Anime Review: Death Parade (2015)
Director: Yuzuru Tachikawa
Distributor: Funimation Entertainment
Runtime: 300 minutes
Availability: Streaming on FunimationNow in English Dub, in Japanese with English subtitles on Crunchryoll, Hulu
In Death Parade (2015), guests arrive at a mysterious bar called Quindecim and are told to play a game, and that the stakes are their lives. It is a place where the dead are judged and are either sent to the void or are sent for reincarnation. Arbiters are the ones who make the judgments, but it isn’t just a straightforward process, at least that’s how a mysterious Black-Haired woman sees it.
The Guests are What Make This Series Interesting and Intense:
Death Parade has an interesting series because of the guests that arrive at the Quindecim. The idea of having the dead judged isn’t a new idea, but this is an interesting twist on the concept.
I like the stories that are seen in the lives of the guests of the Quindecim. Each guest isn’t a cookie-cutter cliché and they’re each unique individuals and aren’t easily put into a box of character stereotypes.
I enjoyed the story a lot and the characters in this anime. The characters are what make the anime stand out among the seasonal anime in 2015. While the individual episodes always leave an impression on me, episodes 8 and 9 are the two that stand out to me the most, but I won’t spoil them for you.
Death Parade – Coming Soon:
The Animation Is Fantastic!
The anime studio Madhouse is known for making amazing anime adaptations most of the time, but their original ideas aren’t always as great, but Death Parade (2015) is their original creation and not based on any previously published work.
The animation is stunning, not just because it looks nice or because it’s flashy, while the animation does look fantastic, what makes it amazing is that they’ve created beautiful artwork and animation without relying on fight scenes like a lot of anime adaptations where the studio can show off with flashy fight scenes and over-the-top cinematography and camera angles.
The anime has a wonderful ice skating sequences because it does the phrase “Show don’t tell” correctly. Many anime studios don’t know how to do showing without telling because of excessive info dumping. This animated sequence shows a character’s entire back story without one line if dialogue and we can easily learn everything we need to know about the character without anything being said through narration.
While this anime does have fight scenes they are very rare so the animation doesn’t just waste time animating scenes that don’t need to be there.
Death Parade’s animation is top notch and it’s an amazing anime that has s been overshadowed by so many anime being released seasonally. It is one that is worth watching, but not just for its stunning animation.
Audio and Subtitles:
English (Reviewed) (Available on FunimationNow)
English (Available on Hulu, Crunchyroll)
Japanese (Available on Crunchroll and Hulu)
The English Dub is Fantastic!
Funimation has had an interesting history when it comes to dubbing, they’re the most popular anime company when it comes to English dubbing because their dubs tend to be really good, but ever since they started doing English simuldubbing to keep their dubs close to the Japanese release, and their dubs have varied in how good they are. While the dubs are still good, it has become harder to find outstanding English dubbing because the English dubbing various from meh to fantastic.
Death Parade was the first English Simuldub that Funimation did, and what I noticed is that they brought in a lot of English dub veterans for this series, along with some newcomers.
Trina Nishimura, Eric Vale, Bryn Apprill, Micah Solusad, Ian Sinclair, Monica Rial, Josh Grelle, Maxey Whitehead, Todd Haberkorn, Kent Williams, Stephanie Young, so many anime industry English dub veterans were cast in this anime as some of the guests. They’re all amazing voice actors and they were chosen for these roles because of all their experience in the English dubbing industry.
While many of the guest voice actors are amazing, one of the most standout performances in the English dub comes from Monica Rial as Misaki Tachibana. She did an amazing job voice acting in this role and she was stellar.
Todd Haberkorn did an amazing job as Shimada. Ever since he moved to L.A. he hasn’t been a staple of Funimation’s English dub cast, so it’s a treat to hear him in their anime, he usually dubs Fairy Tail since he was cast as the main lead Natsu before he moved to L.A. He did give an outstanding performance in this anime and they gave him a very memorable role in this anime.
Alex Organ is fantastic as Decim. He is an amazing voice actor and even though he’s not in a lot of currently airing anime due to his decision to focus on his career in the theater he still gives an amazing vocal performance in this anime.
He did a fantastic job in this anime and he’s one of the many highlights of the English dub.
Jamie Marchi is also fantastic as the Black-Haired Woman whose name I won’t spoil because it’s part of the plot. She gives a wonderful, emotional performance for her character throughout this anime, playing of Alex Organ quite well and makes their character dynamic very interesting in how they’re different from each other when it comes to their view of humans.
