OP Sequence

OP: 「Flyers」 by BRADIO

「デス・セブンダーツ」 (Desu Sebun Daatsu)
“Death Seven Darts”

There is nothing quite like Death Parade this season and it probably beats out all the premieres I’ve seen to date by a long shot. If you haven’t seen the original Death Billiards, the story is about a mysterious bar that acts like purgatory after death. Humans get sent here after dying and they meet the bartender, Decim (Maeno Tomoaki) who explains the rules of wagering their lives on challenges they must face. There’s no escape for the couple that shows up this week, Takashi (Nakai Kazuya) and Machiko (Kawasumi Ayako) who show up at Quindecim with no memories of how they got there. After being forced to play a game of darts with some twisted consequences, it’s revealed that the newlyweds don’t lead the perfect marriage. In fact, there’s a lot of deceit and manipulation going on and their feelings intensify after realizing that their lives are at sake. One will go to “the void” and the other is “reincarnated”.

First of all, before breaking down the episode of what actually happened – I loved this episode from beginning to end. It was gripping from the start, the mystery aspect of both the bar and the couple’s lives was interesting and it sparks a good conversation of whether or not you believe Machiko actually cheated. With Madhouse backing this up… oh boy, the production values are superb and you can see that just from their facial expressions and the amount of blood and tears that went into each of the characters’ emotions. Both figuratively and literally. I was completely blown away from not only the plot and the intricacies of the story, but how thought-provoking it is. If the audience wants an anime that makes you ponder and think, I think this is it. Each episode will probably feature a different person coming to the bar and it’ll slowly reveal the reasons that they’re there. If each individual featured can be this interesting, I’m all for it and I’d love to see how damaged each person is when their lives are put at stake – after all, I think that’s the point of the anime. Hearing more about the bar itself and the people that work in it could be a nice touch of continuity as well. There seems to be a lot of them in the OP and I’d like to see how that comes into play.

Now for the actual debate of what happened…
I thought about it for a while and I’m sitting in the camp of – Machiko cheated, but she regrets it and she does love Takashi. I also believe that she is pregnant, but whether or not it’s Takashi’s baby is a blurry line for me. She does seem to have cheated after her marriage though which means that she probably regretted it a lot on their honeymoon and thus, ignored this other man’s calls. I don’t think Machiko is blind or stupid and playing these games of darts shows just how much she valued her baby’s and husband’s life over her own. She knew that she was going to “win” from the start and even after Takashi purposely played to get ahead, she still said it’s fine as long as he doesn’t aim for her stomach (or I guess uterus region). The animation and tone of her voice convinces me that she honestly loved her husband. Her biggest weakness was seeing him rip himself to pieces knowing that he was going to die AND he probably didn’t truly believe that she loved him. I think that’s what drove her to confess and by doing so, it would give her husband some peace-of-mind by telling him what he wants to believe. It’s sad because her reaction after confessing did not look like she was proud of cheating and that’s what leads me to believe she genuinely regrets what she did. I think this case can be argued other ways though so I’d love to hear others’ thoughts.

I think a little clarify might be required for those that also believed that Machiko was right and Takashi didn’t trust his wife. I was also confused so it’s only fair that others may be as well. The idea of “hell” and “heaven” is different in this anime than it is in Christianity and other religions (which is the interpretation that I’m used to). I’ve seen others call it closer to Buddhism in which, there is no “hell” but being reincarnated would be considered worse then the alternative because to live again would be “suffering”. I think your ultimate goal would NOT to be reincarnated but to break the cycle and escape this “suffering”. Being sent into the “void” would be better off than living again and although it’s not clear what the “void” is, it’s believed that you would pass on and you’ve achieved something greater than living. Correct me if I’m wrong please. So in this situation, the fact that Takashi is getting reincarnated shows that Decim deems his life as undeserving to move on and instead, he sends Machiko to the “void”. I think he sends her because – like I said – he sees that she felt guilty for cheating and she really did want to save Takashi’s soul in the end by confessing. Did you also notice that they came in the same elevator that they left in?

For the sake of not going on and on, I think I’ve said what I can about Death Parade (for this week at least). The episode itself was an excellent way to showcase what we’re in for this season and it’s definitely an outstanding anime. I recommend it for all those looking for a psychological thriller and something that makes you stop and think about human nature and how much we value our lives. This reminds me a lot of my favorite manga, Liar Game which tests individual’s wits and motives. Death Parade is very similar because it tries to deduce where you should be sent in the afterlife based on your actions in these games. Notice that the “rules” for these games are also very broad and I want to see how someone thinks outside the box. I can’t wait to see what Death Parade delivers this season and I have my expectations sky high for this one.

Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Omg #DeathParade… So much psychological craziness! Reminds me so my fav manga o.o Highly recommended for all those looking for something different this season. Watch it. Now.


ED Sequence

ED: 「Last Theater」 by NoisyCell



    1. Now, when I watched this, I’m more anxious on how would Madhouse keep this interesting up to a cour, because cannot just reuse the Death Billiard OVA structure over and over again. The next episode will show some of the inner workings a bit, but then its unknown territory on how to keep engaging till the end without revealing too much and losing the ambiguousness

      …The Girl is called as a new addition, so this episode is a prequel to the OVA it seems.

