「デス・アーケード」 (Desu Aakeedo)
“Death Arcade”

Just when I thought Death Parade couldn’t bring on any more surprises, they blew me away with an episode about the value of families. This is a topic that hits close to home for me and it’s because I haven’t lived in the perfect home or family that makes you appreciate them so much more. I also think that your situation at home can have a huge impact on the way that you grow up and the way that you live your life. It changes your outlook on life, your values and personally, it’s a huge portion of the “external” factors that influence my personality. This is the same case for Yousuke and Misaki this episode – but obviously to polar extremes and I think it shows just how different people can grow up to be.

Let me start by saying that I empathize with both their situations. Both Tateishi Yousuke (Morita Masakazu) and Tachibana Misaki (Yamaguchi Yuriko) were in sad situations that made me feel like they both deserved a second chance at life. However, the question that came to my mind in the end was why Yousuke? Why was Misaki sent to the void while Yousuke was spared? Well let me just point you all the scene where Misaki, literally, bashed this poor kids’ head in to screen! What was that all about?! I just can’t explain how shocking that was to witness because it was so uncalled for and terribly violent! If this wasn’t anime (and a crime TV drama or something), there would be blood and gore and just so much struggling that I can’t even take this scene lightly. To me, that single-handedly showed me what a horrible person Misaki can be and when it’s survival of the fittest, she’ll degrade herself to that level to live. That is just wrong because there are still limitations to what you should or should not do to another human being; regardless of what it means on your own life. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been put in such a dire situation, but I felt the same way while watching Grisaia no Kajitsu – disgusted and uncomfortable.

Now on the other hand, I definitely feel for Misaki and her history. Like I said, I empathize with both their stories and I actually give a lot of credit to Misaki for being able to come this far. She grew up making some pretty bad decisions in her life, got abused and had several children from it – but she still raised them and carried on trying to make a life for herself. She never gave up and that’s a characteristic that I really admire when someone’s been given the bad end of the stick. I think the reason that she was sent to the void, wasn’t because she wasn’t a “good” mother (although I don’t think she was a great mother either), I think it’s because her reasons for wanting to live again just weren’t very justified. It wasn’t because she wanted to see her children again, it was because she wanted to be alive again. I’m sure she does love her children on some level, but she seemed to love herself more. She was finally a successful TV star, and she created a name for herself out of nothing; and she was proud of it. It just didn’t sound like she wanted to live again to be there for her children and watch them grow, which is a huge shame. There’s also a few flashback scenes that indicate that she wasn’t the best mother and I doubt her children loved her much. I can argue it both ways (whether or not Misaki was a good mother), but I would say that the consensus is that she wasn’t the best mother she could be.

As for Yousuke… I can definitely also see it both ways although I lean more towards him being a pitiful individual. His situation wasn’t explained or illustrated as clearly but I get the gest of it. His mother was not the best growing up; his parents got a divorce and his father remarried later. Whatever the reason was for Yousuke to avoid his new stepmother, I felt that his stepmother was making attempts to try and become a motherly figure to Yousuke. If I were her, I would feel so rejected if he wasn’t reciprocating my feelings of at least “wanting” to be a family. Of course, having been a teenager myself, I understand where he’s coming from. Losing your parent isn’t easy, but quickly being forced to “get along” with a replacement is difficult as well. Although I wouldn’t go as far as suicide, I do think that Yousuke should regret his actions. His stepmother was trying and reaching, but he totally shot her down and seeing him tear up at the end… is the best way to show how remorseful he feels. A great way to end his story and thus why I think his feelings really shined at the moment. He deserves to be reincarnated just simply for regretting his actions and wanting to do better so that he could make his stepmother’s wish come true. That made my heart go out to Yousuke, so good for him.

So that explains why I thought Decim made the right decision in the end. It was interesting that he would go so far as to “sabotage” their game to get the result he wanted, and I don’t fully agree with his methods. Although his role is to be an arbiter, there are other ways to deduce who should get reincarnated and who should go to the void. It definitely makes for a more interesting anime though! But it shows a bit more about Decim and Nameless Girl’s characters. Decim’s deadpan face all the time only makes me want to break him and see what he’s really thinking – where did he come from and what does he think of his job? Why the fascination with mannequins? Anyway, another possible ending that crossed my mind this week was that Yousuke was the “given-up-for-adoption” baby by Misaki. I thought that would explain why Yousuke’s “mother” never loved him and Misaki had so many children, who’s to say she didn’t give one up? What I like about Death Parade is its unpredictability though. I can never guess the ending, but I like how they don’t completely leave the audience in the dark either. They still show a good portion of the individuals’ lives when they get sent away and I think it’s up to interpretation if you think Decim made a good or wrong choice. Next week, I’d like to see two people sent to the same place again… but maybe they’ll both be sent to the void next time.

Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Did not feel bad for the mother on #DeathParade. #Sorrynotsorry although I do think she lived a sad life, still doesn’t excuse her actions. 



    1. Why are people judging the guy for killing himself? For all we know, he might have had depression and depression is an awful thing. And his mother’s rejection obviously had a major impact on him as a child.

      I’m glad he got reincarnated because maybe now he will be born under different circumstances. And as much as Misaki is to be pitied, she did awful things in this game.

      I completely agree with you, Cherrie.

      1. Why not? That’s how free will works. He chose to kill himself on his own. He should be held accountable for his actions. It’s so easy to blame depression for every thing. That’s the easy way out. Guess what? Everyone goes through depression at some point in our lives, not just a few.

      2. You can’t argue with these armchair professionals. Nearly everyone does go through depression at some point in their life but for some people it’s not as easy as “just get over it.” Many times, the person suffering from depression doesn’t even realize their depressed. Depression can also make people behave irrational. For those looking in from the outside, the solution is pretty clear. However, for the one experiencing the depression, life can feel hopeless and without meaning at times. Even Yousuke realizes after his death that suicide was a stupid decision when his foster mom was right willingly to offer him the love he needed.

        I think the theme from this episode was not everyone in life gets dealt a good hand but what defines you is how you deal with it. Even though both of them dealt with their situations rather poorly, I think Decim believed that Yousuke was a genuine good guy who deserved another chance at life.

      3. @dfp396

        There’s feeling down, and then there’s being actually depressed.
        Actual clinical depression is a crippling disease and most definitely not something “everyone goes through at some point”, nor something you can “just get over”.
        Unfortunately, along with things like autism, AD(H)D, OCD and other such mental disorders, depression is often falsely self-diagnosed (especially online) either to elicit sympathy, or, even worse, to “be cool”, causing a lot of people become incredibly cynical whenever it comes up, much like yourself in this case. This does not mean that everyone that claims to fight against depression is making shit up, they might in fact be literally fighting for their lives every day.

        Related, if the guy this episode was in fact clinically depressed, there is a case to be made that he was in fact *not* responsible for his own actions. Speaking from experience, when depression hits you hardest, you literally cannot see any other way out than to end it all. That’s kinda the whole defining point of clinical depression; the inability to see any kind of future for yourself.
        In such moments, you cannot think clearly at all and your body more or less just moves on its own, something which this episode very strongly hinted at once the guy remembered what had happened and realization set in. I’m convinced he had no intention to actually end his life, it simply happened because his disease damaged his brain to the point he could no longer control himself.

        Tsugumi Henduluin
      4. Look it’s just a matter of perspective. If it was any other circumstances I would have pity the guy and I still do in this case but he choose to kill himself. I know it’s pretty hard for him but between two people – one who ran away from life and one that face life, which one has the higher value? The mother is an asshole but she at least has the courage to face life yet he choose to kill himself?

        I just can’t. We all felt suicidal at times but I felt that suicide is a cowardly way to die. I need to make it clear both to myself and other that suicide is a problem not a solution.


        We fall – we always will but what it means to be human is having the courage is rise from that fall over and over again and face life head on. In that sense the mother not the man deserves my sympathy more…


      5. @KF I think one of the big disconnects is that people equate depression with being sad. There is the depression that everyone faces where we have hard times and feel sad moments in our lives. In those cases, yes, many people are able to contemplate suicide and actively make the decision to not kill themselves. And then there is clinical depression, which is a legitimate mental illness, that can cause systematic sadness, many times for no reasons. Would you blame a schizophrenic if they jumped off a building cause the voices in their head told them too?

