What happens when you die? The anime Death Parade answers that very question.

I’ve been slacking on the AJnet Anime Club. It’s not that I haven’t been watching any anime, it’s that I’ve just been busy writing about other things and sort of forgot that the Anime Club was a thing. It also doesn’t help that I have eight other writers all clamoring to get their own articles published.

From here on out I’m going to try to make it a point to do at least one AJnet Anime Club article a month.

This month’s anime is Death Parade.

This massively underrated and unknown series was originally released in January of 2015, and concluded in March of the same year after a 12 episode run. With each episode averaging around 24 minutes long, Death Parade is a pretty quick watch, and you can easily finish it in 5-6 hours. It’s a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon if you’ve got nothing else going on.

In a world where popular series like Jujutsu Kaisen, Naruto, or Bleach dominate the limelight, I’ve found that not many people seem to know about Death Parade. Hell, I didn’t even know about it until one day when I was looking up something about Death Note and found that Light made a cameo in another anime, that anime of course being Death Parade. I decided to give the series a watch, and I was glad I did.

The series revolves around a group of emotionless beings known as “Arbiters”. Arbiters are tasked with the job of judging deceased humans and deciding whether they should be reincarnated or sent to eternal nothingness (Mu). To accomplish this, they pit the dead humans against one another in a randomly selected game. While there are multiple Arbiters, the series mostly focuses on Decim, a white-haired Arbiter with an interest in human emotions. Decim is joined by an assistant, a black-haired woman whose name and mysterious origins aren’t revealed until later in the series.

When humans die, they find themselves at a mysterious bar named Quindecim, where Decim and his assistant are waiting for them. The dead humans initially have no memory of dying, nor do they know how they arrived at Quindecim. Decim generally refuses to answer any questions the humans have, and instructs them that they must play a randomly selected game. Games include billiards, darts, bowling, an arcade fighter, twister, and Old Maid. Except, the games themselves often have twists to them that affect the humans playing. For example, the darts inflict pain on various body parts of the other player, the bowling balls contain the hearts of the players, and the floor breaks apart during twister. It’s kind of like if Jigsaw had magic powers (aside from the ones that are somehow keeping the Saw franchise alive). Except, Decim and the Arbiters aren’t doing it to torture the dead humans. The Arbiters intentionally place the dead under stress to get a better judgement of their character (a system that is called into question later in the series). As the dead humans continue to play the game, their memories begin to return, eventually culminating in them remembering their deaths and realizing that they’re in the afterlife. From there, the humans generally reveal their true colors, and Decim passes judgement. The humans are sent to two elevators, one which leads to their reincarnation, and the other sends their soul to be (almost) irrecoverably destroyed in a dark void known as “Mu”.

There are other Arbiters aside from Decim, the most notable being Nona, who serves as Decim’s boss. Throughout the course of the series, it’s slowly revealed that Nona has an ulterior motive. I don’t want to spoil too much, but her motive involves questioning the Arbiter system. There’s also Ginti, a seemingly angry Arbiter who doesn’t get along with Decim and has a cat. The Arbiters are overseen by an old man named Oculus, who can transfigure his hair and has a penchant for playing billiards with planets.

Together, this assortment of interesting characters comes together to create an entertaining ensemble and drive an equally entertaining story about soulless creatures attempting to understand the concept of humanity while determining the fate of human souls. And yes, Light Yagami from Death Note does indeed make a cameo:


As I said before, Death Parade is short at just one single 12 episode season, and I think that’s why more people aren’t aware of this series. The story is told effectively and completely in those 12 episodes, and concludes in a satisfying way. Anything beyond that single season would have just been excessive and needless. The creator had a story to tell, and he tells it succinctly without wasting the viewer’s time with the filler and irrelevant backstories that anime is notorious for.

Overall, I rate this series a 7/10. If you haven’t seen Death Parade yet, you’re missing out on a short yet fun series.

Avatar photo

By Angry_Jerk

The CEO/Editor-in-chief of AJnet, and the current king of internet ranting. Hailing from the fine village of Northeast Philadelphia, AJ has been creating content on the internet for over 15 years. None of it has really been funny or entertaining, but he keeps trying anyway. When he’s not creating new articles for the site, he can be found hitting the weights, watching anime, or playing retro video games.