      1. Yeah… Along the lines of the switching masks, which I thought was really significant, I decided that Machiko’s sketchy behavior – similar to the old man’s insane smile at the end of _Death Billiards_ had a lot to say about just how powerful the arbiters were and what the author decided the fates of the customers at the bar would be. The evil mask is obviously bad, and the good good, but I think it’s more along the lines of “worse” and “better.” Machiko’s “void” fate is worse than Takashi’s “reincarnation,” but the arbiters decided he wasn’t necessarily going to “Nirvana,” just on an elevator going “up.” Says something about Dekim’s queer statement at the beginning – “We cannot tell you where this bar is…” Which means that Queen Dekim could be located somewhere on those elevator cables, but not always in the same place. Just some ideas. I’m really, really going to enjoy this anime.

    1. I adore this OP… It has that strange jubilant juxtaposition against the sinister nature of the anime, and yet it preps you for a “conventional” bar, as if it were all a game, after all. It seems like a brain primer, to be honest. Similarly, the ED from Kisejiuu has this calm, moving peacefulness that seems designed to help aid in contemplation and recovery from the stress of the anime.

    2. This~ I’d been planning on watching Death Parade anyway but I always look forward to RC’s thoughts on shows, which is a bit why I was a bit sad it wasn’t on the To-Be-Covered schedule.

    3. I’m heavily considering it but something would have to give. I normally hate blogging weekend shows and I consider “Friday” a weekend =X
      I would either drop Koufuku Graffiti or Sailor Moon Crystal as a result but I’m still debating it.

      1. It’s interesting that you mention Liar Game. I’ve been following the manga since 2010. I’m disappointed it hasn’t been adapted to anime yet. It will make a great psychological anime like Death Note.

    1. wizard, as Guardian Enzo put it so well on LiA, it’s not about the game but rather what is done in the game that the arbiter’s judge the players on. In Death Billiards, the game had no consequence whatsoever, it was solely a method to judge the people for their souls. That’s why Dekim is so bent on the players playing for their life.

    2. I went and watched the Death Billiards OVA directly after this episode, and……I’m confused there too…
      But its a rather great episode too (around 25 minutes), you guys should check it out.
      It looks like a direct prequel to Death Parade.

  1. I lean more on the “it’s his kid” camp because she’s pregnant before they get married (no ring in that scene). I’m not certain about the cheating bit. The flashback clearly shows that, but Japan doesn’t do engagement rings, and you’d think a wealthy doctor (‘dat car) could afford an immediate honeymoon after getting married. If he a standard salary-man I could see a delayed honeymoon… but I just don’t know in this case. So, if she’s cheating… she did it during the honeymoon?

    Also, ten weeks pregnant + pregnant prior to wedding + cheating on him with a wedding ring doesn’t leave a lot of time to cheat.

    My guess is she’s pretending to sleep, that’s him checking her phone, but even that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The flashback should have been a bit clearer because in that light it’s hard to tell.

    1. The best thing about this hands down is the ambiguity.

      Everyone has their own ideas about what has truly happened. That’s pretty compelling.

      I recommnd that everyone check out the OVA as well! A very good “pilot” episode.

    2. That last bit you mentioned was something I was curious about as well.
      did she cheat or not?

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Tldr; this scene can be interpreted in many different ways which makes it interesting lol. I feel like its basically up in the air as to how any of us interpret it which is more fun.

      1. I don’t think it’s a question of whether or not she cheated… but rather, what came out of it and who her loyalties lay with now. I definitely think she cheated – and she did so while she had a wedding band on so it must’ve been after her wedding. The episode (although I didn’t include a clip of it) shows them putting wedding bands on one another so I don’t really agree with the argument that you can wear a band on your wedding finger and not be married >_>

        I definitely see your argument about whether or not “the guy” she slept with is actually “someone else” or could ACTUALLY just be her husband. That thought passed my mind and I looked at that screen shot a few times to try and make out whether or not she’s truly cheating. In the end, I still think it’s yes – and that’s because the guy in the image has more “wild” hair while her husband seems to have more tame and “flat” hair.

        What do you think? You didn’t answer your own question =P

    3. I tend to think she didn’t cheat, and I believe her story about Matchy. I don’t know Japanese, but judging from the subtitles where the ladies were talking about Matchy, they said “I heard she married a doctor”/”I hear her husband is a doctor” (sorry can’t remember exactly). Now this was on the wedding day, so if these were invited guests (and presumably Machiko’s close friends), it wouldn’t make sense if they didn’t already know Takashi was a doctor… Moreover, in the ED there was a name placecard that had Machida Yuuki’s name on it (read this from reddit), so I don’t think Machiko made up that story.

      But regardless of whether she cheated or not, I agree with Cherrie that Machiko loved her husband.

      Looking forward to the next episode!

    4. The episode (although I didn’t include a clip of it) shows them putting wedding bands on one another so I don’t really agree with the argument that you can wear a band on your wedding finger and not be married >_>

      I am slightly confused by what you mean by this Cherrie. To clarify, the wedding ring on her finger was a clear sign that she was indeed married but I thought it was debatable whether the person in bed next to her was the person she was married to or not. I thought this was made particularly unclear because, while we do see his left hand holding her phone (looks to be the same model) because of the way the hand is drawn, we can’t actually see the base of the 4th finger where the ring would lie if he was her husband. As this is hidden though (on purpose?), it seems more likely that she did cheat and the man next to her is not her husband because he doesn’t have a ring.

