There is a place after death that’s neither heaven nor hell. A bar that serves you one chance to win. You cannot leave until the game is over, and when it is, your life may be too. From Studio Madhouse (Death Note, Black Lagoon) comes a thrilling new series where the stakes are high and the rules are simple: your life is on the line.
Death Parade is more of a death match then anything else. In this world humans are judged before being sent to their final destination. That term is loose because you have to look at the original subs to remove the localization of Heaven and Hell from the mix. When you make it to Quindecim, you are being judged to either the void or reincarnation. The arbiters are not human but are given each victims memories to guide them in their judgement.
Many of the games are interesting if not gruesome at times but the judgements are not always black and white to the viewer. Thats where the writers got creative. If you were on the fence yourself about how they were judged, just pay attention to the masks above the elevators they go in. One with horns and one with out. Basically watching that shows you where they end up. Although unconfirmed for most of the first half, its all but said out-loud by the end.
Playing arbiters yourself as you watch is interesting as well. We find ourselves ready to make a decision without all the facts and then things are revealed and our opinions change. Chiyuki starts to change things in Decim’s mind as she begins to expose the fact that putting people into a corner to expose their dark secrets doesn’t expose darkness in people, it creates it.
Nona who seems to be managing the arbiters is using Decim as an experiment to see what would happen if an arbiter, who is supposed to be void of any human emotions, had emotions. The journey leads us to the conclusion where Decim seems to finally understand that his judgements have a profound effect on the lives of those he judges and that its not as black and white as he once thought.
This is a series that really would benefit from another season to explore things outside of the bar itself and more of the hierarchy. There was also a comment very early on that God had been gone for a long time, which begs the question of what happen? Is their current mission even the right one?
The opening theme seems really upbeat and out of place for such a dark tone of a show but it quickly catches on and you can’t get enough of it. The Limited Edition comes in a nice chip board box with both versions of the void elevator and reincarnation elevator on either side, and 8 art cards. Per Funimation’s usual setup for Limited Editions you will also get the series on Blu-Ray and DVD.