"Life really is a mysterious thing. Each and every life spins its own, totally separate tale, yet they become intricately
entwined in each other. And no one knows how they will end up."
"That's true. You never know until you die. Mm-mm, you may not even know even after you die.
But you know what? That's what makes it interesting, right?"
Everything has a beginning and an end when it comes down to it. This is most certainly true however, the quote makes a good point; is it even possible to ponder how we died, even though we've passed on already? Here in the beautifully lit, yet chilling setting of Death Parade called, Queen Decim, the "would be" unlucky visitors play a seemly friendly game to the death, while slowly revealing why they've become their patrons. Here is the place where one can ponder that question.
Death Parade is the series adaptation from the animated short titled "Death Billiards," which happens to be one of the few selected projects from the recent Anime Mirai projects. The story is very intriguing, yet delivered very subtlety throughout each episode. The setting is a very mysterious one, yet seemly comfortable place, with a lot of questions about its origins and its inhabitants still yet unexplained. Where the story shines is when each patrons' story unfolds of their untimely deaths, which brings out a raw emotional and empathetic quality from the viewer. When fighting or in this case, playing for your survival, any human would do anything to survive, correct? The audience will see all the faces a human can truly have, the good, the bad and the ugly. Leading to some really dark tones, however there is ray of hope in Quindecim.
Art & Animation: 8.5
The setting, it's rich colors and design of each detail are really stunning and gorgeous to look at; especially the lightning effects. Very good production quality and is better than most or if not standard for 2015 anime.
From four episodes thus far, there are several characters who have made their appearances, yet all of them are still extremely mysterious and not too much character progression is shown, as of yet. In this case it is good thing, because it delivers it in small doses to synchronize or match with the plot, giving the setting it's mysterious quality. This is the department (characters) where Death parade excels in. They've built their characters or patrons who come to Queen Decim, each with their own unique tale/scenario to be unraveled, where the viewer can easily get emotionally invested in, if it hits on the right nail. The characters really evoke this kind of surreal humanistic quality and the writers/producers already know, that's where this anime puts it money on.
Wow Factor: 8.5
From the start I was thoroughly engaged and even at times had my stomach turn from how grotesque or thought provoking it could get; they are playing to the death ya know. But this is what engages us as the audience and causes tension to keep us on our toes. Death Parade seems like it's going to be a great show and so far it has great potential. It might not be a top 10 anime kind of show, but it's most definitely worth a look.
Final Grade: 8.5
+ Intriguing character tales and somewhat grotesque psychological scenarios
+ Beautiful rich colors and design
- Might be a little gut wrenching down the line
Will I continue to watch this series?
Do I recommend this series to watch?
If you can handle a little grotesque sequences/scenarios and can appreciate the aspect of how Queen Decim does their business (Death Games), then yes!
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