By the looks of it, Akuma no Riddle was attempting to go for a sort of Battle Royale style premise as a dozen assassins are tasked with assassinating one of their classmates, with one of them eventually deciding instead to serve as her protector. Each episode or two is focused on a certain assassin in Class Black attempting to kill off Tokaku, and Haru having to protect her. Many episodes involve combative situations, though a few have some unique twists that keep the story formula from getting too repetitive. Still, the series lacks anything too compelling for story and characters since Haru is a pretty one-note character, the show gets in the bad habit of exploring each assassin's back story during their episode to make it seem meaningful, and the show is mostly directionless due either to its plot formula or attempting to pander to audiences with random fan service scenes of the female cast in bath scenes and revealing attire. Overall, just another forgettable anime that exists mostly to try pandering to its viewers.
Last updated Sunday, December 23 2018. Created Sunday, December 23 2018.
(Six episodes watched}:
OK, this seems like the sort of show I've been looking for--that was a thought which crossed my mind as I watched the first scene of Akuma no Riddle. Spirited personalities, a strange premise, and a quick pace all caught my eye. But WTF is going on? Afterwards, we basically meet a dozen or so girls who are clearly merciless killers, plus one seemingly naïve and kind one, Haru. The riddle behind this story seems to be why this one good girl has been targeted by so many evil ones, and episode one doesn't tell us much. But we can guess that Azuma, who is more of a professional assassin than a sadistic one, is going to develop a friendship with Haru and buck her orders to terminate her. A post-ED sequence bit describes the show as a "Battle Royale of assassin girls". There wasn't really all that much violence, rather what's scary is the malignant hatred and cruelty among the girls we meet. Though I was left a little frustrated that things weren't explained better in episode one, I wanted to know where the hell this was going. The question is, will the show ever tell me, or will people just get knocked off left and right?
I'm sorry, but you cannot deflect bullets with a blade. Maybe in sword & sorcery, but not in any story which has the slightest pretense of reality. Seeing this happen in episode three (where the first assassination attempt takes place) prompted derisive laughter on my part, and a loss of confidence that this show would have much of a credible story to it. The way Tokaku figured out what was going on, and the way things worked out in general seemed kind of stereotypical and unimaginative as well. One thing I wasn't expecting was how she got out of a jam at the climax. But killing Haru would in fact be extremely easy, even if she has an expert bodyguard, since she must intermix with potential assassins every day in school. And, I am left feeling not particularly thrilled or intrigued. This game as a whole doesn't make all that much sense, and I couldn't help doubting if whatever explanation we get (if any) would be very good. Also, I don't understand what the point of the genuine riddles that are sent to Tokaku once per episode is. Akuma no Riddle was seeming pretty hollow inside at this point.
Well, judging from episodes three and four the formula behind this show will be that in each episode we get a look at the assassin-of-the-week's background, and she makes her attempt to kill Haru, fails, but isn't killed or seriously injured herself. And, according to the odd rules, she gracefully bows out and is gone. One problem is that we don't get to know them well enough to really care what becomes of them. Why not concentrate on Haru and Tokaku, and try to develop them? There would be enough time for that. The overall result is a show which is OK but unremarkable. No sooner do I write this than episode five does give Tokaku a little development (but just a little). I don't know; these assassin girls are supposedly out to kill Haru, yet it all seems like more of a game than a serious attempt to kill someone. At times I almost forget that murder is the ultimate goal. We're supposed to both sympathize with the assassins and take them seriously as hired killers, which isn't easy. Maybe there are too many of them, which results in too much repetition and not enough originality. It might have been more fun if we hadn't been told that everyone else in class is an assassin, and instead were under the impression that just a few of them were, even if it gradually became clear that everybody was just waiting their turn to make an attempt on Haru's life. That might have given us some surprises.
In episode six apparently some people do get killed, after all. But the effect it has is more of confusing me than exciting me. I thought in an earlier episode that a girl had been killed, but that didn't turn out to be so. I almost expected to see the dead girls from this episode alive and fairly well in a hospital after the ED sequence. Again, I couldn't feel that the way the episode ended was particularly tragic, even though that was clearly the intent. Again, the characters get only the most cursory introduction and development, yet we're supposed to 'feel' for them. I think I will dispense with Akuma no Riddle. I have fallen several weeks behind all of my Spring series, and the easiest way to catch up is by abandoning the marginally entertaining ones.
Last updated Tuesday, September 09 2014. Created Sunday, April 06 2014.