Review of Death Parade

deathparade

Yesterday was meant to be a vacation day. Unfortunately for me the Friday was spent in bed wrestling with a bout of man-flu. These occasions, were illness strikes, serve as a stark reminder that I am not impervious to ailments. I am very much mortal and like everyone else will someday meet my demise. As I lay there, in a feverish stupor, I began to ponder what happens to us when the Grim Reaper comes a knocking. Some denominations believe that we get whisked away to heaven, whilst atheists (such as myself) believe that we simply cease to be. Death Parade’s take on the after life is that spirits of the departed are transported to a pub, where a quick game determines if said souls are to be reincarnated or exiled away to an empty void.

OVERVIEW

Death Parade’s setting is the Quindecim Bar. Most of the anime’s dozen episodes start with a pair of recently deceased entering the saloon. Unaware of their plight, as all knowledge of their passing has been expunged from memory, the two visitors are coerced into competing in a random game. A digital roulette wheel selects the contest from a range of pastimes that include cards, air hockey, Street Fighter II and Twister (the latter which I hear is great fun to play with members of the opposite sex.) Each game comes complete with a supernatural surprise. The inaugural episode for example features a darts duel between newlyweds, were throwing a projectile at the board causes their significant other to feel immense pain.

Unbeknownst to the competitors, the outcome of their match doesn’t matter one iota. How they behave during the session determines whether they will be reborn as someone else or hurled into purgatory. The arbiter who decides each person’s fate is the pub’s courteous bartender Decim. He’s a pasty skinned chap who collects mannequins as a hobby. Decim is exceptional at pouring drinks, but his lack of emotion can be a hindrance when it comes to judging the nature of his guests. It’s for this reason that in Death Parade’s first instalment he is afforded a perceptive assistant named Chiyuki. Throughout the series other characters make an appearance, including Decim’s pintsized superior Nona and Ginti – a crimson haired mixologist who has nothing but contempt for humans.

VERDICT

My rating for Death Parade is five stars. Thanks to the wide spectrum of personalities that go through Quindecim’s doors the series is able to evoke a gamut of emotions. Some episodes made me laugh, others brought me to tears and on a few occasions I raged over Decim’s verdicts. Perhaps that illustrates what a fine line exists between saints and sinners? Whether you brand someone good or evil often comes down to your own personal values/beliefs rather than the person’s actions. As someone who detests filler I admired how Death Parade made every episode count during it’s modest twelve part run. The first half of the series follows an episodic format, but as the narrative approaches its climax things shift to the mystery that ties Decim and Chiyuki together.

In terms of audio and visuals Death Parade deserves a thumbs up. The confined bar setting didn’t prevent Madhouse’s animators from going all out during certain scenes. Until now, I never knew that a game of air hockey could look so epic! The voice acting, which is a vital component of any good psychological drama, was top notch too. I also dug the show’s OP and ED. Flyers (the tune that kicks off each episode) will make you want to boogie, whilst Last Theatre closes things out with a ditty that will appeal to rock ballad lovers. Now that I think about it, catching a cold on my day off wasn’t so bad. Staying indoors resulted in me watching an excellent anime. I doubt going out to my local tavern would have been more enjoyable than spending time at the animated Quindecim Bar.

43 thoughts on “Review of Death Parade

  1. I have never heard of this anime before (which coming from me isn’t really saying much), but I really like the premise for this one. It’s truly original, so I am adding this one to my to watch list. I hope you have recovered enough from your man-flu, and hopefully your demise is still a long way off πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ As always great post 😊

  2. I knew of this anime by name only, so seeing a review pop up is quite useful. It sounds like an interesting idea, and definitely seems worth checking out. Here’s to a speedy recover with few lingering issues.

  3. Hope you’re recovering well.

    It’s good to see this so highly rated. Death Parade sure is unique and while I confess to not being equally entertained by all aspects of it, Chiyuki and Decim’s story was seriously amazing. Also agreed that the music is amazing; Last Theatre in particular is a favorite of mine.

  4. Maybe a little off-topic, but re your illness

    “Sickness will surely take the mind, where minds can’y usually go — come on the Amazing Journey — and learn all you should know …”
    The Who “Amazing Journey” from the rock opera “Tommy ”

  5. Hope you’re feeling better πŸ™‚

    Death Parade would actually be a really good name, for a zombie herd hehe. This anime sounds so good. Personally, I’d lose the game on purpose and act the brat. Purgatory sounds a lot better, then being reborn and having to do high school all over again hehe πŸ™‚
    Great Review πŸ˜€

    • Death Parade is probably a good series for non-anime fans to watch. It doesn’t have the wackiness and pervy elements of other shows, which put off a lot of non-anime viewers. The series would probably work as a live action mini-series. People who don’t traditionally watch Japanese animation would like the thought provoking story lines and cool twists.

      • Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like the wacky and borderline pervy stuff. I just don’t spend time watching it versus all the other shows that we watch.

        I have super fond memories of old stuff like Trouble Chocolate, Dokuro Chan and Fruits Basket.

  6. When did you get sick? Because I’ve been sick the last few days. If I somehow sent my germs over the pond, my deepest apologies. If it was the reverse, I will have my revenge.

    Anyway, this sounds like a fascinating series. I mean, who could resist an epic air hockey battle? Plus the whole psychological good vs evil sounds interesting.

  7. Oddly enough I am not familiar with this show at all, nor am I aware of how it slipped under my radar…. :/ It’s not had an official UK release yet either which may explain why…

  8. Flu is the worst when you get a day off. That’s life at its trolling best but anime makes everything better. I’m definitely going to watch this and thanks in advance for the heads up on Street Fighter 2.

  9. Wait, another strong anime dealing with themes of morality that is not a huge time commitment and is available for free streaming? *sigh* Guess there’s another one to add to the watch list.

  10. I really enjoyed Death Parade as well.
    I know some feel the opening is ill-suited to the series, but I think it helps to set audiences up in the correct way.
    The upbeat tone of the opening sequence leaves audiences open to the surprising somberness of the actual series.
    I also loved how they ended the series. I really liked how they were able to justify brief references to everything that came before, and show how it all mattered and affected the resolution of the main conflict.

    • The opening song may not match the tone of the show, but I love it. Catchy tune and it is funny watching the cast prance around.

      It’s always cool when the finale makes nods to little things that happened previously. Shows that the writers had it planned from the start. Much more creative than an episodic show that throws in some random drama at the eleventh hour to wrap things up.

      • Mmm. One thing that drew me to anime early on was how frequently it felt like the whole series was planned out, including where and how to end it.

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