Low Level Detective Work: Death Parade

I find myself, inexplicably, becoming more enraptured by Death Parade with each passing moment; filled to the brim with questions, and ideas. I can’t understand why this is happening to me, but in order to reduce some tension, and attempt to get some discussion going, I have resolved to write down anything I find that may or may not be of importance. A lot (read: all) of this is going to be information that anyone could find with a quick google search, or simply speculation, but I’m willing to bet that most people don’t care as much as I do in this moment. Don’t expect any rhyme, reason, or rhythm to this. It’s just going to be a stream of conciousness. SPOILERS AND WIKIPEDIA SOURCES AHEAD

Death Parade

Decim: Decim means 10. He resides in Quindecim (15), the bar that is held on the 15th floor of… well… I assume it is a building within the larger scheme of… wherever they are. This much is obvious, in relation to the offscreen character Quin (5) and their job as the duo who run the bar. 10+5 = 15. Everyone probably figured this much out with ease.

Nona: Nona means 9. She resides on floor 90 (which happens to be the highest floor of… well… I assume it is a building within the larger scheme of… wherever they are.) So far it seems like she resides alone, however if it were to follow the scheme of Quindecim, perhaps she lives with someone who embodies “zero”… maybe she will end up staying with the nameless main character? Or maybe the zero just means “nobody”. However, numbers aside, Nona brings a deeper insight into what is going on: Nona is also the name of one of the Fates (Parcae) from ancient Roman myth.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parcae)

Parcae: The three Parcae are Nona, Decima, and Morta. They controlled the fates of humans and gods alike by spinning, and cutting the thread of fate. Right away we can see that Decim is not meant just to represent the number 10, but also Decima the Parcae. All of the fates are female in myth, so I will assume that due to latin conventions of having gendered words, the “a” was removed because Decim is not female. This leaves Morta. We have yet to meet them, but I am certain that they will appear. It’s possible that our raven-haired nameless woman will end up being Morta because of how often the three are shown together but it’s still early on, and I also have another idea about her identity (later on). In the myth, Nona spun the thread of life from her spindle, Decima measured the thread with her rod (!!), and Morta cut the thread and chose the manner of death.

Regarding Decim and his puppet hobby in regards to the Parcae myth… perhaps Decim’s fascination with puppets comes not from the puppets themselves but from the strings used to control them. The strings of fate. He does leave an awful lot of their bodies unfinished as we saw in episode 2. I’m banking on a scene where someone cuts some of Decim’s puppet threads and reveals themselves to be Morta, if it is not outright explained.

Death Parade

Hierarchy: Nona seems to be the boss. She lives on the lower floor in the… building… and following the myth of the fates, she was the one who determined the final lifespan of the person in the first place when she spun the thread. I am wondering just how much of the myth will be utilized in the show. Is Nona a personification of god? I think this is highly unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out yet. Is she simply an underboss? In this … building… that they are in she is perhaps the landlord but how much power does she have in the grand scheme of things? Decim seems to answer to, and fear her to some degree. He seems only to have say over what goes on in the bar, when he acts as an arbiter (AKA Measures the thread of fate). Our black haired nameless woman is designated by Nona (again, she can make this designaton because she is the boss) as a servant to Decim. I am wondering what exactly this means, and to what degree she was being serious. If it is to be taken literally, it’s possible that the nameless woman symbolizes the rod that Decima used to measure the thread in the myth. This would disqualify her from being Morta, but would solidify her role in the overall story. To ascertain her identity… it really depends on how she is characterized as the show moves foward.

Clavis: A clavis is a glossary, in this case, the glossary of the floors in the… building… he is the elevator man. An interesting choice of name. I am wondering if he will ever actually take a step out of that elevator.

Location: Honestly we haven’t had much given to us in terms of setting, and what we do have is ambiguous at best. We know that it’s not on Earth, but some kind of otherworldly plane, between Earth and The Void. Nona and the unnamed woman take a train (from where, I cannot guess) to a doorway adorned with a buddha statue and disembark. What is most interesting about this scene is that there are other people on the train, wearing bartender uniforms, that do not disembark, but continue on lower into the plane. Does this imply that there are other bars besides Quindecim? Are they simply trainees? If so, perhaps Nona really is just one of many lower-level bosses whom answer to some upper-level entities. Perhaps the Buddha statue denotes that Quindecim is only for people who practice a certain religion. It’s an interesting idea that multiple belief systems would have separate ground for judgement.

Death Parade

Arbitration:
Death Parade

When Nona first described the arbitration process, based on the words chosen, and the animation, I got a distinct impression that Reincarnation was “good”, and the the void was “bad”.

Death

Death Parade

After some careful thought, it seems like it might not be so cut and dry. Along with constant use of Lotus imagery, the Buddha statue at the beginning of episode two cannot be ignored. In Buddhism the ultimate goal seems to be reaching Nirvana, ridding yourself of your worldly desires and achieving eternal peace. Now, while one could argue that this is what the void symbolizes, and that breaking free from the cycle of death and reincarnation is actually good, I can’t help but feel some sense of uneasiness with this interpretation. Why would achieving Nirvana be symbolized by being “lost”? Why would plunging into a deep darkness symbolize “eternal peace”. I have a feeling this specific imagery and wording was chosen in order to drive home the point that the void is bad. Decim and the nameless main character seem to consider the void bad, and Nona at least pretends to, but I’m sure she knows its true nature. This was either done on purpose, to distinguish the void from the idea of Nirvana, or done to bait the viewer into thinking this way, and have a character reveal later that the void truly is Nirvana.

Also interesting, a lot of the characters including the namless woman have the shield displayed from in this scene somewhere on their wardrobe:
Death ParadeDeath ParadeDeath ParadeDeath ParadeDeath Parade

The future:
There are many characters featured in the opening song that have not yet appeared in the anime. Most of which I can’t really form too many coherent thoughts about.

We have this guy:
Death Parade

With a lotus for his hair, and taking on the shape (with the help of some friends) of a many-armed god. I could not tell you which one because I am not really knowledgeable about that section of religions, but if I had to guess based on the lotus and the palms together position I would say it’s one of the forms of Buddha with many arms. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalokite%C5%9Bvara)
Death Parade
He also does this pointing up and down thing. I’m wondering if he will have a number name, or not. In fact I find myself wondering what each of the yet-to-be-met characters names/numbers are. Strangely enough the tan-skinned woman appears in no other part of the opening besides these few frames. Also when Nona is on screen, usually she takes the front and center role, but here you see that she is acting as a supporting piece… which begs the question, is this old man actually of greater relative importance? Another thing to note is that he doesn’t have the glowing cross-shaped eyes of Nona, Decim, or the others.

We also have:
Death Parade

This guy and his cat.
Death Parade
… and his killer dance moves. I really have no idea what to make of this guy yet.

This girl (although… this is anime… it could be a guy):
Death Parade

Strangely she doesn’t have the cross eyes, or the shield emblem, so I’m interested in who they are going to end up being in the end.

And Juggling Person:
Death Parad

I’m getting the inkling that this will be Quin. Quin means five, but the juggling here tipped me off to something beyond just the number. Quin could be a reference to a type of clown, a Harlequin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin

… AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THIS SHIT:
123

Actually, I spent around 45 minutes on The Google and couldn’t find out anything about this… so I’m starting to think that it has no bearing in reality, and is simply a part of the show itself.

Alright, that’s it for now. I’ll probably update this page with more stuff as I go along but right now I’m kind of burnt out.

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