What happens if an emotionless assassin is given a second chance at life? Is it possible for somebody who claims they are heartless to actually feel, and if so, why? Continuing the spring slate of fresh new shows and dubs, the anime streaming powerhouse Crunchyroll debuted their latest English dub for the Hell’s Paradise anime.
In a world that has fallen in love with another action packed anime, Demon Slayer, Hell’s Paradise aims to tell a different story of a katana-wielding swordsman. Where Tanjiro is motivated by the love of his sister and the wellbeing of everyone else around him, Gabimaru aims to reconnect with his wife and fill the hole in his own heart, allowing him to want to live again.
What is Hell’s Paradise?
The Hell’s Paradise anime, which debuted in subtitled format on April 1, is based on the popular manga by Yuji Kaku that has sold over 4 millions copies as of December 2022. Taking place during the Edo Period (1603-1868), the anime centers around Gabimaru, an assassin who is on Death row for his crimes.
Gabimaru’s body is, simply, indestructible. After multiple execution attempts, including removal of limbs, and burning at a stake, it is revealed that the man cannot or will not die. Gabimaru takes on the nickname Hollow—a reference to his gruesome lack of compassion while on the job.
He seems heartless, completely unfazed by anything going around him—borderline sociopathic with nothing to live for. After many attempts, an executioner discovers that Gabimaru does have something to live for—his wife, who he does love dearly. The executioner then offers the assassin a second chance at life.
In exchange for a pardon, Gabimaru must travel to a hellish realm to retrieve the Elixir of Life for the Shogunate. There he will go up against other criminals in a quest for the elixir in exchange for a pardon on his own life.
What is Hell’s Paradise anime about?
The debut episode of Hell’s Paradise anime plays out exactly as an “issue zero”—mostly exposition, often telling (not showing) the story laid out in front of you. While the viewers can easily see what is happening before their eyes—like Gabimaru burning in flames but still living—the characters then over explain exactly what is being shown. Because of this, there isn’t much mystery to what is going on throughout the episode.
Fans of Demon Slayer will recognize some small similarities to the franchise—including a visual callback to the opening thread. At the beginning, Gabimaru is intentionally not likable. He is a young man who doesn’t care for anything, let alone his own life. However, as the episode plays out, we see the last bit of humanity left in him is still kept alive by the love he has for his wife.
The animation, especially for a pilot episode, is phenomenal. Consistently pushing the gaps of what I would expect for a debut episode, the Hell’s Paradise anime certainly gets things going in the visual department. There is an incredible contrast of colors, going from the prison walls in which Gabimaru is kept, to the vast and vibrant flowers that we see return from the realm of the Elixir of Life.
The reflections from katanas, sharp whips off the edge of fires and flames, and general character designs stand out as eye-popping hooks for the series.
Hell’s Paradise anime English dub cast
The voice acting cast of the dub is a wonderful lineup of exquisite talent and experience:
- Alejandro Saab (VINLAND SAGA; Horimiya) as the English voice of Gabimaru
- Marisa Duran (Horimiya) as the English voice of Yamada Asaemon Sagiri
- Nazeeh Tarsha (The Greatest Demon Lord Is Reborn as a Typical Nobody) as the English voice of Aza Chobe
- Matt Shipman (Dr. STONE; Attack on Titan) as the English voice of Yamada Asaemon Toma
- Jill Harris (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury; Black Clover) as the English voice of Yuzuriha
- Reagan Murdock (Chainsaw Man) as the English voice of Yamada Asaemon Shion
- Ben Balmaceda (VINLAND SAGA) as the English voice of Yamada Asaemon Tenza
- Cassie Ewulu (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury) as the English voice of Nurugai
- Jordan Dash Cruz (Shadows House) as the English voice of Yamada Asaemon Senta
How to watch the Hell’s Paradise anime
The first three subtitled episodes of the Hell’s Paradise anime are streaming on Crunchyroll, with the debut episode of the English dub available now! Fans can expect exclusive simulcasts of the subtitled episodes on Crunchyroll every Saturday at 8:30 AM PDT.
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'Hell's Paradise': Episode 1 Review'Hell's Paradise': Episode 1 Review
- Stunning animation
- Cool vibes, characters stand out
- Typical pilot, tells but doesn't show