ByFriendlySenpai, writer at Creators.co
FriendlySenpai


Death Parade is an anime that was released in 2013 by Funimation and is about the story of Decim and Chiyuki.

When two people die at the same exact time, they are put in a part of the afterlife that is run by mysterious bartenders known as arbiters. Their memories gone and being completely unaware of their deaths, the pair are put to a Death Game where their lives are supposedly put on the line. This is to bring out their true nature, which will in turn help the arbiter decide if they are to be reincarnated or banished to the void.


When the black-haired woman named Chiyuki enters Decim’s bar, she sticks around a while and acts as an assistant. She helps Decim understand that humans aren’t as complex as he might think, and to make him realize that some of his tactics could be leading to false judgment.

Opening

Let me start off by saying that this opening was actually very good. For an anime that isn’t this.


The music was incredibly catchy and the lyrics synced up with the general plot of the anime, but they just didn’t… match. As I said before, an opening is supposed to set the mood for each episode – an opening is important to give the viewer an idea of what they’re about to watch. So where is all of this energy? The opening makes this out to be some sort of fun casino, and that bothers me because I genuinely felt as if I had been misled.

Closing

The song chosen for the closing is kinda boring. It’s just like a generic alternative rock song that doesn’t stand out at me whatsoever, and it’s just kind of uninspiring. However, the reason I gave this a 7 instead of something like a 5 is because I thoroughly enjoyed how the cinematics were somewhat personalized to the person that was each episode’s main focus, whether it be Decim or one of the deceased. That actually kind of impressed me.

Writing

I kind of want to clarify right off the bat that in terms of an underlying or main plot, Death Parade doesn’t really have one. Instead it runs in a sort of one-shot story per episode that has a tiny trickle of a main story that doesn’t make itself known until the last couple of episodes when it starts to wrap up. That’s not a bad thing, though, not at all.


You see, the writing for each episode is still very good; despite knowing that each character they introduced was already dead, I still would feel really bad for them. If they took a sacrifice for the other person, the way the scene was written made it feel like a legitimate sacrifice and maybe it was in a sense but you know what I mean. The writers did such a good job on creating these characters that they actually felt important – they felt like people that had lives and genuine emotions. I felt bad or even angry for some of these characters.


But then the actual big plot started to unfold and that’s when shit started to go downhill. I mean, there were useless characters that didn’t have any relevance to anything being introduced but the anime still tried to make it seem like they were important. Then they brought in this Oracle guy that just seemed to act like a dick for no reason… Even if they had included the episode about Ginti to sort of emphasize that Decim wasn’t the only one misjudging humans, that would have been fine. But if the writers had just stuck with Chiyuki, Decim and Nona without trying to bring in a wider cast and this weird side plot with the Oracle then I’d have no real complaints. This probably would have received a 9/10. Buuuut they didn’t.


And you’re probably wondering why I said 9 instead of a 10 when I’m just ranting and raving. Well, I don’t quite understand why they kept Chiyuki at Quindecim. I get that she was sort of a unique case, but when Nona took care of the issue that made her unique they still just kept her around instead of putting her through judgment. I don’t get it.


I usually don’t cover endings, but Death Parade’s ending was actually pretty damn satisfying. A lot of anime just kind of stop without giving you a sense of closure but this ending really delivered.

You felt the story come to a close, Chiyuki finally was judged to be reincarnated and you saw Decim move on as an arbiter. The ending made sense and I didn’t feel like anything was missing.


Also, I do kind of wish that they went into a little more about the world. They glazed over the concepts of the void, information bureau and various levels but they don’t actually get any more in depth than giving you the bare minimum. It’s not something that takes away from the overall story, it’s really just me being curious more than anything.

Visuals


The first thing I want to cover is the fact that I really liked the work that went into the design. The character designs were unique and fun without being over the top, which stuck out at me almost immediately. So that much impressed me, however I do have grievance with the way the women are drawn.
Now before you ruffle your feathers at me, my issue isn’t with them being hyper sexualized or anything. That wasn’t a problem at all. My beef is their hips and thighs. Whoever designed these people clearly was not a woman because female anatomy doesn’t work that way!


Also, I don’t understand the point of the masks being over the elevators. There’s one elevator that has a white mask over it, indicating it’s the elevator to reincarnation, and the other has a red mask that obviously would send you to the void. But there are episodes where both people are reincarnated despite being in the red elevator, and vice versa. To the viewer, it’s really confusing to have something like that there.


Beyond that, though, I have no complaints! The animation was smooth, the angle changes that they used helped set the moods, and so on. I also really enjoyed the body expressions that were unique to the main characters, such as Nona putting her arms in her suspenders. That felt like an extra step that didn’t need to be taken but they took anyways just to go the extra mile.


In terms of the world design, we don’t get to see a whole lot beyond Quindecim. We get a peek into Nona’s world, a glimpse into the Oracle’s pool area and one episode of Ginti’s bar, but beyond that the anime is primarily in Decim’s world. Which was still well created – it had a classy and elegant feel to it. [shrugs]

Conclusion

All in all, this was a great anime. The negatives in no way impacted the great points that this show hit and I can definitely see myself going back to watch it again. I highly suggest for other anime fans to watch this, even if you're usually not into dark themes, as long as you're prepared to have your heartstrings tugged on.

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