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"I am now about to explain to you what your circumstances are. I ask that you pay close attention. One: First of all, I cannot answer the question of where you are. Two: We will now have you play a game. Three: We will have you choose the game by roulette. Four: We will have you stake your lives on the game."

"Life is a mysterious thing. Each and every life spins its own, totally separate tale, yet they become intricately entwined in each other. And no one knows how they will end up."
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"That's true. You never know until you die. You may not even know after you die. But you know what? That's what makes it interesting, right?"

Welcome to Quindecim.

Two people walk into a bar with no recollection of how they arrived there. Greeted by a mysterious white haired man who calls himself Decim, they are told very little of their current situation, only that they must play a game in which they will stake their lives. With no way to escape, they have little choice but to comply with the man's strange demands.

As they play the game, the two soon start to recall the circumstances that brought them to the bar, and their true colors begin to shine in a game that pits the two souls against one another.

Produced by Madhouse, Death Parade expands off of a half-hour short called "Death Billiards", an entry for Japan's Anime Mirai: Young Animator Training Program in 2013. The short was successful enough to be one of only two that were produced into an anime series. Aired during the Winter 2015 Anime Season, it can be legally streamed on Funimation's site.

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Now has a character page in the works.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: The theme of episode 4, where the deceased Misaki and Yousuke were either the abusive parent or the victim of one. Misaki was neglectful, while Yousuke's biological mother was verbally abusive as shown in his flashback where she told him she wished he was never born.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Throughout the first episode, both Machiko and Takashi have an uncanny ability of throwing darts at specific parts of the board, just after the dart has left their fingers, even when they resolve to miss deliberately; this culminates in Machiko getting a bullseye after being knocked down by Takashi. Considering Decim has a device that is designed to create a Contrived Coincidence with every use, he's likely to blame for this.
  • All Are Equal in Death: Very much averted; there's often a fairly large imbalance between players' skills and experience in the games they're made to play, giving a clear indication of who's meant to win. As Decim says, "Life is unfair." Of course, this is all deliberately done to put the players through a high-stress scenario, to see how they react under the pressure. Considering that there's no rules against assault, it means that a pro can lose by virtue of being unconscious after a beating.
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  • Ambiguously Brown: Castra has dark brown skin, and Ginti is noticeably darker than the rest of the cast as well. Like the others, neither are human, and so like them they don't really have a race.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Jellyfish. They appear throughout Quindecim, including in the aquarium and the jellyfish-shaped chandelier. Even the puppet strings used by Decim to control the mannequins and out-of-control players evoke the tentacles of one.
    • Ginti seems to have a cat motif going on. Some of his Kokeshi dolls have cat-like faces on them, his pet cat Memine is the only living thing he treats respectfully, and his design is very catlike as well; with narrow yellow-gold eyes and a lion-like hairstyle. He even sports a Cheshire Cat Grin in episode 6.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The 1st episode of the series revolves around Decim's job to determine whose soul is worthy to be reincarnated between a married couple and the 2nd episode is his assistant's perspective as an observer.
  • The Atoner: Harada, after hearing of Mayu's devotion to him and his memories return. Feeling very guilty about the suicide of his ex-girlfriend and not wanting the same thing to happen to Mayu, he stalls her from falling to her "death" so that he can show his gratitude to her and that they can at least part on good terms.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening theme is a catchy, jazz-like tune and includes the main cast drinking and dancing around without a care in the world. The show itself... isn't so pleasant. Although as episodes 3, 6 and 10 show, even here we can have a happy ending.
  • Berserk Button: Many characters seem to be triggered by a certain event or even certain words that can drive them over the edge. Examples include Takashi never being loved by Machiko, Misaki thinking that she will die if she loses, the black-haired woman witnessing Decim's judgement methods, and worst of all is harming Shimada's beloved sister, Sae.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Shimada. He is a sweet and polite young man who cared deeply for his sister and did whatever it takes to protect her after their parents died. If you ever say anything bad about Sae or even go as far as assault her, there will be hell to pay. He will go as far as murdering the culprits and, given the opportunity, torture them and watch as they suffer as excruciatingly as possible.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Episode 3. Mai gets to go on a date with the childhood friend whom she's loved for years, but they're both dead, and it seems it isn't until she had plastic surgery that he began to recognize her. While it's implied that they both reincarnated rather than one of them going to hell, this also comes with the fact that they could easily reincarnate as people a world apart, meaning they simply cannot be together as they want to be in this (after-) life.
