You have two choices once you die, reincarnation or the void? Opposite ends of the spectrum, right? Most of us do not think or at least not very often think about the afterlife from day to day. Where is one counted worthy or being given a second chance at life and likewise, condemned to disappear into nothingness. We will examine this and more as we take a look at Yuzuru’s Tachikawa’s “Death Parade”.
Are you worthy to be reincarnated or do you deserve the void? Arbiter’s decide the fate of humans once they die in this anime. After you have gotten off the elevator ride, you will step into the Quindecim bar where you will be greeted by your host, Decim. Decim, I would describe as one of those stoic, yet ominous butler figures you will find in other anime’s. However, Decim is different from other arbiters’, he has a natural curiosity of the human’s and the value of their lives they have lived. Decim has another challenge on his hands other than judging those who come to the Quindecim; being unable to judge a girl named Chikyuki who has no knowledge of who she is, her past or why she is there. As a side note, regarding the series’ opening theme, you will find yourself wanting to get up and dance before you descend into the seriousness of the shows’ dark mood.
What is the value of human life? Is it to have a lot of money, fame, power? While it is good to aspire for success and making the most out of yourself, there is much more than that. If we look at this from a faith standpoint, we know that we were made in the image of God and for a great purpose (Psalm 139:13-16). It would appear to be obvious for how we should view life as Christians, but most of us proclaim that we are followers of Christ but tend to not know or understand what all that entails. Does it include daily bible reading, fellowship among other believers, tithing? Again, all these are great things and should be done in the daily life of a Christian, however there is a bigger picture here.
When humans are bought down to the Quindecim, they are met by Decim, who will advise them that their fate will be determined by a game such as air hockey, darts, cards, etc… The games are meant to bring out the true nature of those who have died while also replaying the pivotal moments that brought them there. What if that were possible in real life? How would you fair and be judged it the moments of your life were able to be viewed for all to see? The truth of the matter that is one day you will be judged by the ultimate judge! While there will be no trivial game to decide your fate once you have died, your every word, every action and deed will be reviewed, and you want to be on the right side of that court hearing (Matthew 12:36). Though what if you are not ready to be judged?
Watching this series really makes you think about the afterlife. As Christians, we view the two choices of reincarnation and the void as heaven and hell. The Quindecim though appears to be referring to that in between point between the two, essentially purgatory. In the roman catholic faith, purgatory is described as a place of suffering for those who are “paying” for their sins before going to heaven. I find this a bit perplexing as Catholicism and Christianity are very similar in their beliefs. If Jesus died and paid the debt for our sins, then why would a place such as purgatory be needed, is it to give you that last taste of suffering before you enter paradise? The Quindecim functions as this except that you have a 50/50 chance of being reincarnated or dissolving into nothingness. This is the situation the Chikyuki finds herself end. Decim is unable to judge her fully through a game as he himself is trying to understand human emotion and worth of human life. At the end of the series, you will find yourself going “ah ha”.
Death Parade while dark and brooding much of the time, it does cause the viewer to think about the afterlife and perhaps their own soul’s destiny of where to spend eternity. We know that there are only two options here, and that will leave you to an eternity with God or an eternity separated from Him.