Divergence Eve: Buxom Ladies vs Craptastic CG Creatures

Divergence Eve aired in 2003. It was created by Tsukumo Takumi and produced by Radix before the studio shut down in 2006. I don’t know what to expect from it. I’ve never reviewed a Radix work before. The only Radix production I’m even vaguely familiar with is Amazing Nurse Nanako and, I have to say, that does not inspire confidence. But that also came out three-four years before this one and most studios have their good and bad moments. So, let’s see if Divergence Eve is worth looking into.

Story:

We open with a group of buxom women, and one flat-chested android, being briefed before getting sent in robot mechs to fight some kind of bizarre CG monster. We see one, Misaki, in some kind of pod attached to a bunch of cables while also being on the battlefield, somehow. Then the version of her on the battlefield turns into its own CG monster form and they both explode. It’s at this point that you start wondering if this is a sequel to something since there seems to be a lot going on that you’ve just been dropped into. The next episode takes us back in time where four cadets, Misaki, Luxandra, Suzanna & Kiri are being sent to some kind of space station to join a military force s potential replacements for its retiring Commander. We then spend all the episodes except for the very last one getting to the point where we started.

Let’s talk about non-linear story telling for a moment, shall we? In a good non-linear story there are plenty of sources of tension that might get hinted at, but won’t be spoiled and there’s a compelling reason why they story works better when told in a non-linear fashion. A perfect example is the classic novel, Catch-22. There’s also A Prayer for Owen Meany. Even Venus Versus Virus managed to use its non-linear elements decently. So, with that in mind let’s look at what this series accomplishes by putting the twelfth episode chronologically at the beginning. It successfully destroys all sense of tension in the series. That’s basically it. The main attempts at tension throughout the series are the mystery surrounding just what kind of mysterious power Misaki has that these shady scientists are interested in. Which we already know involves turning into a giant CG monster so that plot line quickly becomes very stale and predictable. They also try to have tension involving whether Misaki will survive various scenarios and whether she’ll stay with the team when she considers quitting. But we already know that she’ll live and stay with them because we saw her in the first episode, which takes place after all of this stuff. It isn’t even tense about whether or not her comrades will survive since we see most of the ones who are going into danger in that first episode, alive and well. They also try to have an emotional moment involving the death of a character. Except that they talked about her being dead in the first episode so you were expecting it by the time it happens and it does nothing.

The gross misuse of non-linear narrative isn’t all that’s wrong with the story telling in this either. The pacing is awful. We get long stretches where nothing of value happens and a bunch of pointless flashbacks that are there solely to give you information that you already know or to spell out information that was already obvious. They just assume their audience is a bit thick and needs the help. The ending is also pretty rubbish. I will say, to Divergence Eve’s credit, there are some concepts with potential here. If the execution was competent they could have led to some decent stuff.

Characters:

The characters in this are a group of stock tropes without much in terms of originality,personality or development. They aren’t the worst group of characters. None of them are egregiously annoying or anything like that. They’re just a boring group.

I do want to talk a bit about the character death that they spoil in the first episode. It is a really bad idea to open a new series telling you that a certain character will die. Not just because it lessens the impact, but because it’s really difficult to get the audience invested in a character when they know that they aren’t going to last. It certainly requires better writing than is on display here. You want to give your audience time with that character and reasons to care about them. A good example is the excellent western cartoon Beast Wars. They pretty heavily foreshadow a particular character’s death and it culminates in the greatest episode of any Transformers series ever, Code of Hero. But by the time the foreshadowing starts you know this character really well, he may even be your favourite character. You have the investment and that gives the scene impact. In this, you know the character is going to die before you’ve heard her speak and the series does nothing to develop her. As such, you don’t bother getting invested in her and her eventual demise means nothing.

Art:

You may remember last October when I talked about the Galerians OVA and its CG artwork that looked like it was from an early Playstation title. Divergence Eve suffers from a similar problem. They use CG artwork for the monsters, action sequences and some tech shots and it’s roughly on par with the CG in Galerians. It’s awkward, stiff, blocky and just looks laughably ludicrous. Although, this series has plenty of scenes that use more traditional animation too. Incidentally, there is a major problem with those scenes as well. Namely that this series is almost as bad about shamelessly using exploitative fan-service as Highschool of the Dead was. The female characters, save the android, look almost Liefeldian in their proportions. They have massively over-sized bosoms and overly thin waists that don’t look like they could house internal organs. They aren’t quite as bad as Liefeld’s abominations, though. Since they have pupils and don’t constantly stand awkwardly on their tip toes.