    • The end of the series as a whole. Chiyuki passes Decim's test of character and is sent to be reincarnated, and Decim finally is able to accept his emotions. However, he and Chiyuki will never be reunited, a burden Decim's going to have to live with. It's also implied that Nona's machinations are mostly useless in the grand scheme of things, as Oculus say there may be powers even greater than himself. Puppets all the way down...
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: It's heavily implied this is the truth behind Machiko's actions in episode one. She lies about being pregnant with his child and tells him she was only in it for the money to absolve him of the guilt of indirectly causing the death of his family. She does this knowing full well of their situation—it's implied she knew what the purpose of Quindecim is and jeopardized her spot in "heaven".
  • Breather Episode:
    • Episode 3, which caught anyone wondering how disturbing the next episode would be by surprise after the two previous episodes' development. Even the main characters commented on the relaxed nature of the episode.
    • Episode 6, due to having more comedic scenes and a relatively nice ending.
    • Episode 10 is a nice change of pace after the intensity of Episodes 8 and 9.
  • Broken Bird: More than a few have rather tragic pasts which lead to their Jerkass or cynical personalities. Misako and Yousuke of episode 4 both stand out though, with the two having dealt with serious domestic issues which lead to them not treating their nicer family members well and not realizing how awful they were until it's too late.
    • As it turns out, Chiyuki was this as well. She was a top tier figure skater and devoted her entire life to it, until a knee injury meant that she could never skate again. Her resulting depression caused her to distance herself from everyone around her and realize that no one had any hope in understanding one another. Believing she was "nothing," she came to hate herself, and eventually took her own life.
  • Butt-Monkey: Episode 4 features two of the most tragic examples of this trope. Yousuke and Misaki both have lived very rough lives. Yousuke lived with a very abusive mother who wished he was never born and because of the way he grew up, he became antisocial and hardly spoke to anyone, not even his kind stepmother. Even in the afterlife, the arcade game has a Flanderization of him and he gets his face smashed onto the machine by Misaki. But, Misaki probably had it even worse. She married three times and each husband was just as abusive as the other and they all left her with at least one child. She ended up becoming abusive to her own children and her manager. She was done in by said manager after she had been through much of her abuse. In the afterlife, she plays as a Flanderization of herself and after learning that she is dead, she receives a figurative blow below the belt from Decim when he coldly states that she should be familiar with "life being unfair".
  • The Casanova: Harada who's a popular Boy Band member and spent a lot of time with different girls. It lead to his death.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Despite most episodic characters featuring muted color palettes and sporting darker, realistically colored hair and eyes, they're all distinguishable by their silhouettes alone. The recurring cast has an easier time with this since their hair and eye colors and designs can be a bit more outlandish, while still being cohesive.
  • The Comically Serious: Decim and his assistant have moments of being somehow hilarious while retaining their poker-faces.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: In episode 3. The couple of the week were an aversion in life, having been old loving childhood friends who later lost contact up to their deaths; it's played straight after death, however, and they share a date before departing at the elevators.
  • Chick Magnet: Harada is a member of a very successful boyband and thus has many fangirls.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Decim has a device that allows him to pull these at will, in order to raise the stakes.
  • Cool Old Guy: Coincidentally, her husband happens to be the same old man from Death Billiards. He was a man who can hold his own and even take on a young man with just a billiard stick.
    • However, he seemed to have a shady past and possibly sent himself to the Void deliberately.
  • Cool Old Lady: Sachiko from episode 10 is a sweet and polite elderly woman who lived a fulfilled life and loved to draw. She had a blast playing cards with Decim & Chiyuki in the Quindecim.
  • Cooldown Hug: Decim delivers these when someone really needs them, as well as the praise "You did well".
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The show's take on the afterlife falls right into this. If you die, you're faced with the binary options of continuing to reincarnate or being discarded and deleted from the system. The celestial bureaucracy decides which fate you get by subjecting you to an arbitrary, sadistic Secret Test of Character. The kicker? The whole system exists because the people running it are so detached from humanity that it's the only way they can think of to assess the human soul, and they neither know nor particularly care when they get it wrong, to the point where the higher-ups have had to bring in an assistant to mitigate the Quindecim staff's frequent fuckups and teach them about how humans work.
