Hell's Paradise: Lord Tensen Arc | Review
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
"Gabimaru, Sagiri and co. meet two natives of the island, Hōko and Mei, and learn that the Elixir of Life is guarded by the island's seven immortal rulers known as Lord Tensen, who presents themselves as a dangerous obstacle for both the criminals and executioners. Meanwhile on the mainland, another expedition team prepares to journey off to the island to acquire the elixir after the shogun becomes impatient with the first."
The Lord Tensen Arc is the 2nd arc in Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku, a manga by Yuji Kaku. This arc consists of chapters 17-59.
Seeing as this was a pretty chunky arc there was a lot that happened in it, and therefore there is a lot I need to discuss. I won't talk too much initially other than to say that I really enjoyed this arc.
Let's get right into the details.
Gabimaru's design during fights kind of looks like 100% Mob, which I rather like because it reflects his title as Gabimaru the Hollow. I also really liked the panels that depict the characters using perception, because the stark chaotic black and white looks phenomenal. I just know that these panels are going to make for some really good fight scenes in the anime.
There were some words in the text that was a bit odd, such as using the word imbibe instead of ingesting, because who commonly says that? They also used the word resplendent, and I have no clue what that even means. I also did catch a spelling mistake as well.
This arc can be boiled down to the characters learning more about the island and the foes they will encounter on the way. The story ends up following the different characters, separated into groups, as they each end up pitted against a Tensen. We essentially get a lot of context, fights, and bonding between the characters. Simple when you boil it down, but it is executed well because the story sucks you right in.
This does have moments that made me snort, which is one good thing about this series, it is not just constant action and tension. There are a lot of feel-good and wholesome interactions between the characters, and some of the characters do have a sense of humour to them.
There were some aspects of the story in this arc that I wasn't a big fan of, but that is just because there was a trope I hate in this (though it was thankfully resolved).
With the introduction of new characters who live on the island, we naturally learn more about it. We are given a lot of context about the current inhabitants, and what happened there, as well as more answers regarding the Elixir. We are also introduced to the magic system, for a lack of a better word, of the Tensen - that being Tao. Tao, and its different attributes, is pivotal to the story moving forward, as it is the only thing that can be used against the Tensen.
While I was a bit confused with the Tao because it is a magic system not commonly used in shonen, I do think it was a rather interest element because of that. We do already have the use of ninpo as can be seen through Gabimaru, Yuzuriha, and the Iwagakure, so this mixes things up a little bit and forces the characters to push past their limits in order to learn how to use it.
Finally, the way that immortality was depicted is rather interesting. As it follows the common theme of flora, when a limb gets cut off, it grows like a vine before it is fully regenerated. As I have said before, this is also something that is rather unique and interesting not only to this world, but what I have read and watched so far in manga and anime.
As you may have guessed by the name of the arc, we are introduced to the Tensen, the supreme beings who inhabit the island, and the primary antagonists of the series. The Tensen are depicted rather uniquely, as they are able to shift between genders (male and female). There are seven of them in total, each representing different aspects which allows for you to tell them apart.
There is also a huge power imbalance between the Asaemon and convicts, and the Tensen. I think it was really smart to start out this way because that allows for the opportunity for them not only to figure out a way to stop them but to also grow as characters.
As for our main characters, due to the structure of the story with the characters constantly being broken up into groups, we also get to see the bonds between them grow even stronger. Gabimaru and Sagiri are becoming more comfortable with each other. Yuzuriha acts reluctant but is close with them as well. And Nurugai and Shion are creating a familial bond that is great to see. Plus we get some sibling dynamics between Chobe and Toma.
Now, aside from the Tensen, we are also introduced to Mei, a mysterious little girl, and Hōko, an almost completely arborified man who acts as her guardian. I rather liked Mei and the almost daughter-like connection she has with Gabimaru and the others. There are other new character introductions as well, but I am not going to say who as they are introduced pretty deep into the arc, and I don't want to spoil anything.
My favourite character still though, by far, is Chobe (a.k.a Bakugo meets Sanemi). Out of everyone, maybe with the exception of Shion, he is the smartest because he can adapt to any situation in order to overcome it. What took the other longer to figure it out, it only took him a couple of minutes.
My last comment for this section is that I do find Yuzuriha's ninpo to be a bit odd because for someone whose defence is seduction, to use a ninpo that creates goop that you secret from your body seems out of place.
This arc was a wild ride, and there wasn't a dull moment (well, except for the bad trope at one moment). It ends in a really good place as well, as it set up exactly what is going to happen in the next 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
The way Tan is created kind of reminds me of Fullmetal Alchemist.
Like in that where in order to create the stone you need to sacrifice a large group of people, those who enter the island are arborified and made into Tan
Really surprised, and kind of sad, that the nice guy is the first to go here.
Not gonna lie, Ju Fa is kind good looking.
There are no voice actors listed yet for the anime, but I am going to be extremely disappointed if Chobe isn't voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto, because we all know this guy is pretty much Bakugo.
I am really hoping that Chobe's transformation isn't going to make him berserk and accidentally kill Toma...because that would be horrible.
Dragon guy not knowing what intimate congress entailed lol.
Do we have queer representation in this??
Because Jikka just tried flirting with a guy and I am here for it because that kind of representation is not very common in shonen
This guy's head looks like a cabbage and it is very distracting.
Nurugai is precious, she just hugs Shion in order to help restore his Tao.
We've got another woman, woohoo!
And she's tall too which I very much appreciate
Shion over here making bad puns.
Rien just going straight for bochu jutsu with Chobe, and this dude ain't even fazed.
Shugen...you showed up and at first, I was like well okay, he cute, but now not so much because boy does he ever have a sick sense of misplaced justice.
He is stuck so deep into his ideals that he literally exterminated an entire clan, children and babies and all, to get at the leaders