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First Thoughts: “Death Parade” – Taking Bar Sports To The Extreme


On the 11th of January, 2015. Melbourne, Australia. Three people were injured at a darts tournament when the crowd became rowdy and began throwing the chairs they once sat on into a pile. Some began hurling themselves at the pile while others cheered on from the sidelines. While there were no casualties and only three people suffered minor injury, the riot squad was called to quell the storm that these darts fans had conjured up.

Soccer (Football) games have always been known for the hooliganism of fans but I think it’s time for soccer to sit this one out because it seems as though darts produce a lot rowdier of a crowd than we thought. As I’m reading this news I’m thinking to myself; “Surely this is the oddest darts-related thing I’ll come across today”…but then I watched the very first episode of “Death Parade”.


Having watched “Death Billiards” some time ago, I have been anticipating “Death Parade” for a fairly long time. Watching through the short film that would eventually lead to the creation of this series, I was mesmerised. The idea of such a simple game meaning life or death is very interesting to me and being able to see the characters lives as it flashes before them is something we’re not often privy too, especially in Anime where characters are always just an inch away from death. Thankfully, from what was shown in the first episode, it seems as though this has continued into the series, but I’ll get to that very soon. The first thing I should discuss is the overall story.


“Death Parade” tells the story of a place between the lands of the living and the dead. A bar of sorts that invites two people in at a time. The unfortunate thing for those two people is that, well…they’ve been invited for a reason. Nothing that happens in this place is by accident. There is no leaving the bar, nor is there any way they can negotiate for their freedom. Well, no, there’s one way the duo can leave this place; they have to play a game.

In “Death Billiards” it’s…billiards. Obviously. In “Death Parade” episode one it happens to be darts. The barkeeper keeps things very vague but the assumption these two players have is that if you lose, you die. To be entirely honest; that’s very much understandable because I could imagine myself thinking the same way. 


Now “Death Parade” isn’t really about the games being played. It’s actually more about the people, a point that episode one drove home very successfully. The game is a platform wherein which these two players will eventually reveal everything about themselves and, I can guarantee, nothing is the way it seems.

The true nature of “Death Parade” unravels gradually throughout the first episode and what is great is that, by the end of it, you know exactly what it is you’re watching but you’re also left with an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty. As long as that keeps up, “Death Parade” is going to be quite an exciting series to experience.


Backing up some insanely awe-inspiring story telling is both the visual and auditory quality of the series. Really, it’s more like watching an Anime movie rather than just an Anime. As someone who watched “Death Billiards” it was easy for me to draw comparisons between the two and there were so many that I’m sure “Death Billiards” could be slotted somewhere into the show and nobody would know the difference.

Everything is the same in “Parade” as it was in “Billiards” and that’s quite the compliment because “Billiards” is what inspired a gallery of judges to award the makers of this series the money they needed to start it. They weren’t just giving funding away, it had to be earned and let me tell you…they’ve put it to good use.

I have high hopes for this series and every fibre of my being is telling me that it’s going to be much more than just two people coming in to play bar games each week. There’s more to the story than just that. The opening and the preview for the next episode shows what I can only assume are recurring characters who I hope bring even more spice to what is already looking to be a pretty fiery Anime.

Check out “Death Parade” on FUNimation’s own streaming service or Madman’s own streaming service AnimeLab now.




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