Deep Insanity Is a Pleasant Surprise of Inclusivity and Nuance

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Deep Insanity: The Lost Child Episode 5, "Take 05," now streaming on Funimation.

For an anime that presented a story about descending into the unknown depths of Antarctica to shoot monsters, Deep Insanity: The Lost Child has actually made more of an impression with a diverse and interesting cast that calls into question stigma, labels and even the idol industry.

In the deepest region of Antarctica, a rift was discovered with a different world at the bottom of it. The Sleeper Team, tasked with investigating the bottom of the hole known as Asylum, are the main characters in Deep Insanity. Its members are a show of diversity in a refreshing take on the action/adventure genre that was rather unexpected.

Deep Insanity the lost child

Aside from Daniel Shigure -- Deep Insanity's protagonist -- each member of the team has something that makes them stand out, but not in a simple, surface level way. Team captain Leslie Blanc is referred to with gender neutral pronouns as opposed to masculine as of Episode 5, and is known to have had a romantic relationship with Hayden, the main antagonist. This means at least two major characters are LGBTQ+, but it has not affected the story so far. While the rest of the team might have been shocked to find out Leslie was once a dancer, the main focus of that plot point was to introduce Hayden into the story rather than shame Leslie for their past career. Leslie simply acts as they see fit. They say to Hayden, at one point, that Asylum is where you stay to live. The idea that Leslie finds a better form of living down in Antarctica is fascinating, and hopefully more about their past is revealed in upcoming episodes.

While Asylum may be where they stay to live, the Sleeper Team is certainly a place to become someone else. Both Larry Jackson and Reika Kobato have disabilities, but in Asylum, those disabilities don't slow them down. Larry was in an accident with major brain damage that gave him both the inability to feel pain and experience fear. He also has a prosthetic hand, though it isn't confirmed the two are related. The inability to feel fear does make him dangerously reckless at times, but it also makes him valuable as a soldier.

Reika has a prosthetic leg and harbors insecurities, wondering if people dislike her because of it. She stays distant from Daniel for a long time simply because he's shy and thinks he's repulsed. Larry and Reika are simply at different stages with their disabilities and how they cope. Larry hasn't lost the ability to feel anything, though he might pretend otherwise. He'll risk his life with ease but when Leslie gets angry over it, it hurts emotionally. Reika still has tangible fear that her disability makes her unlikable.

Deep Insanity: The Lost Child

Sumire Mochinoki, who provides tech support for the team, is a fascinating character. She was an idol before coming to Asylum, but keeps her secrets close to her chest. Though the audience isn't shown much, it seems Sumire was pressured into shooting a dirty video, an event that made her leave the idol industry and escape to Asylum. She's frightened at the prospect that anyone on her team would ever see that video. Sumire is clearly uncomfortable during what is shown, and how much of the filming was fully consensual is unknown. It's a blatant attack aimed toward the idol industry, unexpected from the type of anime Deep Insanity is.

However, Deep Insanity wasn't expected to have two disabled characters and a gender neutral captain with a LGBTQ+ villain to boot. Even though the story is in the midst of an assassination plot, it manages to have a broad range of character types without it affecting the story. In fact, for a show that started the season with poor prospects, adding characters to care about and root for was the best thing Deep Insanity could have done for itself. As Season 1 moves into its second half, hopefully the characters who have been introduced will be able to thrive at their full potential.

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