      About the guy’s wild hair, I’ll admit, I thought about that point too xD. But in the end, couldn’t the wildness, compared to the husband’s tame hair be attributed to bedhead? Can bedheads be that extreme though? I wonder 😛

      You’re right I did not answer my question though, I felt the question of cheating was pretty much left up in the air and should be kept hanging. I’ll agree on the point that it was clear Machiko did love her husband, and her husband loved her too before he was consumed by his justifiable paranoia though. In the end, we have become judges through our interpretations kind of like Decim but without knowing the full story like he does, which makes it fun.

  2. Awesome episode, met my expectation after having seen death billiard, but that opening was completely troll, when I watch the opening, I can’t help but think this is a funky, slice of life anime about a bartender! XD Either way, looking forward to this series a lot in the future!

    Trap Masters
  3. For a moment I honestly thought Machiko simply confessed to cheating to give her husband some peace of mind and that she actually did nothing wrong in the first place.
    Now I’m not sure….
    Oh boy…my head is tingling. I like this! Perfect way to counteract the Aldnoah craziness I’m putting myself through.

  4. I didn’t watch Death Billiards but I heard good things about it and considering how everyone was happy about Parade I had quite high expectations for this anime exposing dark side of humans…And then that OP rolls in and I am like ”What?!” O_o No dark OP but upbeat with characters dancing (especially that redhead was funny )
    It is awesome OP, I actually re-watched it 3x before watching anime itself XD

    Death Parade really met all high expectations, it was really awesome visually and story-wise. That interpretation of what happened is pretty much how much I saw it happen too.

    Beside ambiguity of what happened or who lied something else made me wander during watching it: Was it really possible to reach 0 with only 7 darts?
    I didn’t feel like pausing during anime to do math with such interesting story going on but later I saw at LiA (I believe Enzo himself stated it, apologies if I am wrong) that it wasn’t possible.. Makes you wonder what would happen if they noticed..I even thought at one point that Takashi would offer to lose so Machiko can win…

  5. Wow, that was one of the most tense things i watched and it’s just the 1st episode.
    THE BIG QUESTION: Did the wife really cheat on her husband or not?

    When the husband turned pathetic in the end sobbing it really seemed to me that the wife lied to him so he doesn’t succumb to guilt. By telling him that she cheated on him she turns his guilt into anger, while depicting herself as the “monster”. She lied to him out of love to “save him”.

    But then we see a flashback of a woman (presumably the wife) in bed with someone. It’s a bit confusing, tbh.


    1. I think this lends itself to the consideration as to whether or not the arbiters are omniscient when they judge, or if they solely judge on the results of the game. If you are correct, then I think their decision to consign Machiko to the void might be highly unfounded. However, if they were correct when they sent her down, then I am having a difficult time not believe her final despair moment. Either way, this anime is a wild ride through mental hurdles.

    2. The wife’s shocked reaction to her husband’s accusation seemed very genuine to me. I think she did lie about cheating on him maybe to save him, as you say, or maybe bec she was disgusted for falling for such a pathetic guy. I’m not sure myself.

  6. Void =/= Hell
    Reincarnation =/= Heaven

    Just thought people should know this.

    For example, reincarnation may be interpreted as a good thing but living another life means potentially having to endure a life full of difficulties.

    Likewise, Void isn’t necessarily bad – Void is emptiness – not eternal damnation or suffering in flames.

    1. I think I disagree with you there… Like I said, Reincarnation means “up,” whereas Void is “down,” if we’re adhering to the elevator metaphor. However, the building of Life and Afterlife, as I’m going to call it, might actually have many different levels – Eternal Damnation, Void, Reincarnation, Purgatory, Nirvana being some possible examples. However, you might be correct…

    2. That’s the thing about the show so far, much of the interpretation is left up to the viewer. Going just by the masks it can be argued the wife is being damned for eternity while the husband is to be relieved from that fate. The Buddhist thought circulating in the comments here and in MAL of the wife being sent to the Void and avoiding the fate of reincarnation is also applicable, yet never confirmed because we only have the masks to go by (if I remember right, correct me if wrong).

      Part of the strength of Death Parade (at least in this episode) is never confirming the consequences of Decim’s “selection”, we simply know that both husband and wife are sent to different fates, whatever they may be. Just like their actual story is left ambiguous, so are these fates. Until the show confirms one way or the other all we know is that all interpretations (whether Christian, Buddhist, or any other religious thought) are equally applicable.

      1. This is incredibly correct. I suppose it’s the mark of a show well done. And true literature, I suppose – as it generates so many different interpretations that could all be possible and adheres to so many different spectrums of cultural thought and yet manages to fit them anyway. It also doesn’t feel contrived, and feels like literature directed for the sake of those directing, with the side effect being that it’s a pleasure for absolutely anyone to view.

  7. Was not sure what to expect going into this but came out pleasantly surprised, without a doubt sticking with this for the duration. The treading of a moral grey line is what I like especially about Death Parade so far. The game aspect is unique too because for all appearances it looks like the game itself is not important (i.e. winning), but rather the actions performed while playing. Decim thus really acts as the so-called arbiter, deciding on the fate of the contestants through observation. This concept certainly throws an interesting spin on what could have been a relatively “normal” plot for these types of shows.

    Although it depends where it goes from here (the preview hints that the show won’t be entirely episodic), IMO it’s not too early to label this as another based Madhouse success 😛

  8. No, being reincarnated is not “bad”. The cycle of reincarnation is to allow the soul to reach enlightenment at which time it enters Nirvana. The husband is not perfect (showing jealousy and hate) but is allowed to reincarnate and try again. The wife’s treachery ( and I can’t see where you arrive at her not having cheated on him. She says it herself) condemns her to never being able to arrive at enlightenment and to get to Nirvana – a horrific punishment.

