Today we take a merry tour of where most of us are probably going to end up… Hell. Well that’s not specifically true as this anime in particular deals with Japanese Hell only, but hey if you want a vacation during your eternal damnation here’s a good look at what to expect!
Hozuki no Reitetsu (aka Hozuki’s coolheadedness) follows the day-to-day life of Hozuki, an oni who has worked his way up from the bottom to become second in command to King Enma. Who is King Enma you ask? Well he’s basically a judge of the dead (other parts of his religious and mythological status omitted), he decides where all the sinners go, what punishments they receive and how long for. So pretty much the dream job! Hell, if you didn’t already know, is split into multiple worlds, half being hot and the other half cold with very specific sinners in each. I can’t help but have a little glee while typing this as the anime does a great job of showing no empathy for these horrible people and shows them getting their punishment for their horrible crimes.
For example, animal torture hell is where people who have abused or killed animals go to be eaten and ripped apart by animals for eternity or at least millions of years depending on the crime. However these aren’t just mindless animals, everyone (aside from sinners) works full-time in Hell going about their daily lives just trying to do the 9-5 grind. Hozuki being chief of staff spends most of the anime sorting out various problems within Hell with the same annoyance as a head manager of a company. Everything in this anime is done with a sense of humor, they know they are torturing people but they deserve it so why not enjoy your life and job? It can get a little dark at times like when Hozuki cuts the thread of salvation from Buddha that would have saved one sinners soul but it’s never gory and always funny.
Ok so there are a lot of recurring characters, all of them are pretty funny and adorable so I feel I have to at least give a line about each of the most prominent.
Hozuki is basically the cunning vizier behind the throne although he has no intention of taking over hell, rather he likes influencing it from behind the scenes, he is serious and very devoted to his job but can come across as cutting when people don’t follow orders, he does love cute things though!
King Enma is the head judge of hell but is actually a kind guy if a bit of a slacker and constantly boring people with tales of his grandchild, he trusts Hozuki completely despite him constantly undermining him and physically assaulting him at points.
Oko is a demon in charge of mortal hell, where sinners who have committed lustful/lewd crimes go, making most of the workers female, she’s kind and has weird snakes as an obi.
Karauri and Nasubi, best friends and minions in hell who work closely with Hozuki or at least know him better than most, Karauri is crushing hard on Oko while Nasubi is a painter and all round dumbass generally.
Momotaro is yes that very famous Japanese hero, why he’s in hell I have no idea; he starts off loud and obnoxious, challenging everyone he passes but eventually with the help of his animal friends and Hozuki threatening to beat him he agrees to work in Chinese Heaven’s Shangri La. He then begins learning Chinese medicine and becomes much more tolerable.
Shiro, Kakisuke, Rurio are Momotaro’s animal companions, in life anyway. In death they kinda just bummed around with no job till Hozuki hires them to work in animal hell. Kakisuke burns still with the guilt of murdering a crab and this plagues him through out, Rurio is well the serious one and Shiro is the most adorable thing ever! A cute little white dog who loves Hozuki and is a bit dopey but that makes him more lovable!
Hakutaku is Hozuki’s bitter rival; a brilliant pharmacist and also a sacred beast in China, however he constantly drinks and flirts with women leading Hozuki to complain bitterly and promise to see his ass in hell one day.
This is the tip of the iceberg people! There is also a cute turned killer rabbit, a giant cow and horse gate guardians, an old stripping hag and other legendary hero figures as well as Satan himself! Taking a quick tour of Japanese Hell before heading back to the European one, he likes maids apparently… So yeah this anime has a lot to offer in terms of character.
It is only 13 episodes long so don’t expect a lot of character development, Hozuki is basically brilliant at everything and rules with an iron fist so there isn’t really much else for him to grow into. What this anime represents is another humorous take on basically an office, the novelty being it’s in hell. It also gives some insight into Japanese mythology and customs around the afterlife which I found interesting at least even if you have to take it with massive piles of salt. Every episode is more like 2 short episodes in each and has Hozuki dealing with a hilarious problem in hilarious ways for example when Orochi (yes that one) smuggles booze into alcoholic hell and all the sinners go insane, mug him and start worshiping it.
Overall this anime is hilarious and might have the catchiest opening of all time, every time I listen to it I have a smile on my face. I would recommend this to any fan of comedy and mythology, it is short and has little development but its perfect for people who just want to watch a funny anime without having to get engrossed in a long saga.