Mariya IseTakahiro SakuraiHaruka ChisugaNatsumi Fujiwara
Angels of Death
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2018: A
Also known as: Satsuriku no Tenshi
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Director: Kentaro Suzuki
Writer: Yoshinobu Fujioka
Original creator: Makoto Sanada
Actor: Haruka Chisuga, Houchu Ohtsuka, Mariya Ise, Natsumi Fujiwara, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Takahiro Sakurai
Keywords: anime, horror, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 16 episodes
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 6 November 2019
Saturiku no Tenshi
It's sort of brilliant. It takes a premise that's crazy over-the-top mental to begin with, but is also recognisable (horror video game adaptation). It then charges off with glorious confidence in some, uh, unique directions. It's deeply and sincerely character-based. The show's a proper relationship drama, whose protagonists have flaws as big as the Grand Canyon. I genuinely loved that, and them.
However it's also grotesquely messed in the head and often blackly funny.
We're trapped in a building where all the corridors are unnaturally sinister and the elevators will only take you up or down one level at a time. Every level has its own resident (i.e. floor boss) who tries to murder all visitors and will have set up traps, clues and/or puzzles. You'll have to solve these to reach the next floor.
1. A romance where "I promise to kill you" means "I love you". (But also "I promise to kill you.") It's like a reverse-harem where a teenage girl has lots of suitors who all think she's beautiful and want to make her theirs. Unfortunately they're all psychos whose idea of "beautiful" tends to be something like "your dead eyes are so full of despair!" (Oh, and our heroine, Rachel, is a thirteen-year-old emotionally dead escapee who sews up animal corpses and spends most of the show wanting to be murdered.)
2. A murderland road movie, starring a manic ranting psycho killer who loves committing murder and the young girl who keeps pestering him to murder her.
3. A character study of sicko murder perverts and their underlying emotional needs. This culminates in the last-episode scene that's basically murder-psychoanalysis with a priest in a church while their world burns down around them. Literally.
This is awesome. Rachel and her scythe-wielding irritable pet psycho, Zack, are an endlessly entertaining double act, e.g. their distinctive responses to what had been intended as a hackneyed Last Man Standing challenge. This irritates the current floor boss no end. However they also have a strong emotional foundation that supports long-ish stretches where they're separated. Zack wants to murder Rachel. He promises repeatedly to kill her and he's annoyed that her dead fish responses don't give him the buzz he needs to turn her innards into wallpaper. However he'll also risk his life to save hers, while she'll do the same for him. As for Rachel, she's consistent in her death wish (once she's hit on it), but she goes through a highly unusual emotional journey of being forced to face up to her own motivations and questionable justifications concerning it. These go further than I'd been expecting.
The supporting cast's smaller than you'd think. If you're expecting a Floor Boss of the Week show... well, this show has other ideas, in this as in many things. They are, of course, all gloriously insane.
The last episode is brave, exactly right and even a bit shocking. I'm not talking about the murder stuff, but about the benevolent, kind and wrong judgements. (Oh, and the ending's ambiguous. Personally I was assuming the blood-splattered worst, but apparently the show's creator likes to believe otherwise.)
Oh, and about the unusual episode count, the TV finale was ep.12 and the rest of the episodes were only broadcast online.
This is a mad love story. It's got real emotional depth and startling developments in what's apparently a camp macabre comedy of flamboyant anime crazies. "I still have the same dull face, don't I?" It's a showcase of unconventional religious statements, bad parenting and intelligence gap comedy. (Mind you, the reason why Zack can't read isn't just that he's stupid.) It's got a sequence of ghost gore-spurt hands screaming as you squash them underfoot. It's got Rachel being super-intelligent. (She can solve simultaneous equations in her head in no time and translate English into Japanese.)
I think it's an interesting, worthwhile show, despite being over-the-top murder kitsch. (It's also not scary.) I might well rewatch it one day. It definitely isn't for everyone, though.