This is my first anime recommendation on the blog, and depending on how well it is received, I plan on recommending more anime in the future. Since I've already recommended and discussed a psychological horror like "Arkham Asylum", I figured I should probably recommend something just as emotionally and mentally thrilling.
In Death Parade, two people who die at the same time are brought to a bar in the afterlife called Quindecim. The bartender is a tall and white-haired man known as Decim, who will host a game that the deceased couple will compete against each other. During the game, Decim will watch the couple and judge, determining who will be sent to "heaven" or "hell".
The concept of Death Parade alone is very interesting. The themes of Death Parade involve questioning notions about good and evil, and what it means to be human. While playing Decim's game, the lives of the deceased flash before their eyes, reminding them of their most joyous and tragic memories, motivating them throughout the game.
What are people willing to do when pushed to their mental and emotional limits? This is one of the biggest questions that Death Parade poses. Decim is an emotionless arbiter and while he judges those who are brought to his bar, he plays with them like puppets but not because he is a sadist. Decim wants to understand humanity: their emotions, their actions, and their lives.
Though Death Parade is already great as an episodic series, with each episode presenting a new couple competing in some game, there is an actual storyline in this anime. Helping Decim moderate the games and judge the deceased is a human woman with black hair. This woman does not remember anything from her past or how she arrived in Quindecim, and without spoiling anything, her story is very emotional and her interactions with the emotionless are very heartfelt.
Besides the actual story, Death Parade has gorgeous animation and scenery. Though most of the series takes place in the darkness of a bar, the luminescent lighting give a sense of fun that is also eerie, like being in an empty dance club with all the flashing lights and music, but no one is around to enjoy it.
The soundtrack is also very captivating and adds to the emotion and tone of the series. I will admit that the fun opening theme by Bradio contradicts with the overall feel of Death Parade it is still fun. I think it tricks the viewer with it's upbeat rhythm that leads into a show about death and hard hitting themes.
I would recommend Death Parade for anyone just looking for something full or emotion and deep meaning. I don't think that this is a bad series for new anime fans, but I think that long time fans might be more prepared for the seriousness of the show and will probably appreciate the reference to the anime Death Note.
AIRED: Jan. 10, 2015 - Mar. 28, 2015
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