This is moving weekend for me, so my apologies for both the lateness and brevity of its posts. I’m actually using my time on the Shinkansen to try and catch up a little bit, since I’ve been running nonstop for the last three days. My mind isn’t exactly in top form, but hey – it’s my first time in the Green Car, it’s the Kodama (the slow one) and it’s too crappy outside to see anything anyway.
So, in brief, what did I take away from this episode of Death Parade? Apart from the fact that it was another excellent one, there were several interesting moments that stood out. We certainly now know what those “special” souls Nona had sent to Decim were – in fact we know in the first few moments of the episode. Apparently it’s custom for the more experienced arbiters to handle souls with something really major like killing on their ledger, but this is all part of Nona’s master plan to change the way this game is played,
So what do we have? An older man, Tatsumi (Fujiwara Keiji) and a much younger, Shimada (Sakurai Takahiro, miscast here). We don’t know immediately which is the killer – that will be revealed soon enough – but Tatsumi drops the bomb that he’s a detective in an attempt to intimidate Decim into letting him leave. Our first clue comes when Shimada looks in his duffel bag while in the bathroom and sees a bloody knife. The game this time is air hockey with organ-themed pucks – a broadly familiar motif for Death Parade.
While this ep certainly represents a return to the usual DP format, there are some big differences – some structural (this is the series’ first proper cliffhanger storyline) and some thematic. It’s clear that the rules are different with souls like these – for example Decim says the cheat switch is “broken” (Onna urges him not to use it anyway, before he tells her) . The most interesting part of their exchange comes when Onna calls into question their right to judge people like this, and Decim replies with “Everyone can be judged”.
This is an interesting pair – Tatsumi is the classic modern noir detective, ever trying to use his powers of observation to read Decim (unsuccessfully of course). There’s a bit of a noir vibe to the whole story in fact, especially when the memories start kicking in. Both men are killers as it turns out – though Tatsumi at least seems to believe he hasn’t actually committed the crime yet. The question seemingly being set up for the conclusion is whether there can be such a thing as justifiable homicide, or indeed revenge – both men, certainly, had a deeply personal reason for what they did. The murder of a wife or the rape of a precious younger sister are indeed terrible crimes – but can the Universe forgive evil committed in the name of retribution?
I’ll eat a bug if there isn’t at least one more shoe to drop for both these incidents – who knows, they might even be connected, but there’s no way we’ve seen the whole story. Also interesting to note is that Onna has requested to have the memories of these souls downloaded to her directly, and that request has been granted. That’s notable for a number or reasons, starting with the fact that it’s possible in the first place. Onna clearly didn’t like seeing through the eyes of killers (understandably) but I wonder if seeing these memories is going to lead to further enlightenment of her own mysterious circumstances…