  • Creepy Doll: The lifesize mannequins hanging around the bar. The unfinished ones are inevitably shown by the staff when someone refuses to play a game involving their lives, and in the darkness they look like hanging corpses, implying that anyone who refuses will join them. It's not actually true (at least, not in the way they think), but it's a hell of a motivator. In reality, they're just Decim's (weird, creepy) hobby, and he's kind of bad at finding storage for them all.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Castra has dark skin and light blonde hair.
  • Darker and Edgier: Episodes 8 and 9 are by far the darkest in the series. Both guests were guilty of murder for revenge and the black haired woman broke down to the point where she called out Decim for his cruel methods and even intervened to try to save Shimada from sending himself to the Void, and she fails.
  • Dead All Along: In both the short and the series, the pair arrive in Quindecim after they die, but they don't realize it immediately.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In episode 3, the bowling balls are stylized to resemble the players' hearts. Shigeru puts his fingertips into the ball's holes, cutting to a stylized scene of his fingers inside pulsing red flesh. He blushes and smiles, and then says"She's so warm..."
    • Oculus's lotus flower hair and beard. What other godly figure is there in real life who uses a lotus flower motif?
    • Various poses in episode 6 during the Twister match deliberately invoked this.
  • Domestic Abuse: Misaki of episode 4 went through three of them, each of them having her bear at least one child before they left her. Suffice to say, it's left her and her family a little broken.
  • Downer Ending: In just the first episode, we have a happy couple that ends up having their relationship torn completely to pieces and Decim actually slips up and sends the two to the wrong fates. In episode 9, BOTH guests are sent to the void, despite the black haired woman's attempts to prevent this outcome by talking some sense into Decim and Shimada. She fails.
    • The conclusion of Ginti, Mayu, and Harada's plotline results in Ginti sending both Mayu and Harada to the void after deceiving them about the possibility of resurrecting Harada by sacrificing a random soul.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Kana, one of Harada's girlfriends, after he breaks up with her.
    • One of the guests in episode 4 had this as their backstory.
    • Chiyuki committed suicide after learning she can never go back to professional skating after injuring her right knee during a contest.
  • Eldritch Location: Castra's den is undeniably ominous and impressive, with wine glasses organized in pyramid shapes and being filled with droplets of blood slowly falling from somewhere up high. There's also her high chair, which looks like some bizarre skeletal structure but is also very insect-like at the same time, and the random serpentine spines emerging from the floor.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: The arbiters all have eyes that have very large crosses on their irises... and they turn when they receive a new couples' memories. It's actually rather creepy to see.
  • Evolving Credits: The ending credits switch every other episode, showing a slide-show of the two players of the episode or of a crumbling set of dummies.
  • Eye for an Eye: Lisa's sister Kana committed suicide after Harada dumps her. Later, Lisa kills Harada using a time bomb. In the shape of an heart and with a note saying "A present from my sister, Kana".
  • Fake Memories: As a test, Nona has these implanted in a dummy in Episode 5. It works.
  • Fangirl: Mayu is a big fangirl of boyband member Harada.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: It can be fairly hard to explain the plot of the series to someone new to it, especially considering the opening theme is so jarringly peppy compared to what the show is really all about, which may lead to fans of Darker and Edgier anime to shy away from it or fans of Lighter and Softer anime to want to watch it. The couple that walks into Quindecim is dead. The bartender is an arbiter, and the games are created with the sole intent of bringing out the true colors of the players in question and judging whether they will go to "heaven" or to "hell".
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In the black haired woman's flashback, there's a brief shot of her rubbing her knee with a mild look of concern on her face in the shot just before her knee injury is revealed.
  • Foreshadowing: The black haired woman skates on the floor at some point during the OP. At first it seems like wacky hijinks, but it hints at her true identity as a former professional figure skater. There's also a pair of skates on the counter along with some games.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The opening is packed with them.
    • There are two very spoileriffic ones toward the black-haired woman and her being a figure skater when she was alive:
      • Along with the game paraphernalia on the bar in the scene with her, Nona, and Decim, there's a pair of ice skates, seemingly at random.
      • Decim applauds her slide across the floor behind Nona and Quin drinking. Not only is she in a Biellmann spin pose, if you look closely, you'll see that she's wearing the figure skater outfit she eventually wears in ep. 11.