Sound:

Radix did get some talented actresses for this. Kakazu Yumi (the voice of Yuffie and Aizawa Mint) takes the lead as Misaki. We’ve also got Kiuchi Reiko, Koyasu Takehito, & Kobayashi Sanae among others. But this is one of those series where they don’t have much to work with so the characters sound pretty generic in spite of the talent behind them. The music is also pretty mediocre.

Ho-yay:

There might be a bit. It’s hard to judge because the character interactions are so listless. The girls certainly spend more time with each other than they do with any blokes and they seem to like each other more. There’s also a line from Suzanna that may indicate that she has romantic feelings for Misaki.

Final Thoughts:

Divergence Eve is tripe. It’s a bad action series that had some good ideas that they didn’t feel like doing anything interesting with. The artwork is pretty awful, the characters are dull and any story moments that could have had an impact are ruined by the baffling way they elected to make the story non-linear and butchered the execution. That being said, I have seen a lot worse. It’s bad, certainly, but it’s not horrible. As such, My final rating is a 3/10. It’s kind of sad because I had a bit of a combo going with three good anime, Death Parade, Nanoha A’s & Love Live, in a row. Next week I’ll look at Ice. So, that should be good fun for everybody. Although, I haven’t started it yet so it may very well turn out to not be fun for me. We’ll see how that works out.

Courting Controversy with Censorship

No Angel Sanctuary this week because I found something that I really wanted to talk about. When I was looking up information about Love Live for that review I found out about a controversy surrounding the English release of the iOS game from KLab.

Basically, they decided that it would be a capital idea to censor out the homo-erotic subtext from the dialogue. Because acknowledging the existence of gay people would just be awful. I mean, someone might get the notion that people living their lives while daring to be attracted to other people of the same sex is perfectly okay and absolutely none of anyone’s business but theirs and their partners. Naturally, there was a completely reasonable and proportionate fan backlash calling this out for being complete bullshit.

Honestly, this never should have happened. I’m against censorship in general and censorship done for the sole purpose of pretending a minority group doesn’t exist is particularly sickening and inexcusable. But even in the context of social mores and what was viewed as acceptable way back last year, this was a stupid move. As bad as a lot of anime dubs have been when it comes to erasing homo-erotic text and subtext, the English versions have been getting better about not doing that. Because it’s becoming more and more apparent that it’s a bad business move.

I find two things entirely flabbergasting about the censorship in this case. There had been plenty of games with homo-erotic text and subtext released when the Love Live game came out. The Neptunia franchise is big on that and the first of those came out in 2010. The second Fallout game had a potential shotgun wedding between women and that came out in 1998. Several Bioware games have had the option for LGBT romance. In EA’s Sims series you can have two men or two women snog, jump into bed together and marry. Final Fantasy XIII, released worldwide in 2010, had Fang and Vanille and, as far as I know, they didn’t censor a damn thing. So, why is all of that perfectly acceptable to most gamers but the English division of KLab still thought that their game took it too far?

That brings me to the second thing. This was sub-textual stuff that they censored. Speaking from experience, most people who really hate seeing LGBT content are very good at pretending it doesn’t exist as long as the characters don’t snog or outright declare that they’re romantically interested in each other. Remember, this is the group that insists that Trowa can’t have a thing with Quatre in Gundam Wing because he is clearly in love with his sister. Why that’s supposedly better, I haven’t the foggiest. The point is, they’d almost certainly dismiss any homo-erotic dialogue as the girls just being good friends. Except that now they can’t because the censorship attempt stirred up enough controversy that the reasoning behind it is well known.

I should add that just this June there was an update to the English version of the game which supposedly fixed the dialogue so that it’s true to the original. Although it really shouldn’t have taken them more than a year given the negative reception.

So, you might wonder why this is a big deal to people? Aside from the obvious anti-censorship thing. Well, the fact is that not many games include LGBT subtext or text. There are some out there, certainly, but you might get a game or two a year that has a bit if you’re lucky. Naturally, this means that people who are fans of that type of content tend to be excited for those few games with it. So, when the developer of one of those, or at least their division in your area, decides to be a dick and remove that it’s kind of a big deal. More importantly, it’s representative of a hostile, regressive attitude that is, to put it bluntly, offensive.

