Death Parade – 08

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Back to the old grind at Quincdecim – or is it?

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…

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  1. e

    The one element that didn't really surprise me (as in 'being technically possible') was the memory transfer to Onna. With the whole puppets and memory selection+handling(from gathering to transfer to wiping) being revealed as this afterlife standard modus operandi since a couple of episodes ago… and with Nona, Quin and Castra being accomplices in the experiment and the latter two handling the memories distro line…
    The one interesting bit for me endgame-wise are the possible implications in Decim's 'everyone can be judged'. I'm so tempted to read something more into it and possibly related to some theories I've been mulling over lately. We'll see.
    Now talking about the two bar guests this week I'd still keep the poor sacrificial bug at hand. But unless the shaved guy in the blood-spattered picture hanging on detective's house is the same apparently blond-ish guy we see assaulting Little Sis outdoors in the memories transfer, the link between the two cases might get rather convoluted.
    Justifiable homicide is a tough one in any case. I'm of two minds about the issue myself. As much as I realize it's a slippery slope – especially when revenge and retribution enter the picture – I can't just bring myself to a stark right vs wrong statement, never mind testing your behaviour in a RL situation. Just because I didn't chose the dark path in the past is not a guarantee I'd react in the same way if put in similar circumstances again. Of thy inner Gon-san beware.

  2. K

    This week, Decim emulates Ginti's method of stepping up the intensity halfway through. I think, sharp as he is, the detective might find out whats going on the the room soon, pain being inflicted by a hockey table is very suspicious…

  3. w

    "Everyone can be judged."

    I thought that line was significant. For starters, Decim couldn't judge Onna. So either he was lying when he said "Everyone can be judged," or he doesn't remember failing to judge her. The latter option seems both more interesting and more likely–he's recently had his memories of all his visitors wiped, after all. On the other hand, he still seems to know Onna–or he's just really good at not reacting to having some lady he doesn't know live in his bar–so I'm probably wrong.

    …but does Onna remember that Decim couldn't judge her (as opposed to only remembering that she's dead)? If she does remember, then I wonder what what was going through her mind when Decim blurted out his commitment to judging the dead. And once again, did Decim know that his statement was wrong?

    (for some reason I feel like I've stumbled upon some kind of paradox.)

  4. C

    Felt a little ominous to me, as though Onna's own time to be judge is fast approaching. Or perhaps she has already been judged by someone else but due to the memory wipe and interference by Nona she hasn't been sentenced to the elevator yet. Either way she's a human soul and i doubt she will ultimately be allowed/able to remain with Decim forever…

  5. m

    I think he also mentioned that Onna remembered that she was dead and refused to play the game, thus making it hard for him to try judging her.

  6. J

    In my translation it was:
    "There is no one who cannot be judged.
    I will judge them, regardless."

    This seems to suggest that there's an inevitability about the judgement, not so much that he's suggesting every judgement is a fair one.

    It'll be interesting to see where they're going with this, as the only other human we've seen around is one who wasn't judged. Is Onna also a human who couldn't be judged? Or just one more tool that Nona is putting to use?

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