Angels of Death (殺戮の天使) is a shōjo, psychological horror anime that is an adaptation of the horror adventure game by Hoshikuzu KRNKRN. The anime is being produced by J.C. Staff and directed by Kentarō Suzuki. I chose to watch the pilot after hearing the hype, however, after seeing it, I feel that my opinion is going to be unpopular…again.
Angels of Death follows a young girl named Rachel Gardner as she awakes in an unfamiliar place, with no memory of how she came to be there. The last thing that she remembers is going to a local hospital. As Rachel explores her surroundings, she discovers that she is several floors beneath ground level. Finding an elevator, she hops in and begins her search for an exit. However, as she goes up from one floor to the next, she discovers that there is one mad murderer after another—one per floor—with no possible means of an escape.
My first impression of the series was that it’s going to be very dark and rather twisted, but potentially over ambitious, and sure enough, it did not disappoint me. Within five minutes or so, we get a taste of the bloodshed that is to come later in the episode. I enjoyed this aspect very much as graphic violence is a trait I adore in Japanese animation. There is also a significant psychological quality that is common to the genre of the sort—claustrophobia, paranoia, amnesia, fear of the unknown, running for your life, etc. These were by far the strongest parts of the episode. Nevertheless, everything else came off as feeling highly unexceptional to me.
Rachel as a main character felt inherently boring and unimpressive. While she does depict some of the responses you would expect from a person in her very specific situation, there was also a sense of emotional detachment to it all that kept me from fulling engaging with her plight. She was monotonous at times with her dialogue and expressions, usually when you’d expect her to be anything but, or in other places she’d react super over-the-top. Even the fright that she showed came off forced in a couple of scenes, or utterly exaggerated, depending on the context of what’s going on. It can probably be chalked up to the mental shock of what she’s experiencing; that balance of trying to hold it all together, while utterly losing your shit. I also don’t particularly care for loli type of characters, or ones who exhibit bits of moe, which she did, so it may be a personal preference type of thing.
The scarlet sprays amid death and the psychotic personas of some of the insane habitants of this mysterious place are alluring if you are into psychologically fucked-up stuff (I love it), but the animation quality apart from the violence was disappointingly subpar. The use of 3D is so blatantly obvious in many of the transitional scenes that I found myself cringing at times. The integration of it is so disjointed, revealing itself like red paint on a white wall, and it became mildly off-putting. The lack of fluidity from the use of 3D graphics with the hand-drawn cinematography detracts from the overall intensity and air of tension that can begin to encapsulate you, sucking away the atmospheric beauty.
There is also a sufficient lack of plot information in the first episode, which seems to be quite the trend this season so far. We meet Rachel. We meet scythe-dude and another guy who’s obsessed with a specific part of the human body, and we get a vague sense of Rachel’s predicament. But the rest of the time there is a lot of chasing and slashing and smashing. I understand that this is done to build ambiance and create a deep sense of anticipation for the viewers, but I would have liked just a tad bit more information on just what the bloody hell is going on; not even full details, as I suspect that will come with plot development, but something more than mere shock-value.
I believe the first episode is overhyped and wholly average, but I do like what I saw enough to want to keep watching it. I hope the story gets more screen-time in future episodes because if it unravels at the pace that it did in the pilot, it will become frustrating and unappealing quite quickly.
You can watch Angels of Death on Friday mornings over at CrunchyRoll.
Thank you for taking the time to visit me this evening. Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing.🧡