        Also, being sad at moments in your life doesn’t really put you in the same shoes as someone who has been clinically depressed. It is sorta like passing judgement on a starving child who stole food because you managed to make it a day without eating. They are just different circumstances. I’m not trying to criticize your views, because they are common ones. My point is more that clinical depression isn’t something you should really pass judgement on unless you experience it for yourself. And even then, everyone suffers from it differently and to varying degrees. Instead, we should really just focus on acknowledging that problems like these exist in society, and do our best to help people who suffer with these issues. And even then, you can’t save everyone, and that is what sucks the most.

      6. @dmanatunga

        I’m not discounting Yousuke, let’s make that clear. I think I understand how he feels. It’s hard and many a times you just want to run away. I pity him, I really do.

        But this anime forces us to measure people – one life vs the other.

        Given the circumstances, I feel that Yousuke’s life is worth less than Misaki because he chose to ran away while Misaki chose to faced life head on. Both of them have my sympathies but if I have to choose between the two then Misaki is my choice.

        This is what I think.

      7. In fact, this anime does not force us to value one life over the other. As episode 3 showed us, both people can win. And both people can lose. It’s not a zero-sum game. The people are actually competing against themselves, not the person across from them.

      8. @KF Even if we ignore @Blue’s comment (which I think is big and I didn’t completely realize till reading), my point is you value Yousuke’s life less because you view that he chose to kill himself. That is why I posed the question on if you would value his life less if he killed himself due to schizophrenia. Clinical depression is a disease, and suicide is typically viewed as one of the symptoms of that disease. Another, more comparable analogy may be like saying an alcoholic would be less deserving because he or she chose to drink. Both of these diseases have a stigma where people view it as a free-will choice thing, instead of a symptom/outcome of the diseases the people suffer under on. Anyways, I do understand where you are coming from (since most of the people in the world would probably agree with you), and you reach a completely valid and logical conclusion from that point of view. All I hope is that you consider that maybe the underlying assumption of choice could be an incorrect one.

      9. The requirement of suicide is that the person must have the will to do it as technically it involves murdering yourself. You can’t commit suicide without the proper mens rea. If he is ill to such an extent that he is unable to intentionally kill himself then that is not a suicide but an accident.

        Yet in this case I do not believe it is so. Killing yourself is not exactly easy. You have to achieve a certain abnormal frame of mind to do it. Your mind must be able to go against the natural barriers both physically and mentally put to prevent suicide. What I am saying is that suicide requires you to go against fundamental functions ingrained in the core of humanity – and that takes effort. To even arrive in that state of mind he must have condition himself to slowly accept the idea of suicide as acceptable otherwise the safeguards will kick in. At the very least he must have a certain amount of mens rea require to even proceed with some of his actions.

        I don’t think he is insane. I do believe however that he has willingly put himself into a position where he is more susceptible to suicidal tendecies. Insanity requires him to not be able to put himself in that position willingly. Yet he is able to play that video game even if he lost. At least I believe some part of him at that time has a certain measure of control. I think he chose to shut down, to not operate as he should but it is a willing choice on his part.

        As for Blue’s argument, I say that even if this is not a vs thing, without a doubt the Death Game seeks to measure people else why is an arbiter even needed? Decim decides the fate of the dead and he must have a system of measurement else he can not perform his job satisfactory. If he is allow to measure people then we are all allow to measure them. Indeed the simple act of choosing between Misaki and Yousuke implies that we are in a way measuring them. And don’t forget that the game itself is design to be competitive as a means to draw out the darker aspect of the soul for the purpose of measurement for the purpose of deciding the proper destination of the souls so even that argument is a no go.

      10. @KF

        I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at, but from what you’ve said, a person who actually commits suicide is in a truly abnormal state. If that is the case, it seems like you are condemning a person who is mentally ill for making a wrong “choice.”

        Also, being able to play a video game is not proof of sanity. At least in legal terms. Or else every insanity defense would probably be thrown out in court because people were able to function on some level in society up until the point they committed some crime.

        I agree that the game is designed to be competitive, as Decim said, to draw out the darker aspect of a person’s soul. But that doesn’t change that the only person they “lose” to is themselves. Going back to episode 2, they are being judged on the actions they take during the game, and not everyone responds destructively. As episode 3 shows, both players can get along even when placed into a versus situation. Or they can do as Misaki(?) did and try to kill the other person mid-game.

        Put another way, after trying to draw out the darkness, some people just don’t have that much darkness to be pulled out. Yousuke, for all his problems, does not respond to violence with violence. Misaki, on the other hand, shows that when she is cornered, she will lash out in a destructive manner to people who have done her no wrong. (Yousuke, for instance, is as much of a victim as she is. The logical target for her violence, if one takes into account right and wrong, is Decim who is forcing her into this situation.) In fact, she CREATES more victims.

      11. Hmmm, let me see if I can understand this.

        An abnormal state of mind refers to a state of mind that is outside the norm. A sane person can have abnormal state of mind – having it doesn’t make a person insane. It does mean that a person operates in an unusual state and in that state they have tendencies to make mistakes.

        I do not not know if Yousuke is clinically insane. I simply assume that he is not due to past pattern that does indicate him being apathetic yet still possess a certain degree of control in his actions. In all honesty I have no real means to be certain of his sanity but that also means I have no way of knowing otherwise. He may be insane but we can only guess.

        I believe that he chose to shut himself, to allow himself to arrive at a point where suicide is a very real option. This at least implies a mens rea on his part to at least remove the safeguards that would have prevent his suicide. His judgement may be clouded but what matters is the will and I believe that Yousuke has that will – enough to overwrite whatever defence mechanism the human body has.

        Yes, the video game is a rather weak argument but it does suggest a pattern of behaviour that quickly departs with the suicide attempt. I can’t say that an insane man would not do this but I will point out that a sane man can also did what Yousuke did.

        As for the nature of the game, I will agree that the outcome may not be a zero sum. I will point out however its competitive nature as a means to gauge the souls. That would mean that yes in a way regardless of outcome the game is about measuring the souls. And when we measure things we compare – it is natural for Decim to compare between the two souls just as it is natural for us to compare between the two. The difference is that our opinions are polarized.

        Since we are put in a position to compare I simply state my points and lay out what I believe is my opinion.

        I assume that Yousuke commits suicide. I assume that he did it with mens rea. I believe that his decision was wrong and I pity him for his mistakes.

        I assume that Misaki is an asshole. I assume that she cares for herself. I also believe that she is a victim of abuse and had life a hard life but despite that she moves on and tries to make her life better.

        Between the two I sympathize with Misaki more than Yousuke because despite having shit happens to her she tries move on. I think it’s hard trying to be a single mother with five children and to see yourself making it work anyway. If we are to compare burden Misaki not Yousuke had the harder life. That is the truth even though I pity both of them.

        I was hard on Yousuke, harsh even because I don’t want suicide to be a viewed as a solution rather than the problem. It’s one thing to pity Yousuke – yes, I pity him. It is another to be fine with the idea of suicide. I don’t like it because I don’t believe it really solves the problem. I would argue that suicide create even more problems. Is it right for a parents to watch their child dead because of suicide? Is it true that our lifes is ours and ours alone? Would society benefit with people killing themselves? Are we alright with watching the people we love leave us with their own hands?

        It hurts when they are gone but what hurts even more is the fact that we could have done something about it. And somehow that felt raw to me…

        This is what I think…

      12. @KF You mention how there are safeguards and efforts that must be taken to kill oneself. And that suggests a deliberate choice is being made. But have you considered that the effects of clinical depression may be that such safeguards do not exist. Again, an alcoholic/junkie may not have the safeguards normal people have telling them when to stop. Or, mom’s suffering under post-partum depression, may not be able to feel the normal loving relationship to their child. Or, how autistic children may not be able to pick up on what is considered normal societal standards. If you feel all of those are cases of choice, then there is nothing I can really say. But if you consider them mental illnesses, where the person is not responsible, then my point is that clinical depression with suicidal symptoms falls under that same pattern.

