「魔王拾いました」 (Maou Hiroimashita)
“Picked Up a Demon Lord”
There are really only two things that set Beelzebub apart from the waves of shounen series out there. One is the off beat humor, and two is that it doesn’t exactly take itself very seriously. It’s like Three Men and a Baby, except with only one man, and the baby will one day destroy humanity. It’s also kind of like Gintama. Yeah. It’s that kind of show.
Juvenile delinquents always amuse me in anime; being the rebels of society, they find it hard to make sense of the world around them, and possess a compassionate heart when you see them with what they care for. Beelzebub has none of this. If you didn’t find what I just said funny, Beelzebub’s humor might just not be for you, and trust me, humor is a large factor to enjoying the show. To me, Beelzebub isn’t an adventure, it’s a comedy. The adventure is just a sweet bonus. I’ve read the manga, and I still found this episode funny, but a lot of the jokes did seem to fall on their face. Much of the humor is derived from comedic timing and preposterous remarks, perhaps a little harder to translate into anime form, but Mitsudomoe proves otherwise. So where does the problem lie? More on this later.
The whole time I’m watching this show, I’m thinking, “Why the hell does Oga sound so familiar? What is this deep voice that brings trembles to my soul, almost inspiring me to go do better things?” That voice is Kamina my friends, and he lives! Well, in Oga at least, but a fitting choice nonetheless, even though I had a higher pitched voice in mind. You know, Oga Tatsumi (Konishi Katsuyuki) is a hard character to describe. Well, at least the Oga I know, but the Oga you know for only 24 minutes, he’s a little easier. A delinquent in a school of them, and yet seemingly the most powerful. But what makes him the main character? Nothing really, but the fact that he has no concept of how to be nice while also possessing a contortionist’s skill of making the face of a demon just tickles Beelzebub’s fancy. Beelzebub is the death grip naked baby you’ve been seeing, the one the show is named after, and the one that says no words except “da.” Sawashiro Miyuki makes the cutest sounds ever as Baby Beel, and it should also be interesting to hear Toyosaki Aki as Kunieda Aoi, although that might take a while. The guy hanging around Oga is Takayuki Furuichi (Mizushima Takahiro), the realistic character to the ridiculous one, the tsukkomi to the boke, and the two provide the majority of the laughs throughout the episode. Last but not least, you’ve got Hildegarde, a tough maid that only shows emotions towards Beel, and a loyal demon to the Demon Lord. Quite the crazy cast of characters, some you could even call unique, and probably the only things that will be pushing the story for a while, so you better get to liking them. You may not be familiar with them now, but they become extremely hilarious to watch as the cast grows bigger and bigger with more people to bounce jokes off of.
So regarding story, what is it exactly? It sounds like complete nonsense written on paper, but it’s so oddball that it became popular enough to get an anime. It’s creative, it’s intriguing, but there’s two things wrong with it. Studio, and Pierrot. When I think of the current Studio Pierrot, I think of bland Bleach and Naruto fillers, terrible decisions, and a complete disregard for the source material, as if their motto is, “We must change everything on every adaptation we do, even if it’s minimal and doesn’t make a lick of sense. We also don’t care about continuity.” The first episode of Beelzebub manages to be quite good, and I’m pretty impressed with the animation they’ve put out for it. They kept the storyline pretty close with the first chapter, except with a complete change in the first 10 minutes, with the two walking around school getting electrocuted. I figure they needed to buy some time to fill in the 20 minutes or so, but the fanboy in me screams, “why you do this?” The other problem that I mentioned earlier is the humor. In the manga, the jokes pretty much drive the scenes, with witty remark after another, and although Pierrot kept the major ones, most of the others were tossed out for electrocution humor and some just weren’t executed quite right.
Beelzebub has a charm that wasn’t quite so captured in the anime, and in that manner, hindered it a bit in my eyes. It was still a solid AND fun episode that did what any first episode should, but they literally have a blueprint written out for them. Knowing Pierrot, Beelzebub is probably going to run for a long time, and given the loose story the original material follows, I wouldn’t be surprised if fillers start popping up, as the manga is only just nearing a hundred chapters. That said, ignore the manga, watch the show, and it’ll be hard not to enjoy Beelzebub’s extremely likable nature. The loose story should make for great fillers, and with their years of filler writing experience (half sarcastic here), it’ll be a lot easier to enjoy them. If they nail the humor down after a couple more episodes, that would be great too. Personally, after trudging through years of disappointments with Naruto and Bleach, shows that I’ve both long stopped watching, it’s hard not to feel like it’s only a matter of time before Beelzebub heads the same way. Don’t let my irreversible jaded cynicism stop you though, Pierrot just might have learned their lesson this time.
Note: If you notice, there’s no category for this series listed in “filed under.” This means I am not blogging it, and it goes for other series without a category as well.