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Hell’s Paradise Episode 6: Favorites

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Hell’s Paradise Episode 6 – Quick Summary

In Hell’s Paradise Episode 6, “Heart and Reason,” Sagiri faced a problem. A big problem. A problem named Rokurouta. That giant of a man had just torn away most of Genji’s left side.The force of the blow was so great that Genji flew several meters away to crash into a tree. Now, Rokurouta moved to do the same to Sagiri. In shock, she could only gaze at the criminal as his hand swung towards her. Can she recover in time?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Hell’s Paradise Episode 6

Hell's Paradise Episode 6: Does Yuzuriha's cheerleading count as help?

You know, I don’t remember if we’ve seen Gabimaru’s eye twitch before. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I haven’t read the manga, so all of this is new to me. I think it’s obvious that I’m supposed to think Yuzuriha is not the most dependable character. At least, that’s the message I took away from episode 4. But I had to wonder: was that a misdirection?

I think I have more evidence now.

Gabimaru faced Rokurouta. Our favorite white-haired married ninja realized two critical facts: first, that Rokurouta wasn’t susceptible to close quarters attacks and second, that Rokurouta wasn’t vulnerable to long-distance attacks. That posed a bit of a problem. So Gabimaru asked Yuzuriha for help – reminding her that she had promised.

The revealingly-clad ninja confirmed that yes, she would keep up her end of the bargain. She would help him fight. By gathering information. She even told him the fighting part was his job.

But she wasn’t completely blind to his need for help. She cheered him on.

“You’ve got this, Gabimaru,” she said in a great cheerleading voice (04:38) as she clicked her blades together. And for the record, her voice actor, Rie Takahashi, has a delightful voice – full of life, lyrical, and expressive. “Don’t let him beat you, Gabimaru. Go, go. Get him. You’re so strong, Gabimaru. Get out there!”

Well, I guess that counts as helping.

Favorite Moment from Hell’s Paradise Episode 6

Hell's Paradise Episode 6: Sagiri parries Rokurouta's attack

Sagiri did what no one else had been able to do – turned aside Rokurouta’s raw power. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Starting Weak to Finish Strong

I wonder: do I even have the right perspective to write reviews? The reason I ask is because I often view a story from the perspective of a writer (you can see why on my writing blog here). Some reviews and random posts I’ve read about the last couple of episodes made me wonder.

Specifically, I saw a lot of commenters lamenting Sagiri’s apparent weakness. Now, I like strong female characters as much as anyone. I daresay more than most. But Sagiri is one of the show’s main characters. If she’s super powerful now – if she acts with decisiveness and unparalleled badassery – then she won’t have any room to grow.

One approach (among many!) to come up with a plot arc is to start at the end. Imagine how you want your character to end up. Or, if you belong to the same school of thought that I do, allow your character to tell you where they need to end up. Then, at the beginning of the story, you show the character in the opposite state. Everything that happens in between moves the character towards the climax.

Hell's Paradise Episode 6: Sagiri can't be strong at the start, if she's to finish as strong

There’d be no development if Sagiri started and ended as powerful — at least from the perspective of her personal growth. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

If this story is about Sagiri coming into her own, about her embracing the strength and power within (which I think it is), then having her start with her badassery set to eleven ain’t gonna work.

I think she has to be shown in a weak light now, so she can shine beacon-like later. It’s just plot mechanics!

Which brings us to my favorite moment in this episode. Gabimaru had tried everything he knew, but nothing he did could even slow Rokurouta down. He had just ducked another of the giant’s attacks when he saw something shocking – the monster suddenly had half a pinkie on his right hand. Sagiri’s blade had sliced the rest away.

Delivery: Sagiri Begins to Realize How Strong She Really Is

“Good timing. I was just looking for help,” he told her (08:03). Which is surpassingly cool, but not quite my favorite moment.

Together, they fought against Rokurouta. Still, they could make no headway. Then Gabimaru lost his footing, and he took a blow almost head-on. He tried to move, but his over-taxed body refused. He had reached his limit. On his knees, he ordered his body to move. But it couldn’t.

Sagiri leapt forward. Keep in mind, her blade had so far glanced off Rokurouta’s skin. Now, she placed herself between Gabimaru and Rokurouta. The giant raised his hand to crush them both.

Sagiri stared death in the fist. In that instant, her conflict with Genji, and in fact, the conflict of her entire life as a woman striving to be the best samurai, came into focus. She didn’t need to purge herself of emotion. She didn’t need to lose herself in her anger and fury. Instead, she needed to achieve a balance. Her balance.

Hell's Paradise Episode 6: Sagiri found her inner balance and power

Sagiri found her inner sense of balance – and power. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

“Accept the opposing concepts as they are,” she said, bringing her breath under control (11:51). “Both emotion and reason.”

Her blade turned Rokurouta’s fist away. Again and again, the giant swung. Again and again, her blade deflected the attacks. By her technique alone was Gabimaru saved.

That’s the kind of moment you can’t celebrate if the character starts from a place of strength. That’s why the criticisms of her starting off weaker made no sense to me.

Do I really think being a writer puts me at a disadvantage as a reviewer? No. Do I think people who aren’t writers can be reviewers? Of course. And I know negativity drives clicks, in the short term. Still, I want to recognize the skill that the writer, Yuji Kaku, brought to this character. That makes the show even more enjoyable to experience.

What did you think of how Genji ended? What were your favorite moments in this episode? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Hell’s Paradise Episode 6: Favorites

  1. Heh, well, Yuzuriha had her first genuine moment in this show. When she realised what Gabimaru was up to? “Oh, sh*t! Run. Run now.” That was the first time she ever felt genuine. I chuckled.

    Also, I find Sagiri is a fine protagonist. There’s nothing wrong with her. Her character throughlines are fine. (I did find it kind of funny that all the guy-samurai who told her to be a woman and go home fell to the giant cannibal baby. No more I guess. Then again, maybe none of them are left?)

    It’s a fun-enough show, I’d say. Good midfield this season.

  2. I haven’t seen this episode yet (I’ve fallen behind on my anime viewing recently) but I’ve also seen those negative comments online. And I think fans that are disappointed with Sagiri are probably coming from a shonen point of view where the main characters start out very strong and just develop into Super Ultra Golden Form!!!! strong. Like in the Dragon Ball series, or One Piece, or Naruto. I come from the other end of the anime fan swimming pool. I tend to like slice of life, slow life, and fantasy shojo anime where the main character never has to become strong to be a hero. I was totally okay with Sagiri not being the strongest, and I would have been okay with her never becoming a super skilled samurai. What’s most important for me is how she’s developing on the inside. It’s wonderful to see how she is really diving deep to understand who she is and who she wants to be. And it’s great that she’s gaining a little more confidence.

    1. “probably coming from a shonen point of view”

      I had not considered that. Now that you mention it, I can see that. I think that perspective could have a lot to do with the reaction. Cool!

      “What’s most important for me is how she’s developing on the inside.”

      That’s part of what I like so much about this series! Her inner journey is as important as any other aspect of the plot. I really like watching her grow and improve. And I thought she was plenty awesome to start with!

Please let me know what you think!

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