        And it may have been loss through words, but I am not trying to say Yousuke is better than Misaki. My only point was that his suicide should not be used to discount him against Misaki. And I agree with your last statements about suicide not being a solution and the effect it has on the people left behind. They were eloquently written (I wish I could get my thoughts across as well) and a feeling that many people I think share. But I feel one of the outcomes of that is we feel so powerless when someone commits suicide that we chose to blame them, instead of feeling the guilt that we could do something to prevent it. And it is hard trying to realize the real blame is a mental illness (diseases that are much less concrete than something like cancer).

      13. @dmanatunga

        I believe that so long as the will is there, that people can make choices thus the safeguards are there as well. I believe that the amount and quality differs on case to case basis base on circumstances but I don’t think it is ever completely not there and I do think that a certain amount of will is needed to overcome these barriers.

        To be honest I think mental illness is very real – that it causes harm to a person’s mental state. I do think however that only select categories of it can ever truly drove a person insane. For me, insanity is the absence of the ability to have a will and it is that absence that absolves complete responsibility of a person for his/her actions. Anything else meant a certain degree of responsibility – an alcoholic may have his mind addled of alcohol but his/her decision to drink alcohol meant at least partial responsibility of his/her actions.

        This is what I think.

  1. I was actually surprised that the Mom went to the void. She seemed remorseful and she realized her mistakes and was ready to make amends. I thought both of them would be reincarnated..

    1. I was surprised as well, I think it might be because she was filled with sadness more than love and her soul was “tainted black” or something like that.
      She had a sad life and probably blamed her children in some way – such a pity.

    2. I could tell the Mom was going to the void right at the beginning when she was acting all stuck up to the other guy, “Hey do you know who I am? You should know me…”. That was my que that she was going to be a mess. After she attacked the other guy I knew it was over for her. But I feel so bad for those children 🙁

      Tough show to watch. The episodes are always spot on. But like in mushi-shi, I feel bad for the characters when they suffer. Very intense, deep shows like this really get me thinking. I love them though.

      Rick Anime
    3. Seems people value weakness over strength these days. Misaki was a fighter and a survivor, while Yousuke was a quitter who chose the easy way out. Misaki had a harder life than him but she still chose to live. She deserved reincarnation, not him.

  2. I found the boy to be very interesting. I’ve been raised to believe that anyone with suicidal thoughts needs care and attention to help them get on their feet. However, anyone that actually goes through the act is worse than scum. They gave up not only on their selves, but the world around them, everyone they have ever met, and any faith they might of had. Someone like that is beyond redemption, and in my religion, suicide is one of the ultimate sins.

    However, I find it interesting to see the contrast with my beliefs and the Japanese, to whom which have had suicide as a part of their culture. In the past they’d have people commit suicide for honor, or the kamikazes to fulfill a mission. Even now they have school girls threatening suicide simply after being bullied. While I’m in no means a sociologist, it seems to me that they would be quicker to throw away their lives, whether for a righteous cause or a sad moment. That just doesn’t sit well with me as I believe that a human life is infinitely precious as it also includes an opportunity for redemption. Even suicide-attacking, such as with a grenade, in a bleak situation is wrong as it means you are completely giving up hope on the immediate future, however foolish it may seem. You may end up dying anyways, but at-least you didn’t give up.

    1. I’m going to avoid most of your post, as I feel it would not go anywhere except anger and yelling.

      But I would like to point out that in the US, suicide kills twice as many people as murder. It’s just that we don’t talk about it in the news. It was observed that when discussed in the news, especially for celebrities(think Marilyn Monroe), suicide rates tended to go up (It’s the kind of crime that inspires others to do the same), so they convinced newspapers to tone it down.


  3. Misaki sealed her fate bashing his head in. Had she not I would’ve been rather amazed if they weren’t both reincarnated like last episode.
    I get where you’re going with Misaki’s reason for reincarnation to be less legitimate, but I can’t really say that made me feel Yosuke had every reason to get that result instead. As for Misaki loving herself a bit too much…I didn’t find an issue with that. She most certainly loves her children, with her heart and soul. With her background she deserves to love herself a who lot more than she ever has. I think her reason was a happy fusion of the two mixed in with that extremism. I’d also be willing to say that Misaki is the product of her own abuse, having experienced it so much her brain just froze in survival mode and she’s only ever used to answering her disappointment with extremes.
    Yosuke didn’t really resonate with me that much even though his situation was sad as well, Misaki’s just seemed more complex imo.
    I wouldn’t say Misaki is an awful person, more of a person to be pitied and incredibly self-destructive.

  4. Can the arbiters be judged themselves? Death Parade reminds me a little of a J-drama called Quiz Show, where certain wrongdoers unwittingly were brought on a quiz game show that actually turned out to be a test to trick them into revealing their true dark natures and/or crimes in the past…the arbiter–the game show host–ended up being judged once he got past his amnesia and realized what he had done…perhaps Death Parade will eventually move in that direction and delve into the backstories of Kuro Onna and/or Decim?

    Death Parade’s been pretty great though. Unlike Hell Girl, the show doesn’t feel quite as vindictive and there’s been a recent emphasis on forgiveness and empathy rather than justice and punishment.

  5. Although both individuals here had arguably similar and difficult circumstances to judge, Yurika going to the void is not surprising considering her actions. Decim’s statement about bringing out the darkness of the soul and taking it in gives the hint as to why and it has to do with remorse.

    Firstly notice the feels-inducing ending where both Yurika and Yousuke express their regret to Decim; who does each express it to? Yousuke is confused as to why he would ever commit suicide and most importantly is depressed why he could never reciprocate the love his stepmother was willing and eager to give him. Yurika however expunges her terrible previous life and how now having made it she needs to stay alive. The difference is Yousuke, even while being a “failed NEET doing nothing with his life” feels remorse for how he treated those who gave him everything, Yurika does not. Yurika never even calls her children her children, they were “those” children and through flashbacks is arguably shown to have treated them poorly after coming across fame and fortune.

    Decim IMO is basing his choice here on empathy and the ability to appreciate the roles others have played in making both mother’s and NEET’s lives what they were. Although both Yurika and Yousuke were living for themselves, only Yousuke in the end came to understand the struggle and effort others gave to allow him to do so. Yurika never once throughout the episode thanked or felt remorse for those around her lifting her up, whether they be her children, her agent, or Yousuke himself. It is for that reason alone why Yousuke was reincarnated and Yurika was not.

    Keep this up Madhouse, I’m loving this show now.

    1. Nice reasoning for the choice that was made, Pancakes. Made me less mad at Decim. I take exception to one small part, though.

      If you are not fluent in Japanese, then I think you are reading a bit too much into the use of the word “those” (“ano”) when she refers to her children. Yes, “ano” does indeed translate to “those”, but the nuance is not necessarily the same as it is in English. In English, it would indeed sound unnatural to refer to one’s kids as “this” or “that” rather than “my”. It is not that uncommon in Japanese, though, especially if it is understood already whose child is being referred to.

      Also, I think it’s just easier to say “ano” instead of “atashi no” (which is longer than just “my” in English) when you’re blurting things out in a fit.

      She also did say that she was just about to START living a happy life WITH the kids from now on. The flashbacks do show she knows that she wasn’t the best mother for her children (what with her mistakes with men and focusing on work), but it was her belief that the reward of a better life for both her and her children would all be worth the emotional neglect she put her kids through. Yes, she could probably have done better with the kids while also focusing on work, but there are limits to how many things and how much emotional energy a person can realistically focus on / expend for any duration of time.

      I think she was overwhelmed by the enormous loss of having died just when all her hard work was starting to pay off and she could now have more financial & emotional space to focus positively on her children. When she slapped her assistant, it was in anger that her time with her children was being cut into.

      Pancake, what do you think of her final request to be returned to her children (ignore the “those” wording)?

      …okay, I was initially planning to focus on the “those” bit only, but now I’m mad at Decim again. >:-(

    2. Cannot comment much on the actual Japanese as I only had the subs to go by, but if true it would lessen the impact concerning that scene, but still not remove the allusion IMO. For me Yurika’s call to be returned to the kids is similar to her earlier shock at the assault on Yousuke; Yurika has expressed regret to some of her actions, but only in the context of how they affected her.

