I wish that Noitamina could’ve have picked this series up because of their timeslot. All things considered with how original the story has been it would have been interesting to see what ideas could have been matured on such a late night program with more freedom. Aside from this– Death Parade‘s episode here is a solid narrative that re-introduces Onna as the main revolving piece to QueenDecim’s evolution and Nona sees that.
Shinsaku Sasaki wrote a very pivotal episode for Death Parade that completely changes the tone of what this entire show captures with these supernatural death games. A traditional card game Old Maid that focuses on pictures associated with each players’ pasts. No crazy gimmicks, no brazened attempts at elevating the extreme conditions this episode felt more real than anything we’ve had previously and what I like about it is how slow-paced it is. Sachiko Uemura leads to Onna’s breakthrough in discovering herself. Very cool how she ties into the Anime Mirai episode Death Billiards as the grand-daughter. It really sets the timeframe this show is in and questions the validity of reincarnation for Onna amazingly well. Has she shown up at the bar before [as a dummy] only to lose her memories again and work with Decim? Hmmmm….this provides a really intriguing mystery this show ventures into. Rather than episodic content the creators could very well jump into a new style of storytelling here– episodic seasons that rewind characters within a new timeline. Just a thought how about a musical season of Death Parade akin to the scenes of Red Garden.
In an earlier episode we get to see how Nona had created Decim by using human memories inside of a dummy this episode chooses a different route. Using to its advantage is where get to see Nona rummaging through the archives in search of Onna’s memories– it’s great to see a collapse in her character. So cool-headed acting so intense this episode because there isn’t enough time left to change the Death rules that have been set into place for some time.
Oculus is viewed as the antagonist of the series– we see him extracting memories from Clavis in a really creepy way that I hope is foreshadow for his showdown with Nona before this series ends!
I’ve been re-watching earlier episodes of this series for my anime screening group that I host once-a-week and Death Parade showcases two great things for me because of this. One– being able to re-watch episodes you learn different things with future knowledge about what’s ahead. The book Chavvot has been all along the tool to create the extreme condition for the larger Death Game that has been playing across all these episodes. Now I can see why creator Yuzuru Tachikawa made this series more linear rather than episodic. Decim and Onna are the two travelers at the bar– both with different experiences and personalities. Onna is the catalyst for the break in Decim’s character which has been Nona’s long pursued endeavor. His dummy-esque behavior has been fantastic to see but I must admit a more human side to him will be the straw that breaks the camels back for Oculus. Episode 7 focused on his hobby of building mannequins and I like how we see them presented greatly in this episode. Heck even since the first episode utilized this feature greatly by capturing these dummies in clothing!
These people have lost everything since they’ve died, they come to play a game to accept their fate through the void or reincarnation. It’s this motif that these dummies act as Decim’s unabledness for human compassion that’s on the brink of introducing itself here: comprehending exactly why he’s starting to feel something for those that have died and realizing Onna’s been right all along about judging people’s fates is wrong.
As for this episode we learn Onna’s name which I won’t reveal here but its nice to see how she learns this– through the book Chavvot. A book that illustrates her own past is played off wonderfully well in indicating this by using the card game against Sachiko Uemura as a nod to the book.
Can’t wait to see the rest of this as this episode is well-packed with enough content to provide a satisfying conclusion for the final two episodes!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10