|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Houzuki no Reitetsu
(Seven episodes watched):|
As soon as the show opened with people singing a song about the layout of hell, I was sure that this would be an inane, simplistic show which made a feeble attempt to insert stereotypical characters into the premise of hell and demons, and almost didn't watch it at all. But I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be a good deal better than I had expected. Houzuki's deadpan, dry wit is great fun as he deals with bizarre problems that turn up among the 272 levels of hell, like Peach Boy turning up, or just watching a TV show about Australian animals. He makes no attempt to ingratiate himself with us (he could not care less what mere humans think of him), he just is who he is; you might say he is neither good nor evil, just a sort of superpowerful salaryman going about his duties in hell. Hell seems to interact easily with heaven and earth, rather than being a place you can't leave once you're there. It's more of a bureaucracy than a place for punishment. Each episode seems to have two arcs to it. I would not say this is a laugh out loud show, and references to Japanese folklore and mythology may confuse you, but I liked it anyhow. Perhaps this is the sort of show which is powered almost entirely by one good main character.
This show takes a deadpan approach to comedy in hell. For example, in episode four Houzuki becomes concerned that newly employed demons aren't taking their role of tormenting damned souls seriously enough, and arranges a re-training class ("Next, I'll have you observe merciless torture"). One of the subplots in episode two involves a visit by Satan to the Japanese hell. In episode seven we learn that Idol singers exist even in the underworld. Sometimes this hellish comedy angle works and sometimes it doesn't. If you are unfamiliar with Japanese culture and concepts of hell, a good deal of the show will not make much sense (but it can be educating).
The show has a sort of sublime humor; it seems to be more a matter of an amusing aura than of particular jokes making you LOL (although there was one of those in episode seven). The part about an inspection of the section of hell reserved for perverts was fun.
My favorite line: "I am Ninja. This is training" --Houzuki
Last updated Thursday, March 20 2014. Created Saturday, January 18 2014.