Death Parade is an anime series written and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by Madhouse. I must admit that at first, the premise of Death Parade seemed a bit cheesy to me.
Whenever two people die at the same time, they are sent to one of many mysterious bars run by bartenders serving as arbiters. There, they are coerced into participating in Death Games with their lives on the line. The result of the games reveals what secrets led them to their situation and what their fate will be afterwards, with the arbiters judging whether their souls will be reincarnated or banished into oblivion.
I’m still on something like the fifth or sixth episode but so far, Death Parade seems to be spun around Decim, the bartender of on such bar known as Quindecim. Perhaps Decim’s methods are found to be lacking by the Powers That Be, in which case, he now has a new assistant–a nameless black-haired woman with a potentially keen understanding of human nature.
Each episode focuses on a different pair and you’re never quite sure how their story is going to turn out. Whether what is revealed is the depravity or the beauty of the human soul, each revelation is either surprising or provides much food for thought.
I was quickly drawn in by this series and by episode four, had shed a tear or two. I think that even if you’ve never watched an anime before, as a fan of speculative fiction, you would find much to appreciate about this series. The show aired in 2015 and streams on Hulu, where I believe you can watch episodes for free.
As an aside: if you’re familiar with popular anime series like One Piece and Bleach, you will no doubt hear a few familiar voices here and there.