Where do we go when we die?
The 2015 winter anime season was bombarded with a heavy selection of anime adaptations of currently running manga and light novels, with heavy hitters such as Tokyo Ghoul √A and Assassination Classroom taking the spotlight. But looking past the heaps of mediocrity you’ll find some truly hidden gems of the season, one of them being the stylish and sadistic Death Parade.
Death Parade attempts to answer the question of “what happens to us when we die?” by doing away with our typical understanding of Heaven and Hell in exchange for a purgatory in the form of a 1950’s era bar. The bar, known as the Queen Decim, plays home to humans who arrive shortly after their deaths and are forced into a game. But this is no normal game, for that would be too easy, but rather it is a game to the death.
Those who attend the Queen Decim have their memories wiped prior to entering the bar, and thus are unaware of their departure of the human world. Not knowing of their unfortunate deaths, these humans are forced to match off against each other in hopes of thinking that being the victor will allow them to leave the bar.
However all of this is really a test of humanity set up to prove who is more deserving to be reincarnated, and who is to be sent to the void for eternity. And so under the watchful eye of the bar owner Decim, people are challenged to put their lives on the line in hopes of escaping this house of games.
But when one day a woman walks in and declares she knows she is dead, the entire system begins to crumble as those who live in purgatory begin to question what it truly means to be alive.
Death Parade takes a different route to story telling compared to most anime. Instead of bombarding the viewer with information, it expects you to sit down and relax as you watch events play out. There will be times where there is no dialogue and instead soft piano jazz music is played as characters play their game. Allowing you to just sit back and enjoy what is being shown to you.
While the series is inevitably about death, the series never dramatizes the concept of death and instead shows how we should celebrate what time we spend on this earth. There’s something comforting about watching people who have gone through great loss come to terms with who they are and that they have passed away, as if to say that the best thing to do in life is accept who you are and what may happen to you.
After all, to err is human.
So what do you think of Death Parade? Have you seen it, and if so what are your thoughts? If you haven’t, did this article inspire you to check it out? Let me know in the comments below.
Death Parade is available on Funimation.com
Death Parade is a 12 episode anime from the Winter 2015 season. It was animated by studio Madhouse and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa.
©Madhouse / Yuzuru Tachikawa
All pictures and gifs belong to studio Madhouse and their respective owners