Final Score: 8.2/10
Story Description (summary from FUNimation):
There is a place after death that’s neither heaven nor hell. A bar that serves you one chance to win. You cannot leave until the game is over, and when it is, your life may be too. From Studio Madhouse (Death Note, Black Lagoon) comes a thrilling new series where the stakes are high and the rules are simple: your life is on the line.
Everybody matters to somebody.” – Chiyuki (The Black-haired Woman), Episode 12.
Death Parade is the successor to the OVA Death Billiards, by Madhouse Animation. As per usual, Madhouse has blown me away with its beauty. As of right now, in my opinion, the two most beautiful Madhouse series for me (animation wise) are My Love Story!! (Ore Monogatari) and Death Parade. In the case of Death Parade, I’d be constantly alert, wanting to find SOMETHING to nitpick about the animation. Sometimes an eye looked slightly wrong, but it was very, very rare. Otherwise, the animation, the colors, the art – everything was fantastically beautiful and eye catching.
In the case of sound, I really loved the opening and ending themes. BRADIO’s “Flyers” was fantastically catchy and a fun tune to listen to. (Also, the video is hilarious). The opening itself is a bit misleading. It opens this show each week with a feeling of happiness before leading you into a flood of feelings. “Last Theater” by Noisycell was beautiful. I remember when I first heard this song. I stared at the name Noisycell before finally connecting it to Barakamon! This song showcases how different a band’s music can be and I love that. Lastly, the overall OST for Death Parade is nice. I really enjoy it but it’s not something super iconic in my mind. If I heard a song from the soundtrack, I could probably connect it to Death Parade but none of the actual OST songs are ones that get stuck in my head.
Not a lot of the “main” cast was fleshed out. In fact, the anime focused more on those who arrived at Quindecim rather than the arbiters. To me, this is because the story is less about the arbiters and more about those coming to Quindecim. While I greatly enjoyed the show and I realize that the focus is on Chiyuki rather than the arbiters, I wish there would have been more information given. For instance, rule #1 states that an arbiter cannot stop judging. However, Quin stopped judging and moved to the information department. I also would have liked to see more about Decim and what happens with him. Clearly, Oculus let it fly that an arbiter with human emotions exists. I realize that the only true way for Chiyuki’s judgment to have come to pass would have been for Decim to have emotions but I wish I could have learned more. Also, I find it interesting that arbiters aren’t supposed to be close to human and yet, Nona and even Ginti have very human-like tendencies.
The overall story was fantastic, focusing on judgement and the meaning of life. I wish there would have been more from this series such as why Ginti was having issues passing judgment on Mayu… I also would have liked to know more about how it is the arbiters are made from the souls in the void. But as I have stated before, this show is more about Chiyuki in the long run.
I greatly enjoyed Death Parade. I really liked the concepts presented in the show as well as the art. The background characters were well fleshed out despite usually only being in one episode. The stories of each set of guests were always well thought out and intriguing. I greatly enjoyed Death Parade and I felt satisfied by the end of it. Were there unanswered questions? Sure. Even so, I believe this anime accomplished exactly what it meant to.
“Even if they aren’t important to me…They are important to somebody. Somebody cherishes them.”
Jamie Marchi (Woman/Chiyuki):Jamie Marchi is one of the few really versatile voice actresses I see anymore, as much as I hate to say that. I thought she really did well in capturing Chiyuki’s emotions from her sadness to her snark.
Alex Organ (Decim): Oh wow. I haven’t seen a lot with this man in it, and at only 14 credited roles on BTVA, I was shocked to see “new meat” in a FUNimation line-up. I was really worried about Decim’s voice being TOO monotone but he did it so well. I didn’t hate the sound of him crying in the last episode and his emotions felt (mostly) real.
Jad Saxton (Nona): I haven’t seen a whole lot with Saxton in it. She’s been credited at 67 roles and, in retrospect, she’s still kind of “new” to the scene. I had only heard her once before as Adelie in episode 5 of Space Dandy but I thought she was fantastic. One of my friends mentioned to me that they were really worried about Nona’s voice. Was it too high? Was it too b*tchy? I told them that I, personally, really enjoyed Nona’s English voice. I even took the time to show them a clip of the dub and they were blown away as well.
Robert McCollum (Ginti): Didn’t hate him; but I didn’t love him. There’s a certain tone of snark that’s just THERE in Ginti’s Japanese voice that wasn’t captured as well in English. I honestly though Robert’s voice was a bit too deep and gravelly for Ginti who has a slightly higher voice in the Japanese.
Zach Bolton (Clavis): Like with Ginti – I didn’t hate it, nor did I love it. The airs of playfulness and relaxing were gone from Clavis’s voice in English. However, Bolton has nice tones for Clavis and I can’t really think of anyone I’d rather here.
Jeremy Schwartz (Oculus): Schwartz is SUPER new to the scene with only four credited roles. So far, he has only been cast in FUNimation dubs but I really like his voice. Somehow, Oculus’s voice had a bit of a “country bumpkin grandpa” feel and yet simultaneously, you felt like he could rip you open any second. Oculus’s Japanese voice is more laid-back, which is why I think the English voice had a sort of southern feel. Though the voices were quite different tone-wise, I really liked both.