Hell’s Paradise Episode 2

Hell’s Paradise Episode 2

10 Criminals and Their Handlers

Hell’s Paradise Episode 2 forced me to face some of the things I ignored in Episode 1. Specifically, I’m referring to the general structure and concept of the series. You know, the whole sending criminals to an island in search of the Elixer of Life thing.

In Episode 1, Gabimaru pointed out that since there can be only 1 winner, it’s going to be a free-for-all. Every criminal will want to be the one to bring the Elixer of Life back. And so, they’ll naturally attempt to eliminate the competition.

That’s great for a shounen battle series. But, it’s not very practical if you actually want to get your hands on the Elixer of Life. And Episode 2 made me question everything even more. I mean, why is the shogunate using condemned criminals for this task, anyway? It doesn’t make any sense.

Yuzuriha showing her face from the anime series Hell's Paradise Episode 2
Yuzuriha showing her face

Consider the following. A condemned criminal gets their hands on the Elixer of Life. They then drink it and gain immortality. Now what? What is the shogunate going to do about that? These criminals aren’t people you can trust. And that’s exactly why the Yamada Asaemon have to go with them as their handlers.

If the criminals do anything bad, their handler will kill them. But, that brings up another question. The handlers are apparently strong enough to kill the criminals. And the handlers are being sent to the island with the criminals. So, why don’t we cut out the criminals and send the Yamada Asaemon on their own?

Based on the information we have, they should be strong enough to survive on the island. And I’m sure they’ll do a better job of finding the Elixer of Life if they don’t have to babysit murderers along the way. It makes no sense.

The Executioner Who Fears Death

This week, we learned a bit about Sagiri’s background. While she was born into the Yamada Asaemon clan, that’s not why she became an executioner. Well, at least not directly. There are 2 reasons for her becoming an executioner.

The first reason is that she wants to be able to emulate her father — who we can assume is dead. It’s possible that Sagiri’s father is still alive. But, if that were the case, her backstory wouldn’t be as tragic. So, I’m going to assume that he’s dead and that’s part of the reason she wants to emulate him.

Anyway, her father was one of the best executioners. His skill with a sword was so good that the people he executed didn’t even realize it happened. Sagiri even once saw him execute a storyteller mid-story. But, the beheaded storyteller still finished his story before dying.

Sagiri as a child from the anime series Hell's Paradise Episode 2
Sagiri as a child

That’s the kind of executioner Sagiri wants to become. However, her father isn’t the only reason she set her sights on this goal. As a member of the Yamada Asaemon clan, Sagiri has always been surrounded by death. And because of that, the other villagers viewed her as an outcast.

It’s kind of like how medieval executioners were outcasts within their own communities. Everyone recognizes the need for such a job. But, nobody wants to associate with the people who perform said job. In this case, though, it appears to only apply to children.

The other children picked on Sagiri and threw stones at her. But, the adults of her clan are well-respected thanks to their swordsmanship. For this reason, Sagiri decided that she too wanted the respect of her peers. She wanted to become a member of the clan people looked up to. Not one who lived in the shadows.

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What’s the Lesson in Hell’s Paradise?

When Gabimaru said that you shouldn’t kill people, I was a bit confused. Was this going to turn into an anti-violence anime? No, of course not. Because shortly after making that declaration, he massacres multiple people with his hands.

But, it got me thinking about what the lesson Hell’s Paradise is trying to teach us is. To be clear, not every anime has to teach a lesson. But, considering what we know about both Gabimaru and Sagiri, it seems like this one is.

The reason Gabimaru gave up being a shinobi is that his wife doesn’t like violence. He wanted to be a better version of himself and give her a normal life. And if we look at Sagiri, we see that she struggles with the burden of taking lives regardless of whose they are.

A representation of Sagiri's PTSD from being an executioner from the anime series Hell's Paradise Episode 2
A representation of Sagiri’s PTSD from being an executioner

So, what’s the lesson here? Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be that killing is bad. Sure, Gabimaru says that. But, that’s not the real lesson from what I can tell. Instead, it’s more about coming to terms with your own decisions, regardless of what they are.

We see this when Gabimaru decides he has to kill the other criminals who are attacking him. He doesn’t want to kill them and he’d prefer to talk things out. And, before he does kill them, he comments on how he’s going to have to carry that burden with him.

I don’t think we’re ever going to see Gabimaru or Sagiri feel nothing when they have to take a life. Instead, it seems more like we’re going to watch as Sagiri learns that the way she feels about killing is normal. Even her father likely didn’t enjoy killing. It was his profession and probably weighed on him, too.


What do you think of Hell’s Paradise Episode 2? I didn’t think it was quite as good as the first episode. And at this point, I have some doubts about the quality of the story going forward. But, what about you? Are you able to look past the nonsensical premise?

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me on your social media of choice — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of Episode 3 is available now.

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