Saturday, April 18, 2015

Death Parade Review

Death Parade Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

During an anime season, there will be a few shows where I go, "Oh, this looks interesting." but in the end, I'm not fully motivated to watch them. Reasons could be for time, elements that make me uncomfortable, or just the main theme not being for me. Death Parade was about to become one of those series, however, I still was planning on watching it, but just at a later time.

However, a close friend of mine online recommended this show to me, so I was thinking "Hey, maybe you can watch it now, considering all of the Winter shows you've dropped recently." So I started to watch it, and was hooked almost immediately.

To say this show was amazing is a bit of an understatement. This show is pretty flipping fantastic, and is one of the best animes I've seen in recent months. Not only does this leave you on the edge of your seat at moments, it also managed to keep me interested in what was going on. The characters as a whole are great, and overall, I had a lot of fun.

Let's start off with the basic premise, and then move on to some other details in our story:


When two people die at the same time on Earth, they are sent to mysterious bars run by arbiters under the guise of bartenders. The arbiters' purpose is to judge the two souls, and find out which one will be sent into reincarnation, and who will be sent into the void with their memories. However, the guests don't know why they arrived at these mysterious bars, nor do they know that they're dead. During the games, lost memories are recovered by the players, secrets are revealed, and a whole hell of a lot of interesting twists and turns await. 

The story follows an arbiter named Decim, who runs the bar Quindecim, whose own role in judging changes when a mysterious black haired woman arrives at the Quindecim with no memories of how she got there, but only knowing that she has died. Due to this, Decim wipes out her memories so that she doesn't remember her name, or how she came here. Because of this, she is now working in the bar as an assistant.  

But later on, the plot becomes more than just about the games and the people playing them. We also get to find out more about the arbiters, and what their purpose is. We also get to find out some very interesting plot twists that may have your heads churning.

So overall, I was very impressed with the story. Though the game scenario does get a little bit repetitive, there are new games every single time, and each of them are filled with fascinating reveals, and new information that compelled me to be drawn into the situations that were going on. But my favorite episodes were the ones that didn't focus on the game factor, but rather on the characters. Learning new information, and seeing these interesting characters interact with one another was highly enjoyable.

Not only that, but this show put me into full emotion mood. It wasn't as serious at Angel Beats, where I actually cried at the ending, but it was still a lot to handle. Sadness, anger, happiness, wistful, they're all there. And each emotion is done perfectly, unlike other anime who try to be dramatic, and it just doesn't work.

I'm going to move on to some of the characters. 3 that are more a part of the main cast, and 1 I just enjoyed because of reasons.


The majority of the characters in this anime are pretty much unique in their own way. Some of them don't get the developing eye as much as others, but these 4 are the most interesting. Also, we have another villain who isn't stereotypical, but suffers from poor development.

First up, the leading man:

Decim is a dummy created by Nona to serve as a arbiter. However, he is a special case. Nona actually implanted him with human emotions because she was tried of having arbiters only judging one way. She wanted to see what would happen if she had an arbiter who had these emotions so judgments could be more fair.

Decim, like most arbiters, doesn't have a lot of emotion. He resides on the 15th floor as the bartender of the Quindecim bar. which is one of the bars that oversees the Death Games. He is very polite, and manages to actually be very sweet for a emotionless person.

There's not too much to describe about Decim, but he does change throughout the series. He gets more emotion, and thanks to Onna, he gets a broader understanding on how unfair some of the judgments are. Though he doesn't have many personality traits, I still do like Decim. I think he's very sweet, and does have a better heart than Ginti, another arbiter we meet that isn't emotionless, but is very aggressive.

Next, the woman of mystery:

At first appearance, we don't know much about this girl. We know that she has long black hair, her temporary name is Onna since she forgot her own name, and she already had knowledge that she was dead when she entered Quindecim. At the beginning of the series, she is asked to become Decim's assistant after she wakes up from a sleep, due to Decim wiping her memories and all.

At first glance, I got worried that this girl wasn't going to be a good character. But as we progress, it turns out that she was. She's assertive, knows right from wrong. she's sweet, and also helps Decim realize some things. Oh, and we do get to find out her name at the end of the show. But I won't tell you that. ;) It's a secret.

You've probably noticed that these characters don't have a lot of traits that I can talk about. They're more simple characters, which do work in some cases, this series being one of them.

Nona's turn:

Nona is the boss for the majority of the arbiters, though Occulus is the boss of bosses. She oversees the games, and lives on the top floor of the world, being the 90th. At times, she can be a bit forceful to Decim when he forgets things sometimes, and often acts very dreamlike. She does have more depth than at first glance, though.

Like I said before, Nona created Decim because she was tried of having only one way to judge. Being an arbiter herself, we can assume that she's lived here for a long time, and has seen several souls being judged. It's interesting hearing her take on the issue, and I fell in love with her as the series went on. Especially with her confrontation with Occulus in the final episode.

Now onto a character who isn't explored, but just happened to brighten up the screen whenever he was on:

Clavis is the elevator man. He is the one that our characters call on whenever we need to travel to floor 15 and such. He also manages to get me in a better mood whenever he appears. 

