What’s the show? Angels of Death, Episode 1.
Oh sounds dark and edgy, not your usual kind of anime… what’s it about? Rachel, a troubled 13 year-old girl wakes up in a massive abandoned building with little to no memory of how or why she’s there. After receiving a few cryptic instructions she enters an elevator and ascends to a higher floor, only to be set-upon by a deranged man covered in bandages and wielding a scythe—his intent on killing her!
Wow, okay… things escalated quickly! That’s nothing, after narrowly escaping with her life she makes it to another elevator and ascends another floor only to be set-upon in a different way as a creepy doctor who after trying to convince her that he’s “counselling” her after all the “murders she saw” tries to… well I’m not sure what he’s trying to do. Initially I thought he wanted to rape her but then I was sure he wanted to steal her eyes, but then it seemed like he just wanted to “live” with her and look into her eyes because they reminded him of his dead mother’s.
Right… so it’s confusing and dark? I don’t know, it’s certainly trying to be a lot of things, it nails mysterious pretty thoroughly, but if it was going for scary or shocking I think it kind of failed on those counts… that’s not to say it isn’t interesting or moderately well-written, just not very intimidating—at least for me—I suppose what is “scary” can vary from person to person.
How do you mean? Well she’s the protagonist, and despite how oppressive and confrontational her situation is it’s like nothing can hurt her because she’s got that ‘protected status’ as the protagonist.
So the stakes aren’t very high then? Not the physical stakes at least. Scythe guy from the previous floor makes his way up to creepy doctor floor and takes him out, inadvertently saving her from ~whatever~ he intended to do to her or her eyes. Scythe guy doesn’t kill her though as she’s kind of worked her way into a catatonic state because of some memories that are slowly returning to her and he—doesn’t kill “dolls”. As he’s trying to leave the floor–after being informed by an omnipotent voiceover that he’s now a target for breaking the rules—Rachel comes to him and asks him for a favour, “please kill me,” she asks.
Yikes, so that’d be the ‘stakes’ you’re referring to. Indeed, the emotional stakes are palpable, as is the intrigue to what’s going on with their situation. It’s kind of like the Saw film series, in that none of what I’m seeing is particularly scary, but I am interested to see what happens.
You deliberately referenced ‘Saw’ though, yeah? Well of course, there’s some obviously parallel’s, this could be some kind of elaborate death game or ‘test’, the answer might not be satisfying but I’m nonetheless curious to see where it goes from here.
So what’s your verdict on this first episode of Angels of Death? It’s good! I like Rachel as a character, I want to see why she’s here and what she’s been through and how she’ll get out. There’s a good atmosphere to the show, visually and musically even if to me it doesn’t feel like a ‘horror’ series yet—but I guess there’s time for it to get darker and scarier as it goes along. Speaking of which it’s interesting that this series is going to be 16 episodes long, as most anime these days are usually either 12/13 or 24-26 episodes. This odd episode number inspires a bit of confidence that the show isn’t going to be needlessly padded out or cut short and end on a cliff-hanger, hopefully it will tell a complete story exactly as long as it needs to be!
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