You drink, you eat. You love, you hate. You lose, you win. Year after year after year. Just for one purpose: To die. Because you want to. Or because you have to. There’s only one big secret left in our modern world: What exactly happens after you leave for good? “Death Parade”, the new anime by Tokyo based studio Madhouse has the answer: You play a game.
“Somewhere is a mysterious bar known as the Queen Dequim, where a lone bartender named Dequim works. Whenever two people emerge from the bar’s elevators, those two must participate in a Death Game with their lives on the line, the results of which will reveal what secrets led them there and what their fate will be afterwards.”
Decim is not only a barkeeper, but also an arbiter, who judges people. How they lived. How they died. How they feel. After their death, he decides, if they’re ready for incarnation or if their souls should be banished deep into the void. Forever. So he let’s people play games. Billiards. Darts. Arcade. To see, which fate’s awaiting them.
What I like most about “Death Parade” is the strange, dark world where the story takes place. There are no explanations at all, for example, why there’s a train station in the middle of nowhere, who else is living or working in the apartment tower, or when exactly Oculus became God. Perhaps he even is no God, but Nona is? Who knows.
The show starts when a nameless black-haired girl arrives in the bar. Instead of being sent into heaven or hell, Decim decides to let her stay – as his assistant. At first she’s confused about the mechanisms of that black world, but soon she learns how to live in a mysterious place full of dead people – and those who have to judge them.
Nona reminds me a little bit of my ex-girlfriend. Same look, same style, same character. Same height. She’s living on the top floor, way above the different bars, like Quindecim and Viginti, where the death games take place. It’s green and peaceful up there, but there’s absolutely no doubt about the huge secret she’s trying to hide from everyone around.
“Death Parade” has not only an amazing stage to offer, but also wonderful characters. Castra, a strange girl in a skull helmet who oversees deaths across the world and decides which souls are sent to which arbiters. Mayu, the crazy high school girl who died after slipping on a bar of soap. Or Quin, the always drunk member of the information bureau who ran the Quindecim bar before Decim took her place.
There are two kinds of episodes. The ones where the story concentrates on the players and their dark secrets, they feel a little bit like “Case Closed”, only after death, and the ones which explain step by step in what kind of strange universe everything takes place. Who’s Clavis? Who’s Ginti? Who’s Harada? And who’s the nameless black-haired girl?
I like the setting, I like the stories, I like the style. If you’re looking for a new anime, without big-boobed, magical girls, without high school love stories, without eternal fights on foreign planets, “Death Parade” should be your choice of watching. It’s the perfect show for everyone who loves to think about what he just saw. About that strange, strange world…
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