The moment of truth has arrived – after eleven episodes, it is judgement day for Chiyuki as Decim must make the call of whether she is worthy of redemption or not. For a series’ finale, ‘Suicide Tour’ leaves something to be desired but at the same time, as an episode itself, it is incredibly well done. On one hand, it felt like certain conflicts between characters, or even within the characters themselves, were left hanging or dealt with half-heartedly but on the other hand, the episode took long stride towards addressing some of the series’ more obvious deficiencies. For instance, giving Chiyuki’s death and its subsequent fallout additional screen time this week, gave the audience more time and reason to form that all-important emotional attachment to the character and her situation. Chiyuki’s fate and Decim’s decision have undoubtedly been the series’ primary plotline and while its resolution was beautifully executed, it does feel like, despite the events occurring throughout the series, virtually nothing really changes in the big picture. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does seem like the show missed an opportunity to create a more ambitious, eventful conclusion to its story.
Perhaps fittingly for a penultimate episode, ‘Memento Mori’ is a sombre, reflective episode, even by Death Parade’s standards. Unfortunately, by those very same standards, the episode isn’t a particularly strong one. It feels, in some ways, that the studio didn’t quite have enough content to fill the episode out and decided instead to stretch the reveal involving Chiyuki’s life story out as much as possible while also shoe-horning a resolution to Ginti’s story line. The result is that the episode’s message, if there ever was one, ends up being a little muddled. On one hand, we have Decim in the middle of understanding the meaning of life and hopefully applying his newfound wisdom to Chiyuki’s judgement but on the other hand, we see Ginti who seems to embody the traditional method of arbitration. The audience’s connection to Ginti and the only two souls we ever see him judge is tenuous at best and as a result, it’s hard to truly summon any real emotion when their sentences are finally passed. We can only hope that the efforts spared on this episode are returned tenfold in the show’s finale next week.
After nine episodes of exploring human nature and trying to navigate the fairly dense topic of judging a life objectively, Death Parade finally reaches it critical tipping point. It is now or never – over the course of the next two episodes, Decim must pass judgement over the Assistant, Chiyuki. Decim himself has grown a great deal over the course of the season, especially the last few episodes which have placed his rules and principles under unusual duress. Chiyuki’s trial and sentencing, so to speak, will test him further because even if he doesn’t realize it just yet, the humanity in him will have grown attached to Chiyuki and as countless works of fiction have established, passing judgement on a friend or loved one can be the most difficult thing in the world. This episode, ‘Story Teller’ is the polar opposite of last week’s charged, violent proceedings and the change is very welcome; it gives the characters a chance to really reflect and internalize the lessons that the previous episodes’ encounters taught them and begins to set the scene for the plot’s final resolution.
Human nature and the exact meaning of the term ‘darkness of the soul’ are this episode’s main themes, though I guess you could say that about the whole show. For the first time, we see the arbitration process break down – the Assistant can’t help but interfere in the process especially given how strongly she feels about the way the decisions are made and Decim is certainly affected by the case she makes. I’ve mentioned this in past posts; I’ve always agreed that there is a logical reason to put people in strenuous situations in order to see their worst but I’ve wondered whether it’s fair to decide a person’s fate based on the worst version of themselves. It’s something that the show has mentioned without delving too deeply so it’s good to finally get to see what the characters themselves make of the system. From a more plot-oriented perspective, I find myself somewhat less enthralled by the sequence of events that led to both men’s deaths (do we find out how Shimada dies?) and the reveal of how the two men are connected, at least compared to how engrossed I was last week. This was still a good episode but I’m not sure if I would call it a great one – things got a little hairy at the end and Decim made a few calls that I felt were uncharacteristic and turned what could have been a neat, clean ending a lot messier.
This was easily one of the most gripping episodes of Death Parade so far and possibly one of the best episodes overall. There is a lot to love about this episode but I feel that the best part of it was the decision to not wrap everything up this week but instead take a little more time to develop these fascinating characters. It can be tricky for a show like Death Parade to keep its audience on its toes week after week, especially since the audience is actively looking out for twists and turns in the story. Despite that, the show has been impressively consistent thus and this week’s episode ‘Death Rally’ turns things up a notch. The atmosphere is intense and the pacing is tight and the best part is, they haven’t even upped the ante all the way yet; Decim still has a couple of tricks up his sleeves and if the episode’s end is any indication, next week is going to get really hairy, really fast. As always, it isn’t just about the plot and while this is far from the exposition heavy episodes like last week’s ‘Alcohol Poison’, there are still some interest bits of characterization presented this week, especially regarding Decim’s ‘emotionlessness’.
This week on Death Parade, the curtains have finally been pulled all the way back and we get a good long look at the show’s universe. It is well timed too; with about five episodes left, I think it was the right move to tell us just what is going on so that we can set ourselves up for the endgame. Up until this week, there were just too many questions about the nature of the arbiters and the odd dimension they live in. This week’s episode really answered a whole bunch and lets us, the audience, focus on the series’ primary plot tensions – will Decim and his human emotions be able to revolutionize the arbitrating business? What will happen to the Assistant (at this point, I feel sure that her name has been mentioned, can someone give me a heads-up if it has?) and what does the Chavvot book have to do with it? This episode really exposed the show’s complexity by revealing the several plotlines running in tandem while concurrently heading towards their collective conclusion.
After all the exposition and new information we got last week, I was obviously extremely hyped to see Ginti again and this time in his own bar, in his own element. The episode turned out to be rather disappointing, though. Now, I don’t have anything against light-hearted comedy moments but it feels like the show missed an opportunity here. This episode has a lot going for it, especially at the beginning – there are new characters, a new setting and a new ‘game’ of the week, but throughout the episode I felt as though I was waiting for the episode to really get going but just as things seemed ready to take off, the plot gets conveniently resolved and as a result, the episode never really rises above the light-hearted moments and the fanservice. Since we don’t get much information and nothing really noteworthy happens, I don’t have a great deal to talk about this week.