join Chester. The major orders him killed. Are these different soldiers than the ones who hesitated to kill Chester? This is hard to say because none of the soldiers (besides the one who committed suicide) is anything more than a plot device. Amy screams and later records the major to provide evidence of his behavior.
Chester does survive his jump and late night swim, and eventually makes it to Los Angeles where he sees Luz as she says goodbye to her date. He confronts her and she tells him she couldn’t bear to read his letters because “I knew if I opened them, I’d hear your voice again.” Chester and Luz run away, but before that Chester looks up his adoption records and finds that he was born on 14 June 1920 and has a brother named, Jirou.
Luz and Chester head out to Aguayo, New Mexico, where Luz’s maternal grandmother lives and she spent her summers. Luz’s father won’t be following them. Yūko, having painted herself up, finds only Luz’s father at home and forces him to kill himself by impaling himself on a fountain pen (through his eye). As his blood flows on the desk, we see he has circled the city Aguayo, Nex Mexico on the map. Chester and Luz arrive safely in New Mexico, but we know that Yūko isn’t far behind.
I can’t work out when and why Yūko appears beautiful and young or why she appears decomposed (e.g. when the soldier saw her and committed suicide). We do know what she wants. There’s not enough makeup in the world to cover up the coarse stitches. She wants her “kanpeki no sekai” or “perfect world.” What exactly that means, we’ll learn later, but remember how in the last episode, “Taizo,” the woman who built that paradise, Chiyo, worked hard to make it perfect. It was perfect for her with an obedient Yūko as a daughter. What would make it perfect for Yūko and satisfy her onnen?