To kick off my winter anime impressions, I am reviewing the one anime that everyone should be watching, Death Parade.
"Welcome to Queen Dekim," a bar where two people mysteriously appear, not knowing why or how they arrived. A white-haired bartender, Dekim, greets them with the statement, "From here you two shall begin a battle where your lives hang in the balance." The two people compete in a randomly selected game, ranging from darts to an arcade game, where their fates hang in the balance. However, not everything is as it seems as the true nature of the Death Game is slowly revealed often resulting in a thrilling and emotional ride from beginning to end.
Based on the Death Billiards OVA, Death Parade is a series that takes the concept presented in Death Billiards, and after watching Death Billiards, Death Parade became my most hyped anime of the winter season, and it does not disappoint.
Death Parade's first episode is one of the best pilot episodes of any anime that I have ever seen. It is suspenseful, shocking, emotionally gripping, and thought-provoking. Everything from Madhouse's stunning visuals to the voice actors' performances made the first episode a truly intense experience. Throughout the first episode you will begin to question which character is in the right and the motivations for their actions. Despite having seen the OVA, which reveals the concept, the big reveal in the first episode still gave me chills. In fact, if you have the choice, watch the pilot episode of Death Parade before watching the Death Billiards OVA for the maximum experience.
Episode two provides a different view on the events of the first episode as it essentially tells the viewer the entire setup and reason for the series. Despite not being suspenseful and gripping like the first episode, it provides the necessary exposition and set up, so that the following episodes can focus on the individual stories. However, at the end of the second episode, even more layers are added to the complexity of the first episode.
Episode three takes an entirely different angle to the format of the series with a more calming tone, opposed to the thriller of the first episode. However, the payoff is still effective.
From the beginning, Death Parade reminded me of another episodic series with a white-haired main character, Mushishi. Much like Mushishi, Death Parade features an episodic structure with each episode focusing on new characters with themes of the human condition. Of course, Death Parade is thrilling while Mushishi is calming, but if Death Parade's episodic writing holds up throughout the series, we are in for one of the season's best anime.
Madhouse's animation is absurdly high quality with realistic character designs and detailed background art, even the touch of 3D animation blends well. Also, the opening song, "Flyers" by Bradio, is easily the best of the winter season, while also being misleading to the series tone (watch it below).
With its insanely high production values, riveting drama, and thought-provoking themes, Death Parade is an absolute must-watch that everyone should be watching!
Watch if you like: Drama, Supernatural, Suspense thrillers, Episodic stories, Stunning animation, Mushishi,
Have you seen Death Parade? Do you plan to watch it? Please comment below and let me know.
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