Hell’s Paradise Season 1 Review – An Entertaining Battle-Royale Series With A Mysterious World

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1: The Death Row Convict and the Executioner -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2: Screening and Choosing -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3: Weakness and Strength -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4: Hell and Paradise -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5: The Samurai and Woman -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6: Heart and Reason -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7: Flowers and Offerings -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8: Student and Master -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9: Gods and People -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10: Yin and Yang -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 11: Weak and Strong -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12: Umbrella and Ink -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13: Dreams And Reality -| Review Score – 4/5

 

After working on Jujutsu Kaisen, Attack On Titan, and Chainsaw Man, Studio Mappa became a well-beloved animation studio in the anime community. While Campfire Cooking In Another World With My Absurd Skill was calm and simple, many expected them to bring their A-game with Hell’s Paradise. It’s known as a member of the dark trio, a fan term given to Hell’s Paradise, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Chainsaw Man. Although Hell’s Paradise falls short in some areas, it is a fun product full of thrills and chills.

Hell’s Paradise follows Gabimaru, a fierce shinobi who must find the Elixir of Life, located on a mysterious island called Shinsenkyo. If he succeeds, the Shogunate vows to drop Gabimaru’s charges. This will allow him to see his wife again. However, Gabimaru will join other death row convicts on the island to fight for this prize. With the odds stacked against him, Gabimaru must rely on his strength, wit, and skill to reunite with the woman he holds close to his heart.

The plot follows your typical battle-royale foray and places Gabimaru up against numerous foes and obstacles. However, the convicts and opposing Asaemon are the least of his worries. Gabimaru must confront Shinsenkyo’s habitat. It houses deadly toxins, grotesque monsters, and fierce deities. All these elements play a huge part in elevating the series’s suspenseful and appealing aspects. Although the anime’s far from finished, the first season presents viewers with a unique world.

Additionally, it presents viewers with multiple topics concerning the Tensen, Tao, Elixir of Life, and the various regions that shape Shinsenkyo. Furthermore, some cast members like Gabimaru have pasts riddled with secrecy and doubt. While the show can be highly informative, it gives viewers occasional periods to breathe through action and lighthearted segments. While all sounds well with the plot, it has its share of issues.

There were some instances where the story made it challenging to digest the significant dialogue. One example includes a scene from episode 10 where Hoko, Shion, and Mei share explanations relating to the Tao concept. While it was an interesting way to keep each group informed about Tao, they should’ve executed it better.

Furthermore, the series likes to kill off characters too soon. Killing characters hampers the audience’s chances of connecting with them. Even though the anime gives some cast members saddening backstories before their demise, this approach felt cliché. Although the show’s lore is incredible, the anime tends to lean toward the “tell and not show” storytelling approach concerning Shinsenkyo and its regions. Many would have preferred if the anime opted for more visual storytelling rather than being saturated with dialogue.

The story is decent at best, despite tackling appealing themes, providing fans with fun fights, and giving them an enticing setting. However, it has room to improve with future seasons.

As for its characters, Hell’s Paradise delivers a few significant figures like Gabimaru and Sagiri. Gabimaru’s a fierce warrior with a tragic, violent, and mysterious past. He undergoes substantial development alongside Sagiri, making him feel more fleshed out and fun to watch during and after battles.

Although the season’s final episode threatens Gabimaru’s growth, he can recapture what he lost. Sagiri is an excellent deuteragonist with a fascinating background, skillset, and a likable personality. Along with Gabimaru, Sagiri deals with the issues that make her feel rounded and dynamic compared to other females in this anime. On top of being a formidable enemy to the Tensen and providing great emotional support for her allies, Sagiri has the potential to be the best female character in Hell’s Paradise.

The supporting cast, like Yuzuriha and Shion, have appealing personalities, abilities, and backgrounds viewers will cherish too. While the story gives them depth and flair, they are not as dynamic as our protagonist and deuteragonist. The villains are in the same ballpark as Yuzuriha and Shion but lack complexity and distinctness. Every villain, from Mu Dan to Zhu Jin, comes off feeling the same in ability, personality, and concept. Nothing about them stands out besides their character designs.

As discussed earlier, Studio Mappa is at the helm of Hell’s Paradise’s adaptation. With many projects under their belt, fans were skeptical if they could capture Hell’s Paradise creator Yuuji Kaku’s artistry. Although the anime’s visuals are not downright horrendous, there were times when characters looked jarring onscreen and did not appear as detailed as Kaku’s illustrations. Newcomers won’t mind it as much, but hardcore fans will find it upsetting.

Although many fights were spectacles to watch, from Gabimaru versus Zhu Jin to Shion and his friends versus Mu Dan, many battles weren’t visually stunning. This was due to the animation in those battles looking subpar or being overshadowed by plot devices. Fortunately, the soundtrack and voice acting was stellar throughout Hell’s Paradise’s run. The music used during its intense and calming scenarios helped set and elevate the mood, while the voice acting was captivating and never bothersome. On top of having catchy opening and ending theme songs, the sound team deserves immense praise for their work.

Despite being a heavy contender for “anime of the season” in some audiences’ eyes, Hell’s Paradise is not the most masterfully written shonen out there. Although it has its share of flaws in the story and animation department, it’s not a horrible work people should avoid like the plague. It has a fine cast of characters and a universe that will leave viewers satisfied. With news of season two heading our way in the future, Studio Mappa has a chance to turn this hellish world into something extraordinary.

 


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  • Verdict -- - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
7.5/10

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