Tag Archives: Horror

Death Parade Episode 10

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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

Death Parade Episode 9

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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

Death Parade Episode 8

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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

Death Parade Episode 7

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This episode emphasizes just exactly what this series intends to do–  tell a story about the staff behind the death games.  Are the creators thinking of doing another season of this?  If they are then all this focus on Onna’s background of how she got there, Quinn’s arbiter life, and more importantly Decim’s puppet hobby makes a ton of sense.  Considering the big reveal is Decim is just an experiment created by Nona.  An arbiter dummy with human emotions.  Now Onna’s interactions with him are going to be ten-fold now that we’ve been given this information.

Running on only 1-cour is risky but it can work when you’ve got powerful characters with interestingly deep pasts.  Episodes 1, 3, 4 and 6 are perfect examples of this.  This episode really jumps around between the cast for good reason–  perspective.  Decim collects dummies and dresses them up.  Creepy but this definitely makes good material when its these very dummies that are the humans arriving at QuinDecim to be judged.  This is where the creators use Quinn’s backstory and a game of pool to good use.  Oculus will be a good antagonist for this show:  he’s already on to Nona and it looks as though he is trying to maintain order within QuinDecim.  Hopefully we will see more of him in future episodes.

Ginti and Mayu show back up and its great how the dynamic completely changes from serious to comedic right when the scene changes to his bar.  Mayu’s carefree personality represents the emotional aspect these Arbiters lack and seeing Ginti fighting that is fantastic here.

A big question remains is how will Onna draw out any sort of emotion from Decim?  From what I’ve seen I figure this is Nona’s objective and this episode throws at us this idea wonderfully.

The book Nona reads, Chavvot is similar to the device used to enhance the death games at their peak.  I find it purposefully planned that Onna’s dream sequences correlating to Chavvot might be some indication that we will be seeing her past and what her judgment will be later on. A good way to wrap up her story and bring out Nona’s objective through Decim:  quickly closing up the series.

This episode got me really thinking about inventive horror considering how good it mixes this genre with comedy.  I never talk about live-action films on here but I just recently watched the American film “The Voices” starring Ryan Reynolds–  it’s an oddball film about a man persuaded by his talking cat to kill people not to mention his dog’s reluctance to the overall situation that’s been placed on him.  Amazing performance by Reynolds and it plays off at times as this well-written romance using a lovable guy stuck with unfortunate circumstances.  There’s a musical scene at one point.  It’s nice to see two different cultures handle similar styles by crossing genres and has me wondering if this director could handle a live-action work even better than an animated one.  How about a series where these two mediums cross similar to “Roger Rabbit with a bit of Paranoia Agent and Death Note in the mix?  Studio Duame [Shiki] could pull this off wonderfully.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Death Parade Episode 6

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This was fantastic!  Shifting the focus away from Decim and Onna we finally get to see how Ginti handles these Death Games.  His introduction is a bit lackluster in the previous episode this would have been even more amazing if the creators decided to jump a comedic death game without any understanding of his character at all.  Nonetheless this is a wild episode that focuses on love and the admiration a fan has for her idol and what she’s willing to give up: staying true to herself.

Once again MADHOUSE hasn’t let go of the production values of this series–  we’ve got some frighteningly disgusting drawings of Mayu as she plays this game of twister with singer Harada.  Her super fandom for his band C.H.A. is hilarious!  Cross Heart Attack a great acronym for what this episode explores about crossing paths in life, literally speaking crossing body parts and the experiences they feel through the different colors with how they both died.

Womanizer Harada dies in an explosion set up by the sister of a fan of his she dated and broke her heart.  Harada experienced fame in his life and ultimately its luck that took his life and everything he cherished away from him.  It’s great to see their pasts are what reflects who falls in the pit when the twister game ends.  Once again Death Parade dives into interpersonal relationship territory:  where life and death are the trigger devices in opening up a person’s true nature.

As for Mayu, her death is simple–  falling on a bar of soaping in the shower.  Her tenacious and naive behavior enhances those flashbacks incredibly well.  The amped-up jazz score and fan service moments with Mayu quickly dissolves any indication this is the same show about people playing games over the decision of their afterlife one bit.  Fantastic work!  The ending is quite comical and I’m sure we will see more of Mayu again since she’s prevalent in the opening sequence.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Death Parade Episode 5

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The montage of Johnny being smitten with the girl in the picture-book story during Onna’s dream just shows how much this series is NOT going to be episodic.  We’ve seen a small bit of the dreams that Onna’s been having and how it strongly correlates to Nona’s book.  Onna is not what she seems to be and this episode indicates from her wardrobe that she must have been a figure skater at some point in her life probably resulting in her death or if at all possible another person.  That would be a interesting twist. Serving judgment to the very person she killed if in fact this is what has happened.

