We first get a little bit of insight about Decim’s past – in that we see the flashback of how he wakes up memory-less with Nona in the exact same manner that Kurokami did. There’s also more information about the arbiters themselves and how they are purpose-built for judging – they don’t feel human emotion, they have not experienced ‘life’, and they are basically puppets. However, Decim is finally beginning to question the legitimacy of a judgement system like this – just as Kurokami was – after all, isn’t what they are doing not ‘reavealing’ the darkness in the humans’ hearts, but rather creating it?
Meanwhile, Kurokami’s borrowed time as a Quindecim dummy is starting to run out, and her form is gradually beginning to break down – signalling that Decim has kept her around long enough and it’s finally time to judge her. Her own judgement comes in the form of a game with a kindly old lady – a simple game of Old Maid with no hidden surprises. Perhaps because of this, though, it proves to be unsuitable for judging Kurokami (although it does cause her to regain many of her memories, including her real name – Chiyuki) so Decim will have to think of something else…
Just in case you thought things weren’t tense enough, Oculus manages to discover exactly what is going on behind his back at Quindecim regarding Nona, Decim and Chiyuki.
Well, I wasn’t wrong, this show is going to hit me right in the feelings and hurt me a whole lot, and this is where it begins. Nothing is particularly surprising – we know Chiyuki’s (I guess I should call her this from now on) loan body would expire eventually, we knew shit would hit the fan when Oculus found out about it, etc…but it’s still showed incredibly well and in a way that is gut-wrenchingly suspenseful. The bit where Oculus finds out what happened by engulfing Clavis’s head in his flower-beard scared the shit out of me to be honest. I thought he’d just bitten off his head or something, and it was a great little part of foreboding creepiness. There’s always been something off about Oculus and I’m going to assume he’s going to get scarier from here on out. As for Clavis – well, he’s alright at least – but I still wish he was doing more plot-wise. I’m actually not 100% sure what the point of him is, is he just like some kind of butler that also operates the lift? I was pretty interested in him in the beginning so it’s a shame there doesn’t seem to be much else to him.
There’s still plenty of big reveals to come in the next two episodes – we still don’t know how and why Chiyuki died, why she remembered it, but most importantly, why none of her memories were of her as an adult. Regarding Decim – the manner in which he wakes up with no memories mirrors Chiyuki’s in episode two almost exactly, and it’s really making me question whether he actually is human, or t least is an arbiter that has an actual human’s memories implanted – memories that may have been erased or supressed. This would mean that along with emotion, Decim also would possess something else the arbiter’s aren’t meant to – the knowledge of what it’s like to have actually lived. It would also tie in with his constant assurance that he ‘admires those who have lived a full life’. The great thing about getting closer and closer to the final episodes is the promise of everything being answered…the bad thing is the promise that it’s going to be emotionally devastating and I don’t know how prepared I am for that. (Also, possibly the best show of the season will be ending, awww.)
All the dramatic stuff going on behind the scenes actually contrasted really well with the surprisingly gentle and low-key game between Chiyuki and the old lady – the illustrator Uemura Sachiko. I’m really glad they did it this way, as the previous games have been so brutal it was nice to see someone get such a pleasant time of it – plus a super intense judgement game along with everything else happening would have resulted in an episode with far too much happening at once.
Interestingly, Ginti still hasn’t judged Mayu and she’s still hanging around. I assume the next episode is going to clear up her final fate, but I’m interested to know how much more she’s going to contribute to the story before she goes.
The number of human souls hanging around Quindecim that still havent been judged is three – Chiyuki, Mayu and Harada. Wait, scratch that, it might even be four, because Light Yagami is also somewhere! (No, really. It’s really Light Yagami from Death Note.) However, Harada’s soul is actually not in his body right now – meaning he is unresponsive, and so Ginti rather deviously decides that Mayu should decide his fate for him. He wants to send at least one of them to the void, after all – but for whatever reason, Mayu can’t nominate herself in order to ‘save’ Harada. She does have the choice of sending either Harada or another person she hasn’t met to the void (ie LIGHT YAGAMI), which puts her in a dilemma – her good conscious doesn’t want her to doom someone she’s never met, and yet she would never want to choose Harada. Because the void, Ginti tells her, is nothing but one’s bodyless soul falling in darkness for all eternity and consumed by despair.
Chiyuki finally regains her memories by doing the activity closest to her in life – ice skating. As it turns out, she was influenced by the ice-skating in the Chavvot book from a young age and became a champion ice-skater at a national – or potentially international level. Unfortunately her dreams came screeching to a halt when a knee injury prevented her from ever being able to skate again, and the despair at losing everything she had lived for drove her to take her own life. As for why she knew that she was dead when she arrived in Quindecim – the arbiters are chalking it up to a glitch in the system.
In the end, unable to judge her by regular means, Decim seems to want to take things into his own hands, and meanwhile, Ginti is A COMPLETE ASSHOLE.
Aw man, this entire episode was just a bunch of gut-punches to the emotions and I’m still kind of reeling from it. Remember what I said in that last review about how it was nice of them to have that nice low-key, gentle game so that the other content of the episode wouldn’t be too overwhelming? This episode abandons any thought or intention of cushioning the blow. I don’t think I’ve been left this emotionally distraught over an anime since Fate/Zero, so congrats, Death Parade!
There’s a lot of revelations, and most of them are bad. First of all, there’s the clarifaction of what exactly the ‘void’ is – and it clears up any doubt as to whether it’s good or bad – a fate that is literally, and by its very definition – worse than death. At the end of the episode, we find out that both Mayu and Harada are bound for the void – something I didn’t see coming (while taking notes for this episode I actually just wrote NOOOOOOOOOOO here.) We also get to see what it’s actually like inside the elevator as it descends, and the scene is full of such raw and dramatic emotion that it’s amazing it’s coming from a character so many people wrote off as ‘gag character’. What’s less clear is whether this was the fate Mayu chose herself – it’s not confirmed, but I personally think that giving her the choice of sending either Harada or an unknown to the void was just an extension of her test and what Ginti had truly decided to judge her on. If that’s the case, fuck you, Ginti. Fuuuuuck you. At least they’ll get to be together, but man was that a devastating blow to end the episode on. And to think I thought Harada and Mayu’s arc had a good end a few episodes ago…
(Also, it raises the possibility that Light Yagami was sent to be reincarnated, so thanks a lot, Ginti.)
In direct contrast to Ginti’s harshness is Decim, who has, obviously, grown so attached to Chiyuki that being forced to judge her is going to be the true test of his human emotions. It’s also interesting that he had apparently requested to be the one to judge Chiyuki from the beginning. Regarding what I said before, he does confirm that he hasn’t ever lived or died. Most of this episode however concerned Chiyuki’s past, and the scene in which she recollects it was absolutely stunning. I was actually in awe of how beautiful the ice skating scene was, juxtaposed with the memories of her entire life, with them ending just as abruptly as her knee injury had happened. The writers have done an admirable job of depicting Chiyuki’s utter despair – when you lose the thing that comprises your entire identity, you lose yourself. It’s a feeling I can relate to a lot. It’s also rather symbolic in a way – the Chiyuki at Quindecim was one with no memories of what is such an integral part of the Chiyuki in the living world – and yet she’s still such a great character who is full of passion. I like to take this as a sort of message of hope that not all is lost even if it seems that way.
There’s only one more episode of this, and I don’t know if I’m ready for it…especially since Oculus has yet to make his next move. What further pain do you have in store for me, Death Parade?