    1. It depends on which religious interpretation you use. For Buddhism certainly, but you also have some conservative Christian viewpoints from individuals such as St. Augustus where reincarnation can be perceived as the ultimate hell because for them life is nothing but perpetual sin and suffering, a consequence bearing from the actions of Adam and Eve.

      We cannot make a definitive claim one way or the other in regards to what happens to the husband and wife here because the show so far has not indicated exactly what both fates entail, the answer is left ambiguous, and likely deliberately.

      1. I would think that the obvious interpretation would be the Buddhist one. If you accept your Christian interpretation then both are being punished because both are excluded from the presence of God. The husband at least has the ability to atone for the sins of his past life and gain forgiveness. The wife is eternally damned, cast into the void with no hope of redemption.

    2. Well. Almost all level of hell in Buddhism are not eternal. Rather than soul going to the damnation a person is reborn on a specific level. Yes, it will be very long time, before a soul can be reborn on the higher level and it depends, where a person went (there are very specific formulas to count how many years they’ll be on the specific level), so there is almost always a chance to attain the enlightenment. And there are practices and rituals to shorten a sentence, for example praying for the dead, recite sutras in the name’s of the dead, gifts for the dead, that’s an one of the reason, why it’s always important to honour and commemorate dead ancestors.
      So it seems you too mixed some different religions with this ‘FOREVER AND EVER’. 😉

  9. Uh.. i dunno. How is here Guilty or a Saint. But for Humans the understanding the Reaper or Shinigami is impossible. Because we do not have the skill to read Minds. But even if so, Memories get blurred with time or lost.

    As i said. It is not our Power to guilty over a Soul

      1. While it is true that Christianity, Islam and Judaism are related and have very similar concepts (although Judaism does not have a hell) that is not true for the eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. They have very different concepts on what the afterlife involves and even what the existence in the living world means. The ‘all religions have a shared root’ is simply not true.

  10. I know Decim’s appearance gives off a Ginko vibe, but I’m inclined to think his demeanor seems that of Kuroko (from KnB).

    Overall, the series gets me hooked with the totally unexpected OP, the psychological/analytical thrill and the ED which seems to match the dark mood (I read up and found out it’s the same band who did the ED for Barakamon). But it’s really hard to make any sort of interpretation of things until the next episode.

  11. About the destination I more inclined to think that show leans on Buddhism. So going by that reincarnation is not really good ( there are worse options )but more painful. Because when you live you basically experience only pain/suffering (Four and Eight sufferings) and the ultimate goal is to obtain enlightenment and reach Nirvana. So in that sense wife maybe got better end because in ”void” you do not experience suffering.
    But again there is question whether they meant void as Nirvana or not and what exactly that change of mask means :/
    Perhaps in future episode they actually explain some tings but in meantime it sure is fun to guess 🙂

      1. Thats not how I understood it. From what little I know about Buddhism void means emptiness in sense that there are no disturbances or obstacles to reach nirvana. So in that sense Machiko got the chance to reach enlightement .
        This is all speculation, I am not sure of anything and that masks really confuse me. Because if that maskes represent in way final destination (saw someone mention that ) then that is really harsh fate for Machiko even if she really cheated husband (and in worse case scenario baby isn’t his ).

        Can it be somehow checked what kanji was used for “void”? It might explain exactly what kind of void it meant… :/
        (or it might have not… not sure of anything and its really late from where I should have been in bef a looong time ago -.-)

    1. The thing is, reaching a state of ’emptiness’ is something buddhists strive to achieve -in life-. Being free of earthly wants, they are able to reach enlightenment. Oblivion is completely different from that.

      1. I know, but it isn’t like they tried to achieve it during life. I don’t think that applying or adhering strictly to real-life Buddhism to it will get us anywhere closer to answer. Anime is just taking ideas/concept and using it to tell story and most of us just figuring who got the better end of deal (and why) to put it simply.
        Like someone said below in comments Machiko in a way did let go of everything accepting that they are dead (husband went from denial to pleading to help to rage against wife). I do believe that at the end she lied about not loving him and tried somehow save him…Also I never heard of ”void” getting negative connotation in Buddhism so I always thought that Machiko somehow got ”better” end (even now I have trouble wrapping my head around idea that being ”empty” is better than living again -.-)
        I mean it really all depends if they in future say what being sent to void mean…or they will let spin our own theories (and then say every interpretation is valid XD)

  12. Interesting Cherrie your conclusions are nothing like mine. In the english translation I watched on Funimation it was made quite clear that Machiko cheated and she only married her husband for his money.

    Like others have alluded to- the winner/loser of the game wasn’t important but rather, their true nature is revealed during the game. Machiko was revealed not to be a very nice person. So she is sent to the “void”. The mask above her elevator looks quite horrendous which implies to me she is being sent to an awful place for eternity.

