Whenever someone dies, they are sent to one of many mysterious bars run by bartenders serving as arbiters. There, they must participate in Death Games with their lives on the line, the results of which reveal what secrets led them to their situation and what their fate will be afterwards, with the arbiters judging if their souls will either be sent for reincarnation or banished into the void. The series follows Decim, the lone bartender of the bar where couples who died at the same time are sent to, known as the Quindecim bar, whose role in judging these souls changes when he meets a curious black-haired woman.Decim (デキム, Dekimu)
Voiced by: Tomoaki Maeno (Japanese); Alex Organ (English)
The bartender of the Quindecim bar (located on the 15th floor) who oversees the Death Games. His hobby is making mannequins that resemble guests he had previously judged. It is stated that he has no human emotions; however, he is the first dummy or puppet to be given human emotions for Nona's own reasons.
Chiyuki (知幸, Chiyuki)
Voiced by: Asami Seto (Japanese); Jamie Marchi (English)
A human who initially has no memory of her life or her real name and is simply referred to as "the black-haired woman" (黒髪の女, kurokami no onna)
. She works as an assistant at Quindecim, learning the methods that arbiters use to judge human souls.
Nona (ノーナ, Nōna)
Voiced by: Rumi Ōkubo (Japanese); Jad Saxton (English)
Decim's boss, she manages the entire tower, primarily working on the 90th floor and sometimes overseeing the games.
Ginti (ギンティ, Ginti)
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya (Japanese); Robert McCollum (English)
Another bartender who runs a bar, Viginti, on the 20th floor. He also oversees Death Games. As of episode 6 Mayu stays with him instead of being judged.
Clavis (クラヴィス, Kuravisu)
Voiced by: Kōki Uchiyama (Japanese); Z. Charles Bolton (English)
An elevator attendant who is always seen smiling.
Quin (クイーン, Kuīn)
Voiced by: Ryōko Shiraishi (Japanese); Anastasia Muñoz (English)
A member of the information bureau who ran the Quindecim bar before Decim took her place.
Castra (カストラ, Kasutora)
Voiced by: Ryōka Yuzuki (Japanese); Morgan Garrett (English)
A woman in a skull helmet who oversees deaths across the world and decides which souls are sent to which arbiters.
Oculus (オクルス, Okurusu)
Voiced by: Tesshō Genda (Japanese); Jeremy Schwartz (English)
An alleged god who spends his free time playing galactic pool.
Man (男, Otoko)
Voiced by: Yuichi Nakamura
He appeared in "Death Billards" as a cocky young man in his 30s who came in before Roujin at Quindecim. He and Roujin were forced to play a game of billiards that would decide their fate. In the midst of the game, he was completely surprised when he underestimated Roujin who, at his advance age, was already beating him in the game and was able to defend himself after he lunged at him with a cue stick. After the confrontation, he was able to recall that he is already dead and that he died at the hands of his girlfriend who murdered him after he cheated on her. At the end of the game, he and Roujin where both led to the elevator to reincarnation and the void, respectively.
Elderly Man (老人, Rōjin)
Voiced by: Jun Hazumi
He appeared in "Death Billards" who died of natural causes. He arrived in the Quindecim after Otoko, where they were both made to play a game of billiards that would decide their fate. Unlike Otoko, who is cocky and aggressive, he is calm and level-headed. Even when in the face of a confrontation with the latter, he was able to defend himself from Otoko's assault. At the end of the game, they were led to the elevator by Decim where it wasn't known as to what their fate has become. Before entering the elevator, he whispered something to Decim whose details are unknown. In the final scene he was seen with a smirk on his face as he's been sent to the void.
Takashi (たかし, Takashi)
Voiced by: Kazuya Nakai (Japanese); Eric Vale (English)
The first to play the game. He and his wife Machiko enter a darts game with their lives staked on it. After realising Machiko's affair he sets out to win the game, later learning his jealousy drove him and his wife to their deaths. He ends up losing but Decim's judgement puts him through reincarnation rather than the void.
Machiko (真智子, Machiko)
Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (Japanese); Trina Nishimura (English)
The first to play the game. She and her husband Takashi enter a darts game with their lives staked on it. After admitting an affair and that she married Takashi for his money, she landed the winning shot. Takashi attacks her but Decim intervenes. Although she wins the game, Decim's judgement sends her to the void. It is later suggested that she lied about the affair to lessen Takashi's guilt about having killed their baby. Although Chiyuki noticed her sacrifice, it was too late for Decim to reverse his judgement.
Shigeru Miura (三浦 しげる, Miura Shigeru)
Voiced by: Junji Majima, Lynn (young) (Japanese); Micah Solusod (English)
He is a college student who awakens at Quindecim and reunites with his childhood friend. He plays Death Bowling against her, later learning that they died in a bus accident together.
Mai Takada (高田 舞, Takada Mai)
Voiced by: M.A.O., Yuna Taniguchi (young) (Japanese); Bryn Apprill (English)
A part-time attendant at the bowling alley where Miura and his friends often played. It is revealed that she was childhood friends with Chisato and Miura.
Chisato Miyazaki (みやざき ちさと, Miyazaki Chisato)
Voiced by: Marie Hatanaka (young) (Japanese); Tia Ballard (young) (English)
A childhood friend of Miura and Mai who moved away. Mai initially claims to be Chisato when she meets Miura at Quindecim.
Misaki Tachibana (橘みさき, Tachibana Misaki)
Voiced by: Yuriko Yamaguchi (Japanese); Monica Rial (English)
She is the hostess of a reality television show. Misaki's explicit relationship at a young age leads to an unexpected pregnancy with an abusive man. She attempted to raise her five children despite the mishaps of her multiple failed relationships. She was strangled to death by her talent manager in a fit of rage after she slapped and antagonized her.
Yousuke Tateishi (立石 洋介, Tateishi Yousuke)
Voiced by: Masakazu Morita (Japanese); Ian Sinclair (English)
Yousuke's parents had a divorce and his father remarried. However, Yousuke refused to accept his new mother and avoided her at home, eventually committing suicide. He is placed in a Death Game against Misaki where they must fight in an arcade game.
Mayu Arita (有田 マユ, Arita Mayu)
Voiced by: Atsumi Tanezaki (Japanese); Leah Clark (English)
An excitable high school girl who died after slipping on a bar of soap. She is sent to the Viginti where she plays a game of twister against Harada. Unlike the other guests, she ends up staying at the Viginti instead of passing on. Ginti later on presents her with Harada's soul-less body, telling her that it's possible to revive him, but it would require sending another young man's soul into the void in his place. She chooses to do so, bringing Harada's body with her to retrieve his soul, unaware that this was merely a set-up for Ginti to pass judgment. As they enter the void, Harada manages to be revived for a brief moment before both their souls fall into the void, visually joining as one, reducing their bodies back into the mannequins they originally were.
Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (Japanese); Josh Grelle (English)
A male idol who was part of the boy band C.H.A., who plays against Mayu at the Viginti. After causing a fan to commit suicide after breaking up with her, Harada was killed by a timer bomb given to him by his girlfriend, who was that girl's sister. His soul-less body makes a comeback in episode 11, eventually revealing that his soul has been sent to the void. Mayu, believing she was given a choice to revive him, is tricked by Ginti into joining his soul in the void. The two orbs of light representing the two's souls merge into one as they fall into the void, possibly indicating a literal joining of souls.
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese); Todd Haberkorn (English)
Together with Tatsumi, he arrived at Quindecim, where they both have to fight in a game of air hockey that would decide their fate. Prior to the game, he finds a bloodied knife in his bag with no idea as to why he had it. During the game he recalls that he has a sister named Sae who was violently raped by a stalker and that he was able to kill the stalker with the knife from before, but was mortally wounded during the struggle. He then killed whom he thought to be the stalker's "accomplice", not knowing it was Tatsumi. He later remembers that he died from the loss of blood from the fatal wound he sustained earlier. In the last phases of the game he realizes that the one he thought was the accomplice was actually Tatsumi who went there to kill the stalker as well. He becomes extremely enraged when he learns that Tatsumi, a detective, actually witnessed his sister's assault but did nothing to save her. Despite Chiyuki's attempts to lessen his guilt, he gave in to Tatsumi's tauntings. At the end of the game it is suggested that both he and Tatsumi were sent to the void.
Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara (Japanese); Kent Williams (English)
He arrived with Shimada at Quindecim, where they have to fight in a game of air hockey. He was a detective whose wife had been brutally murdered. After tracking down and killing the culprit, he began a string of vigilantism where he monitors suspicious people before executing them should they commit a crime, hence he witnessed Sae Shimada's rape and was deduced by her to be an accomplice involved in the assault. Arriving at the stalker's house later, he found the stalker already dead before being fatally stabbed by Shimada, who assumed he was the "accomplice" his sister mentioned. He died of blood loss just as Shimada passed out from his own fatal wound. At the end of the game it is suggested that both he and Shimada were sent to the void.
Sachiko Uemura (上村 幸子, Uemura Sachiko)
Voiced by: Ikuko Tani (Japanese); Linda Leonard (English)
A lone guest who was sent to Quindecim so as to judge hers and the black-haired woman's souls in a game of Old Maid. She was a story book illustrator and the wife of the elderly man from Death Billiards. Chancing upon a card illustrated with a character she never got to draw, she deduced that she was dead, despite not remembering how she died nor does she want to learn it, thankful that she has seen her illustration come to life. Later on as she witnesses cards with illustrations from the Chavvot
story, she explains the story and the author's feelings that went into it, which allowed the woman to recall part of her childhood memories and her name, Chiyuki. After the end of the game she is sent to be reincarnated.
Death Billiards was produced by Madhouse as part of the Young Animator Training Project's Anime Mirai 2013 project, which funds young animators, alongside other short films by Trigger, Zexcs and Gonzo. Death Billiards and the other shorts each received 38 million yen from the Japanese Animation Creators Association, who receives funding from the Japanese government's Agency for Cultural Affairs. The short was created, directed and written by Yuzuru Tachikawa. The short, along with the other Anime Mirai shorts, opened in 14 Japanese theatres on March 2, 2013.
An anime television series based on the short, titled Death Parade, aired in Japan between January 9, 2015 and March 27, 2015. The opening theme is "Flyers" by Bradio while the ending theme is "Last Theater" by NoisyCell. The series is licensed in North America by Funimation, who simulcast the series as it aired, and in the United Kingdom by Anime Limited. A broadcast dub version began streaming from February 18, 2015, both on Funimation's website and a Dubbletalk programming block which is streamed on Twitch.