    • In the colorful shot of the title bursting at the screen before the switch to Decim and the black-haired woman at the bar, in the last few frames the organs affected by the games can be seen.
    • When Ginti rips his shirt off, one of the buttons flies towards the screen. Memine catches it.
    • As the cast is swinging through the air, Clavis falls off his wire.
    • The scene where Nona is playing the DDR-style game has several symbols of death, and Buddha's hands can be seen in the background.
    • In the scene where all of the arbiters are coming out of the elevator and pointing up, Ginti is snarling at Mayu putting her arm in his face.
    • Take a close look at the Chavvo doll in the final shot. The right cuff of its coat's sleeve appears to be torn off, hinting at the black-haired woman's cutting her wrist to kill herself.
  • Genki Girl: Mayu is full of energy, much to Ginti's chagrin.
  • Good Stepmother: Yousuke's stepmother was a very kind and loving parent in contrast with his real mother. Sadly, Yousuke never accepted her and became depressed to the point of suicide. In fact, in the afterlife, his biggest regret was that he never got the chance to call his loving stepmother "Mom".
  • Go Out with a Smile:
    • The old man in the short film flashes a rather menacing smirk just before the elevator doors close. In episode 10, we see his wife who is an equally nice and charming woman.
    • In episode 3, both Shigeru and Mai do this in a similar fashion, but it's more bittersweet.
    • Mayu does this when she forfeits the game for the sake of the other player, believing she's about to fall to her death. She doesn't, since she's already dead, and what she thought was metal pikes was really just inflated balloons, so there wasn't even any pain involved.
    • Chiyuki as well, getting sent to reincarnation. She sees Decim smile for the first time just before she leaves, and graces him with one of her own in return.
  • Hanlon's Razor: Malice driven from mere ignorance and misunderstandings seem to be the true explanation for why Quindecim works the way it does, coupled with a generous dose of bureaucratic apathy.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Considering the fact that the characters are Dead All Along, this ultimately ends up being a subversion each time, but it's happened twice so far:
    • In episode 1, Machiko does this for Takashi's sake, but it seems no one other than the black-haired woman is aware of the heroism in her act. It is revealed in the second episode that Machiko lied about bearing another man's child to free Takashi from the guilt of killing his own child. Unfortunately, Decim didn't realize that she was lying and sent Machiko to the Void and Takashi to be reincarnated.
    • Mayu does this for Harada in episode 6. This happens before they realize they're dead, though, and it's not made entirely clear if she did it to save face (because she was about to piss herself in front of her idol) or out of genuine selflessness, either. Tried to do it again in episode 11, because Ginti told her there is a chance to get back Harada's soul if another soul was given in his place. He lied.
  • Hot-Blooded: Decim's assistant, even if she doesn't look like it, and Ginti often show that they have quite the temper and can be very enthusiastic. Mayu is also prone to getting fired up, though it's less angry and more genki.
  • Irony: The OP of the series, "Flyer" is a hopeful song, stating that as long as you're still alive you can change for the better. Meanwhile, in the show, everyone going to Decim's bar is dead already, to be judged whether they're worthy or not based on what they've done when they were alive.
    • However, the theme of the song is played straight with Decim, who has his emotions awakened and learns from his experience with Chiyuki.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Although the end result leaves Takashi more angry than happy, it's more like "to be free from guilt". Machiko lies about having an affair and being pregnant from another man to alleviate Takashi's guilt from killing his own child, and it potentially may have cost her being reincarnated.
  • Kimono Fanservice: In episode 6 after the test, Mayu wears one that shocks both Harada and Ginti since she's wearing much less make-up and doesn't look as gaudy.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The back-haired woman's wardrobe is filled with multiple copies of her crop-top-and-skirt outfit—it becomes a minor plot point in episode 5 when another dress is in there as well. It's revealed in episode 11 to be her skating outfit. The same can be assumed of the rest of the cast.
  • Loophole Abuse: Good lord is there this. Any rules said for the games are literally the only rules for the game, meaning assaulting other players or using their limited pieces can be perfectly legal. The only reason the players don't abuse this for all it's worth from the start is that they either want to play fair or assume the usual rules against such actions are in effect. As the games are supposed to draw out a player's true and darker colors, especially when the tension is driven up, such actions are required for a proper judgement. Any assault after the games are finished, however, is halted by Decim himself.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The upbeat opening of the show, to the tune of "Flyers" by BRADIO, which accompanies the overall dark undertones of the story
  • Meaningful Name: Names of all the arbiters linked with Latin numbers. Other staffers have Latin words as names. The only exception is Decim's assistant who has no name and is credited as "Woman with Black Hair" or simply known as Onna. In episode 10 we finally learn her what is her real name—it's Chiyuki, written with the kanji for "knowing" and "happiness".
