First Impression: Hoozuki no Reitetsu

Bizarre.

I think that is the perfect word to describe this anime without being overly critical, and plunging into the depths of its plot/storyline. Honestly, the first few minutes of the episodes game me a weird vibes…maybe I was trying to adjust with the strange art style it had. Trust me, it was nothing like I had imagined it would be. It is not that popular line up for Winter 2014, but still I had to watch it because it was directed by Hiro Kaburai who is famous for directing anime like Kimi ni Todoke and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. Those two were the anime that I had thoroughly enjoyed, so my anticipation from Hiro Kaburai was little high. Question remains: Was I disappointed? -to put it bluntly, yes!… to certain extent…but don’t let this get to you because I truly think enjoyment of this particular anime really depends on the person who is watching it. Why? Let’s find out:

In this anime, Hōzuki (our main character) is the aide to the great king of Hell, King Enma. Calm and super-sadistic, Hōzuki tries to resolve the various problems in Hell, including a rampaging Momotarō and his companions. However, he also likes spending his free time on his hobbies, such as fawning over cute animals and raising “Goldfish Flowers.” (ANN)

So basically, this anime is about Hozuki who is trying to solve different crisis that occurs in hell. Yes hell!… This anime is all about after life. It’s a dark edge comedy. So in the first episode we see that due to incompetency of Hozuki boss Enma Daiou, Hozuki has to keep up with all his errands.  Similarly, we also see parts where the anime characters are repenting for their sins…one of the example being people who used to torture animals in their life are being tortured by animals in their after life.  This anime is full of unexpected scenes, and it does deserve a round of applause for its originality.

The main reason why I watched this anime was because I wanted to laugh…Of course! that is what you have in mind when you are watching an anime whose center theme is comedy. However it failed to land the comedic punch that I was hoping for. Now this is where “You” come into play. The reason I wasn’t able to enjoy this show as much as I wanted is  because I am not that well versed in Japanese culture. The comedy is focused on Japanese culture and the  way they depicts hell which is different from the western culture.  This difference makes it hard for some people to digest the jokes because you have to know fair amount of Japanese folklore  to really get it.  In the end it all boils down to how familiar are you with the cultural setting of Japan? If you know a lot about it, you will probably enjoy this anime more than the people who aren’t so much into Japanese culture.

Like I said before…it has really strange art, but I think it suits the setting of after life. No one really knows what afterlife is like, so it really doesn’t matter how  outlandish your scenes and character are. Thus, that is what you get in this anime. Characters with horns, weird shape and sizes, and last but not least talking animals. You will find quite a lot of traditional Japanese art backdrops which in itself adds the meaning to the cultural setting of the plot. I have no complains about the sound. It gets the job done!

Even though I couldn’t get all the jokes, there were moments when I had good laughs. So far I haven’t dropped it from my watching list. I still want to check more episodes before I make my final decision. The only thing I can say to you is try watching it and see if it tickles your fancy.

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