Another week, another wondrous escapade into the depths of the Japanese Hell. You might recall the sheer excitement I shared last week over this series. That excitement has not been dampened in the slightest by this weeks showing, but rather has grown even more so with the introduction of a number of colorful characters. There were many things I expected to happen with the cast, but episode two has blown these expectations away with the appearance of Satan from the European Hell. I am more excited than ever for the future of this series.
The sagging… Oh God, the sagging!
I became completely obsessed with the OP of Hoozuki no Reitetsu last week. I use the past tense because I am no longer obsessed, though that is not to say my love for it has lessened in the slightest. It still remains, in my mind, one of the best OPs I have ever seen. Needless to say, after watching it as many times as I did I began to wonder who all of these people were. So many characters had not yet been introduced and I could only wonder who they might be. Never in my wildest imagination did I expect that Hoozuki no Reitetsu would branch out from the Japanese Hell and Heaven. I was completely floored when they introduced Satan from the European Hell. I must have seen him over fifty times and yet I not once thought it might be Satan. In my mind it was always some Japanese demon.
Needless to say, I love it. While I probably should not be, I was rather upset that Satan was as lily-livered as he was. I understand that the Japanese alternative will always be the superior alternative in a Japanese show, but I could not help but feel embarrassed that they portrayed my Satan as such a weak willed individual. It is a very conflicting emotion, I know. The entire time I could not help but think, “This is just insulting.” This episode has done well to show me that I am a terrible Christian. I apologize profusely, God.
Now, you may be confused because I did say I loved it and then followed that up with how much it annoyed me. While all that is true, while I did feel a tinge of anger at their portrayal of Satan, I was laughing the entire time. That in itself is something very unusual for me. I rarely, if ever, laugh at a show. I consider a comedy to be successful if it makes me smirk. To ask it to make me laugh is just setting the bar too high. Hoozuki no Reitetsu managed to make me laugh time and time again. It managed to get me humming along to a song about demons underwear. It is just unheard of for me to get so giddy over a show, but here I am watching a demon apprentice shakes his bottom at the screen, laughing hysterically. Something about the art, the voice actors, everything just seems to meld together perfectly.
Pure Bliss: Achieved.
With this weeks episode I am all but certain that Hoozuki no Reitetsu will go down as my AOTY. Heaven, Hell, wherever our cast goes seems to catch me in bouts of laughter. With every episode the cast grows on me more and their jokes become all the more funny. I can not wait for the introduction of what I can only see as Hoozuki’s love interest. The way he goes about doing everything is already hilarious, I can only imagine how he will treat love.
I do not know if you have experienced this before so listen, or rather, read well. You are sitting at your computer, eyes glued to the monitor. Slowly your gaze falls to the time and in your stupor you blink at the numbers staring back at you thinking, “That can not be right.” Then you realize that in the three minutes you have been watching whatever it is you have been watching twenty minutes have passed. Needless to say, that is what just happened to me with Hoozuki no Reitetsu.
Rarely does a show floor me. Now, I want you to understand just how rarely rarely is to me. The last time a show floored me was close to three years ago when Hyouge Mono was airing, and before that… my memory does not go back that far. Hoozuki no Reitetsu is an exceptionally impressive piece of animation and will no doubt be terribly unpopular and fade into obscurity just as Hyouge Mono did. However, that does not bother me in the slightest. I am going to be quite frank with you when I say Hoozuki no Reitetsu is not exciting. It is a comedy with very light humor at that. There would need to be some kind of large-scale gas leak for Hoozuki no Reitetsu to become popular.
If you have absolutely no interest in watching this series that is completely fine. However, I am still going to tell you to watch the first episode. It is not often that you run into people that legitimately enjoy going to the dentist. People do it because it is an essential part of maintaining good dental hygiene. Now, watching Hoozuki no Reitetsu is not going to brighten your teeth, but I can guarantee you it will brighten your smile. If for some reason it does not, my condolences.
This is Hell, Hell, a wonderful Hell.
The first thing I fell in love with about Hoozuki no Reitetsu also happens to be one of the first things that pops up. The OP is one of the best I have ever listened to. Even if you find the show dull, you can not deny how wonderful the OP is. It has long been a belief of mine that you can tell how good a show is based on the OP. My theory stands strong in the face of Hoozuki no Reitetsu.
Really, after making such a big fuss over the OP you must be interested in what it is like, that is of course, if you have not already seen it. Regardless, I want you to go to Google right now and search for “Hoozuki no Reitetsu OP”. I do not care if you had already listened to it twenty times before reading this, I want you to listen to it again.
You will notice the lack of explosions or characters quickly popping in and out of the screen or otherwise scurrying about frantically. Everything is “calm”. That is something that will follow you through the rest of the episode. The show, despite its content, is very tranquil. Keep in mind, Hoozuki no Reitetsu is a comedy. It relies more on jokes than gags. Characters are more likely to tell one than be one. However, rarely does it seem like nothing is happening, that there is no movement.
The Peach Boy and his divine beast companions.
What really separates Hoozuki no Reitetsu from other shows is its cast. While it is only the first episode we have already been introduced to a plethora of colorful characters. If the OP is any indication, we can expect quite a number more. What many shows do is they focus on one or two characters and then they use the rest of the cast to build upon these two. While this is fine, too often are interesting characters brushed aside in favor of putting the spotlight on the stars of the cast. While it goes without saying that Hoozuki and Enma Daiou will get the most screen-time, I am confident that the rest of the cast, the supporting characters, will all be fleshed out and played around with as the series progresses.
I am excited to see how everyone will evolve. It makes for an interesting dynamic that part of our cast is in Hell while the others are in Heaven. From a Christian perspective it seems rather silly, but given my lack of insight into the Japanese perspective of Hell it may not be as silly as I think. Still, for me it makes the Heaven and Hell humor all the more funny.
“Hoozuki no Reitetsu is a surprisingly popular show,” said no-one, ever.
I have complete and utter confidence that the show, both locally and overseas, will be unpopular. It lacks the many elements that attract Western and Eastern viewers. It is frustrating, but at the same time it means that the few of us who watch and enjoy it get to be part of some kind of secret club. While the peons watch their Space Dandy and Buddy Complex, we are sipping wine in our underwear chuckling at Enma Daiou’s complaints. Of course, it ends with us crying in the corner after the credits roll.
Years ago when I was trying to get friends to watch Hyouge Mono I believed the only thing I needed to do was get them sitting down and watching and they would fall in love with it. If I could just keep them watching for twenty minutes they would ask me to put on the next episode. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Shows like this are doomed to have a niche audience with limited or reserved buying power and thus they will always fall into obscurity.
“I live my life cheerfully and with an open heart.”
Enough with the doom and gloom, next week can not come soon enough. Hoozuki no Reitetsu has shown me what I have been missing. To quote a junkie, “I need my fix.” I am confident that with each episode the world of Hoozuki no Reitetsu will continue to expand. I can not wait for all that is to come.