- Awesome Music: Departures is scored by Joe Hisaishi, so it's part for the course really. Highlights include the main theme, Okuribito (Memory), and 'Beautiful Dead I'.
- Heartwarming Moments: When Daigo prepares the body of his father, sees the "message stone" and finally remembers his face.
- When the encoffiners' makeup skills "bring back" the deceased one last time.
- The initial encoffinment Daigo takes part in; after a rough introduction with the departed's husband, they witness him break down over his wife's carefully and compassionately prepared body; he later stops them following the proceedings and offers apologies for his earlier attitude, going on to state his wife never looked so beautiful, and offering Daigo and Boss food.
- When the Wholesome Crossdresser's father allows his child to be prepared as a girl.
- When Daigo's old friend, the son of the woman who ran the bath house, finally gets that Daigo's job isn't horrible but supremely compassionate.
- When Daigo's wife Mika, upon witnessing morticians from a rival firm mistreating Daigo's father's body, declares that her husband will take over the encoffining, adding proudly that "he is a professional."
- It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Many were surprised Departures won considering it had zero hype and a fairly conventional story (as opposed to something very dramatic or very stylized)
- Nausea Fuel: Daigo's first corpse, who isn't so much a "body" as a "liquefied mass."
- So Okay, It's Average: Many were surprised Departures won considering it had zero hype and a fairly conventional story (as opposed to something very dramatic or very stylized)
- Tear Jerker: Most of the movie, a given when you consider that it involves a lot of death and resulting heartache. Perhaps one of the most jarring moments is the whole of the bathhouse owner's coffining. It occurs just as Daigo's wife returns, and the old woman is the mother of Daigo's friend. On top of that, we find out that the old man who likes to play chess is a cremator. Before the whole process, we are treated to his own, grim analysis of the irony behind his last meeting with the old woman and his role in life.
- Values Dissonance: Averted in that Western audiences would be even more sympathetic towards the lead character and disgusted at his wife and neighbors freaking out at a nice man doing a good job that seems at worst a bit creepy in the way an undertaker or coroner may be regarded.
YMMV / Departures