Death Billiards



Risan07's avatar By Risan07 on Dec 25, 2014

Death Billiards is a rather unassuming title. It is a short that only has a ½ hour episode going for it with an interesting name but a lacking synopsis. What story could possibly be told in a half an hour that could engage you? Well this hidden gem not only told it well but left me wanting more.

Unlike my other reviews, this one won’t be as lengthy. This is because it is only one episode and thus does not need a lengthy review.

Imagine, you suddenly find yourself in an elevator that leads you to a strange bar. When you try to recollect just how you got there you suddenly can’t remember. Another person also comes into the bar, you shake hands for the first time and introduce yourselves. Then the bartender tells you that you two will play a game against each other, the prize is your life.

This is the story of death billiards. It appears simple enough; an old man is paired against a young man in a game of billiards to fight for their life (sounds a lot like the MAL summary, hm?). But as you progress further into the episode more of the story is revealed. it’s an enriching story about life and death that weaved very nicely with how human beings come to terms with both.

As expected of Madhouse the art and animation were absolutely stunning. The characters were simple in their design, made to look normal in their peculiar environment. This combined with the matte, purple color scheme of the show you, as the audience, know that you are in for a dark and unnatural ride.

How would you act knowing that you had to play a game for your life? Even though we only get one episode with these two players; their life, their character, and their desperation paints a perfect and rather grim picture on the human psychology. Their true nature is revealed during the game, which is just so raw and true to us that I couldn't help but relate and sympathize with them. We don’t get too much on their backgrounds, but it’s just enough to understand their lives and how they ended up playing pool together, which is more than enough for the show.

Overall I was very impressed. Like I have stated, the art and animation was beautiful, the characters felt so real, and the story is entirely enthralling and rather refreshing. If you have a spare half an hour just watch it. And if you DO end up loving the show, or if you’re reluctant to watch a short never fear! Madhouse will be producing the anime ‘Death Parade’, which will be the adaptation to Death Billiards. It’ll be coming out along with the other winter 2015 season anime, and if staying true to 'Death Billiards' should prove to be a very good show.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
10/10 overall
Thrawn's avatar By Thrawn on Jun 10, 2013

Death Billiards! Woo! Time for a badass game of pool! TO THE DEATH! And let me tell you, I was totally psyched to watch Death Billiards because I judged it solely on the title. Not on the studio or any flim-flammery that deals with what it's about by a synopsis or what have you, but by this badass title. Death Billiards, because regular 8-Ball just ain't enough. And what the title implies is what you get: A game of billiards to the death, but wait, there's more! It's much more than a game to the death and I got my surprise on that front. It goes deeper than that and considering the short run-time of this short movie, any spoiler would be spoiling the movie. I actually liked the depth and extra plot within it, didn't hinder my enjoyment at all. And what I enjoyed most of all was Gramps. You see that screenshot on the entry page? That old man with the look in his eyes that says "I don't take no shit from nobody. You want to fuck with me then bring it on, bitch." He's badass.

For a short, it left me wanting more. More as a series because I'm a fan of these high-stakes survival games, and it has style. Wanted more than 25 minutes and I could see myself watching a series of this. It's a real good concept and totally worth the watch, at the cost of an episode of one of your regular shows.

Bartender also reminds me of that guy from Mushishi. Wanted to say that.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
8/10 overall
Naga's avatar By Naga on Jul 28, 2013

Death Billiards is definitely one of those YATP that gets a passing grade. For such a short duration, it knew what it was set on and managed to present it really well. It is linear, but it’s good kind of linear that actually makes you think with your head. Ergo, when I finished it I wasn’t satisfied at all, but when I gave it some thought I realized that my initial opinion was very wrong. I wasn’t satisfied with it because it provided almost no answers, and when it seemed that we would get something it just brought new question. It was unfair and the ending didn’t do it justice… or so I thought. Then I realized that it was made that way on purpose. Major theme of Death Billiards is the unfairness of everything, but mostly life.  And with that in mind it makes absolute sense. Our main character, Man, knew that he couldn’t win because setting was unfair. Him not getting any answers was unfair. And even when he was told that he’s dead and that his afterlife was yet to be determined, it was unfair because he didn’t know if it was heaven or hell or some other spiritual mumbo-jumbo. He didn’t even know where he was heading. Also, his unfairness monologue and all other things I didn’t mention. And… yeah… that’s Death Billiards; short, but to the point.

Animation and music were Madhouse standard, good quality. Nothing really felt exceptional or fresh, but it did look good. Characters are well… well done for such short duration, and 2 bartenders that weren’t could be counted as average because they weren’t supposed to be explored. That’s just how the show rolls. Plot is not too big in context but is well structured and thought out, and I’m going to praise it for making me think because that’s always a good thing.

All in all; it’s one of the better YATP I’ve seen. It’s nothing extraordinary, but there’s just too much to like about this one, so I’d definitely say that watching this short is a worthy investment of your time.

Best girl: /

6/10 story
7.5/10 animation
5/10 sound
4.5/10 characters
5.5/10 overall
triplestrike's avatar By triplestrike on Aug 28, 2013

Death Billiards is only one episode long, but that one episode does a pretty good job of defining itself. Two individuals find themselves in an odd situtation with odd consequnces. Ladies and Gentleman, the game is billiards.

This show looks great at every moment. Sound and music work well and overall the presentation is great. The characters are a little bit bleak but it is to be expected when characters only have one episode be explored. I think this show would work better an a one episode experience over a whole show but that is because the premise is a bit hard to work with. Overall this is short, but really good! 

8.5/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
8.3/10 characters
8.5/10 overall