Death Parade Review

Death Parade Anime Review (4/4/4/4)

  • Artistic Merit: 4

Beautiful animation that just works as intended. It would have been very easy to go over the top stylistically but instead it becomes very powerful in its restraint. Emotions come through clearly whenever they need to, and you can viscerally feel their internal struggles. The animation manages a seamless and understated use of cg, and nothing feels out of place. Everything is treated maturely, and the lack of fanservice or censoring is refreshing.

  • Characters: 4

All the characters have distinct designs and clear personalities. The minor guest characters that appear in each episode quickly manage to be compelling in their own minor arcs. By the end of each episode you begin to care about their fates. The main characters Decim and Chiyuki work very well portraying the audience perspective. Chiyuki’s journey is our journey, beginning with no knowledge of this world or understanding of our place within it. Decim also represents the audience as detached observer who gradually can’t avoid being moved by what he experiences.

  • Story: 4

The basic concept is solid to begin with. What Madhouse manages to do however is really elevate the material a construct a full world that manages to simultaneously feel real and remain mysterious. What could have easily been an episodic series that only plays off the base concept turns out to be a complete narrative where each episode is thematically different but all working towards building the central story. These 12 episodes run the full gambit of tone and emotions and it all works to give the series a depth that few series have managed to pull off.

  • Impact: 4

This series is strongly compelling, partially because it doesn’t try to answer all the questions or push a particular moral viewpoint. It presents thought provoking questions and then leaves us an an audience to answer them for ourselves. The pacing and balancing is excellent; it can be both funny and serious, tragic and uplifting. It is a smartly written series that doesn’t condescend to its audience or go for cheap emotion which is becoming a rarity. At the core it tells a story, a good story, a well told story.

  • Additional Thoughts

Death Parade is refreshingly original and really hard to compare to anything else. While I could see this working in other mediums, its a series that feels like it is exactly where it should be and could eventually become a classic in terms of serious anime.

Completed Manga Worth Reading

There are a number of good sites that can provide countless hours of manga readings, I will try to avoid any direct mentions as fan work and scanlations still occupy a somewhat gray legal area. A casual search can provide numerous options, but test many of them out to find the ones you like. The major differences you may find will include the viewing size of the pages, the loading speed, search features, but most importantly the pace of updates.

Different sites can vary in days or weeks between updates for a series you follow. Its a good idea to track the actual scanlation groups for specific updates, but most popular series get updated on a regular schedule.

A good series can hook you and get you reading from start to finish, which can be a problem if the series is still ongoing. For this week’s recommendations I’m going to list a few series that are actually complete which means no waiting. Being able to read material from a weekly/monthly format to a non-stop one makes it much easier to follow the story lines and artist intent.

These are my recommendations for great lesser known series. For this list I kept to series that never got an anime adaptation and appear to have a definitive end.

Change 123 (60 chapters) – A great twist on the harem genre that plays off a girl with multiple personality disorder. Great artwork, martial arts action, and a cute little love story. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to locate any other work by this writer/artist team.

Bloody Monday (96, 68, and 37 chapters) – There are actually three Bloody Monday series, and they should be read in order as the events of each have strong ties to what comes after. It’s a mature series centering around a gifted hacker trying to preventing bio-terrorism by a highly organized network of professional killers. What really sells this series though are the genuinely surprising plot twists. If you like shows like 24 and movies like Borne Identity this is the manga for you.

Defense Devil (100 chapters) – Demon defense lawyer getting innocent souls out of hell and teams up with an attractive warrior nun to save the world. Suffice it to say the holy girls always go for a demon guy. Same artist and style as Area D.

Kurohime (80 chapters) – A magical witch gunslinger who is also an aspiring god slayer. The story also revolves around an epically tragic love story. It leans a bit more humorous at the outset, but gradually moves more toward the action and drama side of the spectrum. Hero? Villain? Tsundere?

Angel Densetsu (84 Chapters) – This one is definitely not for everyone and the art style can be hard to get into, but the story is quite funny if you follow Japanese culture. The story follows a nice guy with face so scary everyone runs in fear from him. It’s an issue he’s completely oblivious of which is where the humor comes in.

Samurai Usagi (68 Chapters) – This one ended very recently so we’ll see how well it holds up. It’s a bit childish, but that’s part of its charm. Lots of good natured fun and silly samurai action.