      It’s a really subtle point, Yurika has vocally expressed affection for her children, but the flashbacks seemingly point to a distinct lack of attention and care once she acquired fame. Yousuke in the end clearly regretted how his actions hurt others–specifically his stepmother–whereas Yurika never made a similar revelation, she only called to be reunited her children to see her (and them) live the good life. The phrase that pops to mind is here “actions speak louder than words”, Yurika could have expressed her desire all she wanted, but it does not remove the impact over how her actions (no matter how justified) struck those around her before her death.

      The difficulty of this decision (and why it’s creating so much discussion here) lies in the inability to know what can happen after reincarnation. Yurika could have become the caring and loving mother as you point out, or she could have easily continued along the same path. As the future cannot be seen, Decim was forced to decide based upon the evidence already acquired. This is why I think regret and empathy played a key role in the decision. Since Yousuke recognized and deeply regretted his terrible behaviour, there was a better chance he would mend his ways upon reincarnation; Yurika’s failure in self-reflection shunted her away from a second chance.

    3. Just to add on: remember when she accidentally triggered the finisher? At first she was touched, yes, but she quickly switched to being exasperated by the low damage. It seems to me that she doesn’t really care about her kids; she only cares about people that are useful to her.

  6. Damn… Thank god everey episode isn’t like the first one !
    I mean it’s prety sad because it clearly doesn’t feel like the mom was completly evil (just had a bad life) we had a lot of love in this episode too.

    Maybe it’s bcause we just had confirmation that 2 people can go to heaven so we kinda want everyone to go there.

    1. Except the guy might have had depression which is something hard to combat. Misaki was an outright bitch to people around her (even her children) and was super violent during the game. Her soul was a lot darker, which is the whole point.

      And such people go to the Void.

      1. ”Depression” A convenient excuse for anything that goes wrong.
        Yes Misaki became that way because of her hard life. Being hurt over and over again by men hardened her into the bitch she is now. The guy on the other hand, what was the worst thing that happened to him? Being left by his real mom and getting a new one? Yes, it’s awful but is that enough of a justification to kill oneself? I don’t think so. Especially when his stepmom was so kind to him. It’s not like he was abused.

    2. I realize this may be simplifying your statement a bit, but by your argument, would a murderer deserve to be reincarnated more than a suicide? Because the murderer values his own life?

      1. ”simplifying” More like changing.

        That’s completely different and not relevant to the 2 people who were judged. A murderer takes someone’s life which is an unforgivable act. Misaki killed no one.

      2. @Donna

        I agree that I took it to an extreme but not as much as you state.

        The mother character is physically abusive to her assistant, neglects her children (apparently), and is someone who was willing to bash another person’s head into an arcade machine to the point where the glass is embedded into his face. Arcade machines normally have strengthened glass for the sake of avoiding lawsuits from kids who may play too rough and break through.

        If not for already being dead, I would not have been surprised if the guy died from that.

        So yes, I would at least say that your statement put attempted murderer > suicide.

    3. I don’t think Decim is basing his decision much on what happened BEFORE they died, but what they do AFTER, while he’s watching them. The flashbacks are just to give you context as to what each person had to go through and how they ended up at the bar in the first place. However, it’s what you do and say during these “games” that determine whether or not Decim thinks you should go to “the void” or get reincarnated. You can say that Misaki was the best mother ever and made all this money for her children and brought them fame and fortune… but in the end, you have this same women literally trying to almost kill Yousuke just to save her own skin. Is that “reincarnation” worthy?

      The way I see it – Misaki might have fought for her life and struggled and finally made a break through, but in the end, she still thinks she doesn’t “deserve” this kind of life. She blames a lot of external factors for why she ended up where she was and she doesn’t take any of that blame on herself. SHE made bad decisions too. I feel that even up until the end, she never even cared that deeply about her children (other than having to take care of them). Of course she didn’t abuse them either, but as an example: she didn’t seem that happy with them “dealing so little damage” to Yousuke when they appeared in the game. If I were her and I missed my children, I’d bawl my eyes out just seeing them again.

      On the other hand, Yousuke felt so grateful seeing his stepmother on the screen (and even CALLED her mom). You can see the regret in his life choices when he cried in front of Decim. Not only that – but he didn’t blame his mother or father or other people for his choices, but he hated himself for taking his own life. A lot of people mention that yes – he made the decision to die and therefore that’s the worst kind of person ever… but I think this just shows how he’s redeemed himself in the afterlife. He’s aware he made wrong choices and he wanted to change.

      Misaki never gave off that impression to me and as such, what has she learned from this experience? How would she change by being given a second chance at life?

      1. there was also the “finishing moves”, where misaki saw her children fight for her but said “so weak”. who would even think of her own children as weak? but yousuke was deeply moved when he saw his stepmother and finally called him “mamma”. i was really cheering for yousuke that time

  7. The whole point was that dark souls go to the Void. Even if Decim manipulated the situation, it was Misaki who reacted violently not Yousuke, he was the victim in the game much like Misaki was the victim throughout her life.

    I mean, what was the point of Misaki acting like a jerk towards her assistant? That was such a disgusting moment and completely uncalled for.

    1. The reason, in my opinion, why Misaki was a jerk to her assistant was because Misaki was angry that her promised time with her child was being cut into by an unexpected appointment setup by the assistant without Misaki’s permission or heads up (and apparently the assistant has made this same mistake a couple of times before).

      Was the slap warranted? NO. Definitely NO. But given Misaki’s background, violence would have been her natural anger response. Not sure if the assistant had been slapped by Misaki before, but if so, it would help explain why the assistant snapped and then proceeded to murder Misaki. For Misaki, unless her life is in danger, the thought of someone fighting back after a slap/punch may not have crossed her mind, given that she herself had not done so before.

      As for reacting to the situation, I am hesitant to say that Yousuke would have reacted better. At the time Yousuke’s control stick broke, did either Misaki or Yousuke acknowledge that they may be in a real life-or-death game? If Misaki had been the one to get a broken control stick at that point, I highly doubt she would have bashed Yousuke’s face in. Hysterically yell and scream, most likely, but not violently attack anyone (especially if she is thinking there may be a camera recording somewhere).

      What would Yousuke have done if he thought he was the one about to lose his life and his control stick broke? I don’t know.

      1. At first, I agreed with you about the uncertainty about what Yousuke would do in Misaki’s position, but the more I thought about it, the more I concluded we actually have a decent idea.

        He JUST had his head smashed into a screen repeatedly, to the point of unconsciouness. And instead of doing what many might consider justifiable, and retaliating by smashing her face in, he simply goes back to the arcade machine.

        Whatever his failings are, we can at least say he is not prone to violence.

      2. Blue,

        I think you’re right. His choice to go back to beating her via the game rather than with his fists does indeed indicate he likely would not have resorted to violence if his and Misaki’s situations were reversed. Thanks for that. 🙂

        I’m puzzled why the heck my comment above is getting down-votes, though.

  8. It’s disgusting how people approve of Misaki’s actions because she had a tough life. Does that mean it’s okay to treat everyone like crap because I had a crappy life?

    What a ridiculous excuse.

    1. You are interpreting it wrong, nobody is saying it’s okay to treat everyone like crap because they had a crappy life, what people are saying IS .. nobody deserves to go to an eternal void because they treated someone like crap.

      That just doesn’t make a lick of sense to give her such punishment while the one who didn’t value all the good things he had in life (decent house, good father and the nicest stepmother ever, no clear problems whatsoever) and threw away his life on whim gets a second chance, while a mother of 5 who was fighting to get back to her life and children (whom she cares about a lot) gets banished into oblivion .. that’s what’s disgusting and stupid, stupid Decim deserves to be fired over this judgment, and rigging the game too.

  9. Sounds weird to say…but I would’ve probably done the same thing as Misaki when her game was sabotaged. Due to Decim’s vagueness (as with the first dart game) Misaki thought that whoever losses would be killed. Having seen her family on the screen just before that moment, I felt that she was desperate to get back to them no matter what. Unlike Yousuke, she actually had a good life to return to, one which she had endured and worked hard to achieve. I also wonder if Decim regretted sabotaging her game towards the end as she would’ve likely been reincarnated too if it wasn’t work that shocking showing, as shown by the short scene after the credits of him staring at the device.

