1. We’re too Lio savvy here; I think the setup is meant to imply the standard death-has-come-for-you scenario, and the surprise that death is here instead for the pumpkins is the unexpected lighter resolution meant to elicit the laugh reflex.

    It doesn’t work for us because we don’t feel the first immediate fear that death might be there for Lio, because we know they’re pals.

  2. I feel like it’s maybe a little bit of all of the above. Lio called Death for the pumpkins, or maybe he showed up on his own for his job. We the audience are worried about why he is there. Lio is sad about the pumpkins.

  3. Any of the first 3 comments could certainly be right. I’m going with the first explanation. Death rings the doorbell to summons Lio, which he doesn’t need to do if he is just going for the pumpkins. But as noted, that’s probably necessary to build up to the surprise last panel.

  4. I see it as Lio calling Death over to the house. And when Lio shows Death the reason for summoning him, it brings Lio to tears as he is explaining that Death has been called for the pumpkins.

  5. I doubt the Liō-summoned-death theory.

    To the extent that it is possible for Liō to have an expression (never mind the tear in panel 3) he looks stunned in panel 2. He opens the door and finds himself face-to-face with death.

    …never open the door to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for your pumpkins.

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