SHOGUN’S NOTE: We’re still taking a break from our regular episode-by-episode write-ups in Watch & Learn to cover as many new shows debuting this season as we have time for. Read our blurbs on…
Hozuki is a bishi demon guy who is kind of a big deal in Japanese Hell. He's second only to King Enma, who passes judgement on the souls of the dead, and basically everyone runs up to him with whatever problems they have, like not having enough animal staff to attack the souls of animal torturers. To tell you much more—and thus inform you of HOZUKI NO REITETSU's story—would be a disservice to you as a viewer. It is best if you jump into it's surrealness headfirst and stare wide-eyed at just how banal torturing the damned can be when you have to deal with paperwork.
OK, fine, here's one thing: Satan comes to visit in the second episode.
Sure it's water cooler shop talk, but the cooler's actually full of human blood. Think of it as "slice of afterlife."
I get a real kick out of seeing the juxtaposition of the supernatural nature of the world with the utter mundanity of paper pushing and new employee training. It's sort of like if a Japanese person was told to make an anime based off Gary Larson's THE FAR SIDE cartoons. Everything is tinged with menace, even if you're just grabbing a quick bite to eat with the boss and discussing what's on TV.
Aw shoot, I gave you more details again. Sorry.
If there's one thing that may trip foreign viewers up, it's the fact that the show is obliquely Japanese. Characters reference particular show hosts and sub-divisions of Hell that even a rabid anime watcher would be scratching their heads over. I didn't find this too distracting. Indeed, quite the opposite; being out of my depth just made the experience that much more fun.
But that's just me. We want to know what YOU thought of HOZUKI NO REITETSU! You can watch the first episode here and leave a comment about it in the talkback below.
About the Author
Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.