    Of course it does not defend her actions against her assistant. It was however still related to her trying to spend time with her kids. Her assistant’s actions were also over the top as well to be honest.

    Personally I felt that her wish to return to her family was sincere. It seems to me that Yousuke regretted killing himself rather than accepting his new mother. It was one of those cases where I could see if going either way. I understand why the outcome was the way it is, and I don’t see anything for Yousuke other than reincarnation, but I think sending Misaki to the void is just another tragic note in a tragic life.

  10. I honestly thought Decim might have analyzed Misaki’s response in the context of her career, and that she was an actress. Thus, her remorse couldn’t even be credited as authentic, and thus her entire final breakdown could have been determined by Decim to be an act, though it obviously tugged on his heartstrings at least a little. That’s why I think Onna was so impersonal about it, too, and icy, while in Rolling Ballade we got that fantastic smile at the end from her.
    Along those lines, then, I think it makes sense how Decim judged Misaki off her inexcusable actions, rather than her words at the end. I’m not sure how I feel about Yousuke, though. Maybe he’ll get reincarnated as a beetle. I didn’t find him to be the most redemptive character either, but I didn’t see him as a nasty, manipulative player either.

  11. I think the most misunderstand here the Point. In this Show/Anime. Must there be a Winner and Loser every time? Could not both Lose? How define Winning? and how define Losing?

    If a Winner can reincarnate, will he be a Human soul, or get he a Animal or even lesser Body?
    Perhaps “winning” is just a lesser form of losing, not the Life (they are dead anyway), just a method to reincarnate as living being

    Sadly this Show do not show us, in how the “winners” return to the Cycle

    1. sure the Shinigami, just can see Black and White, thats because there is the Nameless Girl, to teach this Shinigami the Gray part and Emotions

      Looks like this Shinigami here is still on the Training, he is not Perfect. and the Nameless Girl seems to me like a Fresh Shinigami Rookie

  12. I posted this in myanimelist. Just wanted to let it out.

    I love this anime but I disagree with the judgement. WTH? Why is a man that choose to end his life is better than a woman who choose to move on with it?

    Let me be clear, like everyone else we all have thought about suicide – but to actually going trough with it – that man is a COWARD! Shit happens to us all and some ran away but he’s running away from eveything by choice – and it’s not even that hard a life!


    I am a hypocite for saying this yet saying this makes me a better man – SUICIDE DOESN’T SOLVE YOUR PROBLEM, IT REMOVES THE POSSIBILITY OF EVER MAKING IT BETTER!

    That mother is an asshole but she had the courage to face life and move the fucking on! In my opinion, she not him deserves to be reincarnate!


    I’m sorry but this show is just that good. Some comments just give me pause sometimes. Damn…

    That said, I still stick to what I think. We agree to disagree.

    1. I think the problem is that people keep judging people based on their lives before their death, whereas I believe Decim’s job is to judge people by their actions DURING the game. HOW they died or lived up until that point may have only factored in to the point where the afterlife says “we’re not sure what to do with them, so let’s make them play a game”

      In other words, I think the people enter the bar able to go to either Reincarnation or the Void, and it’s their choices from that point on which affect the outcome.

      1. That’s not true. I recall in episode 2, it was mentioned that they are judged based on their actions in the game AND in their past life. That is why the arbiters are given all that person’s memories.
        And dying at the same time is the only reason they end up in the Void.

      2. And, as mentioned by others, the flashbacks to their lives when alive, their memories, are really more for us viewers to see. Decim and any other Arbiters most likely aren’t actually seeing them play out so, as you and others have said, since they don’t have access to such things, all they can do is judge based on the peoples’ actions during (and after) the games.

        That’s most likely why, like with episode one, people were confused as to why the husband was reincarnated while the wife was sent to the Void; they were basing their own personal judgment primarily on the memories of the two when they were alive (making the husband look like a paranoid jerk and the wife a misunderstood victim). However, if one were to completely ignore the memories we’re shown and focus solely on how the two acted during and after the game, then Decim’s choice makes more (cold) logical sense in that all he would’ve seen was the wife eventually admitting to only marrying out of greed, and cheating on her husband without a care. We, the viewers, may see/believe otherwise, but Decim only judges based on what he sees happening in front of him at the moment.

        Kurokami no Onna is kind of like the viewer’s voice in a way, I’d say, trying to get Decim to look a bit deeper than just what he sees happen on the surface.

    2. You have a point in that Yousuke’s suicide was…not the best thought or most admirable action ever, but as I commented below, that’s not really what Decim is judging here. He’s judging the quality of the souls, of how the people before him truly are. While how a person dies ties into their character, they don’t remember that until the end of the game, and what they do as they recover their memories and interpret the situation is what Decim judges.

      Misaki is not worse than Yousuke for being murdered (although it should be noted that Misaki wasn’t entirely blameless in that murder), she’s worse because Yousuke didn’t smash someone’s head into a game console without knowing what would happen if they lost said game. Yousuke may have been a coward in life (it depends on your view of suicide), but in a real life scenario, Misaki would have been a murderer – admittedly she was in an extreme frame of mind, but do you really expect her to have not snapped at some point? Meanwhile, Yousuke realized the pain that he caused by jumping, and at how pitiful he was for not fulfilling his step-mom’s wishes.

      As you said, Misaki is an asshole (she has reason to be one, but it doesn’t change what she did), and is that the kind of person you want living in another body, or someone who realized just how much of a mistake suicide is, and thus is less likely to do so in the future?

    3. Oh lord, I’m so sorry; I only just realized that you had already read and commented on my comment already, so my post to you here was…dumb. Thank you for reading and commenting, and…well, I will do better to look to who the person I am commenting to is. I wish I could delete that comment above…

    4. “SUICIDE DOESN’T SOLVE YOUR PROBLEM, IT REMOVES THE POSSIBILITY OF EVER MAKING IT BETTER!” – quote KF. No, no, no. You don’t get it at all. We know suicide doesn’t solve our problem. It removes us from the problem.

      1. No, it removes you only to find the strength to solve this Problem. Think it like Tides of Water. After every ebb tide there comes a high tide. You just need to believe that

        Will you always love your bride, in good and bad times, until death torn you apart? Well, this is not for Show. The Bible know that there is bad times, and even Jesus said “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her”, so God an his Son know that we are not free of Sins

        And i bet other religions has it similar, why there would be the prayers to forgive us our sins?

      2. Faith can be a Anchor or a Lighthouse in some darkest Hours, the inspiration to give your strength to move on. Let it be Religion Faith, faith that the family still needs you, faith that you can still change things

  13. It’s so easy to judge people when you haven’t experienced clinical depression yourself. It is so easy to call him a coward without realizing that the disturbed state he was in probably convinced him there was no other choice.

    Depression is a mental disorder.

    Giving him another chance was the right thing to do. Not to mention the fact that he behaved a lot nicer and was essentially a better person than Misaki who acted like a jerk towards people around her.

  14. This was the darkest, emotionally-heaviest and at the same time – the best episode so far.

    I am a bit disappointed, though, I thought that this show would try to be different, but the outcome of this week’s judgement was pretty formulaic. It feels like Misaki was sent to the void only because she was a bitch to her assistant, she tried to manipulate Yosuke in order to win, and she bashed his head in. She was the more obviously “evil” of the two. But that is a simplistic viewpoint. If you look deeper she was doing her best in order to survive, to live, while the guy just gave up on life. It does not make much sense to give a second chance to the guy who did not even try hard the first time. It feels like the “nicer” person was reincarnated, not the one who would make the best of their second chance based on their first life.

    Also, in some religions suicide is indeed a crime greater than murder. It’s devastating to the people who love you, and even in the unlikely case that no one misses you, it is still a crime against God, who gave you that life – it is not yours to take.

    In the end, I understand the decision that was made, but I would appreciate the show more if it chose the riskier approach with the reverse decision and try to teach us to fight for our life, rather than just give up.

