Death Parade, Shana Final (Season 3)

Death Parade
Death Parade has an intriguing concept. It takes place in the afterlife, or rather the front gates of the afterlife. (Perhaps the bar of the afterlife is a little more accurate?) Anyway, when two people die at exactly the same time, they must go to a place called QuinDecim where they will be judged. One will be reincarnated and the other will go to the Void for an eternity of torment. The two people play a game, and the judgment is based on their actions in the game.
It’s an interesting concept for sure. Some of the deceased know each other intimately, others peripherally, and others don’t know one another at all. They all have died for a variety of reasons. They mostly come across as ordinary people, and no one is inherently good or bad. The characters are presented with voluminous shades of gray. As they play the game, their memories slowly return. The memories are usually painful. The arbiter of judgment, Decim, adds extra stress to the players in order to bring out their “true colors.” Their responses inform his judgment.

It’s not an episodic series. While each episode features different people in a different game, the returning characters have an ongoing storyline. There is a girl with Decim who died but knew she was already dead (the others don’t). Therefore, Decim didn’t know how to judge her so he keeps her around. The story builds as we learn more about her, more about Decim’s desire to understand the living, their relationship, and his ultimate decision of her fate. It’s a slow burn, but fascinating, and well crafted.
Unfortunately, it’s a series that doesn’t stick the landing. In the end, the story just stops and isn’t at all satisfying. Yes there is a conclusion, but it’s awfully lacking. More could have been done. Also, there is a major contradiction in the show. The leader (God?) states time and time again that his arbiters “do not have emotions” because they aren’t human. Apparently, the show-makers have no concept of what emotions are, because all the arbiters (except Decim) show nothing but emotions. There’s the stereotypical angry guy, the stereotypical exasperated girl, and others. These people show emotions pretty much non-stop and absolutely everyone is oblivious to this. But then, when Decim shows the tiniest bit of uncertainty, suddenly it’s OMG HE’S GOT EMOTIONS THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS FALLING APART WE HAVE TO STOP HIM!
Those two gripes aside, I did like Death Parade a lot. It’s a well-crafted series. It has stunning animation. It has a very cool aesthetic. It has a unique concept. The story is good but lacking, and there are a couple of giant logic holes that drag it down. Overall, it’s pretty good and well worth your time.
Verdict: Good
Shana Final (Season 3)
After a decent first season and a pointless second season, the third season of Shana promised to wrap things up in a neat little bow. And it did, but not in a satisfying way.
Shana features the now-tired concept of an unseen world in which supernatural beings do battle, completely unknown to the general populace. It seemed cool when the first season premiered, but now the concept has been done to death, and it just seems like more of the same. It’s a completely tired premise, and they do nothing to spice it up or differentiate it from the legion of similarly-themed anime.
Yuji becomes an adult bad guy or something, it’s hard to know exactly what happened since it’s been a million years since the second season ended. Now, Shana must use her army of good guys to fight the army of bad guys with — eh, you know what, I just don’t have the energy for this. It’s all completely contrived and already been a done a million times before.
There is a final, apocalyptic battle which comprises the majority of the season. It’s typical shonen garbage, completely overwrought and overlong. It’s morbidly obese with how it tries to include everything and the kitchen sink. The battle goes on for so long it becomes a chore to watch.
There is no character development, only fighting, fighting, fighting. It becomes boring when people fight for countless episodes and nobody dies. Some of the characters do eventually die, but only after they’ve been killed about a hundred times over in increasingly more ridiculous ways.
There are about a thousand characters in the battle, and I couldn’t tell who the fuck most of them were. Who is good and who is bad? You need a goddamn Shana encyclopedia to know. I suppose watching the seasons split up was a bad idea. But that’s how they were made. If you watched it all straight through, then you’d have a better grasp on this stuff, but that would probably make you stab your ears with pencils on account of how fucking badly the show is made.
The first season was decent, I suppose, but I would just stop there. It isn’t worth the time. There are plenty of other long-running shonen series that are actually good, like Fullmetal Alchemist, that are worth your time. When you get to be old like me, your time is precious, so don’t waste it on garbage like this.
Verdict: Shitty

2 Responses to “Death Parade, Shana Final (Season 3)”

  1. December 23, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I liked Death Parade, but I felt as if the makers were having too many ideas (mainly as to visuals and setting) at once and in their excitement they weren’t able to sit down and sort them into a logical whole. They give You some rules at the beginning but don’t follow them in following episodes. There are to many issues at once with the whole system which might have been a great idea, but it is not carried out in a satisfactory way. I liked it better when action was limited to Decim’s bar and focused on players struggle bringing out all the emotions and leaving the rules of the netherworld mostly mysterious. I would like to say that the concept was better off as a climatic short animation and there was no need for making whole series out of it and trying to dig too deep, however the players in Death Billiards are much less interesting then most couples shown in Death Parade.

    • December 30, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      I agree, there is something definitely lacking. Perhaps a few more episodes would have been helpful at fleshing out the world. I agree that the scenes in Decim’s bar were the best, but if it had been only that it would have gotten old fast.

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December 2015


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