Death Parade Series Review

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Death Parade Overview:

Death Parade begins ambiguously. A man and a woman wake up in a bar. They don’t know how they got there, they can’t leave, and the bartender is just a little bit unnerving. Then the bartender announces that they will need to play a game.

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Death Parade Review:

Given the nature of the series, it is impossible to review Death Parade without spoiling some of the plot points. If you really hate knowing too much then just finish this paragraph and call it a day. Death Parade is amazing. It is really dark and yet delves into what it means to be human and finds small bits of hope to cling to in an otherwise really bleak and somewhat arbitrary world. If you like anime that make you think and feel then you need to check this out.

For people who want some more details, let’s continue.


The bar is Quindecim. We learn later in the series that Quin was the previous bartender and now that position is held by Decim. He’s an arbiter and it is his job to judge humans. Two people who have died at the same moment will show up at the bar and he will have them play a game in order to make his judgement and then one will be sent to the void and the other will be sent to be reborn.

Decim - Death Parade

Decim is a fascinating character. He isn’t human and he doesn’t really get humans. As an arbiter, he isn’t supposed to. It is his job to simply make the judgement. However, his boss, Nona (who is in charge of the tower where there are many such bars and arbitrators), introduces him to a human assistant, Chiyuki.

This is where the series becomes more than just another dark supernatural piece and becomes a real study in character. Chiyuki’s arrival, and her reactions and questions about the judgements, have a definite impact on Decim. However, this isn’t immediately apparent. There is a slow, and well thought out progression to Decim’s evolution throughout the series and even by the end he hasn’t changed much but the seeds for future changes are certainly there.

This makes Decim a believable and interesting character. He takes on what he has seen throughout the series and internalized it. Whether this was what Nona intended all along is left ambiguous, though it certainly seems that she was after something along these lines.


That’s the other thing I love about Death Parade. It doesn’t feel the need to endlessly explain everything (except perhaps the rules of the game of the week which Decim explains in excruciating detail to his latest human victims). There are certainly clues about the world we are in, but most of the action takes place within Quindecim and is seen from Decim and Chiyuki’s views which means there’s a lot they just don’t know. The other part of this is that we don’t need to know everything to understand the story.

The story is about Decim and Chiyuki and the impact their meeting has had on one another. The machinations of the afterlife or anything else are setting and the rules within that world are consistently maintained even if they aren’t fully explained. While the show leaves the audience curious about what else may have been and where things might have gone, it doesn’t leave you feeling frustrated at a lack of detail or questioning how one part of the story fit within the boundaries of the world they had established.

death parade

The rest of the cast are a joy as well (not that they all particularly nice characters as most aren’t but they are fun to get to know).  Ginti clearly exists to contrast with Decim as another arbiter. He has little (or no) respect for humans and doesn’t much like Decim. He’s also fairly competitive which seems like an odd character trait for someone who is supposed to make judgements (though Ginti’s existence makes you wonder whether Decim’s cool and fairly personalitiless facade is actually the out of character one).


Ginti, possibly inspired by the events in Quindecim also ends up making an interesting choice during a judgement and for awhile a human girl stays with him. The affect on his character is also reasonably subtle and again, the contrast between Ginti and Decim is pronounced and interesting as a discussion point.


The other character I have to mention is Oculus. He is an enigma. We learn very little about him but he seems extremely powerful and it is clear some of what Nona is doing is behind his back. There’s some interesting characterisation and while this storyline is never really developed it adds some intrigue and depth to the main plot that you are getting a front row seat to.

Of course, Oculus and Nona would be the clear argument as to why this series needs a continuation because it is their stories and what they are up to and standing for that is never really explored here.

Beyond the characters and the intriguing character study most episodes present with the victims of the week approach, Death parade has some of the coolest music you will come across in an anime. And this music is coupled with visuals that at first seem understated and fairly dull until you start seeing some of the details in the bar and then you realise there is actually a myriad of colours packed into some of the scenes. It’s actually a really beautiful anime in a very dark and slightly old-fashioned sense.

The removed memories being portrayed as shards similar to that of a broken stained glass window, the silver threads that we occasionally see in Quindecim, even the pool table that was more like a galaxy, they are just beautiful touches that shine in this very bleak environment.


I will put out a caution though. Episode 2. I personally loved this approach and thought that while it was quirky it was the absolute perfect way to establish the duality of Decim and Chiyuki. Episode 2 is essentially a rewatch of episode 1 but from Chiyuki’s viewpoint.

While this might seem like a tedious approach it actually does a brilliant job of filling in a lot of the ‘what the’ moments from episode 1, establishes our second protagonist, and sets up the main plot for the rest of the anime. Some people find this episode really irksome but for me it is just part of the general quirky theme that seemed to be prevalent throughout the series.

