Hell Girl for the discerning audience
I joke. I watched Hell Girl myself back in the day. It was nice. It aired ALL the time on Animax in Taiwan, so it was either Hell Girl or reruns of variety of shows.
Death Parade has a very Hell Girl vibe. The gist is that two souls compete in games against each other in a purgatory-like space known as Quindecim, where they are judged based on how they perform, not as outcome. They are then sent either to be reincarnated, or down to the void where they will just end up in eternal darkness. The souls don’t initially know they are dead, and are prompted to play the game under the impression that if they don’t, Decim (Maeno Tomoaki) will kill them.
As the first episode, this one just sets up the premise and general atmosphere of the show. It reminds me a bit of Liar Game as well, mainly just because it involves high-risk but simple games. I don’t watch a lot of this type of genre, as you may notice.
The game introduced in the first episode is darts, where each panel corresponds to one of the opponent’s organs. As you may have already guessed, hitting the panel causes pain in the corresponding body part of the opponent, with more pain in the double and triple zones. It’s a very good game to start the show off, as you really get to understand the type of stuff that goes on in Quindecim.
The players are Takashi (Nakai Kazuya) and Machiko (Kawasumi Ayako), a newlywed couple that was on their honeymoon when they died. Of course, they don’t actually know they’ve died until near the end of the episode. Though they are shown as a loving pair at first, they begin to break down when Takashi starts to remember overhearing two girls talking about Machiko’s affair. Oh, wait. They were talking about Matchy’s affair.
It is pretty logical to jump to conclusions that Machiko = Matchy based on the fact the conversation was held during on their wedding day, and the circumstances, though Machiko denies this by saying the two girls were talking about another Matchy, Machida Yuki. We are never told whether or not Matchy is Machiko or Machida, and it’s unclear based on Machiko’s reaction. Sure, she burst out saying that she did cheat on Takashi, but her shocked and despairing reaction beforehand when Takashi refused to believe her seemed genuine.
You feel really bad for Takashi because he apparently loves Machiko so much and Machiko cheated on him, but it’s hard to tell just how much he supposedly loves her. He certainly isn’t too careful with how he holds his darts, and based on Machiko’s reaction after she accidentally got him in the eye, it was clear that he was planning on purposely hurting her. Machiko’s hand slipped when she threw the dart because of the damage from Takashi’s throw, which had hit a body part when he started fearing for his life. It’s also revealed they died in the first place because Takashi is a shit driver who tried to grab for Machiko’s phone on a tight mountain road. Goddamn, Takashi. It’s hard to feel sympathetic towards him or Machiko. The show depicts both as scummy.
This is more likely a cultural difference, but I’m still going to say how annoyed I am by Takashi’s reaction when he realizes that Machiko was pregnant when she died. I hate it when people talk about killing babies when the baby is still a fetus. Ten weeks along, the baby is starting to look like a human instead of a fish-thing, but it’s still not actually a human. So much for loving your wife so much, Takashi.
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10