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Godfather Death
24 April 2020 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'Godfather Death' is one of Brother Grimm's most interesting stories and also one of their darkest. It does stand out among the rest of their stories, not just because of the comparitive lack of fairy-tale elements and comparitively grimmer tone but also on a thematic level and that it concentrates a lot on the characters' weaknesses. Thematically, with its themes of greed, revenge, fate and free will, some of it is quite heavy and thought provoking stuff.

There were slight reservations when seeing that this series had adapted 'Godfather Death'. 'Grimm Masterpiece Theater'/'Grimm Fairy Tale Classics' has its fair share of dark episodes and moments, but not many episodes adapt stories with this much depth or have themes as heavy, not saying that the series didn't do them (it certainly did) but not to this extent. Have to say that its version of 'Godfather Death' left me stunned, while the series is an intriguing and mostly well done one, warts and all, much of me was amazed that it pulled this off so well.

It is thought provoking, beautifully dark, moving and remarkably deep, with some of the most interesting characters of the whole series. There are changes here, the most significant one being the ending which is still every bit as good as that in the original story, but none harm the story at all.

Very little to complain about here in 'Godfather Death' (seen on a Hungarian language dub with English subtitles, which were hugely beneficial if not always in sync), though the voice acting for the physician at times is a touch overdone.

Animation-wise, 'Godfather Death' is one of the series' best-looking, this and 'The Water Nixie' (another one of the best episodes). There is more finesse than most of the later Season 2 episodes while the backgrounds are atmospheric in colour and rich in detail. Death is a suitably creepy-looking character and the animation is especially good when showing Death's anger when tricked and the climactic moments. The music has some suitably unsettling moments, such as at the end.

On top of being one of the best-looking and characterised episodes, 'Godfather Death' is one of the best-written. Don't think there is any other episode from this series that has writing this mature, maintaining the dark and even at times poignant tone without lapsing into silliness or childishness. The subtitles flow well. The story is heavy thematically, with some of the series' most mature and deepest themes, but doesn't fall into dreariness. It is thought-provoking, the central chemistry between the physician and Death is nailed and even with the changes it still manages to be one of the series' most faithful adaptations. The ending is a significant change here, with it not being as grim as the original story's but what was really striking about it was the more conflicted characterisation (the physician being more heroic, Death showing guilt and grief) which worked brilliantly.

Did say about the character writing here being some of the best and most interesting of the series, and still stand by that. Like the original story, there is a lot of focus on the characters' weaknesses but without making them one-dimensional. If anything, the character writing is quite complex with a big example being at the end. Death is beautifully realised, genuinely creepy without being a standard villain. The voice acting generally is good, Death's sinister booming faring best.

Summarising, great. 9/10

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Release Date:

26 March 1989 (Japan) See more »

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Nippon Animation Co. See more »
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