KLab deserves all the criticism they got for the initial bollocks and for taking so long to address it. I do hope that they and other developers learn from this and we don’t have to deal with another situation like this in future. However, realistically speaking we probably will. Censorship has been around for a long time, after all. About the best we can do is remain vigilant and continue to give companies that pull this kind of nonsense a linguistic thrashing.

Love Live! School Idol Project: Yuri Musical

Love Live School Idol Project is a multimedia project. There were a lot of different companies behind this. ASCII Media Works, Lantis, Dengeki G’s Magazine and Sunrise. The overall project included games, music, manga, light novels an anime series and an anime film. Today we’ll be looking at series one of the anime brought to us by Sunrise in 2013.

Story:

Our heroines happily attend Otonokizaka Academy when they get some bad news. Due to a lack of interest in the school, it’s slated to close with their current first years being the last class. The student council President and Vice President, Eri and Nozomi, are determined to find a way to gain interest, but have no idea how to go about it. Meanwhile, second year student Honoka is also trying o think of a way when she happens to pass a very popular school and notices something. One of their big draws is that they have a popular school idol group attending. Honoka decides that the best thing to do would e to form a school idol group for Otonokizaka and gets her best friends, Kotori and Umi to join her in the endeavour.

On the downside, the anime delves into artificial sources of tension overmuch. What do I mean by that?Well, they’ll introduce a character and make a production about whether or not that character is going to join Honoka’s idol group, μ’s (pronounce Muse). And this is something they do thrice. Well, I saw that character with the group in the opening sequence but maybe that actually isn’t going to happen said no one ever. To be fair, this is the first series and it is important to show how these girls all get involved in μ’s. The problem is the pomp over whether or not they will. There are a lot of things done well in the series too. The pacing is really good and I like that the girls are allowed to actually fail at a few points. Which does create some genuine tension that actually really works. The story is simple, but it’s effectively executed and it ends with a good note.

Characters:

The characters are pretty archetypical. I will say, to the series’ credit, that several of them are allowed to develop and grow over the course of the series. I will also say that, in all fairness, they aren’t poorly done archetypes, the execution does work in the context of a series like this. The characters are a lot of fun and there are some really good interactions. My biggest issue is with the character of Nozomi. To be specific, with her tendency to go into bad touch mode. She gropes the other girls without their permission on several occasions. The worst part is that most of them would probably totally allow it if she asked properly. I don’t think Rin would since she only seems to have eyes for Hanayo, but the rest probably would, assuming she asked nicely. Even if they wouldn’t, that would still be inexcusable behaviour.

Art:

To the series’ credit, the costume and character designs are really well done. It’s also really good at doing the lighting and dance numbers during μ’s lives. The backgrounds are also nicely detailed. My only real complaint is that this is one of those series where noses don’t exist. It may be a stylistic choice, but it’s a really head-scratching one.

Sound:

The casting in this is really good. Due to the nature of the series, they needed ladies who were good singers and actresses. As such, we have the singer Hori Eriko (stage name Pile), Tokui Sora, Kusuda Aina, Mimori Suzuko, Nanjo Yoshino, Uchida Aya, Nitta Emi, Kubo Yurika, & Iida Riho. Most of whom gravitate more towards singing and don’t really have many acting credits. Still, they all do well in their roles. The music and singing are both really good.

Ho-yay:

There’s a lot of les-yay in this. It might just be on the level of Yuru Yuri. We’ve got Honoka with most of the other girls, particularly Umi, Kotori, Eri, & Maki. There’s also the dynamic between Rin and Hanayo. Which is incessantly adorable. We’ve also got Nozomi and Eri, who come across as a couple who have been together for several years. There’s also Nozomi in general with her totally uncool bad touch tendencies. Incidentally, she’s another shrine maiden yuri girl.

Final Thoughts:

Love Live School Idol Project is an enjoyable series. The story is well done. The characters are mostly good. The music and acting are impeccable and the art is good. If you enjoy musical school anime, give it a go. My final rating for it is going to be a 7/10. In future, I’ll look at the second series. But next week is going to be Divergence Eve.

