When two strangers find themselves trapped in a mysterious lounge with no memory of arriving, they're informed by the bartender that the only way to escape is play a game like their lives depend on it. With a spin of the roulette wheel, their fates are set: the men must play a game of pool, but it's no ordinary game! In a suspenseful, macabre twist, the balls aren't numbered but rather represent a different organ in each man's body. Just what kind of fate awaits the loser of this anything-goes game of billiards?
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.
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!
"Death Billiards" - A Thought-Provoking Dive into the Afterlife Story (9/10): "Death Billiards" is a captivating and thought-provoking short film that delves into the concept of the afterlife and the nature of human morality. The story centers around two men who find themselves in a mysterious bar, forced to participate in a high-stakes billiards game that may determine their ultimate fate. As the game unfolds, the anime raises profound questions about the choices people make in life and the consequences they face in death. It's a riveting exploration of human nature and ethics, leaving a lasting impact on the viewer. Animation (8/10): Produced by MADHOUSE, "Death Billiards" boasts high-quality animation that effectively conveys the tension and drama of the billiards game. The character designs are detailed, and the bar's atmosphere is richly depicted. While the animation is not overly flashy, it excels in creating a moody and immersive setting for the story. Sound (8/10): The sound design in "Death Billiards" plays a crucial role in enhancing the atmosphere. The background music complements the intense moments and the mystery surrounding the bar. Voice acting is skillfully executed, capturing the nuances of the characters' emotions and dilemmas. Characters (7/10): Despite the short runtime, "Death Billiards" manages to develop its characters effectively. The two main characters, Decim and the elderly man, have intriguing backstories and depth. Their interactions throughout the billiards game reveal layers of their personalities and add depth to the narrative. While the focus is primarily on these two characters, the anime successfully explores their moral complexities. Overall (8/10): "Death Billiards" is a remarkable short film that packs a punch in terms of storytelling and philosophical exploration. Its concise yet impactful narrative, combined with solid animation and sound, makes it a must-watch for fans of psychological and thought-provoking anime. It leaves you contemplating the choices we make in life and the potential consequences that await in the afterlife. Regarding a manga adaptation, "Death Billiards" is primarily known as an animated short film and does not have an associated manga. Therefore, if you want to experience this compelling story, the anime is the way to go.
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