Death Parade is a 2015 Japanese anime television series created, written, and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by Madhouse. The series spawned from a short film, Death Billiards, which was originally produced by Madhouse for the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai 2013 and released on March 2, 2013. The television series aired in Japan between January 9, 2015 and March 27, 2015. It is licensed in North America by Funimation and in the United Kingdom by Anime Limited, the latter of which was eventually cancelled. The series was obtained by Madman Entertainment for digital distribution in Australia and New Zealand.
Whenever someone dies, they are sent to one of many mysterious bars run by bartenders serving as arbiters inside a tower in the afterlife. There, they must compete in Death Games with their souls on the line, the results of which reveal what secrets led them to their situation and what their fate will be afterwards, with the arbiters judging if their souls will either be sent for reincarnation or banished into the void. The series follows Decim, the lone bartender of the bar where people who died at the same time are sent to, known as the Quindecim bar, and his assistant.
Death Billiards was produced by Madhouse as part of the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai 2013 project, which funds young animators, alongside other short films by Trigger, Zexcs and Gonzo. Death Billiards and the other shorts each received 38 million yen from the Japanese Animation Creators Association, who receives funding from the Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. The short was created, directed and written by Yuzuru Tachikawa. The short, along with the other Anime Mirai shorts, opened in 14 Japanese theatres on March 2, 2013.
An anime television series based on the short, titled Death Parade, aired in Japan on Nippon TV between January 9, 2015 and March 27, 2015. Produced by NTV, VAP and Madhouse, the series is created, written and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, with Shinichi Kurita designing the characters and Yuki Hayashi composing the music. The opening theme is “Flyers” by Bradio while the ending theme is “Last Theater” by NoisyCell. The anime is licensed in North America by Funimation, who simulcast the series as it aired. It was also acquired in the United Kingdom by Anime Limited, however, it was later announced that the release was cancelled and delisted. A broadcast dub version began streaming from February 18, 2015, both on Funimation’s website and a Dubbletalk programming block which is streamed on Twitch.
A poll done on the Japanese video-sharing service Niconico at the end of the Winter 2015 airing anime season, ranked Death Parade 9th as the users favorite anime of that season. The English dubbed version of the anime had nominations for “Best male lead vocal performance in an anime television series/OVA” and “Best female lead vocal performance in an anime television series/OVA” and it won the “Best vocal ensemble in an anime television series/OVA” for the “BTVA anime dub television/OVA voice acting Awards”. IGN listed Death Parade among the best anime series of the 2010s.
- The bartender of the Quindecim bar (located on the 15th floor) who oversees the Death Games between people who have died and must be judged. His hobby is making mannequins that resemble guests which made an impression on him. He is supposed to have no human emotions, just like all arbiters who are referred to as dummies because they have never lived or died. As a risky experiment, Nona allows him to develop his interest in learning about human emotions.
- A human who initially has no memory of her life or her real name and is simply referred to as “the black-haired woman”. She works as an assistant at Quindecim, learning the methods that arbiters use to judge human souls and helping Decim learn about human behavior.
Decim’s boss, with the appearance of a young girl. She reports to Oculus and manages the arbiters, primarily working on the 90th floor and sometimes overseeing the games.