Death Seven Darts
Players: Recently married husband and wife Machiko (Kawasumi Ayako) & Takashi (Nakai Kazuya)
Verdict: One hell of an opening episode, pun fully intended ^^
For those of you who’ve not seen Death Billiards, the prelude to Death Parade featured in Anime mirai 2013 (episode 02) I highly recommend you do eventually catch it. For those who have indeed seen it then maybe like me, Death Parade isn’t as slick to you as its predecessor is. Well, that’s what happens when studios have deadlines and budget constraints I suppose. It’s still a fantastic job though especially with all the 3DCGI with the darts. All in all, this was a great opening episode to a dark, twisted and hopefully, excellent Winter 2015 ahead. The show does feel a bit more complete or, filled out in that sense, with supporting cast members to come judging by that trippy, absurd yet surprisingly apt OP:
“Flyers” by BRADIO [OP]
I think I’m going to fall for this OP eventually. Cool, detached Decim dancing? What’s the mystery behind him holding up the girl who’ll eventually become his assistant (refer to Death Billiards)? Maybe the last frame changes depending on the episode’s players? Hmm… interest piqued!
There are 5 rules to Quindecim where 2 humans facing the bartender Decim (Maeno Tomoaki) have to abide by:
1) Decim cannot answer the question of where the humans are.
2) The humans will have to play a game.
3) The game is decided by roulette.
4) The humans will have to stake their lives on the game.
5) Until the game is over, the humans cannot leave the bar.
“Poor guy’s off his rocket” is something any sane person would think of Decim if put in that situation honestly. Everything’s just so absurd it can’t possibly be true right? So just be nice, go along with the crazy white-haired bartender and do as he says. Even if you can’t remember how the heck you got to that beautiful Japanese-themed bar in the first place. At least this week the humans know and have each other. Or so you think…
The catch with the game this week is that the darts board is linked to the nerves of the other player’s body parts/organs. So if you’re playing with someone you vehemently dislike then perfect, fire your darts away and hurt the other player as much as you want. But what if she’s your wife? Of course you’d miss! But what if she cheated on you? Can you hold yourself from seeking revenge? Are you so forgiving? Was she truly remorseful or did she purposely aim the dart at your vital point? How strong is love to conquer hatred, jealousy and rage? Especially if the stakes are between either heaven or hell, reincarnation or the void?
Then the twist! Was it all a case of mistaken identity? A simple misunderstanding? Was his pride and ego on making such a mistake too much for him to admit it? It’s your child! Who else could it be? The little seed of doubt planted while overhearing gossipers at the wedding eventually grew into a very nasty jealousy monster that cost the couple their lives while driving during their honeymoon. Why didn’t he just ASK her?! Pride tsk tsk.
The power of hypnotic self-belief is amazing in how it truly can troll one’s memory. She says she’s expecting his child and wham he “remembers” occasions when she’s been out of sorts and cold to him. Perfect explanation. He overhears the gossipers and boom he “sees” her having an affair with another man. Perfect explanation. She recalls near the end of the game that they’re both dead and it hits him, that he murdered all 3 of them. But it’s still her fault, all of it is Machiko’s fault. Maybe it’s his pride or perhaps it’s true? Was Machiko’s confession at the end all an act out of love for her husband? If she figured out that the purpose of the game was to judge them to heaven or hell then was all that she did to redeem him on his behalf seeing as how it was his jealousy that killed them? We’ll never know. Unlike Death Billiards, we’re told after the ending credits that she went to the void while he was reincarnated. If you believe in taoism/buddhism then being reincarnated means to continue the never ending suffering as a human being i.e. hell. But then what is this void Machiko was sent to? If there’s nothing at all then wouldn’t that be a form of hell too?
Director, original creator, series composition and scriptwriter Tachikawa Yuzuru isn’t a complete newbie so the man knows what he’s doing, which is very comforting to know because if Death Billiards is anything to go by, this really is going to be a good series. The guy wears so many hats in its production it better be good! This opening episode courtesy of veterans Nakai Kazuya and Kawasumi Ayako totally nailed it. This show is truly a test on a seiyuu’s acting skills as they go from casual laid-back to literally high-strung by the end revelation of their true fate. I’ve been so enthralled with the story and visuals that tbh, I’ve clean neglected the background music. It’s courtesy of Hayashi Yuu whom we’ve last very much appreciated his work on the Haikyuu!! OST so I’m sure we can count on him to provide an emotionally atmospheric OST again because Death Parade is surely going to need it!
“Last Theatre” by NoisyCell [ED sequence based on this episode’s players which suggests it’ll change every week. Neat!]
Preview next week suggests we’ll have a look at the rest of the supporting cast, other bartenders perhaps: