“Life isn’t fair” – Quindecim’s bartender
Death Billiards is a Japanese OVA. It was directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by Madhouse as part of the Young Animator Training Project’s Animate Mirai 2013 Project. This is also the OVA which Death Parade is based upon.
Death Billiards takes us to a mysterious bar knows as Quindecim, where a young man and old man are told by the bartender that they must put their lives on the line in order to leave, by playing a game of pool… With no recollection of how they arrived here, they progress throughout the game which will ultimately decide whether or not they are sent to heaven or hell…
- It’s only one episode long. Yep, just 25 minutes! So it’s super quick to watch whenever you have some spare time!
- The animation is lovely
- Everything about it is mysterious. From the fact that we never learn any of the characters’ names to that we never learn what the old man whispered to the bartender towards the end of the animation
- It’s an open ended OVA. At the end, the assistant (to the bartender) asks the bartender where he ended up sending the old man and the younger man – she asks which went to heaven and which went to hell? Because even she doesn’t know. But the bartender says that he cannot tell her, and instead asks the assistant (and effectively the audience) where they think each person ended up being sent to
- The characters are so interesting. The young man assumes he’s going to hell when he doesn’t even know the old man (and doesn’t even know the full rules that the bartender follows). The old man seems to be hiding something, though we never get to find out what it is… Did he negotiate with the bartender to be sent to hell to give the young man a better afterlife? Or did the old man already know that he’d be sent to hell? Or do the masks above the elevators that take people to and from Quindecim actually correlate to something completely different?
- For only 25 minutes, there sure is a lot of complex themes explored in Death Billiards! As the audience we have to question whether or not it’s right for the young man to use violence against the older man even though it’s not against the rules of the game. We have to decide whether we think that the old man should be forgiven for being a bully in his younger years if he’s now changes his ways.
The young man even monologues about how people are shaped by other things like their country, their parents, their financial situational, their religious beliefs… Or we we think that people are just born with certain tendencies?