  15. Seriously Decim .. that’s some crappy judgement (realize that’s i’m criticizing Decim not the show/writers), Let me get this straight, a guy who “chose” to throw away his life over “nothing” gets reincarnated and the mother who took care of her five children and stood by them and was killed over a stupid reason (yeah, it’s not a good idea to bitch slap your manager, but getting killed over that is extreme) gets sent to the void .. really !!!?, yeah .. life isn’t fair Decim when people with crappy judgment decide where you go after you die .. seriously man.

    Let’s break it down into bullet-points:-

    The NEET
    -His father and mother get divorced and his mother rejected him (big deal, happens everyday and i’m pretty much in the same place)
    -His stepmother turned actually to be a really nice woman whose only wish was to hear the word “mother” from him (yet he is depressed because !!?)
    -Even he doesn’t know why he committed suicide, there in no reason or crisis whatsoever, and nothing warranting his so called depression (i can understand people under great pressure and alone or with a very painful terminal illness might commit suicide, but there was nothing like that here), it just feels like he had a mood swing and decided to kill himself on a whim, which is utterly stupid and wasteful on his part.

    Verdict: He doesn’t respect life at all thus doesn’t deserve to be given another one.

    The MOTHER
    -Despite her bad luck, bad choices and attitude she clearly loved her children and stood by them despite all the crap she went through, many other women would have abandoned them or ran away with one of her boyfriends, but she didn’t.
    -The scene when she was beaten by one of her lovers/boyfriends and still hanging on to her baby and breastfeeding him/her seals the deal for me, it is clear she had such a shitty life but she never gave up and never abandoned her duties as a mother.
    -She might have overreacted when she smashed Yousuke face into the arcade machine screen but understand she is a mother of 5 children and finally her life was starting to look good after all the shit she went through only to be pushed back into a shitty situation, she thought if she won she would go back to her children, say what you want but she was fighting for her life and her children .. while Yousuke threw away his life.

    Verdict:She deserved another chance to reincarnate and maybe have a better life this time or even meet her children again somehow someday … she didn’t deserve to roam nothingness/void forever with no hope and no memories.

    Decim messed up this one so badly, and i think the tool he used to rig the game kinda signified that, i guess it could mean that arbiters could make significant errors down to the point of cheating to get a certain conclusion based on their impressions … Nameless girl was rightfully pissed off and so am i.

    That episode was truly masterful and gut-wrenching at the same time, and even if i totally do disagree with Decim’s decision this episode.

    The next episode will involve a child/young boy, that’s really going to get harsher and harsher, and we get to see more of the world (Nameless Girl bedroom) and the other arbiter characters, can’t wait.

  16. I have to really wonder now if the Death Billiars OVA is canon or not. In the OVA a young man did something similiar as the woman and judging from his memories he had a normal life only and only died becuase he cheated on a rather unstable girlfriend, yet he ended up as reincarnated. He even asked like the woman, why the arbieter have the right to judge them.

    1. I just watched that, so I know what you’re talking about.

      I think the thing to take away from Death Billiards is that Decim says that everyone who enters the bar is equal. I take that to mean that the sum of their entire lives has balanced out to equal “could go to reincarnation or could be cast into the void.” So the only thing that matters is what they choose to do from that point on.

      I was surprised to see the young man get reincarnated given his actions during the game, but I think it has something to do with what the old man told Decim near the end. The scary face the old man makes may also support this guess.

    2. The OVA’s ending did seem a bit weird, yeah. However, there’s the scene of the old man whispering something to Decim, and that scene was given a quick flashback soon after their elevators take off. That seems to have been what ended up sealing the deal, whatever it was.
      There’s also the rather creepy face the old man did just before the doors closed…

      Of course, hinting at some hidden truth isn’t the smartest move when you’re not planning to reveal it.

    1. I saw a theory that he’d be a player and then become an arbiter/assistent through deciding not to play against the kid, thus explaining what happens when someone chooses not to play. However, considering the cast pic for the next ep showed another older man and the kid, I think it’s fair to say the old guy might be the redheaded guy’s assistent and Decim/Nameless Woman need to work with them for something.

  17. I saw an interesting theory on tumblr about Decim’s possible motives for pushing as hard as he does, aside from the judgement aspect. In the funi subs at least, he says that he not only draws out darkness but he takes it in. While he probably means it metaphorically, it’s possible he means it literally.

    One of the things that stick out with the characters is that even when they break down or are terrible people, there’s a certain level of catharsis (minus the first and second ep with Machiko and Takeshi, but that’s the judgement Decim messed up on). Considering the show’s buddhist influences, it may be possible Decim is taking off/absorbing some of the darkness or karma weight from a person before sending them off. So even if they end up in the Void, they go lighter and with less burdens than when they came to Quindecim and thus have less suffering.

    I think Decim’s judgement was accurate, as questionable as his motives were or how tragic Misaki’s background was. However, he’s also seemingly very empathetic and he’d helped her find some peace before she went off, much like he helped soothe the young man in Death Billiards. I think Decim could have easily just tangled her in strings and shoved her on her way, especially since he’d already judged her to the Void, but he didn’t. With this in mind, it could very well be part of the process to help souls move on, and would make Machiko’s fate even more tragic. Since while she “confessed” it wasn’t for the right thing and she went off with her last memory being Takeshi trying to kill her again.

  18. Episode 4 brings back the stark reminder that death is still something bitter, a really nice leap back to the main focus after Episode 3.

    Yousuke and Misaki brings about the points of circumstances of death, and that the dead may not be necessarily judged by it. Yousuke committed suicide whereas Misaki got murdered, if we were just to skim at the surface, Misaki may deserve more sympathy. Furthermore, in some cultures/religion, suicide is seen as a very grave sin, since you’re essentially committing murder on yourself.

    I still thought Decim made a very fair decision in sending Misaki to the void, instead of Yousuke. In the end, all she thought was mostly about herself, you can tell from the flashbacks too that while she claims to have loved her children, her children showed different sentiments otherwise. Yes, she was pitiful, to have made bad decisions in life and having to suffer for it; but that doesn’t mean she’s entitled to deserve everything and do anything to compensate for it.

    Yousuke is a little more innocent, you could say his “sin” was not knowing how to appreciate what he had while he was alive. But then again, I feel that this anime series sometimes tend to address the realistic situation of things that we may not often relate to unless we go through it. Yousuke, as a child has seen the worst things happening (parents arguing and divorce) and then having his birth mother reject him, that’s really too much of a shock for a child. Depression happens and spirals out of control, he becomes a shut-in and an otaku (in Japan, this is a form of escapist culture). Neither his father or his stepmother are aware of what he’s going through, and no help was extended to him as a result. He sees no point in living, having no other goals/motivation, he’s bored, probably the reason why he chose ended his life.

    Decim’s sabotage will definitely still happen in more episodes to come. Having darkness in the soul is natural, but it certainly helps to see how different individuals face and handle their darkness. I thought episode 1-2 and 3 were the foundations in letting the viewers understand this (why the married couple could escalate into chaos and why the young sweethearts didn’t).

    tl;dr – Look at the way Yousuke and Misaki handled themselves in the end, their flashbacks, as well as their final moments. I’m all for it that Misaki went to the void.

    Lastly, I’m excited that we’re finally gonna see more new characters next episode (the lotus old man and that red haired bartender), the latter shares the same VA with Sousuke from Free! 😀

  19. I’ve been reading a lot of comments on how since Yousuke took his own life, he’s scum and didn’t deserve to reincarnate, and just as many that Misaki deserved to reincarnate due to her sad life. However, there is a factor that Cherrie picked up on that plays a lot in how the characters before were judged; their actions in a high-stakes, high stress game where they have no idea what’s going to happen. As Decim has stated, the reason that the games are set up like this (and practically rigged, being selected deliberately in another player’s favor rather than being an equal battle) is to draw out the true personality of the players. As it has been shown here and in the original short film, the actions the players take outside of the stated rules have no bearing on whether or not they win the game – assaulting other players or using their limited pieces are perfectly legal moves unless stated otherwise. It’s merely them assuming that such niceties are in place that prevents characters from taking them…which makes it stand out when they do take such actions, as they’re willing to defy such customs to get ahead.

