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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Hell's Paradise: Hōrai Arc | Review


Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2


"Knowing the dangers that lies ahead, the surviving criminals and executioners join forces to defeat Lord Tensen, acquire the Elixir of Life, and escape the island. The situation worsens with the arrival of the second landing party and one of the members of Lord Tensen, Zhu Jin, using the Banko to take over Hōrai."


 

The Hōrai Arc is the 3rd arc in Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku, a manga by Yuji Kaku. This arc consists of chapters 60-110.


This arc successfully continued the momentum from the last arc resulting in yet another fantastic arc.


Let's just get right into the details.


 

ART/WRITING


I never noticed before, because this is monochrome after all, that Nurugai is more tan than the others. Once you do notice though, it is a nice little detail to see as it reflects her upbringing and her status.


Another nice small detail is Chobe's scars. Due to his partial aborification, his scars can be seen changing to vines in certain panels.


I also don't know if I mentioned this yet but, as always, the architecture is stunning. There is also a character design further along in the arc, that I can't go into any details because spoilers, but it was rather fascinating to look at.


There are some great lines in here though, such as "those who steal lives could never understand, while those they've stolen from will never forget."


One sentence that did end up confusing me was 'pursue immortality through conjugation'. Either there is another meaning for the word, or they got the wrong word because how do you pursue immortality through verbs?



PLOT


We left off the last arc with a clear direction and a clear main goal that the characters need to accomplish. They know what they have to do - get the elixir and find a way out while trying to avoid confrontation with the Tensen. However, there are several pieces on the board that could put a foil on their plans, such as the new arrivals to the island, and the Tensen's plans with Chobe.


I wasn't expecting everything to come to a head this quickly, but we are now approaching the end of the story and now is the time to up the ante even more. That being said, the story was effective at eliciting emotions from me, because I was both tense and emotional at points. Towards the end, it really starts picking up the pace as it heads into the finale next. While I do think the pacing has been steady so far, it was like the story realized it had to get the ball rolling because the end is in sight.


I don't have much else to say for this section, other than that we got more humour thrown in there in the form of bad puns which is still appreciated.



WORLD-BUILDING


While this is now well into the story, we still do end up getting some essential reveals about the world and the characters. I found it is interesting how the Tensen each have their own sanctum where they practice and experiment with different ways to gain immortality. This also helped differentiate the Tensen from one another based on their practices.


One thing I am curious about is whether or not the characters say the names of their ninpo abilities out loud like most anime?



CHARACTERS


Not much to say in this section as, by this point, the characters have all been fleshed out. I will say though that we got some good moments between a lot of the characters which went to show how far they have come since the beginning (even though I think only like one day has passed).


Let's talk about Shija though, one of the newly introduced characters. While they are not the most stable person ever, I like how the author didn't clarify what gender they are, and I also like the ninpo they use, hair ninpo, as it rather suits them.


One character I would have liked to see more though is Jikka. He escaped the island right away in the beginning so we didn't get any initial interaction with him until he was selected to go back. He is depicted as being lazy but you know that he is probably the strongest character. We don't get enough of him though, and I think that it is a bit of a missed opportunity not being able to see him more involved instead of just hanging out in the background.



CONCLUDING THOUGHTS


We had some negatives this time around, or not negatives per se, but missed opportunities. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this arc.


Now, it is time for some spoilery thoughts I had while reading. If you don't want to be spoiled, you can stop reading now.



 

WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD - PROCEED WITH CAUTION

 

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Well played my dude.

  • The one Tensen, forgot his name, also repressed his Tao so that they couldn't sense him just as they did


Mei does kind of remind me of Yachiru from Bleach.


The Tensen's kishikai state also reminds me of a Bankai.


It takes at least five people to operate the boat, so at least that many are going to end up there at least.


So are the Tensen the same person split up, or are they siblings...?

  • Either way though, that would mean those two are doing self-cest or incest which...I was good without realizing that


The baby Tensen are adorable though.


We got a full-coloured image of the new Asaemon.

  • The tall woman is tan and gorgeous

  • Jikka surprisingly has black and purple hair which makes him look like he jumped straight out of Tokyo Revengers

  • And the little guy looks like Toshiro from Bleach


I am not going to have a good time when either Chobe or Toga dies.


There are also Demon Slayer-like moments in this as well with Tao Fa and Ju Fa.

  • In that whenever one of the demons dies, you get their sad backstory and feel bad for them, and this felt kind of like that


Shion did not want to besmirch his mother's honour...boy, what honour??

  • She literally scared his face so that she could make an act out of him


😂😂

  • Toma: hey what did you do with the Tensen anyway?

  • Chobe: oh we screwed and they carved me up over and over

  • Toma: ...😶


She survived! Yuzuriha is back.


Uhoh...dragon man and the tiny Asaemon are up against Shugen.


I am on a roll when it comes to references cause Shugen's fighting style reminds me of Asta's at that one point in the story, where his fighting style reflected the people who taught him.


This really shows how messed up the Iwagakure are.

  • They sent kids on the mission because they considered it an honour to fight and be killed by Gabimaru


...well, Fuchi is the first to go which is sad.

  • He patched up dragon man who finally called him by his name, then proceeded to die 😟


Oh yeah, you knew the second Jikka showed up all lazy and shameless that he was going to be OP.


Aww Shion, he renounced being an Asaemon so he could travel with Nurugai.


Shija is like Twice, she keeps switching personalities and allegiances on a dime.


Why am I not surprised?

  • The Iwagakure can handle putting them under extreme training because they force the women to constantly reproduce


I am really, really hoping that Yui is real and who Gabimaru remembers her to be because I will not be happy if his entire motivation is blown out of the water.


Huh, there was a popularity poll included, and I am kind of surprised Chobe is only #4.


The dragon guy though lol.

  • Jikka starts stripping out of nowhere and he is like 'woah wait a sec there bro, what are you doing'??


Aww man, there goes my main man Chobe.

  • He ended up sacrificing himself and said that even though he did a lot of bad things, he did all he could to be a good brother


Little Mei reaching for a hug from Gabimaru.


...What you doing Shugen?

  • He makes no sense, like he praised following the rules of the Shogunate, but then proceeds to drink the Elixir that you were supposed to bring back with you...?

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