April 16, 2015
Death Parade started as a twenty-five minute short film, written and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, under the name Death Billiards. It was made with the support of Studio Madhouse for Anime Mirai 2013, and gained a lot of clout. The film was about two men, Otoko and Rojin, who died at the same time, and arrive at the Quindecim bar. They have no memories of their deaths, and are told by the bartender Decim that they are to play a game of billiards with their lives at stake.
Now, obviously, as they are already dead their lives are not actually at stake, but their souls are. Decim is what is referred to as an arbiter. It is his job to push the dead to their limits, see the darkest corners of their hearts, and then pass judgement. The games he has visitors play have no stakes, but their reactions under stress do. After the game is over, typically the players will have realized that they are dead, and Decim will chose one to be reincarnated, and one to drop into “the void”.
Tachikawa reprises his roles as writer and director for a full anime series based on this concept, Death Parade. And given that Death Billiards plays out almost exactly like a standard Death Parade episode and introduces the core concepts of the show’s world, I like to consider it as an unofficial episode zero, and thus part of the series. If you do decide to watch Death Parade, or at least check it out, I strongly suggest starting there.
As for the rest of the series, it’s largely episodic and follows the same structure as the short film. Most episode introduce two characters confused about where they are or how they got there, they agree to play a game, and throughout the game they regain snippets of memory and are push into extreme situations which test their character. By the end they leave, and the afterworld goes on. What links these together into a series rather than a bunch of standalones is the recurring cast, Decim, other arbiters, and other strange people.
April 13, 2015
With the release of Bloodborne, the gaming community has once again been talking about about Survival Horror in a AAA …