  • Medium Blending:
    • Various parts of the Quindecim, such as when the games are revealed and parts of the background and game sets, are used in some rather obvious CGI. However, given the otherworldly setting, the contrast actually works to the series' advantage.
    • The memory flashback scenes are done traditionally, mostly in sepia colors, making them look wistful and causing them to stand out in stark contrast to the more modern coloring of Quindecim.
    • The black-haired woman's Dream Sequence is drawn like a children's book and looks completely different from the rest of the show, with a matching and soothing narration to complete the image.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 6 taken Up to Eleven. The episode is absolutely insane, being played for laughs for most of the episode to suddenly becoming morose and dark, before jumping right back into hilarious again. The jumps happen so much so that it's hard to believe it's from the same show.
    • After the incredibly dark and harrowing events of episodes 8 and 9, episode 10 is...just a game of Old Maid between Decim, the black-haired woman, and a sweet, gentle elderly woman.
    • In episode 11 we have a beautiful skating scene and mentions of severe depression/suicide a while later.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Harada, an attractive idol that spends half of episode 6 in only his underwear.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • What happens in Billiards when the younger man knocks the old man out and thinks he's killed him.
    • Happens in the first episode of the series, when Takashi realizes that he caused the death of his wife and unborn child.
    • Happens to Yousuke in the fourth episode when he realizes he committed suicide before calling his stepmother, mom. And to Misaki when she in desperation, bangs Yousuke's head against the video game machine's screen.
    • Harada from episode 6 feels this way after his previous girlfriend, Kana committed suicide because he left her.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Happens as the players start to unfurl the reasons as to how they wound up at Quindecim.
  • Morality Pet: It seems that Tatsumi's wife was this for him before she died, and it's implied that her murder is what turned him into a vigilante Serial Killer, or at the very least pushed him into becoming one.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: When the young man in Billiards begins to remember his past, he undoes his blazer and sees the blood from a stab wound. However, as he's already dead, he doesn't die from it. This happens again with Tatsumi in episode 9.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Decim is so detached from humanity that he fails to understand why someone would lie to protect someone else, and because of this, he made the "wrong" decision when he judged the couple in the first episode.
  • The Nothing After Death: People who are denied reincarnation are sent here.
  • Pietà Plagiarism:
    • Decim holds Takashi like this in the first episode, but it's decidedly not romantic.
    • However, Decim holds his assistant in a similar manner in the OP and some promotional photos which does invoke some Ship Tease. He also carries her to bed like this in episode 5. Seen again in episodes 11 and 12.
  • Potty Failure: Happens to Mayu a while after she gets ignored when requesting to use the bathroom in the middle of her game.
  • Psychopomp: Arbiters judge and send the dead to the afterlife. The problem is that they're so detached from humanity that their evaluations on where souls go is skewed enough to need an assistant, one who is decidedly not a psychopomp herself.
  • Rated M for Manly: Episodes which feature two male guests tend to be a lot more violent and heated than other episodes. Examples include:
    • Death Billiards, where the young man and the old man get into a violent fight and trash the place.
    • Episodes 8 and 9 where Shimada and Tatsumi started off on good terms but after learning about each other's pasts, Tatsumi berates Shimada and when he is given the opportunity, Shimada stabs the hockey pucks that are connected to Tatsumi's orgams to torture him and make him suffer for watching Sae get assaulted.
    • This even includes episode 5 where "the boy" and "the man" ended up becoming more hostile than they looked.
  • Reincarnation: How the afterlife works. It's the staff's job to decide whether the recently-deceased's souls are worth salvaging via reincarnation through the Secret Test of Character of the Death Games. In some cases, both souls can be sent to reincarnation, regardless of the game results. Confusingly, guests are often lied to and told that the choices are Heaven and Hell.
  • Resurrective Immortality: No matter the assault that may occur, players in the games cannot die; if they stop breathing or their hearts stop, they simply come back up again a time later. Makes sense, considering they're already dead. On the other hand, there IS a possibility of causing the other player a pain of unimaginable strength... and it is NOT a pleasant thing to see.
