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[DVD] Anime Review: Hozuki’s Coolheadedness

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Welcome to Japanese Hell. Ruled by Head Judge of Hell, King Enma, HOZUKI’S COOLHEADEDNESS revolves around demon Hozuki and his working life in Japanese Hell. From the production powerhouse behind Attack on Titan, Wit Studio returns with a unique comedy that was hailed as one of the best original series of 2014.

Flourished with traditional sumi-e visuals, Hozuki’s Coolheadedness radiates with a distinct art direction that is incomparable to other shows. From the macabre hell backdrops to the utopian Shangri-La world, Hozuki’s Coolheadedness displays an authentic representation of Japanese Hell that many viewers would have encountered in literature and other art forms.

Directed by Hiro Kaburaki (Kimi ni Todoke), Hozuki’s Coolheadedness is set in a bizarre yet morbid context that oozes black humour in every opportunity it gets. Never before have we seen an anime that provides great insight into Japanese Hell as this is where humans’ fates are determined after their deaths.

As we tag along Hozuki and his friends, we are given a tour of the different levels of Hell and how the dead are treated in the afterlife. From the torture chambers to the Animal Cruelty level, we see human beings being pushed into the River of Blood and getting eaten by animals. It is truly a horrific world yet it is sadistic amusement for the audience. This is, after all, the world of Japanese Hell.

Continuing to be unique in every possible way, Hozuki’s Coolheadedness is a highly thoughtful show that boasts cleverness in its writing. With plenty of parody, puns and references to Japan’s ancient and modern culture, this injection of trivia constantly expands our knowledge. While we appreciate the extra effort of cleverness, this may or may not intervene with the viewers’ interest of the show as only those who are familiar with Japanese culture can fully appreciate the show.

Due to the nature of the show, Midori Goto’s screenplay is rather
repetitive as every episode details their working lives in Japanese Hell. Viewers may perceive the content as tedious at times, often finding themselves drifting in and out of loop throughout the show. However, the show isn’t that bad as we make it out to be.

As expected of a show that is named after him, it is all thanks to Hozuki and his fierce personality that makes Hozuki’s Coolheadedness the show it is. In order to run a place like Japanese Hell, you will need someone forthcoming in charge, and no-one is more perfect than Hozuki himself. Whether he is troubleshooting unusual problems or entertaining King Enma’s guests, the serious-minded Hozuki is truly Hell’s most diligent employee. He may possess a fearsome personality but this scary persona sparks hilarity and sadistic control of those around him.

That doesn’t go to say that other characters in Hozuki’s Coolheadedness aren’t as interesting. Along the way, we meet rather fascinating characters such as the Chinese medicine expert (and Hozuki’s rival) Hakutaku, European Hell’s Satan, idol Peach Maki, Koban the unethical cat reporter, and Animal Cruelty Hell’s Shiro, Kaisuke and Rurio. With so many tasks to complete and dramas to resolve every day, Japanese Hell is one crazy adventure that never stops.screenshot_8_33731

Overall: HOZUKI’S COOLHEADEDNESS is an anime show you will either love or hate. Many viewers probably won’t get the appeal but the show has fantastic black humour, and well-defined personalities like Hozuki that makes the show entertaining. The show may seem repetitive at times and overloaded with cultural references but that doesn’t stop Hozuki’s Coolheadedness from having confidence in its unique content.

Rating: 8/10

 

HOZUKI’S COOLHEADEDNESS SERIES COLLECTION is now out on DVD. You can view more info on Madman Entertainment’s site [here]

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