Final Score: 6.7/10
Death Billiards is a “short” movie animated by Madhouse in 2013. Death Billiards is a 25 minute predecessor to the airing anime series Death Parade.
At the beginning of Death Billiards, we see a lone bartender named Decim in a bar called Quindecim. Two people who emerge from the elevators and arrive in the bar at the same time are connected in some way. They are forced to play a death game with their lives on the line. These games will reveal secrets of their lives and how they landed in this purgatory to begin with.
In Death Billiards’ case, a thirty-year old man and an elderly man arrive at the same time. The game they are chosen to play is pool/billiards seeing as they were both, in some way, connected to the game in life. I don’t want to reveal too much for those who haven’t seen it so I will stop there.
It is difficult to give Death Billiards a higher score for story, seeing as not a lot was revealed. Obviously, one cannot expect much from a short animation in ways of story. The story did not reveal a lot and left quite a bit of open doors. I am, of course, grateful that a series was created to follow and I am hoping that questions I have are answered.
We couldn’t give sound a very high score because the music wasn’t that memorable. As for characters, the two men didn’t even have names and Decim and his female assistant, had little personality. Clearly they are observers so they needn’t have a heavy focus on personality but even so, Decim especially sparked my curiosity. He is seen to be cold and uncaring but he also holds one of the men tightly as he cries.
I can certainly praise Death Billiards for beautiful and clean art and animation. Everything seemed to have its own charm; the chandelier sparkled beautifully, the jellyfish were perfect, and there’s even a scene with the old man’s dentures flying out that was wonderfully animated (if not a little gross). I really enjoyed the fast-faced and fluid animation on the billiards game as well as the fight that ensues afterward.
Despite the exact plot not being present, (and again, this is expected of a short) I quite enjoyed Death Billiards. I am very excited to see what sort of animation liberties and story elements are revealed in Death Parade. I also find that there seems to be a decent amount of thought put into little things. The example of this being “quindecim” meaning ‘15’ and the bar being on the fifteenth floor. Death Billiards was a nice and eye-catching introduction to the now-series and I am looking forward to watching and reviewing Death Parade!