The two guests being a test for Decim is smart in establishing the hierarchy of arbiters and the management system that has been set in place beyond the bar.  Nona’s pool game with Oculus might be a good break away from the environment we’ve been used to but I have to say that this episode is much weaker than the other ones because its focusing on one narrative rather than separate individual stories.

It doesn’t help that the kid turns out to be bartender Ginti–  a reckless and heartless Arbiter that doesn’t value emotions like Onna does.  Somehow I feel that the relationship between Decim and Onna will capitalize on everything that happened in this episode greatly by the end of this series’ run.  Quin’s introduction is very cool–  she handles the transportation of various memories of the dead through a colored brick system.  The highlight of this episode–  heightening the world that sets these death games apart is what will make or break this series.

The fight scene between Decim and Ginti is beautifully animated.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 4/10

Garo -Honō no Kokuin Episode 20

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So as it stands Garo is slated for only 24 episodes.  I hope we see more of this in the future because this is a fantastic view of nobility mixed with horror as a backdrop!

While this episode of Garo could have come across more solid it would have been better to place this episode towards the beginning of the series when we are just learning about the kingdom.  Considering how it focuses on Octavia’s loyalty towards Mendoza.  Octavia is a fascinating character because while this show over the course of its run used the importance of sex and passing down your lineage as the backdrop behind the morality of its character.   This episode jumps into the religion aspect of 17th century Spain with a flashback, Octavia’s in particular.  Being raised in a poor household her parents chose to be persecuted by the notion that God would save them from the hardships that they have endured.  Garo actually represents itself here with similarities to Yuri Kuma Arashi—  the persecution of women and sexual identity.  As a woman, Octavia discards God in favor of a new one–  Mendoza and this is where we see how her decision to be at his side unfolds.  With the foot in the door as a maid within the King’s most unlikely servants illustrates her personality really well–  she’s deceitful when she has to be.

As for this episode, I think the character that steals the spotlight here is Laura.  She represents every human character in this show that is naive about the evils of the world in a cute way.  She’s funny because she’s clumsy and its her smitten personality towards Prince Alfonso that makes even Leon’s relationship with Lisa that much stronger.  Not to mention how her death has placed a dutiful impact on him as Garo.  Ema isn’t in the dark about what’s been going on with the Horrors and I like how she doesn’t let go the fact that Mendoza being alive sends a message that could ruin humanity in the future.  To sum it up everyone in the Order is aware of Mendoza’s plans it seems.  Garm should play an interesting role in the later episode.

The string Ema uses represents this fact greatly and with Octavia being caught up by the Knights and Alchemist it still manages to surprise me even right to the very end with what happens to Laura.  It really is a shame this episode couldn’t have been placed much earlier on simply because we haven’t seen much of Octavia and it feels like the creators were running out of material to use at this point in the series.  Her devotion is ruthless and very frightening–  tossing Horrors out without a sense of regret [until a bit later] ripping Laura in half is one way to develop her character.  The first time we see Mendoza is quite the shock–  he’s aged and its interesting to see how creator Amemiya will handle this turn of events.  If there is a part of this episode I didn’t like its how quickly German turns into somewhat of a villain to Leon.  Good cliffhanger but abruptly developed considering we haven’t seen German and how he works with Mendoza at all.

Octavia’s disillusionment with God and Laura’s simple-mindedness about the ways of the world [which ends up getting her killed] is what marks this one of my favorite episodes of Garo yet!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Kiseijū: Sei no Kakuritsu Episode 24 [END]

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The conclusion to October’s acclaimed horror series is finally here!  If there is one thing that MADHOUSE has done right with the Winter 2015 season and the second half of Kiseijū its adaptating.  Writing every chapter to its fullest leaving little to nothing out of these episodes while enhancing a more modern setting and character design to bring in new fans.

Migi’s departure is both sad and blissful because Shinichi has matured a lot with him during their dreadful experiences with parasytes.  The dream sequence that we’ve seen finally comes to fruition bringing everything back full circle–  Migi’s constant hunger for knowledge regarding his own species as well as others doesn’t escape his mind.  Playing a larger motif about his bond towards Shinichi’s right hand rather than consuming his brain.  Even in the finale this is what separates Shinichi from him.  The manga even handles the entire scene well describing it as a long dream.

If I hadn’t read this I would have guessed that this series would end without any sort of turmoil for Shinichi to go through–  Uragami’s story isn’t open ended as we do get a solid face-off between him and Shinichi.  The creators don’t leave out the fact he’s murdered tons of people–  killing the couple on the roof is animated extremely and portrays his authenticity quite strongly!  Satomi plays off wonderfully to the supposed tension between parasite Shinichi and human murder Uragami.

