DeathParadeEvery year, anime fans get their share of dark dramas, and Death Parade looks to be no exception. Death Parade originally began as a short film called Death Billiards as part of 2013’s Anime Mirai project. Due to the project’s success, it was given the greenlight for a full TV series.

It’s easy to see why, from the first two episodes. It’s pretty clear that the series is going to be one of the season’s best.

Death Parade is set in the bar Quindecim, an upscale place that would normally be a haven for corporate executives, celebrities, and other people of means.

Of course, Quindecim isn’t a normal bar. The only patrons to the establishment are those who died together, but have yet to pass into the afterlife. Those who show up are told by bartender Dekim that they must play a game in order to leave.

This isn’t a normal game, though. The stakes are incredibly high, as the lives of the players are on the line.

What makes these two episodes work is the sheer strength of the writing for the bar’s patrons. The first episode focuses on a newlywed couple who died on their honeymoon. At first, they appear to be a normal, happy couple. But, as the game goes on, their true colors begin to come to light.

Death Parade 002 - 20150128The second installment can best be described as a glorified recap, though I say this in the nicest way possible. The focus remains on the newlyweds, though the events are told through the view of Dekim’s assistant.  The viewer learns that Dekim is an arbiter who decides his opponents’ final resting places after the games. While the episode does cover a lot of familiar ground, it includes a number of new scenes that offer a fresh look at the on-screen action.

Madhouse is firing on twelve cylinders with the show’s production. In no uncertain terms, this show is goreous. The opening, Flyers by BRADIO is amazing in the fact that it’s so upbeat for such a morose series. And, while not as cheerful, ending theme Last Theater by NoisyCell is also enjoyable.

While Death Parade’s subject matter won’t be for everybody, those looking for a strong, darker series this season should look no further.

Death Parade is available streaming on Funimation.com

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