Death Parade Episode One Review
By: Prince Lammy
Death Parade Episode 01: Death Seven Darts
Of course, it needs no gainsaying that the first episode of a series goes a long way in how people would appreciate the series. But it has now become common knowledge that the first episode of most series is usually pretty uninteresting. Still, the reverse is the case with Death Parade.
But to be frank, trying not to include spoilers in this review is a tug-of-war for me. Still, I'd try to make this devoid of spoilers and even help you picture what this episode is all about.
And as far as anime reviews go, I'd be keying into some significant parts of the anime, including its aesthetics, plot, musicals, characters, and development, amidst other topics.
But well, here goes something.
Story | 7/10
Over time, Holy books have taught us that there is life after death. And that life after death is in either two phases; either the soul ends up in Heaven or Hell. Now Death Parade doesn't dispute that but adds a little of a parade to it!
In the world of "Death Parade," when people die, they're transported to an intersectional plane of untethered consciousness which takes the form of a bar. They were welcomed by an Arbiter who explained that they are to play a game that determines if they would be reincarnated or sent to their final deaths.
Takashi and Machiko, honeymooners, are surprised to arrive in an elevator in the Quindecim pub. Decim, the bartender, challenges them to a game of darts in which each dart falls in a different area, causing pain to their partner.
Their memories reappear as the game goes on, and Takashi recollects suspecting Machiko of having an affair, which she dismisses. He attempts to sway the game in his favor by hitting the winning hit.
Towards the end of the match, they discover they were both dead from being victims of a car accident due to Takashi's jealousy. Machiko then states that she had only wedded Takashi because of his money.
Decim, the bartender, lifts Takashi after he passes out and carries them to the elevator after preventing Takashi from assaulting Machiko anymore. Machiko is transported to the abyss, while Takashi is sent to be reborn.
Art | 8/10
It's no surprise that this anime is another one of MADHOUSE's works, as the graphics are way above mediocre. And in case you didn't know, MADHOUSE is the same studio that designed the art of Death Note! So, surely you'd expect them to do an excellent job on whatever project they work on, right?
They [MADHOUSE] have a particular aesthetic that adds to the show's overall tone. Their heavy use of shade and dark colors lends to that mystery tone. Even though this episode starts and ends in the Quindecim, it somehow does not feel claustrophobic.
Although they change the scenery a few times thanks to the flashbacks, it is still amazing how I don't get tired of seeing the bar. A few fantastic sequences happen during the game that seems like MADHOUSE showing their animation skills. I can't say this for the entire show, but I feel like there is a form of color-coding.
Sound | 7/10
The quality of songs and musicals used throughout the episode is not exactly top-notch. Still, you'll nod your head and even move your body to the opening theme. And while the song itself does not hit, the actual meaning of the words would surely touch you at some point, and they do well to give a clue of what to expect from this episode.
The closing musical of the episode is in a bit of contrast to the opening song, as it's calmer and heartwarming. But the use of intensive beats has been reduced in this, unlike the opening music.
The closing theme is the type that you slowly dance to, while the opening theme is the type you can't help but jump and dart in a bid to dance to.
The songs have shown that music plays an integral part in many shows, gives a particular insight, and delivers emotions that words can't.
Character | 7/10
The characters portrayed in this episode are no more than 5: Takashi, Machiko, Decim, the bartender, and two of Machiko's friends who appear in a flashback. But because it is a single episode, there's little knowledge to garner on all characters, especially not those that only came to the screen from a flashback.
Takashi is a reasonably successful and wealthy doctor, a gentleman, and a highly considerate lover. And to some extent, he's pretty naïve also, especially with the way his wife, Machiko, manipulated him.
And you can't help but pity him as the episode proceeds further, especially as his memories start coming back to him in bits.
On the other hand, Machiko is seen as a cunning cheat of a wife. And you can't help but get to hate her, especially as certain truths about her start getting revealed. Especially when she revealed some truths, I wouldn't mention here so I wouldn't come off as a spoiler😂.
And Decim comes off as an entirely neutral person, but there's that aura of being mystical about him.
Enjoyment | 7/10
Undoubtedly, you'd come to enjoy every moment and a bit of the first episode. It's an addition to the concept of death, the diversity and complexity of human nature, and the seeming parody of life after death. It is just something you cannot help but be awed at.
This first episode of Death Parade hooked me from beginning to end (Death Seven Darts). I wept, I smiled, I was furious, and I despised. This episode delves into various emotions, ideas, moods, and sensations.
The show's emotional power should not be underestimated. The word "feels" is frequently used to describe this show, but it is much more than that. This series must study human nature and a cross-section of it.
Overall | 7/10
Really, at the end of this episode, I cannot help but wonder just what is to be expected from the second episode of this series. And it's only a shame that this anime isn't on the list of popular anime out there, despite how interesting and intriguing it is.
And maybe, just maybe, this is my perfect opportunity to learn some more about life after death and also more about human nature. These 23 minutes have added lots more to what I've ever known about life and death.
And really, I know it's not just me, but right after you also watch the first episode, you'd be itching to see what the next one has to offer.
And unlike most other anime series, it is a bit of solace to know that this anime only has 12 episodes and an OVA, so that's not even much to spend a bit of time on. But oh well, Episode Two, here I come!