Angel Sanctuary Volume 2:

The first volume of Angel Sanctuary introduced us to Mudou Setsuna, the human reincarnation of the great angel Alexiel. A couple of demons came to try and awaken him. Meanwhile, Alexiel’s brother, Rosiel was revived by an angel named Katan. Setsuna’s powers awakened for a brief period when his sister Sara, whom he’s in love with, was captured by Rosiel and threatened. We left off with Katan planning on killing Setsuna before his powers fully awaken

Story: 

The second volume opens with a young man taking some drugs, little suspecting that Rosiel is the one giving them out for a sinister purpose which does get revealed mid-way through the volume. We cut to Sara dreaming about her brother. Her mom wakes her for an important announcement, they’re going to move to England where she and Setsuna can’t do incestuous things. Sara decides to go to Setsuna and let him know, interrupting Rosiel’s plan to seduce him while disguised as her. Our currently most compelling character, Kurai, goes to hell to consult with dragon spirits about Alexiel and she’s told that Setsuna will fully awaken, Tokyo will be destroyed and she’ll have a small window to get to Alexiel when that happens

I will say, on the positive side, the story remains fairly interesting with some really compelling ideas. It’s got a lot of fucked up elements, not the least of which is the budding romance between Setsuna and Sara, but they’re pretty deliberate and they kind of work in context. They also do a pretty good job of wrapping up the Ruri sub-plot from the first volume.

On the downside, the pacing is still painfully slow at times. Once again, we get a lot of build up for things that are coming later and it seems like some of it is going to be kind of pointless. The Ruri sub-plot may very well never be mentioned again and ultimately it’s contributed very little even if it was well done in its own right. The cliff hanger of Katan wanting to kill Setsuna hasn’t advanced at all nor was it really mentioned here. I will say, to the manga’s credit, it will almost certainly get a conclusion later on but it’s pretty annoying to have them leave off on it and proceed to ignore it for six chapters.

Characters: 

Setsuna still hasn’t developed much personality. He’s into his sister, doesn’t want her to know and is experiencing angst over it which is being aggravated at this point due to their mother’s plan of leaving for England with her. There’s still not much reason to care about him. At this juncture, you’re more concerned over the grim prophesied fate of Tokyo. This volume does develop Sakuya quite a bit, including answering part of the mystery surrounding him and he is all the more compelling of a character for it. We also get several new characters introduced, Kirie, Raziel and Zaphikel. It’s hard to judge them as characters at this point since they’ve barely had any scenes thus far.

Art: 

The art is much like it was in the first volume. With the same kinds of well sequenced action scenes, good imagery and disturbing gore. I will add that the summoned dragon spirits looked really interesting.

Ho-yay: 

Katan seems to have feelings for Rosiel. Kurai’s fixation on Alexiel seems to be giving way to feelings for Setsuna in his own right. The end of the Ruri sub-plot is a bit homo-erotic as well.

Final Thoughts: 

The second volume of Angel Sanctuary is pretty decent. It does a good job of setting up some intrigue and keeping things interesting enough that you want to find out where it’s going. Unfortunately, it’s still largely build up and the characters remain largely under-developed. I’d have to give it a 6/10 so far. Of course, there are a lot more volumes to go. So it could still improve or go completely off the rails. We’ll examine the third volume at a later date.

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s: NanoFated Reunion

Back in January I talked about Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, an anime from Seven Arcs. The second anime series in the franchise, A’s, aired in 2005. Exactly a year after the first. Let’s recap the first, shall we? Young Takamachi Nanoha gained magical powers to help Yuuno, a boy transformed into a ferret, find artifacts called Jewel Seeds. While doing so she came into conflict with the young mage Fate Testarossa. Nanoha was immediately drawn to Fate, wanting to become friends and more than friends with her. After a climactic battle with Fate’s abusive mother, Nanoha returned triumphant and Fate was taken away to face judgment for the things she did for her mom. Nanoha was allowed to see her before she left which naturally resulted in her and Fate calling each others names, holding hands and gazing lovingly into each others eyes. Which brings us to the situation at the opening of this series. Will the two meet again? Will more yurirrific content happen? Can Nanoha and Fate possibly be more adorable? Will the transformation sequences still be super uncomfortable to watch? Let’s watch Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s and answer those questions.

Story:

We open with a young girl in a wheelchair at hospital. She returns to her empty home and reads in bed. She’s about to sleep when a book on her shelf shines with an unearthly light and things start happening. We cut to Nanoha before we can learn what happens with the girl. It’s been months since the events of the first series and she’s been maintaining a long distance relationship with Fate and they’ve been exchanging video letters as part of that. We see her look at her most recent one and blush because of course she does. We find out that Fate is returning very soon and Nanoha can’t wait to see her. We then find out that mages are being attacked and their linker cores, the internal mechanism that allows them to use magic, are getting drained in order to fill a strange tome called the book of darkness. Nanoha senses some strange magic and finds herself under attack by a red-haired girl wielding a massive hammer.