    The husband gets a second chance at life. Hopefully he’ll be successful once more and will get the chance to experience true love with someone that is not cheating on him

    Curious to see where this show goes. This first episode for sure wiped the floor with everything I’ve seen so far for this new season but there’s some strong contenders airing Sunday that I hope will also show promise. Looking forward to watching the rest of this season what a great start 🙂

    Rick Anime
    1. I agree, I never said that she didn’t cheat – I do think she cheated on him and whether or not that was for money or because she “loved” someone else at the moment, I don’t know. However, the more I rewatch the episode, I think it’s up to interpretation whether or not she regrets her actions. Personally, I’d like to believe she did and that’s why I made a strong case for her and hope she got the “better” ending (whatever elevator that may be).

      On the other hand, no matter how I look at it, I always thought that her husband was in the wrong too regardless of what her response would’ve been. If she never admitted to cheating, he would just be the guy that never trusted his wife and always doubted her. In this situation, even if she admit to cheating, he just full-out tried to stab darts into her o_o I get that he was mad, but aggression is never the answer. So in that case, I think the husband deserves the short end of the stick no matter how the game turned out.

      1. “On the other hand, no matter how I look at it, I always thought that her husband was in the wrong too regardless of what her response would’ve been. If she never admitted to cheating, he would just be the guy that never trusted his wife and always doubted her. In this situation, even if she admit to cheating, he just full-out tried to stab darts into her o_o I get that he was mad, but aggression is never the answer. So in that case, I think the husband deserves the short end of the stick no matter how the game turned out.”

        Have to disagree with you on that. The judgement is based on what they did when they were alive, not what they did moments before the judgement is decided.

        Even though trying to stab your wife with darts is wrong for sure, 9 out of 10 man would go crazy if he discovered that his wife cheating. Again, I am not saying it’s the right reaction, but people will get mad if they discovered a shocking truth like that.

      2. I also think that she did cheat(and regrets it) and it could be somehow be result of what husband heard at wedding. I mean if he thought all this time that she was Matchy and married him just for money then even if he didn’t openly accuse her during life he might have grown cold or distant. And since it was just after they married instead being happy newlyweds just doubts and mistrust piled up…Not saying that Machiko was right to cheat but it might have been one of reasons that pushed her in that direction…

        Him trying to stab her with darts seemed to much…Regardless where they ended it was sad seeing them fall apart (especially him)…

  13. If get this right, the game itself will have no consequences on where you go and more like a secret test (designed by someone like the Joker). Though I’m not sure which one is better, reincarnation or void. The mask also don’t help. One is a demonic mask and the other is a Noh-mask, like this scary creature from Spirited away wore.

    But if the demonic mask means you go to the void and the other to reincarnation, than the old man from Billiards went to the void and the young man got reincarnated.


    1. Just to add some info and might be helpful in the discussion. Those masks are both Noh masks. The “good” mask is called fukai or maybe shakumi, which both represents a middle age woman who experience many things in life, the happiness and the sorrow. The “evil” one is a popular mask called hannya . It represent a vengeful or jealous female demonic ghost/spirit.

  14. That was surely tought provoking material, it seems like the creators deliberately made it blurry and led us to read between the lines… The story premise, thematic feels, color schemes, choises of visual representation made me remembers the game Catherine, it’s a good thing since both were good.
    And I actually feels that these two soul is actually good people, they’re not completely “evil” or something they made mistakes and they felt guilty about it, it’s just they died before they could resolve their mistakes/sins…

  15. I honestly don’t know how to feel about this anime or the two players, and which outcome is more preferable. (I hope the Void is better, because the husband’s actions during the game didn’t really seem that good. And what’s the point of a game, if they’re only going to be judged by what they did in life?)

    But DAT OPENING. I love it so much. It even makes me like a song that I wouldn’t normally enjoy.

    1. Agreed, I think there’s a more underlying theme going on. Following up on @silke13’s comment I’m pretty sure myself that this people put into this ‘game’ will be double-judged by their lives in addition to how they act/react accordingly in the game. Possibly, how they ‘play’ game can redeem/cancel out/reinforce their lives’ actions?

  16. i’d agree with you and initially i tought that hell was reincarnation but what changed my mind was that she was in the elevator with the demon mask while he was in th elevator with the buddha (?) mask at the end and also in death billiards i think that we were told that the winner has the “right” to choose who’d go where.I’m 50% agree with this because in the situation machiko seemed the one more in the right imho but they played so well the story juzt to show you that there isn’t an actual victim and that imho deeply they’re both guilty.

  17. Interesting opening episode, though I’m hesitant to put it on the same proverbial pedestal that some others have, at least for the moment.

    Certainly, it seems to fall into that rare mindf*** category where there’s no clear distinction between what’s right and wrong, leaving you think about it and come to your own conclusions. Charming in its own right to be sure, if only to a selective audience.

    My only complaint so far would seem to be the incredibly narrow scope with which people are being ‘judged’. I mean… c’mon. How do you expect your average joe to react, having just found out that they’ve died and being thrown into a so-called game with their very destinies likely hanging in the balance? Call me a stickler if you will, but that just seems too unfair to me.

    In retrospect, Death Parade would seem to take an almost lighthearted view of death and its potential consequences, instead choosing to focus on the individual and his/her reaction to what would seem to be an anticipated recollection of their demise and how it affects their treatment of the other. All well and good, albeit tiresome if the same formula keeps up for too long without anything fresh to bolster it up beyond that.

    Interesting enough to keep up with for at least a few more episodes, if nothing else. Let’s see where this pain train takes us, shall we?

    Ryan Ashfyre
  18. I remember seeing the short a couple of years ago for Anime Mirai and I was always curious if they would make a series adaption off of it… And now here we are. Thanks CHERRIE and RandomC for blogging about this. This brings me great joy.