With Migi gone all Shinichi can do is talk him out of it or use all the strength he has with everything his been through to save the woman he cares about.  It’s a simple situation over all the supernatural battles he’s had before.  Great transition from this genre to a realistic narrative with the lead at its core!  Uragami points out to Satomi that he’s not human and it’s great to see how Shinich and her are so closely connected after their struggles and romance from two episodes ago flares this up.  She understands that there has always been something different since he came back from his tragic family vacation.  Ultimately its Shinichi’s determination which we saw in his battle against Gotou with Migi inside of him that foreshadows this very scene with Uragami and proves he can overcome just about anything.

Episode director out visually depicting Migi saving Satomi is a nice touch–  Shinichi has lost so much that he doesn’t want to lose anyone else and points out an a slightly open-ended style that their companionship could return in the future.  Leaving it up to the viewers to decide.

Aya Hirano’s performance as Migi is quintessentially supernatural that establishes such an interesting method to a character within a character.  I’m going to miss this friendship in a series.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Kiseijū: Sei no Kakuritsu Episode 23

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Kiseijū could have ended here and I would be more than satisfied with the outcome–  this is a phenomenal episode we’ve got here! Shinichi going off into the woods again from last time built this episode up wonderfully–  he’s entering this showdown weak without his partner and a measly hatchet.  Finding Gotou in a sleep-like state giving him an strong advantage where he walks right up to him without being detected.

All this time Migi has been telling Shinichi what they could achieve in these fights would be exponentially overturned with a win for them if they worked together rather than as one.  What came to mind from this fight is his battle with A.  Here though he’s gone through a ton of emotional trauma losing people close to him and seeing others die right in front of his very eyes–  the creators don’t neglect this at all because he still fears the unknown and what these things are capable of.  We see this at the trash dumping scene where he’s moving far away from Gotou as possible but suddenly he figures out that he needs to be using more of his human intellect than a parasite’s raw killing-intent.  Migi could not have showed up at a better time either–  the poison that Gotou is inflicted with here drains him of complete control over the others inside his body and just re-states Migi’s original fascination with reactions.  Something this series touched on in the first few episodes.

What makes this an even more engrossing episode is how Shinichi doesn’t kill him outright–  he’s suffering physically while this show brings out a moral dilemma for its conclusion.  Should Shinichi kill Goutou where he’s at his weakest state or murder him at this point of life?  Recollecting what Tamiya Ryoko said about their lives can’t survive on their own–  he begins to search for a valid reason in why he should kill him right then and there.  However, it’s this reoccurring theme that hardens this scene so much more–  parasites and humans are somewhat alike and are constantly evolving physically and emotionally.  Migi steps back because he knows he can’t kill his kind in this state but if Shinichi can do it than so be it.  We’ve seen heads get lopped off, people getting stabbed, cut in half and even eaten–  but this scene while doesn’t show much of anything is probably the most powerful death because Shinichi in his own mind commits murder.

Seeing this unfold is icing on the cake and I can’t wait to see what this show does for the final act!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Kiseijū: Sei no Kakuritsu Episode 22

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With the aftermath of the attack inside the government building, Mayor Hirokawa dead as well as other countless humans and parasites–  Shinichi finds his resolve when he sleeps with Murano.  Here, the perspective has changed slightly–  instead of Shinichi facing these parasites out of protecting others on the scene he’s finishing what he started in the first place.  The investigator led Shinichi from the underground feeding area at the car park area to a path in eliminating Gotou’s group one by one.  Here it’s a lot more personal–  for both of them.   We’ve got an all out attack against Gotou and we see that Shinichi doesn’t want to waste much time keeping him alive.  He’s frantic and it’s wonderful to see Migi counteract his more emotional behavior now!

I like how there’s this parallel between this episode and the previous one–  Shinichi fears Gotou however this time Migi teaches him that he’s more than most humans.  This is the big idea I got out of this entire episode.  One single human takes Gotou on with everything he has including the ultimate sacrifice being Migi.  So we get to see the entire fight here and its drawn really well–  the animators didn’t have a drop in quality on this episode!  Mitsuyo’s introduction is a nice change of pace and brings Shinichi back to normalcy–  something he hasn’t had for quite some time.  His narrations were an indication of this greatly.

This is a lot better than the previous arc!  Really takes us back to how this series began in the first place!  They are terrifying beings that are trying to find there own way for survival any means necessary.  My favorite scene is where the villagers are questioning Shinichi because he’s a new arrival in town and people are getting killed in the woods.  Mitsuyo sees right through Shinichi and understands he has wounds that haven’t patched up–  Gotou is still out there and continues to kill giving all the motivation Shinichi needs in finishing what he started!

This is more like it and if I hadn’t read the manga I’m sure I would have enjoyed this episode tons more than I already had!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10