Death Parade
Episode 10

by Zac Bertschy,

After last week's emotional fireworks, Death Parade settles down and gets ready for the finale. Onna's speech following the harrowing judgment of two murders (and one outright inhuman sociopath) has finally gotten Decim to realize that the judgment system in Quindecim is wildly unfair, and he confronts Nona about his inability to continue judging people this way. Nona gives him a pretty wide berth - asking him how he intends to continue - and also lets him know that the time to judge Onna has finally come. What's an arbiter to do?

The system sends him an old woman to judge alongside Onna - an illustrator named Uemura Sachiko - and Decim settles on a game of Old Maid, a card game where the cards have images associated with the past of the person playing the game. That's it - no grisly twist, no internal organs, no mechanic designed to turn everyone playing into a rage-filled homicidal animal. During the game, Onna has a breakthrough and remembers her name (!), with the old woman winning at the end. Decim sends her off to reincarnation, and then reveals that he's come to understand that human emotion is a vital part of judging souls; you can't do it accurately without the ability to feel.

It seems, at least for now, like this is all part of Nona's plan. While this is all going down, she's rummaging around in the archives for Onna's complete memories, something that's rarely ever asked for, and she plans on feeding them to Decim. I assume this is all part of the new judgment system, but there's a problem: Oculus. He calls up Clavis and sucks his memories out with his beard-tentacles (!!), discovering Nona's plan.

This is all setup for the finale, and it's a gentle, slow-moving episode where the big reveal is Onna's real name. Decim comes to the conclusions we knew he would, and Nona's plan is set into action; while I have a pretty good idea where this is all heading, they're taking their sweet time getting there. I suppose it was inevitable that at least one of these final episodes would eke out maybe 5 minutes worth of story over the course of 20, given Death Parade's already-shaky relationship with "having enough story to fill an entire series". It's fine - nothing to complain about, really, there just isn't much to say. This is, effectively, the first paragraph of the show's ending.

Death Parade is a great show, but when they have to slow it down, you really feel it. That uneven pacing may be the show's biggest flaw; thankfully it isn't a dealbreaker.

Rating: B

Death Parade is currently streaming on Funimation.

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