  19. I don’t think Machiko cheated. There’s plenty reason to think it’s all just in the zealously obsessive husbands head who just couldn’t spit it out asap. Her own breakdown in the end was more like “you’re not the person I thought you were”; don’t know about the money part, but maybe an insult to injury…

    No idea what should I think about void/reincarnation ending. If that’s the only two choices then going to void is just a matter of time, or do you think you can just reincarnate forever?

    1. >] “No idea what should I think about void/reincarnation ending. If that’s the only two choices then going to void is just a matter of time, or do you think you can just reincarnate forever?

      Lol. Well, as that would put a one-shot proverbial stake in the heart of this anime, I certainly hope that isn’t the case. It’s honestly tough to get much more anticlimactic than that.

      Ryan Ashfyre
  20. Strange. I totally did NOT come to the same conclusion about the wife. And, her going to the “void”, while her husband gets reincarnated, seems to be her losing, and he winning. Even if I am not proficient in Japanese spiritual matters, one would think the simple color and symbology of the masks makes it obvious who actually “won” that game.

    Like always, it’s always interesting how people can come to completely different conclusions about others. 🙂 Personally, I found both of them to be rather horrible people, but I suppose that’s likely the overarching theme. When push comes to shove, people’s true nature comes out, and it’s usually ugyly. 😀

    1. This was my interpretation, though it depends if this show follows a more Buddhist slant on what you consider the “Void”. In Buddhism, the point is to let go of attachments and become more “empty” (in this case, the Void) while to reincarnate is a sort of hell due to the risk of committing the same mistakes over and over again until you can reach Nirvana and let go.

      For the husband, he was unable to let go even at the end while I think the wife was attempting to pull a “Break his heart to save him” situation, especially since I think if she were really just using him then she should have looked HAPPY she’d won once her husband was unconscious and she was the only left standing. I think she was trying to let go so he could pull out of his grief induced stupor and so he wouldn’t think he killed his kid, which backfired when he turned his rage on her. By the end of it, he was consumed by his regrets and anger towards life while she was so out of it and dead inside.

      Plus, going back to Death Billiards, the one who entered the “red”/Oni mask elevator was the old man while the young man entered the white mask elevator. Given what happened in that game, I think it’s clear the old man could have chosen to continue the game but didn’t while the young man was clinging to every bit of life he could get. In this episode, the husband was reincarnated through the white mask elevator while the wife was sent to the Void – he’ll reincarnate and suffer through life again while she’ll have let go and found peace.

      Or, on a darker slant, the Void may be a special hell that locks you out of the reincarnation cycle. Will see.

  21. I thought the pilot episode was brilliant, even with the seemingly out of place light-hearted OP at the start (which I suspect was either to throw us off or simply done to make things fun) and the confusion behind the conclusion between the husband and wife pair.

    I’m a big fan of redemption ESPECIALLY when you can see a sliver of hope, so my biggest gripe wasn’t with the execution or pacing of the episode, but how it ended, because how they toyed with the audience with the question of whether Machiko cheated or not with some high-level drama and tension building was pretty awesome, just that it was a personal gripe to see what could have been salvageable go down the drain completely. Whether or not their “true” natures were brought out is debatable, but games like these DO often bring out the worst in people most of the time. Just hoping it wouldn’t always be that negative for every single instance.

    That said, it’s really a personal peeve I had to see someone about, and so far so good for a pilot episode. My interest is piqued by the mystery called the arbiters, the development was good as were the tension and pacing.

    Looks fun, and I’m in. 🙂

  22. The different interpretations about the result of the game are really interesting. I admit, that I initially thought that the woman was lying about cheating, but I’m not so sure anymore.

    Which divine system they’re using is also interesting. I suppose that it will become clearer as the episodes progress. Interestingly, the husband gets reincarnated as a human, rather than as an animal or insect, right? I think that shows that, even though he harbored some horrible thoughts, he wasn’t a really bad guy deep down or he’d have been reincarnated as a “lower” life-form.

  23. Okay…. so if you throw dark and mature show to the western fans, they will scream “This show is sooo gooood”. They do the same thing as what Japanese fans suppose to do (in their mindset) if there is a cute/moe anime, aka scream “This is soooo gooood (because it’s moe)”
    Meh… people only consider theory pov when judging something as subjective as entertainment
    On a more serious side, I did like the show premise, but it was not as good as people say imo. Still it’s one of the best start this season

  24. Well i don’t know this help with some hints by I notice is when Decim was a litte shocked when the wife walk away and started lying or telling the truth about cheating.in my opinion. She was lying having seeing her husband all desperate

  25. Didn’t expect that to turn into a series but super happy it did, because I loved the short movie Anime Mirai showed a while ago. My favourite out of the new series this season so far.

