In Death Parade, we follow the bartender Decim. When people enter his bar, they get forced to play a game. A game that decides if a person will end up in oblivion or win the prize of reincarnation.
Death Parade is not an easy show to watch. Not because of the quality, but because of the themes and questions involved. The show focuses on peoples reaction to death, life itself, and what’s right and wrong. As you imagine, this is not something for the faint of heart
When someone wants to tell a story with a complex and deep story narrative that brings up heavy subjects, it can often fall flat on its face. But here with Death Parade, the production company Madhouse and the creator Tachikawa, Yuzuru handles this tastefully and respect. There was never a line of dialogue or action from a character that comes off as distasteful for the topic.
It is an anthology and streamlined story mixed into one. New visitors will come to the bar during the show, with the streamlined focusing most of the time on Decim and the discussions he has with his assistant. It makes it even better when their relationship and chemistry between each other works like bread and butter. The character progression in Decim is one of the more natural ones I have seen in a storytelling medium.
While I think Death Parade ends on a perfect note, the number of episodes is a disappointment. The company that Decim works for is something that I would have liked to explore more, and I would have liked to know more about his colleges and their views. Just a handful of episodes would be enough to cover the bases.
Death Parade has a subtitled version with the Japanese voice actors and the English dub from Funimation. I prefer the original version because the Japanese voice actors do a better job. From the emotional impact to subtle and calm reactions, the voice acting is pitch perfect, like cheese on a pizza. With that said, the English voice actors did a good job, but not on the same level.
The animation that Madhouse provides is some of the best work I’ve seen from them. They are known for great animation, but this is one of their best works (if not the best) I have seen so far. Like Studio Ghibli with their work on Princess Mononoke, the attention to detail Madhouse delivers here is marvelous.
I’m not that guy who points out music, but with Death Parade, it needs to be brought up. Not only is the opening perfect for the show considering the lyrics, the soundtrack compliments the tone and atmosphere that Death Parade strives to have.
At the end of things, Death Parade is a favorite of mine. I will go so far to say that it is on my personal Top 3 animes of all time. It’s poetic and beautiful in more than one aspect. The animation is smooth, detailed and gorgeous to watch. It contains voice actors that give them the life they deserve, even if one version is the superior one.
It is 12 episodes, with each episode clocking in at a length of 23 minutes. It’s available on Amazon.