Robert McCollum did a fantastic job voice acting as Genti. I’ve always enjoyed anime that he’s worked on and it’s always nice to hear him since he doesn’t tend to get a lot of lead roles in anime, he’s usually a supporting character.
Lea Clark did an amazing job as Maiyu, making her funny and hilarious, but she could be serious when she needed to be. She was a great choice for this role and I really enjoyed her vocal performance. She played off Robert McCollum really well and it was fun to see their characters interact with each other.
Jad Saxon did was also a very nice choice to voice Nona. She did a great job in this role, and I love how she keeps her character serious as someone who is important but she still has to deal with her boss Oculous, and how her character has different sides to her as well.
Jeremy Schwartz is an excellent voice actor for Oculus. He’s both goofy, serious and sinister and all in the same character. He was an interesting character and the voice actor brought that to the role.
All in all, the English dub is great, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Japanese dub if you prefer to watch in Japanese with English subtitles. Either way, you’ll enjoy listening to the voice actors in this anime.
Death Parade OP/Opening "Flyers" - BRADIO:
The Music is Beautiful!
Yuki Hayashi’s music score for Death Parade is beautiful and very well done. There are some outstanding musical pieces that really make Death Parade stand out.
The music compliments the story as it’s supposed to and I really loved the soundtrack. It’s very well done and is another outstanding aspect of this anime.
The opening song “Flyers” by BRADIO is one of the catchiest songs that anime has ever had as it’s opening, but it’s so deceptive because the visuals that accompany the song have nothing to do with what the anime is actually about so it throws the audience off, but I really loved the song and imported the single from CDJapan long before it was put on the U.S. iTunes store.
The ending is Last Theater" by NoisyCell. The song is strong and emotional and a very fitting song for this anime.
The soundtrack is fantastic and you’ll definitely enjoy the music if you haven’t started dancing to “Flyers” already.
The Episodic Nature of the Series Might not be Interesting to Audiences:
Death Parade (2015) is a series that feels very episodic, so it’s not really one that everyone will want to binge watch in one sitting. It’s not a fast-paced anime and people who want something with constant excitement might not like the anime.
It’s one that is also not for everyone because of the anime’s slow pace. If you want something that leans towards a psychological look at how Japanese people view death this might interest you, but it’s not an anime for everyone.
This Anime Pulls at the Heartstrings A Lot:
I know that a lot of anime fans say that they’ve cried a lot, and while that can be a good thing, other people can see it as emotionally manipulative, which is a complaint Violet Evergarden (2018) received. I did tear up watching this anime, and it takes a lot to get me to cry while watching anime, but whether you have an emotional reaction to this anime is entirely something that will vary depending on if you cry a lot while watching movies, TV shows or anime.
This Anime Is For Adults:
I don’t really put warnings for adults in my reviews mainly because it’s just violence or gore in some anime, but Death Parade (2015) is mature not just for violence or sexual content, but because it deals with heavy, adult subject matter in a mature way, and it might be too heavy emotionally for a younger audience.
Death Parade is a Fantastic Series:
Death Parade (2015) is a unique series that stood out to me during the winter 2015 anime season. It has an interesting premise along with great writing and interesting characters.
\The animation is stunning and beautiful. It captures the mood the anime is setting and does an interesting job with something that doesn’t really need flashy animation to progress the story.
The voice acting is superb in English and the cast did an outstanding job. It proved that English simuldubs could work similar to how Japanese simulcasting works for anime fans who want to see an anime as soon as Japan does.
The score is fantastic and very moving and compliments the animation and the voice acting in either language.
Will you watch the anime Death Parade (2015)?
My Grade: A:
Death Parade (2015) is an amazing series, it was initially hyped when it aired, but people don’t really talk about it, although it does come up in recommended lists sometimes. It’s not really underrated either. It’s one that people mainly remember because of the catchy opening song “Flyers” by BRADIO.
It is a wonderful and memorable anime, but it isn’t perfect and it can be emotionally draining because of the heavy subject matter in some of the stories for the guests of the Quindecim.
It’s well worth adding to your anime collection, I’ve just added it to mine because the Collector’s Edition was on sale for an excellent discount, but if you don’t want to pay a lot of money for it, just wait to see if the anime goes on sale during Black Friday. It’s definitely worth buying, but I’d recommend trying to get it at a good discount because it’s a short series. The anime DVD/Blu-Ray set does include the Death Billiards OVA that started the series.
Death Parade (2015) is definitely worth your time and money, but just how much money depends on if you want to wait for a sale or not. It’s worth having in your anime collection.
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