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  • Joined Feb 9, 2020
  • 25 / M

Death Billiards

Feb 10, 2024

"Death Billiards" is a thought-provoking anime short film that serves as the precursor to the acclaimed series "Death Parade." Produced by Madhouse for the Young Animator Training Project's Anime Mirai 2013, this one-off episode introduces viewers to a unique and unsettling premise: two individuals who find themselves in a mysterious bar, Quindecim, with no memory of how they arrived. They are then compelled to play a game of billiards with their lives seemingly on the line, under the watchful eye of the enigmatic bartender, Decim. The film explores themes of human nature, morality, and the afterlife, wrapped in a suspenseful and beautifully animated package.

Cues to Success

  • Engaging Concept and Execution: "Death Billiards" excels in its original and engaging concept, drawing viewers into its mysterious world with a compelling narrative that skillfully intertwines suspense and psychological depth. The premise of using games as a means to judge souls in the afterlife is both innovative and intriguing, providing a fresh take on the themes of judgment and morality.
  • Stellar Animation and Atmosphere: Madhouse's reputation for high-quality animation is on full display here, with "Death Billiards" featuring detailed character designs, fluid motion, and atmospheric settings that perfectly complement the story's tone. The use of lighting and color enhances the eerie and otherworldly ambiance of Quindecim.

Areas for Refinement

  • Character Depth and Backstory: Given its short format, "Death Billiards" has limited time to develop its characters fully. While it effectively conveys the essence of its main protagonists within the narrative's constraints, viewers may be left wanting more background information and character development.
  • Exploration of Themes: While "Death Billiards" intriguingly sets up themes related to life, death, and moral judgment, the short film format naturally restricts a deeper exploration of these concepts. Some viewers might find the treatment of these themes a bit surface-level, leaving room for further examination and discussion.

Unveiling the Mysteries

  • Moral and Ethical Questions: The film's strength lies in its ability to pose complex moral and ethical questions through the lens of the billiards game, challenging both the characters and viewers to reflect on the value of life, the nature of human behavior, and the concept of justice in the afterlife.
  • Precursor to "Death Parade": "Death Billiards" serves as an effective introduction to the world that is further expanded in "Death Parade." For those intrigued by the short film's premise and execution, the subsequent series offers a more detailed exploration of the themes and setting introduced here.

Conclusion "Death Billiards" is a compelling and visually striking short film that introduces a fascinating world where life-and-death decisions are made across a billiards table. While it faces the inherent limitations of its format in terms of character development and theme exploration, it succeeds in capturing the imagination and paving the way for the deeper narrative dive provided by "Death Parade." As a standalone piece, it offers a tantalizing glimpse into an ethereal space between life and death, inviting viewers to ponder the weight of their actions and the nature of their existence.

7/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall
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