Disney+ Anime Is The Best Psychological Thriller You Never Heard Of

By Nina Phillips | Published

Despite the fact Death Parade is nearly a decade old now, the anime still manages to entertain. It’s a psychological thriller focused on what happens after people die and it’s time for their souls to be judged. The original series is made up of 12 episodes available on Disney+ and Hulu.

The Games Of Death Parade

Death Parade follows the story of a series of bars run by arbiters. The people who enter these establishments must compete in something known as Death Games, where they place their souls on the line. While they play, details about their secrets and souls are revealed to the bartender, who then determines if the dead should be reincarnated or sent into the void.

Most of the competitions used to determine the fate of the people who encounter the arbiters are classic bar games, such as billiards, bowling, air hockey, and darts. The story mainly focuses on Decim, the bartender of the Quindecim bar, and his assistant as they judge people who come to them. It’s a short series but manages to delve into the story of Decim and his assistant, as well as the bars and the overarching world as a whole.

Based On A Short Film

Based on a short film, Death Billiards, produced by Madhouse as part of the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai in 2013. Death Parade was part of the Winter 2015 anime season. The show was made up of one season, 12 episodes, that aired between January and March 2015.

An Award-Winning Series

Death Parade did well upon release. In 2016, it won the Anime Trending Awards for “Best Original Anime” and was also nominated for “Supernatural Anime of the Year,” “Mystery or Psychological Anime of the Year,” “Opening Theme Song of the Year,” and “Anime of the Year.” Additionally, a poll done on Niconico at the end of Winter 2015 marked the show 9th for the fan-favorite anime for the season. On MAL, Death Parade has a score of 8.15 and is ranked #420 with a popularity rank of #49.

Recognizable Voice Cast

Studio Madhouse made both the short that inspired the series and the anime itself. The show was directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa (Steins;Gate, Kill la Kill), who also handled the screenplay. Asami Seto (Jujutsu Kaisen) as the Black-Haired Woman and Tomoaki Maeno (Haikyu!!) as Decim make up the majority of the cast, but Atsumi Tanezaki (Spy x Family), Koki Uchiyama (Horimiya), Rumi Okubo (Komi-San Can’t Communicate), Ryoka Yuzuki (Kill La Kill), and Yyoko Shiraishi (Demon Sayer) also give their voices to some of the side characters in Death Parade.

Grapples With Serious Existential Topics

Though the show was short, and the scenery rarely changed, Death Parade was a great anime. Every episode offered detailed observations on humanity as a whole and on an individual level, including beliefs, desires, and values. It also hits the heart by focusing a lot on how death affects the people left behind more than those passing away and what people truly end up losing out on.

A Different Type Of Anime

While not everyone likes the show, anime fans looking for a thriller that is full of complex emotions and who want to see the ugly side of humanity will enjoy the show. Even if Death Parade isn’t for you, it’s worth at least checking out the opening, “Flyers” by BRADIO, as it’s a good song that’s popular even amongst people who weren’t fans of the show.

Death Parade is available on Disney+. However, you must have the Disney+ and Hulu bundle to watch it on this platform. Otherwise, it’s available on Hulu as a standalone service.