    Misaki had a horrible life, that’s true; she was saddled with five kids (I’ve read mention of a child given up for adoption, but I saw nothing to that effect in the episode), had three successive abusive husbands, and was murdered by her agent in what could have been an upturn in her life. Yousuke was told by his biological mom she wishes he was never born when he was young, shut out his adopted mom, and, as noted, seemed to be going through a pretty bad depression that a single loss in a game convinced him he should take his own life. HOWEVER, that is not what is being judged by Decim; whether you had a bad life or a good life before dying doesn’t matter in this setting, save for how you allowed it to affect you and how you react to losing said life. The real importance is the quality of your soul afterwards, and if it’s fit for reincarnation, living in another person.

    Misaki showed no character growth before or after she realized she had died, and that her life may be on the line in this game. Instead she proved how unsound her mind was by assaulting Yousuke by smashing his face into his game, repeatedly, and she didn’t even appreciate how hard she was doing it until she realized glass was embedded in Yousuke’s face. Even if she displayed regret over the action, in real life, even if the person’s head wasn’t smashed in, it was well past the point that anything could be done for her victim. What would she do differently if she came home to her kids after that? Can you honestly say she’d be a better person?

    Yousuke, meanwhile, realized just how minor but meaningful of a request his step-mom had from him, and how supportive she really was. Though he went against Misaki’s wishes in the second round (supposedly; we don’t really know if he would have beaten her or if he was trying to not make his losing look deliberate), at no point did he act aggressively towards her. Should Yousuke have managed to come back to life, can you really say he wouldn’t have grown from the events, and have granted his step-mom’s desires? He learned from his passing, something Misaki didn’t come close to doing.

    If you knew nothing about these characters’ histories, or how they died, which would you pass for reincarnation and which would you send to the void?

      1. I think the arbiter was given the memories and history in order to help understand and judge their actions and motivations during the game. Which is why Decim’s judgement back in episode 1 was an error, and he was disappointed in himself.

    1. Pretty much everything that I would’ve said. I didn’t realize the amount of polarizing views there were on Misaki and Yousuke’s life… but you explained it in a clear way.

      I definitely don’t think either of them deserved to die, and I do think that if the game turned out better, both of them could have come out reincarnated. However, I think people forget that a lot of the decision is based on what you do AFTER death. Decim is judging you based on your reactions while he puts you in dire situations. It may bring out the worst in people, but like we saw last week, it can also bring out the best in people – it’s just up to the player what happens to you. In this case, I don’t think Misaki would have changed much if given a second chance whereas Yousuke would have. Misaki died at the peak of her life and she probably didn’t regret anything other than not being able to live out the rest of it. Yousuke died young too, but realized his mistakes and would choose to show more appreciate towards his stepmother if given the chance.

    1. That’s probably the most accurate way of evaluating Decim’s actions.

      Death Parade is clearly not taking place within a Judeo-Christian framework, so the religious prohibition of suicide (auto-Hell) does not apply. If it did, the kid would not have ended up in the bar in the first place.

    2. 1. Void =/= Hell. Hell is an eternal torture, while void… The soul just gone.
      2. Suicide may be a great sin, but how about doing sex before wedding? And probably also adultery, neglecting children and abusive actions.
      3. Remember that Decim only saw people’s past as slice of images (cmiiw). Only anime viewer saw their life as a more complete scenes, Decim probably didn’t. Moreover, he judged the result more according to their action in the game, not before the game. Whether the system is barely effective or not is another question.

      1. As I understood it, the Void in this setting is not quite the Buddhist concept of Mu, that is non-being or nothingness. Rather, your soul is plunged into darkness, where it will spend eternity with nothing but its own negativity as company.

      2. Yeah, Void =/= Hell but it also doesn’t mean nothingness, they explained it -in ep2 i think- that the void means to have your soul wander aimlessly into darkness with nothing but your negative thoughts and emotions (fear, despair, hatred, loathing, .. etc etc), in a way that’s a kind of psychological torture/punishment.

  20. Since this threat seems to have gotten into the issue of suicide, I just thought I’d give a little nod to Freakonomics:


    Freakonomics goes into the topic of suicide, and it presents an interesting observation that suicide is largely a developed-nations’ problem. And that it’s not just about having a miserable (or in the case of the Yousuke, a sub-par) life, but it’s also about having something to blame.

    If you have the time, it’s worth a listen. And I think it’s interesting to see how their conclusions may apply to this episode’s characters.

  21. I’m not sure if this has already been commented upon but, the characters in this episode not only seem to have a connection via familial issues, but also the perpetuation of wrongs done to them on by other people during their lives.

    Misaki went through a lot of abusive relationships, and although she was able to ‘overcome’ that past and create a name for herself and support her children, she was also continuing the same cycle of abuse and neglect she’d experienced. Physically abusing her manager(?), and neglecting her children for her work; She began to use the people around her as tools like she had been used.

    Yousuke, on the other hand, seemed like a good kid who tried his best to please a mother who scorned his existence and abandoned him. At one point he must have given up on trying to please anyone; and when his new stepmother was brought in, despite her efforts and wish that he would acknowledge her, he chose to end his life. He abandoned her in the same way his mother had him.

    He seemed to realize that in the end too, which may be the reason that he was chosen for reincarnation and Misaki was not.

  22. I was in tears by the end of the episode too! After reading everyone’s comments, I actually want to re-watch this episode. Originally I felt that Misaki deserved a second chance, too. But thinking back, Decim probably made the right decision. Yousuke felt regret for not granting his stepmom’s simple request, and he realised how much he owed it to her, in a sense. On the other hand, Misaki was more mourning for her own death rather than her children’s loss of their mother. It was obvious from her reaction in the game that when she saw her children, she was delighted, but when they were of no use to her in terms of hurting the opponent, she scorned them. The darkness in her soul, whether a result from her abuse or otherwise, was pretty horrifying to say the least.

    On the topic of suicide and depression, I think we must realise clinical depression is actually not something one can just get over, and many people battle it with lifetime medication. If you’ve taken anti-depressants you know it’s no simple matter, and you’re almost devoid of emotions because you don’t get extremely happy nor extremely depressed–you just feel flat. As for Yousuke, it’s hard to tell if he was clinically depressed or not, but being bullied and abandoned would no doubt have pushed him to become the way he was. Yes, suicide is selfish, and some would even say is cowardly, but at the end of the day, there isn’t actually a formula to say suicide = . And to those who say suicide is a sin, well, so are many other things. All sins are sins and no particular sin is greater/lesser than the other (except blasphemy I guess?), though the consequences and impact may be different. No one dies a perfect man for all I know…

  23. Regarding this episode, I have to wonder whether going to the void is the worse option. In Buddhism, the goal of enlightenment is to escape the cycle of rebirth, in this respect shouldnt going to the void be the better option or am I missing something here. Decim may just use Heaven and Hell as an analogy but it may not represent what is really happening. Actually, I am not even sure if Decim truly knows what is going on either as there appears to be a hierarchy present and Decim only knows a portion of the truth. What is he exactly, I guess we will fin out later.

    Though I feel sorry for both individuals this episode, with reference to what some people mentioned, both individuals enter the bar on equal footing and are judged based on what transpire from then on.

    Having just watched Death Billiards:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. It was already explained what the Void means in the series, void means to have your soul wander aimlessly into darkness with nothing but your negative thoughts and emotions (fear, despair, hatred, loathing, .. etc etc), in a way that’s a kind of psychological torture/punishment.

  24. I don’t think either individual deserved going to the void.

    The NEET-from the numerous comments above I feel like people can’t really empathize with his situation. Yousuke, at a young age, had his very existence denied by his own mother. I don’t think anyone understands how traumatic that really is. I understand how irrational the thought process is that leads to committing suicide, but as someone who has suffered clinical depression (had contemplated suicide but did not attempt), I can totally understand the emotions and the vicious cycle of pessimistic thoughts. It’s often not a whim, but a long term layering of self-denial, self-hatred, despising your own existence, lethargy towards life, boredom of the world, and feeling of hopelessness. And then all it takes is for something small to act as the last straw that switches on “I’ve had enough of this.”. Yousuke is a NEET, so I believe he doesn’t exactly have the strongest self-confidence/self-love. Plus he’s isolated from society+his very own family. He has no support network/people he has faith in. There’s also the fact that he’s young, which can lead to him acting on impulse.

