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.