Although Hell’s Paradise includes numerous fantasy elements, it’s also a semi-historical anime. The setting for the series is Japan around the middle of the Tokugawa Era. This era, which is also known as the Edo Period, lasted from 1603 to 1867. We can’t be precisely sure of the year, but Hell’s Paradise most likely takes place in the early 1700s. My basis for saying so is that the character Chobei Aza mentions his father being one of the 47 Ronin. This famous event took place around 1701-1703. With this historical information in mind, please enjoy my reviews for Hell’s Paradise episodes 4 to 6.
Episode 4: Hell and Paradise
In this highly enjoyable and action-packed episode, we began to get to know several new characters. Most of them are still separated into groups of two. The death row convict Tamiya insults his Asaemon supervisor, a small man named Fuchi who loves dissections and surgeries. Fuchi then defends his clan and threatens Tamiya at sword-point. Suddenly, the two men are attacked by bizarre monsters.
Meanwhile, Gabimaru and Sagiri are also surrounded by otherworldly enemies. At first, Gabimaru stops to question the nature of these creatures, but he quickly realizes he needs to stop thinking and just fight. The ninja boy uses his fiery powers to kill several monsters and save Sagiri. The last few enemies are finished off by Yuzuriha, who appears out of nowhere with two Asaemon supervisors.
Yuzuriha wants to temporarily work with Gabimaru because a group of five will survive longer than a group of two or three. After failing to seduce Gabimaru, Yuzuriha proposes a deal: Gabimaru will lend her his strength in exchange for useful information gathered by the female ninja. Before Gabimaru can decide what to do, Sagiri suddenly passes out.
The last part of the episode shows the Aza brothers, who are working together well to kill many monsters. The older brother, Chobei, is extremely adaptable and dependable. The younger brother, Toma, became an Asaemon executioner to rescue Chobei from being executed. Toma admires his older brother immensely. As he slaughters monsters left and right, Chobei declares that he will find the Elixir of Life and share it with Toma so they can live forever.
All the new characters and their backgrounds were of great interest to me. Despite finding Fuchi slightly creepy, I also think he’s cute, and I like the point he made about the Asaemon being useful to society. Yuzuriha is attractive, impressively skilled, and funny. I love Chobei for his boldness and independence. As for characters we already know, I feel disappointed in Sagiri. She was useless in this episode. I hope she finds a way to be impressive again in the future. However, even if she continues being a burden, I will still find her admirable and interesting.
I can’t help but wonder about these monsters and the nature of this hellish island. It’s extremely intriguing that the creatures wear symbols and use words from two different human religions: Buddhism and Taoism. It’s also fascinating that the monsters are made of flesh and blood, and thus are more like animals than gods or demons. These two facts are probably important clues, but I don’t know what they mean at this point. That’s all for the fourth episode.
Episode 5: Samurai and Woman
Gabimaru and Sagiri are temporarily partnered with Yuzuriha’s group. Sagiri had passed out from poisonous butterfly wings, but feels much better now. Genji, a walking slimeball who calls himself human, tells Sagiri to leave the island because she’s a woman. But regardless of her sex/gender, Sagiri can’t leave on good conscience. Plus, not everyone wants her gone. Senta, the other Asaemon supervisor, says he would feel better if she stayed. Gabimaru also complimented Sagiri’s strength.
The scene switches to another criminal-executioner pair: Nurugai the convict and her supervisor Tenza. They tried to leave the island, but discovered a shipwreck graveyard full of monsters preventing their passage. Nurugai wants to die out of guilt for causing the slaughter of her Emishi tribe. However, after seeing Tenza valiantly defend her, she changes her mind. Together, Tenza and Nurugai make it back to the island alive. In other news, until they washed off in the river, Tenza had been under the impression that Nurugai was a young boy. He was comically shocked to discover otherwise.
The last scene in the episode shows Sagiri finding the resolve to stay on the island. She asks Genji to stop demeaning her based on sexism. Despite Sagiri’s wise and brave words, Genji continues being an ape-brained piece of shit. He is now completely and openly against Sagiri. But before the two samurai can sort things out, a gigantic man wanders into their camp and attacks Genji. To be continued.
I’m glad there was more development for Sagiri. It was satisfying and inspiring to see her stand up for herself in the face of a bigoted buffoon like Genji. With any luck, that slimeball will die in the next episode. Putting Sagiri aside, let’s look at Nurugai and Tenza. I like them both immensely. Tenza’s kindness and determination to defend the innocent was refreshing. Nurugai has good instincts and I like her wild mountain vibe. I was convinced from the start that Nurugai was a girl, but I also agree with her that it doesn’t really matter.
Nurugai’s background shows another example of the interesting historical references in this anime. She was part of a tribe of Emishi people called the Sanka. I don’t know if the Sanka really existed, but small pockets of Emishi people did. I learned about this topic by studying the historical background of my favorite movie, Princess Mononoke. The male protagonist in that movie is also part of an Emishi tribe. I suggest learning a bit about them if you don’t already know. Anyway, that’s a wrap for episode five.
Episode 6: Heart and Reason
The sixth episode is focused on the fight with a criminal called Rokurota, Giant of Bizen. The massive enemy fatally wounds Genji with a single strike. Sagiri tries to treat him, but it’s too late. Genji gives her his sword, saying he finally understands that her philosophy is to walk the middle path rather than divide everything into opposites. Sword in hand, Sagiri goes to help Gabimaru, who is having a hard time fighting Rokurota alone. (Yuzuriha decided not to help him.)
The fight is long and hard. Gabimaru and Sagiri both try their best. Eventually, the boy uses his ninja powers to set the area on fire. Rokurota inhales the smoke and collapses, which gives Sagiri the chance to decapitate him. She did it by walking the middle path between passion and cold logic in her fighting style. With the enemy dead, Gabimaru and Sagiri catch up to Yuzuriha and Senta, who have discovered what appears to be a village. Meanwhile, the Aza brothers stumble upon something weird. They see two people having sex among the statues and flowers. Who or what are they? To be continued.
I enjoyed most of this episode since there was so much content focused on Sagiri. It was really neat to see her defeat the enemy. I suppose it’s also a good thing that Sagiri is so kind and caring. Although Genji repeatedly insulted her, she didn’t want him to die, and even shed tears for him. What a good person she is. As for me, I celebrate that asshole’s death. Good riddance. Honestly, I had more sympathy for Rokurota than for Genji the slimeball.
I don’t have much more to add other than I’m extremely curious about who the people are in the final scene. They both appear very feminine, so I wonder if both are women? For that matter, though, they might not even be human. Perhaps they are the “hermits” everyone is talking about. At any rate, Hell’s Paradise continues to impress me with good character psychology, exciting action, and beautiful visuals.
Thank you for reading~