  26. the masks above the elevator should spell it all out.

    fukai masks represent middle aged women suffering loss through seperation, be it man or /child/
    in famous plays they were used to symbolize a wife losing a husband or child such as sumidagawa, or fujito.

    the hannya mask on the other door represents demonic, dangerous, sorrowful, and tormented people. the deeper the color, the more twisted and demonic their true nature really is.

    if she was really trying to save him, why would she have the evil, demonic mask over her door? the symbol of losing a husband would be the one over the man’s door, as if she was really trying to save him, she would be commiting the most selfless act possible, and thus wouldnt have been sent to the void.

    taking it from a buddhism perspective, reincarnation is a /good/ thing, and where you are reincarnated depends entirely on your karma. you repeat the cycle until you attain a state of separation from the world and it’s attachments, and only then you can enter nirvana.

    in what mythos, story, lore or fantasy is ‘the void’ ever a good thing? i mean come on people, even in buddhism, it’s considered a state of being, not a place free of obstacles to obtaining enlightenment!

    even the japanese character used for void ‘虚’ can be translated as a form of emptiness, nothingness, and nonexistance.

    not to sound mean but some people need to do research before throwing out their reasons for coming to their conclusions. she obviously was a cheating bitch underneath it all

    1. I don’t think the masks are as straight forward as that, especially given where they were at the start of the episode and the fact they were around in Death Billiards too.

      At the start of the episode, the elevator with the red mask is the one the husband comes out of. Unless it means to imply his initial state of being versus where he is at the end of the episode? However, in that case, the despair, and anger and twisted feelings he experienced towards the end should have had a transition to represent him being picked for the white mask.

      In Death Billiards, there’s some ambiguity about the Old Man (namely in his unheard words with Dekim and his final grin before the elevator closes) but he ends up going into the red masked elevator. While the Old Man also played to “win” at first and had a few less-good moments in his flashbacks (such as him bullying another student) he was generally the calmer, better-behaved person who had simply been living with his wife before he passed away. If anyone was “twisted” in that episode, it would have been the young man (circumstances and desperation aside), especially given how he cheated on his gf before dying and he ‘cheated’ during the game, but he was the one who ended up in the white mask elevator. Given how Death Billiards works compared to how episode 1 works, it’s too early to say red mask=bad white mask=good.

      Also, if it was “obvious” she was a cheating bitch, I don’t think the ending would have included that wedding guest card that mentioned a “Machida Yuuki”, aka the presumed person that the wife brought up.

  27. What of those that refused to play the game? Are they souls that are trapped forever behind the bar? Would be interesting if future episodes shed more light upon their fates.

  28. Death Billiards was good.
    Doing the same thing I already saw is not good.
    I understand that they had to make people who didn’t see Billiards welcome, but then I read statements like this: “There is nothing quite like Death Parade this season and it probably beats out all the premieres I’ve seen to date by a long shot.”
    And I’m like: Really? A thing we already saw is better than all the new stuff that already came out? Guess I’m crazy. If she hadn’t saw Billiards I could be like: Ok that’s fair she didn’t saw it but she did.

    And notice that I say “so good” not that it’s not good.
    It was a decent episode but repetitive and boring for anyone that saw Billiards.

    1. I never watched Death Billiards actually… o_O sorry if I gave off that assumption.
      So to me, this is all brand new and my impressions of the episode are based solely on what I saw in these 20+ mins.

      In that regards, yes, I did think that this was the best first episode that I saw to date this season. I don’t really know what you’re comparing this against? Just because you’ve seen Death Billiards, does that mean that Madhouse didn’t do a good job executing this remake? Do you expect it to be the same thing again or something and you find it boring? =S

  29. The show was nicely executed. But I personally don’t like the very concept itself of “judgment” by observing true nature or souls or whatever. (and yes I have watched Death Billiards as well and I would say the same applies)

    We don’t know what “religion” or conception it is. Many here seem to think it’s Buddhism but of course, that is not the foremost religion of Japan, which is likely to be Shinto, and is not Buddhism. Either way, this neglects that modern times are different (they’re perceived to be in a modern age afterall, with games like darts) and it may very well be any other religion. Indeed, there are Buddhists, Hindus, etc in Japan as well. The lack of any information on this means that dwelling on what religion is used is wholly fruitless.

    Most importantly however, for those who think whether something is in the “right” or in the “wrong”, which gives the result of “reincarnation” or “void” (whatever it may be), is clearly mistaken. Without a basis, what is there to judge what is right? Even if you believe in universality of ethics (e.g. Kant), you’re making a big step without any basis in saying that ethical equals right. On the other hand, those who look at it from a common sense perspective is also mistaken. Is it right for someone to steal food when he/she is about to die from starvation? Some will say yes, some will say no (e.g. Legalists). If we do not have any groundwork in the first place, any attempt to judge the circumstance is futile.

    As for the truth of the situation, it is wrong to come to any conclusions (whether there is any adultery). The only basis we have to assess it is i) the reactions of the characters, and ii) flashbacks. Both were insufficient to reach a conclusion. For those who think that the female had “cheated”, the only evidence for that is the casual conversation overhead by the male, and possibly hints (not shown) on the female’s phone. The casual conversation is inconclusive from our perspective as we don’t know whether the nickname does refer to the female (disregarding the female’s explanation to exclude wrong inferences). The female’s phone record is unlikely to have yielded any conclusive evidence as the male does not know who the female is texting.

    For those who think the male was wrong in not trusting his wife, it is wrong to come to this conclusion as well. There is inconclusive evidence to prove that the female is cheating, nor is there evidence refuting the male’s suspicions. The fact that the wife “confessed” is highly unreliable. Given the situation, she is clearly emotional and is thus not solemnly making the declaration. The “reincarnation” vs “void” aspect also places her under duress, making any such confession unreliable.

    1. Much as your analysis makes sense, I find this to be an extremely dull way of looking at not just the show, but life in general. The show appeals to humanity’s natural desire to judge, and not theorizing about the possibilities and opinions that the show generates defies the entire pleasure of watching it. By removing the dilemma, as you have, you’ve created a show with effectively no thematic elements, as you claim the thematic elements the show does have are simply idiotic bigotry.
      Sure, we could not have opinions. But then where would be the fun in that?