    Misaki-she’s a victim of domestic abuse (people who have suffered long-term abuse tend to become abusers themselves, hence the manager situation). I can see how her life may have shaped her into someone who has a strong sense of self-preservation, so I wasn’t all that surprised that she was the one who fought against the situation (though I was kind of shocked by the violence, but it was a pretty extreme situation).

    There’s no way to measure these individuals against each other. The only similarity between them is their huge sense of regret for dying before having properly lived and caring for the important people in their lives. Otherwise, how do you measure apples against oranges?
    I think Misaki was completely right when she said, “Who are you to judge?” I honestly think that the whole arbiter thing is quite arbitrary.

  25. I think I appreciate this show a bit more now than I did with the first two episodes – one reason for such being that its resolutions appear to be remarkably morality-free.

    It’s heavily implied, mind you, that regardless of his actual arbitration, Decim does do his best to empathize with each soul – that’s what the whole embrace deal is about. Both Misaki and Yosuke had hard lives, albeit under extremely different circumstances. And yes, certainly it’s true that if you take their life stories in isolation (and ignoring that one is about twice as long as the other), Misaki’s certainly would make the more interesting and possibly inspiring story. If you append morality, justifications, extenuating circumstances… certainly there’s an argument to be made that neither deserve the void.

    But this judgment doesn’t apply morality, justifications, or extenuating circumstances. I would venture that the deciding factor here, simply, is whether one’s soul is poison and will poison others – i.e. if the soul, given another life, would simply make more people deserving of the void. Observe Misaki’s effect on the people around her in her memories… her children are clearly less than happy, and her manager is now a murderer. Contrast that to Yosuke’s relatively mild effect on the people around him – were he truly the media caricature of the NEET, even his family wouldn’t have mourned him much. And, of course, the deciding factor is their actions when pushed to the brink, and the nature of their final regrets. Misaki in a new life would no doubt make the best of herself again, most likely again after a run of initial missteps… and no doubt poison herself and any number of the people she came into contact with. And that’s probably the nature of Decim’s judgment.

  26. The amount of people who do not understand depression and suicide is alarming. I hope any of you or your close friends/loved ones never have to go through that experience based on some of these responses…

    As far as the results go, I was kind of surprised it wasn’t a double reincarnation.

    P.S. For people with the mindset of “get over it” with depression for Yousuke, on the flip side how is it okay for Misaki to treat others the same way she was? It honestly seemed like she was repeating the same mistakes over and over based on the flashbacks.

  27. Next week, I’d like to see two people sent to the same place again…

    Note that the old man is one of the staff members, as he’s shown in the OP along with Decim, Nona and the rest. Which means that the next episode is probably going to combine another game with the general underlying plot. I wonder how exactly are they going to do that?

  28. I’m going to avoid going into a debate about insanity or suicide, largely because both are serious issues, on which people feel very strongly about, and it’s unlikely anyone’s minds will be changed. That being said, I’ve referred to a Freakonomics podcast in this thread on the topic of suicide, and I think it provides an interesting observation about the kinds of environments where suicides occur. Prior to listening to the podcast, I never would have thought about the issue in that way, and right or wrong, I think it’s food for thought.

    I will agree that Yousuke CHOSE to commit suicide, and that it was intentional. That being said, I think a major barrier against suicide is not biological, but social. Apoptosis is an example of dying for a purpose, on a cellular level.

    I think what this comes down to is that you choose to judge Yousuke and Misaki based on their lives, and I do not believe Decim does. I would argue that the anime supports me on this, based on the results. As Decim says in Death Billiards, everyone who enters the room is equal. I take this to mean that they have ALREADY been judged for their actions taken while alive, and that has brought them to this room. And what now matters is their actions during the game.

    Because of his suicide, you believe that Yousuke should have been tossed into the void regardless of his actions during the game. Obviously the world of Death Parade and Decim disagree with you, because he was reincarnated. As this is a show created by the Japanese, whose culture is more permissive of suicide, and where hikkikomoris can be a serious burden on their families, suicide simply does not have the stigma that it does in Western societies.

    Regarding sympathy for the characters, I do sympathize with both. But allow me to present another way of viewing both character’s situation, for argument’s sake:

    Misaki wasn’t trying to be a single mother with five children. That she got married three times may indicate that her chosen method of making a living was finding a man to support her. I don’t know how many of her kids came from her first husband, but it’s possible she would get pregnant in the hopes they would help bind the husband to her. And this probably continued until she got featured on TV, like Octo-mom. While she does make sure the children are fed, she also appears to be neglectful in that she apparently has no problem with making out (and or having sex) with a man where the children can see and hear, and ignores them when they cry. Note how the eldest of her kids, who probably understand everything she does, can’t even fake smiling for the television. (She does seem to care about her youngest, but she does put her job first and probably frequently.)

    In comparison, while Yousuke has had a better life qualitatively, it is possible that his interactions with his birth mother have severely warped his sense of self-worth. Being told from a young age that he “never should have been born,” probably repeatedly for years until she left, may have convinced him that he truly has no self-worth. If so, it comes as no surprise that he would commit suicide because he believes he has no worth, and in fact may believe that he is just a burden on his father and step-mother. In his eyes, suicide may in fact be doing them both a favor. (A misguided notion, given that his step-mother appears to be a saint).

    Anyway, that’s just some speculation on my part. I think both characters deserve sympathy for their lives, and I would not have objected to both being reincarnated. But within the purview of Decim, I am not surprised at his choices given that one soul appears capable of killing others for its own benefit (even if it regrets it afterwards), and the other does not, even in retaliation.

  29. What confuses me the most is the Arbiter says at the end: “You have both done well.”

    Seems kind of weird seeing as how one got sent to the void while the other gets reincarnated

    Rick Anime
    1. It’s something lost in translation. What Decim says is “otsukaresama deshita.” It’s a phrase that gets said between co-workers at the end of the day, sort of saying “thank you for all your hard work.”

      Decim is basically saying to the two, “I know you’ve had a hard life and I know you did your best.”

      (People may disagree with how hard Yousuke’s life was, but the dude was crying. To cry from something as small as that, a person has to feel REALLY alone or misunderstood.)

  30. Getting someone pissed off at you enough that they feel the need to rid you from the world seems like a pretty good sign you are a horrible person, especially if that person is your agent who should be the person that needs you alive the most.

    That said, this show is brilliant in how it can elicit such controversy over the results of the judgment. It’s kind of amazing how some of the comments here have a lot of thumbs down as well as a lot of thumbs up.

    1. So do I. I’d imagine whatever game would be used to judge the child would have to be adapted in some way…I don’t see a little kid dealing well with the darts game from episode 1 or 2 (for example).

  31. Needless to say, this show provokes some interesting and intense, not to mention plentiful comment strains. Come for Cherrie’s analysis, and then stay for everyone else’s analysis.

    Thanks so much for blogging this, Cherrie! I can’t wait for the rest of the story to be revealed!

    1. This is definitely a show that I get a lot of amusement from while watching and even afterwards with the discussions. Thanks for reading =) I also enjoy hearing what others have to say so feel free to add to the conversation.

  32. onestly, Misaki’s personality was annoying and snot-nosed all the way until she finally got sent to the void. Although she did have multiple divorces and multiple children, she doesn’t seem to truly love any of her children. In her flashbacks, the older children seem to always have bitter faces, and she is smiling with the younger crew. There seems to be an unequal sharing of the love, if you can even consider it love. While playing the game, the special attack she uses with the children is all things to considered “weak”. This time all the children are in the frame, but she still claims that they are weak. Even during her final pleas to Dequim, she was kept talking about herself. She never once mentioned talked about them as if she really missed or needed them. She saw them as solely an essential part of her life that was now coming back to order.

    I found it interesting that her special attack in the game where the children came to help and the only useful one was the baby. The only one too young to recognise his mothers faults.


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