“There are those who live fulfilled lives and there are lives that pass away in no time at all…” – Decim
I’m surprised Death Parade decided to delve into the rational vs emotional arbiter conflict in the LAST EPISODE of the show. Nona seems quite convinced that the arbiters are going to change but old creepy flower beard isn’t so enthusiastic.
Decim on the other hand is taking care of Chiyuki. After being drugged by him at the bar, she wakes up… back in her own room where she and Decim have a quiet chat. Perhaps he’s giving her closure? Perhaps this is all part of his judgment process. Is it kind of cruel that Decim allows Chiyuki to see her family again? However the purpose of the trip down memory lane isn’t just for nostalgia’s sake. Decim proposes to Chiyuki what Ginti proposed to Mayu in the last episode. In exchange for your own life, would you sacrifice the life of someone else? He offers her the option of erasing her memories of Quindecim, to return to her old life. Decim here is basically offering Chiyuki a second chance to re-do her life, before her death. But DAYUM isn’t this breaking the rules?
“I’m sure it’s not wrong for people to want to understand each other… and even if it is, I want to understand each other!” – Chiyuki
Just as Chiyuki is prepared to swap her life for someone else’s, she remembers all the people who have walked through Quindecim, how they’ve lived their lives… and she realizes that she can’t just push the button because everyone is tied to someone else. Somewhere, someone will lose someone special to them. This stunning revelation shocks Decim to the core. He loses control and the entire scene breaks up, the entire ordeal having been a mirage to judge Chiyuki. Oh poor Decim, experiencing sorrow for the first time.
Thoughts on the ending:
If anything, the series has proven the very fact that black and white, good and evil, life and death, all are immensely difficult to judge because 1) it is impossible for one to utterly understand another and 2) human emotions make everyone unsteady and judgment impossible. While humans cannot judge humans, random puppets who have no way of empathizing with the human condition when they judge based only on observation. While I found the emotional climax of the series quite touching, I felt that the dialogue could have done better to flush out the themes of the series. It’s just missing that last little flair that it’s the nail home on the message of life and death. The dialogue and the last scenes leave for a slightly open-ended conclusion especially with the arbiters. While it seems that there are still so many flaws in the judgment process, the arbiters need to judge because no one else can, they cannot have emotions or death because that would bring them too close to that which they judge but how close can they make a judgement when they are so detached? The series has run us in circles round and round again.
AWWW DECIM FINALLY LEARNED TO SMILE!!!
Death Parade has presented us a lot of interesting introspection. It’s opened a whole can of worms of topics but really offered no solid conclusion to the world system which presents these difficulties. I suppose the writer has subtly proposed that the only way to judge is by understanding one’s backstory, struggles, triumphs and emotions. However, once you do, you end up sympathizing so much with the person that it’s impossible to pronounce an objective judgement because of all the things you’ve learned and understood in your subject. At the end of the day, the gist is “humans are complicated” but we do what we can to get by. Judgement, in this sense is not a properly wrapped up present but quite messy when it comes to people.
Death parade raised topics of ethics concerning life and death that we would really rather not discuss for the simple reason that there is no right answer… and I suppose that’s what the series concludes with as well. It seems a bit of a cop-out that Decim ends up having emotions but there are no real repercussions on him. I feel like the series could have aimed for a twenty-four episode count by delving into the complexities of the emotional arbiters and all the infighting within the judgement system. All the background information on the dummies and arbiters just seems insignificant to the Chiyuki-focused conclusion near the end of the series. I suppose there wasn’t enough time for everything.
Overall though, I’d give this series of a total 4/5 good to watch clouds and recommend it to anyone looking for an unconventional story that involves just the right amount of comedy and philosophical pondering. If anything, the judgement episodes with Quindecim guests will be entertaining enough to hook new fans to the show. I do think the series was quite underrated because of all the season two giants of the winter anime season. All in all, the series was quite enjoyable for me and reviewing it weekly has been a pleasure. Thank you guys so much for reading and of course, new anime reviews will be coming soon 🙂
What are you pondering today?