[english translation of: Death Parade und die kostbare Lifebar eines Nerds]
As a fan and consumer of things that are commonly traded as nerd stuff (this includes series, movies, games and more) I often feel disillusioned, when I take a look at the clock.
„Just two and a half hours proudly pledged for this film. I wouldn´t even rate it 3 out of 10.“
„I have already invested almost a whole weekday playing this game? Actually, I just wanted to take a look into the first steps of walkthrough.“
The lifetime of a nerd is also precious and sometimes entertainment products, such as video games, do not give back as much as one would expect. The fourth episode of the Death Parade anime series titled „Death Arcade“ voices a warning about when a stay in digital worlds can become a dangerous hike through the desert.
Death Parade is about a world to come in which the deceased do not arrive at a heavenly fortress after their death, but in one of many bars that have kind of a night club image. Each of these establishments is operated by a so-called arbiter, who reveals himself to his guests in the outfit of a bartender. In the course of a random game, this one must decide which of the two participating opponents may be reborn and whose spiritual spirit is lost forever. But it’s not about a final score. The decision is based on the fairness and behavior with which the players act. The story follows the work of Decim, his premise Quindecim and the appearance of a black-haired stranger. At the beginning of the anime, she awakens unscheduled and without memories in the mysterious purgatory and becomes Decims assistant.
Episode # 4 features two new souls that appear at the bar’s entrance. It’s the TV personality and mother Misaki Tachibana and young nerd Yousuke Tateishi. As usual, they also have no memories of their past lives and do not know that they have just reached the hereafter. Under protest, they face the chosen „Battle for Life“, an arcade fighting game for two people. You play with your own images. After two or three rounds, a winner is decided.
What is gradually clarified by flashbacks is that both did not leave simple lives behind and died in a tragic way. Since her youth, Misaki has been maltreated by her male partners and eventually left alone with the upbringing of five children. When she experiences new courage through the role in a TV show, but scandalises by her condescending and cold personality, she is murdered in an argument by her manager. Yousuke, however, was still at the beginning of his life. When his mother leaves his father and him at a young age and portrays Yousuke as worthless, he falls into a sort of limbo. Although his dad finds a new wife who tries hard to become a good surrogate mother, he continues to get lost in his video games, hoping to escape the emotional void inside of himself. One day he is confronted with a game over screen and commits suicide out of desperation.
Through temporary sabotage by Decim, the participants are put to the test one by one. Misaki loses her composure and physically attacks her rival Yousuke, who is incapacitated for a short time. Later she will apologize. There is a draw at the end of the Battle for Life. Both are inconsolable, but Decim suggests that there is no true loser. Thus, they willingly take their lifts into the unknown.
The anime Death Parade, despite its imaginative universe, depicts the staging of many grueling individual destinies. However, the figure of Yousuke remains a memorable reminder to every nerd. Video games and related things should not be aimlessly demonised. But they can hide a danger to those who expect too much of them or simply lose themselves in them.
Since this contribution does not treat the topic of suicide purely fictitiously I feel responsible to indicate the website https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us. Further information can be called up there quickly, in case of need.
© featured image: Madhouse