Honestly, the only complaint I have with the story is that the pacing does border on the hectic. The first series managed to be fast-paced while still having plenty of breathing room and slow moments. A’s tries to do something similar, but it isn’t as effective at it. To its credit, it’s never an egregious problem so the narrative isn’t difficult to follow nor are you liable to miss anything but there are certainly moments where the shift from one big moment to the next are too sudden. On the positive side, the story is very compelling and there are a lot of interesting moments within it. A’s is really good at introducing mysterious elements, using them to build tension while hinting at the answer and giving the answers at a natural point. It’s also good about establishing its plot devices and how they work early enough on that when they come into play during the climax it really works. There’s nothing that feels forced or contrived.

Characters:

The characters remain a strong point of the franchise. Nanoha, Fate and the other characters from the first series remain fleshed out and they develop naturally over the course of the series. The minor characters don’t get as much development but they are three-dimensional and have verisimilitude. The antagonists are really interesting as well. They have developed motivations and back stories. You get the sense right away that they have something that they’re fighting for and the reveal of what exactly that is is really superb. They are very much sympathetic villains. The character interactions are also really good. Fate’s developing familial relationship with Lindy and Chrono is very well done. As is her budding romance with Nanoha. The antagonistic group also gets a lot of really good moments.

Art:

The artwork is much the same as the first series. The animation is good as are the action sequences, character designs and various bits of magical technology. The biggest problem with the series is still the transformation sequences. We get to see nine year olds in their undergarments and starkers in a way that is just detailed enough to be really uncomfortable but not so explicit that they can’t air it. I will give A’s some credit for barely using the transformation sequences, but they’re still horrible when they do show up.

Sound:

The vocal cast remains an amazing aspect of the series. Mizuki Nana and Tamura Yukari make spectacular leads and really convey the chemistry between Nanoha and Fate. For the antagonists in this one we’ve got Yuzuki Ryouka, Shimizu Kaori, Asami Sanada, Ueda Kana and Ichijo Kazuya. They all deliver spectacularly in their roles too. The music is really damn good.

Ho-yay:

There’s a lot here. Since they aren’t on opposing sides in this one, the relationship between Nanoha and Fate is able to grow even more romantic with a lot more shared moments and they are incessantly adorable. They even set up the ending theme as a love song going from Nanoha to Fate. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they adopt a child together when they’re adults. There’s also a bit between Hayate and Vita. It’s less of a focus but they certainly seem to have chemistry.

Final Thoughts:

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical A’s is every bit as strong as the first series. It has a compelling, well crafted story, interesting characters and an excellent vocal cast. It’s biggest issue is the transformation sequences, which really isn’t that bad especially when you factor in how little they’re used and there are some things that it could have done better. In the end my final rating is a 9/10. Next week, I’ll look at Love Live series 1.

Angel Sanctuary Volume 1: A slow beginning

A while back I looked at the Angel Sanctuary OVA. Initially, it was my plan to start looking at the Manga with the point that the OVA left off. However, when going through the manga again I realised just how much it leaves out. It basically goes through more than three volumes of material in three episodes. As such, I’m going to start the look at the manga at the beginning. With the first volume.

Story:

We open with Kurai and Arachne who have just fought their way through angels to get to Earth in order to seek out the reincarnation of Alexiel. We quickly skip to where the OVA started, Setsuna in a fight against a group of thugs. He’s doing well until he catches a glimpse of blood, and starts feeling faint. He’s eventually rescued by Sakuya and his sister arrives to berate him for fighting. She’s with her shy friend, Ruri. Meanwhile, a strange game named after the title is causing players’ heads to explode. Ruri is given a copy by a strange fellow before Setsuna can intervene, driving the guy away. The chapters cover the purpose of the disc and Setsuna’s initial encounter with Kurai and Arachne, including the revelation that he’s the reincarnation of the organic angel Alexiel. It also covers his disturbing feelings towards his sister.

On the negative side, it is really slow going. Which is the opposite problem from the absurdly fast-paced OVA. Honestly, most of what happens in the first volume is build up for things that are coming later. Which is fine, but it really could use for build up that’s more interesting in its own right. On the positive side, the premise is interesting and the setup, though it could be better, is good enough that it makes you interested in finding out what the payoff is going to be.

