Death Parade sure has come a long way after we’ve learned so much about how these different games how they are handled and who runs them. After many episodes about the main cast we finally return to a story that focuses on the humans that arrive at Queen Decim. If there is one thing I’d change with this though is how it has been placed in this series placement. Why have such a fantastic two-parter so late in the series? This is one of the best episodes of Death Parade as it features a timid young man Shimada playing air hockey against Tatsumi the detective where the narrative here can stand alone by itself without any help from other episodes previously!
Two very different people and the catch is that one of them is a murderer. What this episode does is shift the focus away from the human spirit [a side of this series that has been at least one main theme since the beginning] in a rather deceptive way. Shimada recollects his life with his sister while Tatsumi recalls his wife had been murdered. I really like how we’ve got innocence illustrated on one side and a harsh unfortunate reality on the other.
Air hockey is a fantastic setup for this background because at first we see the two of them carry a mutual respect for each other– they both want to leave the bar to finish what they have started. In other words they carry grudges with them. At first the puck is slowly passed off to each other playing the idea that life can be tiresome– we see this a lot with Tatsumi’s conversation during their break. The straw that breaks the camels back here is that both of them in fact share the same secret. It’s this connection that really allows for their confrontation into the next episode a powerful one.
In fact I think what makes this episode stand out above all the other ones is how calm it presents itself throughout the entire episode. Somewhat similar to episode 3 with how these minor characters are handled towards us– a gentle perspective of life in two entirely different ways! The music reflects this too because its not forced like some of the other episodes have been. Composer Kotaro Tanaka chooses an etherial experimental collection of sounds that carry the effects (especially in those flashbacks) to even greater heights! Decim’s sudden change of rules within the game ends up being one of the more stronger scenes where this style is utilized.
Can’t wait to see what happens after that heck of a cliffhanger!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10