    2. Uh… have you never heard the phrase “Born Shinto, Marry Christian, Die Buddhist”?

      Beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife in Japan are strongly influenced by Buddhism. Even in modern times. (That’s an oversimplified statement, but still.)

  30. A few points of clarification on Buddhism. Yes, there is a purgatory in Buddhism. However, it differs from the Judeo/Christian version on two main points. First time spent in Buddhist purgatory is finite. However, it can last epic amount of time but it does end and at its end a person is reincarnated back into the living world. The second point is that Buddhist hell isn’t a divine punishment, in that some celestial being mandates the punishment. I don’t remember the exact details but it has something to do with karma over many lives.

    Yes, life is suffering according to Buddhist philosophy. However, being reincarnated is part of life not a punishment. The goal of life is to rid yourself of desires and achieve enlightenment. So, it is not a bad thing to live again, it’s just another shot at the apple.

  31. That OP.

    Also, my other concern is, do they believe the baby had a soul at that point? Because if it did, it would be kinda sad, condemned for only being in it’s mom belly. :/

  32. Also, I think by the end the wife gave up, win or lose, she was in a hell where her husband didn’t love her anymore/didn’t trust her/wasn’t the man she married or loved to marry anymore. :<

  33. The one thing I noticed, is the elevator Machiko left in, had a Devils face above it, and the one Takashi left in, had an Angel’s face above it…..I think she got the short end of the stick…If you think of “Void” you think of nothingness….He gets reincarnated, where as she gets sent to spend eternity in Solitude…

  34. Drop one of your useless going nowhere shows (Graffiti seems easy, spoiler, nothing happens all season) and cover this. There is no perspective, whether business or critical, that can justify any real anime blog not covering this show.

    You also provide a high value post on it and seem to be able to handle the divisiveness of it well. Be smart and pick this show, because it’s a winner, and RandomC has been featuring a few too many losers lately (luckily, they tend to disappear after a few blogged episodes).

    1. While I appreciate the fact that you think I provide a high quality post, the decision for me to blog this show depends on what interests me and not what I deem to be a “loser” or not. I also take into consideration the timing of the show’s airtime because weekends tend to be busier for me.

      I’ve blogged an array of shows from “mainstream” and “popular” to shows that interest me personally and are considered under-rated (Rozen Maiden comes to mind and Samumenco). Please don’t disrespect my choice in shows because I choose to blog something like Koufuku Graffiti over Death Parade. It’s not because I don’t think it’s good, it’s just that I have a strong passion for food and I want to share that with readers (no matter how limited). If there’s anything I learned blogging on RC, it’s that you want to write about something that genuinely interests you and you have something worthwhile to say about it. That may or may not coincide with what readers deem as popular or unpopular shows but that’s a decision for us to make.

  35. As an actual Buddhist, I’d just like to point out a few things:

    1. Actually, Mahayana Buddhism does posit realms that can be considered as “heavens” or “hells”. What this actually means is interpreted differently depending on school/sect. It’s irrelevant to this episode anyway imo since we’re clearly told one door is reincarnation and the other is “the void”.

    2. The concept of emptiness does not at all have negative connotations in Buddhism. See: Sunyata (空, “kong” or 虛空 “xu kong” in Chinese), “Wu” (無, “Mu” in Japanese & Western Zen). Anyone claiming that void = “no more chances”/eternal damnation, I have no idea what you’re talking about. In Buddhism, there is ALWAYS another chance.

    3. The demonic Hannya mask is named after the Buddhist concept of wisdom, prajna (see also: Heart Sutra and “prajna-paramita”).

    4. Buddhism holds no value judgment on reincarnation. It’s not a good thing, but neither is it a bad thing.

    That said, I do think it’s probably better not to strictly interpret the episode from a Buddhist perspective. I personally love the ambiguity of it.

    (The interpretation I personally lean toward is: yes, she cheated — but as a result of doubts caused by her husband’s change in behavior post-wedding. At the very end she decided to confirm the narrative he’d created in his own mind without justifying herself, in hopes that it would give him closure. I don’t think she succeeded. I think she was telling the truth about her pregnancy, as well as about her friend.)

  36. From the start it is already decided who goes to the void and who gets reincarnated. That is why they arrive in different elevators. The purpose of the game is to give a chance to the person going into the void, to either have closure or carry their burdens into the void.

  37. Cherrie.. Don’t be naive… The girl only regret at the very end of the episode, after their death.

    Why didn’t she answer her secret boyfriends call? Because she was with her husband. That much is obvious lol… Why do you think she is sent to hell and the man is sent for reincarnation? They literally give us the answer. Don’t think deep on it lol

  38. The idea behind reincarnation is that you’re basically immortal. You get to live through multiple lives without ever truly fading away. Humans want to believe that something will remain after death, thus the idea of the soul. The void, on the other hand, is the end. For some, that might be peace, but for the majority of humans that cling so strongly to life, it’s worse than the concept of hell; at least there, you still get to exist.

    So, in my opinion, reincarnation’s the good elevator and the void’s the bad one.

  39. “There is nothing quite like Death Parade this season and it probably beats out all the premieres I’ve seen to date by a long shot. Watch it. Now.”

    -Won’t be blogging it.


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