Characters:

This is one of those series where the secondary characters are more interesting than the protagonists. Setsuna doesn’t develop much of a personality in the first volume. He has feelings for his sister but doesn’t want her to know and experiences angst over it. His character may develop more later, but at this juncture there’s not much reason to give a damn about him. In fact, the only character you really get a good sense of is Kurai since you see her back story, how it ties into what she’s doing and get an idea of how it’s impacted the character she is at this point. Katan also has some interesting elements to him and you get some sense of mystery for Rosiel, Arachne and Sakuya but it’s all buildup at this point.

Art:

The art is pretty strong. The action sequences are well sequenced and there’s some really good imagery. The violent scenes are pretty damn brutal too. You’d almost think that Yuki Kaori has a thing for dismemberment.

Ho-yay:

There’s a bit. It’s shown that Kurai was in love with Alexiel and that she’s disappointed over her reincarnating as a man.

Final Thoughts:

Angel Sanctuary volume 1 is pretty decent. It gives the readers some intrigue to start things out and some compelling mysteries to encourage further reading. But it suffers from being slow and a lot of the characters are under-developed at this point. For this volume, I’ll give a 6/10. I’ll look at the second volume at a later point, maybe next week it depends on the response to this one, and we’ll see if it improves.

Death Parade: the game of afterlife.

Death Parade aired from January to March of this year. It was created, written and directed by Tachikawa Yuzuru and based off of his short 2013 film, Death Billiards. Both the film and series were brought to us by Madhouse, which makes it difficult to predict anything on the quality since they’ve made some of the worst and best anime I’ve seen plus everything in between. I can’t judge it based on him being the director either. He directed Arata Naru Sekai: World’s Start/ Load/ End, which I haven’t seen and some assorted episodes of various series, usually an episode or two here and there. We’ll just have to take a look.

Story:

The narrative of Death Parade largely takes place in a bar where freshly dead souls are observed and judged by an arbiter who coerces them into playing a game meant to bring out the darkness of their souls which gives the arbiter insight to determine whether they’re worth reincarnating or their soul should be hurled down into the void. We follow a young woman who can’t even recall her own name who’s brought to the fifteenth floor to work as an assistant for its arbiter, Decim, as he goes about his duties. The series is largely episodic, with most of the episodes focusing on the games and Decim’s judgments. There’s also an underlying story about who his mysterious assistant is and why she’s there.

The story is really well done. The episodes are nicely varied and have a lot of interesting content. This is also one of those series that varies its tone, with some episodes being light-hearted (some even comedically so), some more serious, with some even being downright depressing. This is also one of those rare series that handles all the disparate tones very well. The comedic scenes lean towards the macabre but they are really funny and the serious episodes are skillfully written. It handles its dark content, including sexual assault, really well. The whole series, both light-hearted and serious episodes, has a good deal of substance to it. I do really like the ending too. It’s a bittersweet ending that’s perfect for the series.

Characters:

With a series like this that deals with different characters every episode, it would be easy to focus on the main cast and let the one-shot characters just remain as tropes but Death Parade does a really good job of fleshing out those side characters and their unique situations so that they come across as actual people. The arbiters are compelling as well. There’s a point where it looks like the series has an inconsistency with how they’re supposed to work and how they’re actually written, but they reveal some information right near the end that actually results in it making perfect sense. I will give credit to Tachikawa for really thinking things through.

Art:

The artwork and animation in this are stunning. There’s a lot of attention to detail in the designs for the various games that their guests play. Whether it’s the cosmic pool table, the dartboard images or even the bowling balls. The characters themselves are really well drawn and I love what they do with the arbiter’s eyes. It’s really awesome effect and gives them a slightly disconcerting appearance.

Sound:

The actors in this do a really good job. Both the ones for the major characters and the ones for the side characters. Maeno Tomoaki, Seto Asami, Ookubo Rumi and Sakurai Takahiro are just some of the great actors featured in the series. The music is pretty atmospheric. It helps forge the otherworldly impact of Quindecim and the other bars.

Ho-yay:

There’s really not any ho-yay in the series.

Final Thoughts:

Death Parade is a skillfully written series with compelling characters, a strong premise, intriguing stories (both the over-arcing one and the episodic ones), awesome artwork, and great acting. You should absolutely give it a try. My final rating is a 9/10. Next week, I’ll look at Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s.