Warning: This article contains some minor spoilers.
I’m enjoying pretty much all of Viewster’s simulcasts this season for various reasons, but the one that sticks out to me every single week is Death Parade. It’s not a fun series in the least. It’s also not a fluffy, moe series. Make no mistake about it, this is a dark and twisted series, but then you probably already knew that just from reading the title.
Every episode of Death Parade thus far has followed roughly the same format; two people enter a mysterious bar and are forced to play a game with their lives on the line. They cannot refuse, and they cannot leave the bar until the game is over. At the end of the game, they are informed that they are in fact already dead, and the stakes that they are playing for is to determine who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.
What makes this show so good however, is just how much it will play with your mind. Every single episode features two people who may or may not even be connected. In the first episode, it was a couple who were on their honeymoon, in another episode the pair is a hikkikomori and a TV personality. The only thing that each episode has in common is that the pairs who arrive do not fit neatly into ‘good’ or ‘bad’ personality molds. They might start one way but as they learn more about their situation and what they are really playing for, the darkest parts of their personalities come out and we get to see who these people really are on the inside.
What I’ve grown to love best about this series are the open endings. For the most part, at the end of each episode we see the pairs entering their elevators after the conclusion of each game but we have no idea where they are headed. Who is going to heaven and who is going to hell? That’s up to the viewer to decide for themselves and believe me when I say that each time you see it happen you’ll be wondering to yourself for days afterward who went where, and once you think you’ve got it figured out you’ll remember something and will begin to question your thinking all over again. That’s the kind of series that Death Parade is.
The horror genre in anime is littered with examples of blood and gore series. Titles that attempt to scare you through violence. Death Parade is one of the few examples of anime that attempts to scare you on a psychological level, and it succeeds each and every week.
If you haven’t added Death Parade to your list of series to watch this season I urge you to drop everything you’re doing right this second and go watch it. For every hundred series out there that you could refer to as “disposable fluff,” there is a series that stands out as something that you want to watch again and again and then show to your friends… Death Parade falls into that latter category and we, as fans, should be grateful for it.
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