  • Revenge: The ultimate theme of episodes eight and nine, as this is what connects the two players together. Shimada's sister was assaulted, and he wants to avenge her death by murdering the person who did that to her. Similarly, Tatsumi's wife was killed by someone he arrested, and he wants to kill the man who killed her. In the end, it is revealed that they both succeeded in killing the ones they wanted to. It's then revealed that Tatsumi was killed by Shimada—because Shimada suspected him of watching the other man assault his sister...which was correct. Tatsumi was a vigilante Serial-Killer Killer who allowed Shimada's little sister to be victimized so he can justifiably torture and kill the assailant. The episode ends with Shimada getting his revenge a second time and torturing Tatsumi for what he's done by repeatedly stabbing the hockey pucks linked to his body parts, an act which gets Shimada banished to the Void forever, never to see his sister again.
  • Running Gag:
    • Decim's shirt gets grabbed by someone in every episode for the first half of the series. Averted in episode 6, however, because he only showed up briefly during the credits. This time, Ginti fell victim to the assault at the hands of Mayu.
    • Nobody believes Decim when he says that guests can't leave the bar until they finish the game. They believe him only after they tried to find the exit and failed/find the now shut-off elevator.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • The true purpose of the games, deciding whether the players deserve to be reincarnated or not by revealing their true selves through a high-stress scenario. The twist is that since Decim doesn't really get how humans work, they're not particularly efficient or reliable tests, and the implied cruelty of this trope is completely unnecessary.
    • It is eventually revealed that the entire show is actually a Secret Test of Character Myth Arc regarding the black-haired girl, who was a human who entered Quindecim with the memory that she was dead. She thus refused to play the game, leading to some Laser-Guided Amnesia that landed her in her current situation.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Nona postulates that Takashi was so incapable of trusting others that he never would have found happiness in his relationship, no matter what.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • The first one to sink is Ginti/Mayu, which most shippers were okay with due to Ginti's actions. His judgment of her is harsh and particularly deceitful, and he gets her sent into the void. Though on her part, she makes it pretty clear that the only person she cares about is Harada, anyway.
    • Decim/the black-haired woman, as she gets reincarnated in the end, and even if her soul ends up in Quindecim again, it still won't be the same person and she likely won't remember Decim anyway. Though it's implied that he still remembers her (based on her Meaningful Name and the fact he's still able to smile because of her at the end), this just adds to the tragedy and ultimate futility of the ship.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Decim/his assistant. The opening shows them dancing together and Decim about to carry her. Episode 5 furthers this by Decim showing concern for her after Ginti knocks her out cold and later carrying her to her bed. He also gives her a Longing Look or two for good measure, and opens up to her in episode seven about his "hobby." After this, she seems to be warming up to him a little more, as well.
    • The drama CD provides tease for Nona/Clavis of all people.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Mayu, after removing her makeup and changing into a kimono, so much that Ginti doesn't even recognize her and Harada, who previously didn't consider her that cute, is pleased and says that she's his type.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the OP, Ginti does Uma Thurman's "V's across the eyes" move from her dance in Pulp Fiction.
    • Ginti asks Mayu if she is willing to send someone to the void in order to save Harada. If you look closely at the guy Mayu would need to sacrifice, you may notice that he shares a striking resemblance with one popular character. Well, if it isn't Light Yagami! That would explain the strange increase in deaths several of the characters gossip about...
  • Start of Darkness: Tatsumi's start was the murder of his wife, which caused him to find the murderer and then torture and kill him. After "hearing" his late wife's words of gratitude, he then proceeds to spend the rest of his life as a Vigilante Serial-Killer Killer, who would go so far as to watch people be victimized while doing nothing, simply so that he could have someone to "pass judgment on."
  • Stealth Pun: The OP features a scene of Nona playing a Dance Dance Revolution-style arcade game...but if you look closer, you can see that the game is built out of a Japanese funeral shrine. So, Nona is literally dancing on someone's grave.
  • Surgical Impersonation: In episode 3, it's implied that Mai received plastic surgery in part to look more like Chisato so that Shigeru would notice her.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Machiko gets this in episode 2 through the eyes of the black-haired woman, revealing that she lied to her husband to absolve him of the guilt of killing his own child and to preserve her feelings for him.
