Hell’s Paradise – Season 1 Episode 12 Recap & Review

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Episode 12 of Hell’s Paradise begins with Mu Dan greeting Sagiri and her allies after decapitating Hoko. Yuzuriha attempts to flee, but Mu Dan stops her. Hoko warns Sagiri who Mu Dan is, showing that he’s still alive. Although Hoko didn’t perish, Mu Dan confirms this will accelerate Hoko’s tree transformation and tells Hoko that his religious beliefs are false. Mu Dan says his master fabricated that belief to maintain order on the island and says the island’s purpose is for experimentation.

Mu Dan says the Tensen uses the humans that arrive in Shinsenkyo as research materials. He has his human experiments (Kyoishi) grab ahold of Yuzuriha as he explains his Kyoishi’s origins to everyone. While they turn lesser-quality humans into Kyoishi, the Tensen turn high-quality humans into Tan (the energy used for the Elixir of Life). Mu Dan says the Elixir of Life they’re after isn’t on the island. He says Tan is only useful for the Tensen because if humans consumed Tan, they’d become trees like Hoko and his people. Yuzuriha catches Mu Dan off guard with her substitution Ninpo technique and beheads him.

Yuzuriha tells Sagiri and Senta to flee the scenario, but Mu Dan regenerates and sicks the Kyoishi on Yuzuriha. Yuzuriha dodges the assault, surprising Mu Dan. Mu Dan realizes Yuzuriha understands Tao, but Yuzuriha corrects him and says her village called it qi. Before Mu Dan fights Yuzuriha, Senta says he must fight him first. Sagiri questions if Senta has feelings for Yuzuriha, as Mu Dan uses one of his techniques to push Sagiri aside. Senta chops away at Mu Dan’s hands and legs, angering Mu Dan. Yuzuriha drinks a concoction and unleashes her Ninpo: Slime String technique which allows her to metabolize the medicines she swallows and secrete them. The medicine she swallowed was a deadly snake poison. It melts Mu Dan for a minute until he regenerates again.

Senta and Yuzuriha try damaging Mu Dan, but nothing’s working. Mu Dan says Yuzuriha, Senta, and Sagiri have no shot at beating him without mastering Tao. Sagiri pleads with Hoko to tell her a way to defeat Mu Dan while Mu Dan acknowledges Yuzuriha’s substitution technique for being an application of Tao. Sagiri attacks Mu Dan’s tanden area. Hoko explains Tao comes from one’s tanden, so if you can hurt that area, there’s a chance you can beat Mu Dan. Unfortunately, Mu Dan confirms without enough Tao, that method is useless as he’ll regenerate.

Sagiri breathes for a moment and slashes Mu Dan, shocking him. He leaps away and ponders if Sagiri’s able to manifest her Tao. Yuzuriha and Senta notice Mu Dan’s not regenerating from Sagiri’s attack. Sagiri tells Senta and Yuzuriha that she saw a strange aura around Mu Dan and knows how to cut it. She recalls seeing the same aura emanating from Gabimaru and Rokurota. Yuzuriha realizes Sagiri can temporarily increase her Tao using breathing techniques. After being injured by Sagiri’s blade, Mu Dan becomes interested in Sagiri and vows to turn her into Tan. Senta, Yuzuriha, and Sagiri give Mu Dan a great battle, resulting in him taking on his female form and manipulating his Tao so he can float in the air. He shoots a wave of air attacks at our group, harming Senta.

Sagiri notices her breathing techniques consuming more than her stamina when blood bursts from her nostrils. Yuzuriha tells Sagiri not to concede since Yuzuriha believes Tao has matchups and Sagiri’s Tao might be effective against Mu Dan’s. Yuzuriha pulls Mu Dan down with her string, allowing Senta to grab ahold of Mu Dan, who reverts to their male form. Sagiri attacks Mu Dan’s tanden, causing him to fall in battle. Sagiri rushes over to Hoko and realizes he’s still normal. They rest for awhile to think everything over. Sagiri asks Senta if he has feelings for Yuzuriha, but Senta says he envies how free-spirited Yuzuriha is.

We explore Senta’s past life of wanting to become an artist. He explains that his family forced him to learn the Yamada ways and abandon his passion. Senta says he didn’t like killing people and flocked to studying religions to keep his mind off it. Ironically, this led to him receiving a higher rank, so he had no choice but to bury his passion. After getting to know Yuzuriha, Senta became confounded by her cruel behavior and ability to see through things. So, he’s simply jealous of her free will and feels he can’t call himself an Asaemon since admires Yuzuriha. Sagiri says she understands him and suggests they protect everyone from the Tensen.

We cut to Gabimaru pondering Tao. While he’s happy he can sense Tao, Gabimaru hasn’t mastered it yet. Gabimaru asks Mei if there’s anything they can do to assist her. Suddenly, he faints, surprising everyone. Subsequently, Yuzuriha asks Senta and Sagiri about some flowers. The flower unleashes an attack on Yuzuriha, but Senta protects her and transforms into a flower. It turns out that the flower was Mu Dan, who has transformed into his true form. Mu Dan laughs and attempts to kill Sagiri and Yuzuriha. The episode closes with Shion arriving and saving Yuzuriha and Sagiri from Mu Dan’s attack.

The Episode Review

Based on the way matters ended in the previous chapter, we were guaranteed an action-packed episode this week. This chapter delivers just that with a fierce battle between Sagiri’s group and Mu Dan. Unfortunately, not everyone made it out of this battle alive based on the anime’s final moments, but the battle had stellar choreography and teamwork. It was pleasing seeing Senta and Yuzuriha assist Sagiri in the fight.

Those characters didn’t participate in much action until now, so it was great to see their skills flourish here. Yuzuriha’s abilities are unique and caught me off-guard. Seeing her pull one over on Mu Dan multiple times was joyous to see and I’m looking forward to seeing her assist the remaining criminals and Asaemon in the future.

While the episode was great, it had some issues. There were times when the characters’ designs looked unfinished or jarring. Furthermore, it was a bit foolish for the gang to rest near Mu Dan’s corpse without double-checking to see if they defeated him. That’s one thing that often bothers me with most anime that releases nowadays. If they’d done that or at least moved to a safer location, Senta’s demise could’ve been prevented.

Nonetheless, it was touching learning about Senta’s past life before his demise. He’ll surely be missed along with other fan-favorites like Tenza. Overall, this was a fun episode of Hell’s Paradise. It had a nice balance of informative and action-centric content. Since Shion’s arrived for the fight, we can assume Nurugai is with him too. It’ll be nice to see them assist Yuzuriha and Sagiri in their battle against Mu Dan. Let’s hope this final episode can leave off on a memorable note.

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You can read our full season 1 review of Hell’s Paradise here


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