Death Parade was a show where I could recognize and appreciate the craft, but there would always be little things that bugged me and prevented me from fully enjoying it. It happens. I did, however, totally enjoy the times when Death Parade leaned hard into a change of pace, including my highlighted episode.
Episode 6 of Death Parade moves away from Decim (someone who seems fond of humanity and is very slowly realizing how dumb these death games are) and takes a peek at one of his coworkers, Ginti (someone who doesn’t seem to like humanity all that much and relishes the death games). As his next customers, Ginti gets enthusiastic teenage pop idol fan Mayu and the object of Mayu’s affections, the self-absorbed idol Harada.
And for their game …
Obviously the death games are tailor made to wring as much tension and melodrama as possible out of its participants. However, going against expectation like this is a ton of fun, too — Mayu’s relentless optimism, utter lack of shame, and absolute single-mindedness would make her a fun character in most cases, but she’s especially great in this specific scenario, where the gravity of the situation bounces right off her. The little touches with Harada, such as how he can’t help but put on an act and impress Mayu even though he doesn’t think much of her, are fun, as well.
And though this pair are completely silly, the episode humanizes them enough that they’re not total cartoon characters. There’s some sadness to how they’re carrying themselves — it’s overt with Harada (his constant womanizing masking a life that’s growing ever more unfulfilling) and a touch more subtle with Mayu (even before she spills her guts at the end, you get the feeling that her obsessive fandom is an escape from more than the usual teenage worries).
At the end it’s nice that these two dorks get a second chance at something, even if it can’t last forever. Keep putting on those shows until you can’t any more.