Wow. This is really good if not better than the previous episode! It’s this side story between Tatsumi and Shimada’s reveal that they are murderers that pulls this thread between arbiters and humans extremely well. What’s more is that they are who they are for the same reason: revenge that acts as a trigger for Onna to make Decim more aware about these judgments he’s been passed on to do.
The most pivotal aspect of Death Parade is made known on a wider scale especially now: human emotion. So what this episode does and without even showing much of Nona to clarify this is how much of an impact humans have on these games. We see that Shimada killed Tatsumi out of love for his sister; I really like how this episode in particular shapes this idea of relationships between family repeatedly by showing us how his sister was traumatized, what she wants after feeling defeated by the assualt but most importantly how Shimada rectifies this. Innocence that is pre-established within him is gradually transitioning into as the series calls it “the darkest parts of a human soul”. This line is what makes this series exemplary of psychological horror so well. Rally up two people with different backgrounds, raise the stakes in this case their lives and put a game in between them to give them salvation. Tatsumi is a wonderful counter-balance to Shimada because he already represents what Decim actually is [an arbiter] and what he is trying to achieve– darkness and the truth of one’s self. The creators definitely didn’t shy away from this fact one bit as we get to see he’s all bent out of shape after his wife’s murder and the results are him being out-of-touch with the world. He doesn’t hold emotions in such high regard. One again this is another wonderful tactic to use: bring the distinction between humans and the arbiters together by flushing out a human character that has a lack of compassion. Such a powerfully engaging seen where its revealed that Shimada had been the one to kill Tatsumi! I just love their chemistry together!
I would like to point out how incredibly talented key animator Shosuke Ishibashi is– just about every scene is drawn with such a high-quality here! That transition into the intermission title is fantastic work! Not to mention how neatly drawn the designs are on Shimada and Tatsumi as they are starting to play aggressively against each other in the hockey game! This artist worked on some very pivotal fast moving sequences of the past decade– Star Driver‘s opening, Chihayafuru and the popular MADHOUSE series Death Note.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10