Death Parade OVA / Episode 0 Review
By: Prince Lammy
Death Parade OVA / Episode 0: Death Billiards
"Welcome to Quindecim, the mystical bar of fate."
What happens when two individuals, strangers or the closest of pals, are placed against one other in a competition that seems to be about nothing more than bragging rights, but the stakes are their own lives?
To ensure survival, one must begin engaging in various forms of psychological warfare, such as suspicion, outrage, lying, bargaining, and so on. Nevertheless, does everything seem to be as it seems?
Point to Note:
I think this "episode 0" should be watched after the first two episodes of the Death Parade series. By doing so, one may get a sense of what is going on and the characters involved. The one-shot may have part of its mystique removed. Still, after watching portions of the series, it made a lot more sense, was more intriguing, and was more captivating.
Story | 7/10
Two players get inside and begin what first appears to be an average game, such as pool, darts, or bowling in this particular instance. The individuals do not recall how or why they arrived at the Quindecim. They are not provided with any explanation as to why they are being made to participate in the game, other than the fact that their lives are at stake.
The alternative activity, described as "not something they wish to experience," is offered as an explanation. Our players eventually give in, and after some haggling, some efforts to flee, and some outright threats, they begin their game that will forever change their lives.
On the surface, we see two people engaged in a straightforward game of pool, each insisting on winning no matter what, even if it's just for the satisfaction of beating their opponent. On the inside, we witness a conflict of the utmost antiquity: a battle of souls, with the utmost prize or penalty at risk.
A phenomenal internal conflict is created when one considers the interaction of dread, suspicion, motivations, and emotions, as well as the personal feelings, thoughts, and memories that comprise a person.
They bring us to the question, "What will you do to survive?" which no one can answer other than to the best of their abilities given the circumstances. Even though life isn't fair and rarely offers a chance for two persons to be on a level playing field in their battle, our characters are forced to answer the question, "what do I have to live for?" repeatedly.
Art | 8/10
Animation of the highest caliber. The atmosphere of the play is oppressive and foreboding. The ominous atmosphere was created by a haze of dark colors, including blues, reds, purples, and blacks. The sorrow, the swell of victory, and the crash of loss are pretty visible in the beautiful hand-drawn characters' body language and face designs, and they are very constant. Moving.
Sound | 8/10
Gentle background music that is suitably ominous and sinister. Raise the level of intensity of the graphics in a subtle way. I noticed the times when there was complete and utter quiet was the most unsettling. This was because it made the character's words possible to have a far more profound impact. After all, there were no other distractions.
Character | 7/10
In this one-shot, we are introduced to Decim, the steely-composed arbiter of the Quindecim with white hair. The Quindecim is a mysterious bar (and a character in its own right) with a big ballroom and gaming theater. The only way to enter this establishment is through a pair of elevators adorned with exquisite theater masks that depict heaven and hell.
The goal of Decim is to verify that those who enter the institution are willing to abide by the terms of their contract to participate in a game of random chance, that they do so, that the rules are followed, and that the outcomes are carried out. He is a cold and emotionless man who does not appear to take any pleasure in the activities that he makes his competitors participate in.
[The young man slamming the older man into the water tank when the latter spaced out for a bit]
In this episode, we have two guests: a young businessman and an elderly gentleman. Each has its reasons for being here. Both are playing pool for their lives in the Quindecim, but they both have the same objective: to win. Neither of them knows why they are there. Their memories start to come back to them as their destinies play out, which causes a change in the course that their lives will take from this point on.
Enjoyment | 8/10
An episode that was incredibly compelling on both a mental and an emotional level. There are a lot of twists and turns, and although very little makes sense at first, everything is clarified at the appropriate time. Although it was heavy on conversation and symbolized a challenge, it was still enjoyable.
Deciphering the meanings behind it never seemed like a bother, and the result was entertaining. The dark environment and the feeling that something is not quite right to envelop the program are both incredibly addicting. I was left wanting more after that.
Overall | 8/10
Since I finished reading Ergo Proxy, I've been looking for another psychological thriller, and I think I may have found one. I can't wait to find out where the TV show is going.