Death Parade: Episode 01

Death Seven Darts

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Players: Recently married husband and wife Machiko (Kawasumi Ayako) & Takashi (Nakai Kazuya)

Game: Darts

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]

Death Parade OP - 01 Death Parade OP - 02 Death Parade OP - 03 Death Parade OP - 04 Death Parade OP - 05 Death Parade OP - 06 Death Parade OP - 07 Death Parade OP - 08 Death Parade OP - 09 Death Parade OP - 10

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!]

Death Parade 01 ED - 1 Death Parade 01 ED - 2 Death Parade 01 ED - 3 Death Parade 01 ED - 4 Death Parade 01 ED - 5

Preview next week suggests we’ll have a look at the rest of the supporting cast, other bartenders perhaps:

Death Parade 01 - 36 Death Parade 01 - 37 Death Parade 01 - 38


4 thoughts on “Death Parade: Episode 01

  1. i agree with you in that this first ep wasn’t as slick (gosh that’s perfect usage of the word akatsuki!) as death billiards, which was so smooth from start to finish. however, i did think that this episode was more well rounded, in the sense that it actually had an ost that found its way to my ears lol. speaking of music, i really really like the OP – it’s so big band jazzy and swing. bradio songs generally appear to have this swag to them and this OP is no exception. can’t wait for the release ^^

    anw, so did she really marry him for his money? it could so go either way, was totally confused~ and isn’t the void like limbo or something? lol ah wells, they’re dead anyways..

    • thank u, thank u :)

      This episode did feel more rounded and I think it’s because we can see already in that there are supporting characters who’s presence will lend some fullness and dimension to the bar & Decim. Good that at least someone picked up on the OST haha! I’m loving how troll this OP is too! It completely belies what the show’s about and totally juxtaposes the seriousness with its big swing dance. I’ve not heard BRADIO before but now I’m going to!

      My take is that she’s been faithful the entire time and that all she said at the end was a lie. His tearful self is not the man whom she fell in love with IMO and that image of her with someone else is one that’s probably conjured up by him in his imagination because that’s what he wants to believe. I think she truly loved him so much so that in the end she wanted to help him more than herself and that’s what caught Decim by surprise.. the void.. does sound like limbo right? hmm… both void and reincarnation don’t sound like good options to me. does it to you?

      • yes it’s so totally troll! i haven’t heard bradio before this either, youtube-d them immediately after watching this hehe ^^ always love new anime, because that means getting to know new artists! and i currently adore hit parade hahaha~

        i’d really like to believe that she truly loved him. but if so, that’d just make him even more of a petty and little man because like you wrote, his jealousy over something quite unfounded essentially killed them all! hmm.. reincarnation or the void..? agreed, neither sounds good. death should just be the end of it. dead dead, no afterlife.

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