Death Parade Episode 1 Recap

A strange bar, a lone bartender, a cruel game, and a much crueler fate. How will we rule this anime with nothing to recommend it except for an almost amateur OVA produced by a prestigious studio?

Summary
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A husband and wife arrive at a strange bar without remembering how they got there. A white-haired man welcomes them to Quindecim and introduces himself as the bartender, Decim. The couple recall that they were on their honeymoon.

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Decim explains that he cannot tell them where they are and that they are to play a game, chosen randomly by a roulette, with them putting their lives on the line. They cannot leave the bar until the game is over.

In an attempt to leave, the couple couldn’t find the exit. So with a little confusion and hesitation, the couple agree. The roulette decides a dart game.

The dart game is presented with a twist: each target is inscribed with a part of the body and is tied to the nerves. If the target is pierced by a dart, it will emit pain in the corresponding body part.

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The game begins and as the husband and wife throw darts, the presence of actual pain erases any doubt. They carry on, missing the targets as they are allowed to.

A few accidents turns the game darker. The husband thinks after overhearing her friends that his wife is cheating on him. The wife explains that those friends were actually talking about another person with the same name and that she is pregnant with his child.

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In her ire at her husband’s faltering, she throws the last dart and accidentally hits the center which is linked to the heart. The wife wins but the husband bellows out in pain. Decim congratulates them for finishing and beckons them to another place.

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The husband, in disbelief, looks for a second chance. But the wife tells him that it’s pointless, realizing that they both are dead. Decim affirms this and elaborates that Quindecim is actually a purgatory where people who die in pairs go to be judged and that he is just an arbiter. The realization throws the couple into madness. He stops the husband from hurting the wife. He sees them off in the separate elevators they arrived in.

After the credits, he is met with two other barkeeps. he explains that the husband was sent for reincarnation and the wife was sent to the void.

Comments
Not much is known about this anime or where it came from. But it made such a huge impression with its synopsis that is reminiscent of Saw. And it’s produced by Madhouse. I was excited, of course, and couldn’t wait for the premier.

Two cents on my first impressions: It’s fast-paced. It cuts right into the chase and doesn’t lag around. It doesn’t have a source material to bring it down but we still hope the writers don’t take too much liberty.

It’s morbidly insightful. Just don’t let the OP fool you. Although plot elements were inevitably out-of-the-hat, I like where it goes – the stark realizations and the torment that comes after. I’m not a fan of the theme but it’s a perfect exposition on the darker aspects of human nature. And don’t forget the placid bartender who unexpectedly still gets surprised by how his guests turn out.

A lot is still unknown about Quindecim, especially how it should be spelled. But we’d love to know what other things go down in this strange and lonely bar.

What do you think of the first episode of Death Parade?

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