DeathBilliards was a wonderful animated short by Madhouse as part ofthe Young Animator Training Project about two men forced to play a game of
billiards with their lives on the line, after arriving in a strange bar with no
recollection of how they got there. With sharp visuals, an intriguing storyline
and a cool atmosphere, the short was widely loved by viewers, enough to spawn a
full television anime series: Death

Death Parade, as of the first three
episodes, seems to be a combination of “story of the day” episodes
tying together an overall plot. The first episode features a recently married
couple playing darts against each other, and the second follows it up with some
small backstory of the bar’s workers and their reactions to the previous
episode. The third gives us another story, this time about a young man and
woman bowling. 

I don’t know if this will be a pattern, but so far I like it.
Taking the second episode to focus on the workers means that their personal
reactions don’t detract from the story of the newlyweds, which was interesting
all on its own. I tend to like stories like this, where one establishment is
used as a set piece for individual short stories with their own conclusions;
stories like Bartender, Petshop of Horrors and others. 

Through the three stories I’ve seen so far (including Death Billiards), Madhouse has done a great job of not repeating
themselves. While the stakes are the same for the three different games, each
features characters with vastly different relationships and situations that
need to be resolved. The writers have succeeded in using the bar and its
purpose as a backdrop for three very different stories without too much

I haven’t seen enough yet to
make a good judgment of the overall story and recurring characters, but so far
the show has impressed me with what it’s done, and I know I’ll be sticking
around for more.

SCORE: 8/10

-Edward (Left Knee of A7)

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