The only other caution I’m going to place on this series is that I personally can’t watch more than two episodes in a sitting. The stories and themes are quite confrontational at times and if you are emotionally invested in the show it can be quite draining. This one definitely isn’t an anime I’m ever going to choose to marathon but rather is one where I’ll watch an episode or two and walk away and mull over the events before continuing.

So, if you want an anime that has some subtle yet fascinating characters, deals with the issues of life and death and what comes after, is visually stunning and comes with a great soundtrack, check out Death Parade. It may not be your cup of tea given how hard it is trying to be quirky and cool at times but to be honest it is a near perfect viewing experience. Just my opinion though.

What are your thoughts on Death Parade?

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Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Amazing Stranger Review Episodes 9 + 10


Nona’s Jealousy Fights Back


Amazing Stranger Episode 9

In this episode of Amazing Stranger, Nona’s character takes a turn for the even more pathetic. It starts out innocently enough with Nona dreaming of Bouida growing old and then dying. Understandably, for a robot girl that is pretty rough, however she then persists in lying to Bouida about ongoing dreams in order to go on more dates with him.


I definitely find the moments of this anime that focus on Nona’s jealousy, the least interesting. While this episode wasn’t so much jealousy as just a general selfishness (originally born out of fear) it still brought out the pathetic side of Nona’s character. With the other two girls reduced to commentary for most of the episode there wasn’t really much to celebrate here.


However, there was some amusement to be found in the manner in which Bouida attempted to cheer up Nona as he took her to an amusement park, an arcade, shopping for a model of her space ship and then star gazing. Each activity is so cliché in its own way and yet kind of perfect for the story here.


For once though there seemed to be no gratuitous fan-service, unless Nona grovelling for forgiveness when her lie is revealed counts as fan-service. Which is odd because this episode doesn’t seem to advance the overall plot of what the point of the characters coming to life is or seem to be for those looking for those fan-service moments. It just leaves me wondering if we were just supposed to find this episode charming in its own right but then it doesn’t do anywhere near enough to reach that point.

Oh well, I’m not exactly looking for this anime to be amazing. Amazing Stranger remains watchable enough even if there isn’t a lot more to it than that.

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Amazing Stranger Episode 10

Did I say that the fan-service was reduced? Silly me. Episode 9 clearly just stored it all up for a hot springs moment in episode 10 of Amazing Stranger. Then again, despite where they could have taken this, much as with previous fan service servings, Amazing Stranger keeps things relatively tame.


The girls get into discussing a few bits and pieces when it comes out that Nona doesn’t remember how her anime ends. Apparently that’s going to be important toward the end but in the meantime we have a tank girl from some mobile game show up who tries to capture Nona. Shadow Nona appears and the fight is on.

Nice costume.

There’s a minor moment where we jump away from the fighting at the hot springs to see Bouida’s friend tracking down the source of the living figurines but the episode pays little to no attention to this aspect so instead let’s focus on Shadow Nona’s emotional situation where she feels jealous of the other girls and of Nona.


Ultimately Bouida asks Nona to watch the final episode of her anime with him and the episode ends. It isn’t great but it isn’t bad either and we did progress the plot, such as it is.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Amazing Stranger Review Episode 7


The plot actually exists.


Episode 7

They actually are working to advance a plot of sorts in Amazing Stranger. Colour me surprised. While there has been evidence of a potential plot bubbling away in the background I kind of expected that this was the kind of anime that didn’t much care whether it dealt with its premise or not. Episode 7 kind of indicates that this isn’t the case and Amazing Stranger might actually work towards a resolution.


With the three figurines we already knew were alive established at this point it is now time for Bouida’s friend to show up with a plan to solve the mystery of the ‘super mobile figures’ and a new living figure. While the friend is rapidly forgotten in the excitement of meeting a new friend and rival (in the case of Bellnoa and Nona) and a new fan-boy moment for Bouida as another of his beloved characters comes to life, his involvement in the story is fairly important.


They kind of balanced this episode nicely with points that are clearly building to something and points that are just the girls more or less doing silly things and appealing to the audience. The self-aware moment for the new figure as she tried to hold her clothes down against a gust of steam as well as her crawling along and coming to the realisation that she must be small don’t serve any purpose other than time filler but they are mostly harmless fun and the interactions between the figures are pretty cute at this point provided obvious fan-service that doesn’t go that far isn’t going to put you off.


I will say that Nona’s jealousy act as the ‘wife’ is starting to get a little old and is beginning to make her the least interesting of the characters. She’s very one-note at this point and any desire to explore the world has disappeared entirely. While it was obvious that learning her existence was not what she thought was going to change her, her characterisation has pretty much boiled down to a stale trope that does little but act as a foundation for the other characters to work from.

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But it is the end of the episode where we see where Bouida’s friend works that is the real reveal of the episode, even if it had already become pretty obvious. It will be interesting to see how things develop from here but regardless of what the plot does, Amazing Stranger isn’t in any hurry to get to its point where there are cute female figures to have on screen.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James