I watched this series with a friend, and he pretty much fell in love with Clavis. I like him too, mainly because whenever in a dramatic situation, he always seems to brighten up the scene. I do wish we had more development on him, mainly on why his eyes are closed all the time. It's a common anime stereotype these days for a closed-eye character to have secrets.

We also have the guests who play the Death Games. Each of them are unique, and some of them are connected in pretty interesting ways. Each of them have different personality traits, and don't feel like the same character repeated over and over. This was great, as I don't think any of us were in the mood for Deeply Sad Over Life Person #1,000. Some of the guests you end up rooting for, and others you want to kick into oblivion.

Other characters include Ginti, an arbiter who lives on the 20th floor with his bar Viginti, and was made around the same time as Decim. He is very aggressive, and has a rude temper. Quin is the former bartender of Quindecim who now works at the information bureau. Castra is a woman who wears a skull helmet, and she oversees deaths around the world. She also decides what souls the arbiters get. And last but not least, we have Oculus, the alleged god of the world, who in his free time plays galactic pool. He is also the least interesting character out of the show, for development reasons.


The animation for this series was done by Madhouse, who are also know for their animation efforts towards Highschool of the Dead, No Game No Life, and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Out of all of the Winter 2015 anime shows I've seen, this series has my favorite animation out of all of them. Not only does it have vibrant colors, it also pays attention to facial expressions. Some of them do express regular emotions, but Death Parade happens to show off a unique light to some of them. And they mainly have to do with grief from our players.

Compared to the animation of Kamisama Kiss 2, where the animation is on par with the 1st season, this animation clearly shows something more in my opinion. And though are some issues, such as Decim's hair style changing in between frames in Episode 10, it's fairly consistent.


The score was composed by Yuki Hayashi, who also composed the scores for DRAMAtical Murder, Blood Lad, and Diabolik Lovers.

The OST for this series is actually pretty good. So far, I'm liking each of Yuki Hayashi scores for the shows I've watched where he composes. While Blood Lad was mainly relaxing, and DRAMAtical Murder focusing more on the electronic side of things, Death Parade manages to blend these two really well. One track in particular has electronic elements, but most of them use piano, which makes it feel all the more relaxing.

My favorite track is the next episode preview music, much like DRAMAtical Murder. I just found both of these songs to be really enjoyable, and creative. Take a listen to Death Parade's:

As the time of this review, Death Parade already has a dub. Thanks to FUNimation, they have been able to produce dubs for shows that are currently airing. After doing this to Laughing Under the Clouds and Psycho Pass 2 in the Fall. they are producing 10 dubs for 10 shows that aired in the Winter, which is a huge increase. I have been able to watch some snippets of the dubs, some ranging from great, to "Yeah, this needs more work. Well, let's wait for the box sets to come out Lord knows when!" :D

When I watched the clip that FUNimation uploaded for this show, as it's one of the 3 that is airing on their subscription network known as Dubbletalk, I was a little worried. Not that the dub was horrible, but Alex Organ managed to blow Eric Vale and Trina Nishimura completely out of the water. And out of the clips they released, it was almost the weakest (that goes to Tokyo Ghoul season 2). But then again, that might be because that show is simply one I don't care for. Oh well, moving on.

Needless to say, it's unfair to judge a dub IMO just based on a clip. So, I made it a priority to watch the 2nd episode when it was released at the end of February. And it was freaking awesome! I have to say, despite a couple of weak patches here and there, the dub for this show is pretty much FANTASTIC! Almost everyone gives some of their best performances in either a while, or overall in what I've heard from them. The original Japanese is still really good as well, and the parts that manage to falter a bit in English are better here. But, we just need to wait for the final release of the English dub to see if things are correct or not.

Highlights in the original Japanese are Tomoaki Maeno, Asami Seto, Rumi Okubo, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Koki Uchiyama, Ryoko Shirashi, Ryoka Yuzuki, Junji Majima, M.A.O, Masakazu Morita, Atsumi Tanezaki, Mamoru Miyano, and Ikuko Tani.

Highlights so far in the English dub are Alex Organ, Jamie Marchi, Jad Saxton, Robert McCollum, Zach Bolton, Anastasia Munoz, Morgan Garrett, Micah Solusod, Bryn Apprill, Monica Rial (who has perhaps my favorite performance out of the series thus far. SLAY GIRL SLAY!), Josh Grelle, and Kent Williams.


So yeah, if it isn't obvious enough, I freaking love this show. This has been one of my favorite shows in recent months, and I can see a ton of people enjoying this one.

If you haven't seen this show, or are curious to watch it, I say go for it. Just be careful not to find spoilers past what I've given you, and you're good. ;)

Score: 10/10


Engaging story.

Interesting characters.

Fantastic animation.

Great score.

Overall, very fascinating and fun to watch.

Can be a little funny at times.

Great in both Japanese and English.

Plot twists are executed well, and not poorly.


None major.

No comments:

Post a Comment