    • This seems to be a major point of that woman's character type in general. Episode 9 firmly cemented her as Decim's Foil when she tells him that dragging out the darkness of someone's soul was forceful and arbitrary, and she sympathetically recalls and somewhat justifies past actions of the dead guests, noting The Power of Love and implying that not everyone who exhibits "darkness" is actually "dark" themselves. Basically, she humanizes the guests, rather than demonizing them.
  • Time Bomb: Lisa, the last girl Harada was dating before he died, turned out to be the sister of his previous girlfriend who killed herself after he broke up with her. Lisa left him a ticking time bomb (in the shape of a heart and with attached note) hidden under the plate lid.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The assistant delivers this to Decim in episode 9 and it hits him hard. She calls him out for his "extreme conditions" to bring out the darkness in human's souls when all humans aren't inherently "evil" or "dark". Decim has kept a stoic face and has merely been forcing people to become as desperate and hostile as they become because he changes up the game and forces people to take drastic measures under high-stakes and life-threatening situations. This activates the human emotions that were inside Decim where he clutches his chest and experiences human emotions for the first time.
  • The Show Must Go On: In the short, after one of the contestants has been beaten unconscious, Decim convinces the despondent assailant (under the thought that he'd killed the older man) to finish the game. This is reinforced in episodes 4 and 9, as well.
  • Undignified Death: In episode 6 it's shown Mayu died by slipping in the shower and hitting her head... because she was too busy jumping around and fangirling over her favorite boy band.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: In episode 3, old childhood friends Mai and Shigeru agree to go on a date after the game and even after the shocking revelations they're still up for it and so get to go on one date before departing.
  • Vigilante Man: As it turns out, Tatsumi was this in real life, but his methods and behavior makes it seem like it was all just a justification to torture and kill others.
  • Void Between the Worlds: To simplify things for the guests, arbiters say that they will end up either in "heaven" or "hell". What they really mean by the latter is "the void."
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 5 reveals the Myth Arc of the series—the assistant's judgment. As it turns out, she is a dead human who could recall that she had died upon being sent to Quindecim, so Decim had her memories erased and is now keeping her as his assistant in some Secret Test of Character. This episode also hinted at a fundamental difference between humans and arbiters, which wasn't really elaborated upon until episode 7.
    • Episode 7 dumped so many swerves so casually that you could hardly tell they even happened. Mainly, Arbiters are emotionless dummies who cannot die, and Nona has had human emotions implanted in Decim for immediate reasons that have yet to be fully revealed.
    • Episode 9 is even worse, since it was a Wham Episode for the series as well as the continuing guests from episode 8. The black-haired woman broke down and said many, many things that shocked even Decim. She finally expresses her rage and contempt towards how cruel the system he serves is, eliciting a genuine emotional response from him for the first time and sparking Nona's plan. And then the guest's memories return, revealing that Tatsumi was a Serial-Killer Killer and obsessive Vigilante Man who watched Shimada's sister get assaulted simply so he could kill the assailant. Shimada eventually killed him before bleeding out himself. The episode ends on the darkest note yet.
    • Episode 10 reveals the assistant's true name to be Chiyuki, the old man's wife from "Death Billiards" passed away, and Oculus finally discovered that Nona implanted human emotions into Decim after stealing memories from Clavis.
    • Episode 11, where do we start? We learn that Chiyuki was an professional skater who won several skating competitions until she got an serious knee injury which abruptly ended her career. She went into deep depression and killed herself. In the same episode, Ginti told Mayu that there is a way to bring Harada's soul back from the void by offering a soul in his place. He lied.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 2 gives us the precise moment when we learn how badly out of his depth Decim is, turning the show's entire premise on its head.
      Decim: Lying? Why would there be any need for that?
    • In episode 10, Decim's assistant remembers her true name.
      Chiyuki's Mother: Her smile really is terrific, huh? I'm with you, Chi.
      Assistant: My name... is Chiyuki.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: One of the rare examples that's played for horror. This is pretty much the worst possible question to be asked by the judge of the afterlife when you're evaluating his performance.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Decim's assitant, in episode 9, snaps and brutally rips into Decim for the cruelty of his tests.
  • When She Smiles: In the children's book within the series, Jimmy felt this for the titular Chavvot. He was very enamored with her smile.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Inverted by Yousuke's stepmom who was much more kind and loving to him than his actual mother, and her greatest desire was for him to call her mom.


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