Sunday, April 6, 2014

First Impressions: Akuma no Riddle episode 1

Welp, this was dull. Surprising for a show about a girl assassin who falls in love with her female target in a class full of assassins.

Tokaku has been training to be an assassin for years. She also stabbed someone as a small child. She feels shitty about it, and we know that her love interest Haru's love will save her from thinking she is a horrible person who needs to lone wolf it for the rest of her life- kind of like Attack on Titan's Ymir and Christa, except that I don't care about Tokaku or Haru, as individuals or as a prospective couple. Tokaku is stoic and angsty and starts to have romantic/protective feelings for Haru in this episode, while Haru is bubbly and likes Tokaku, and they're both kind of boring.

Tokaku is transferred into an all-girls' school, in a class with twelve other students. All of Tokaku's classmates are assassins except one, who is everyone's target for reasons unexplained for now. This show's promotion made it clear before its air date that ingenuous, pigtailed Haru is the target. Tokaku and the other assassins have picked up on it too, because Haru is the only one whose mannerisms don't scream, "I have sinister intentions and/or a sinister past!" She wants to make friends with everyone and hands out smiley-faced phone charms she made herself right after her class introduction.

I would love it to turn out that Haru is pretending to be a guileless genki girl to make the assassins underestimate her (especially because the knife scars on her thighs, conveniently located high enough to make Tokaku flip up her skirt for a better look at them, indicate that she may have been targeted before), but I don't think this show is smart enough to deconstruct her character type to that extent.

This show does take itself Very Seriously despite the ridiculousness of its premise, though. Unlike, say, Kill La Kill, which has fun with the bizarreness of its premise. (For anyone who doesn't know, I hated KLK when I first tried it and that continued until episode 4, which I had fun watching. After watching episode 5, I knew I was hooked. I started watching beyond episode 1 late in the season and am catching up.)

I will keep watching this series and see if it gets better. I do like the idea of a show starring canonically yuri leads that has a plot for them beyond their relationship- it needs to make me care about the characters and story in question for me to like it, though. I'll see how it goes.

UPDATE ON 04/07: Funimation has announced that they have licensed this series for streaming. In their words, "The first episode of Riddle Story of Devil (aka Akuma no Riddle) will be available for subscribers tomorrow. We'll let you know as soon as we have a confirmed time."

UPDATE ON 04/09: We have a video link (for Funimation subscribers)! Here it is. I know this review was really selling you on this show and whetting your appetite for it. According to Funimation's Twitter, new episodes will come out each Friday at at 1:55 pm CT.

1 comment:

Overlord-G said...

A show starring cute, sexy and intriguing killing machines. More cannot be asked. I wonder who will be the first to accept Tokaku's challenge? I chose to enter this show blind to be more surprised by what happens next. It's no fun reading ahead.