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Hell’s Paradise Episode 9: Favorites

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Hell’s Paradise Episode 9 – Quick Summary

In Hell’s Paradise Episode 9, “Gods and People,” after learning what they could from Houko, Senta had a great idea: don’t be hasty. They knew they would have to enter Horai to find the elixir. But they had barely survived so far – and whatever guarded Horai was said to be way more powerful than anything they had yet seen. But Gabimaru was not a patient sort, and he decided to strike out on his own. What did he find in the grove of praying trees? Did he reach Horai? And just what kind of beings of these Tensen we keep hearing about?

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

Favorite Quote from Hell’s Paradise Episode 9

Hell's Paradise Episode 9: Gabimaru broke Zhu Jin's neck at least twice. You'd think that would put him ahead!

Well, he technically did more than just break her neck again. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

A note on how I’m going to approach Tensen pronouns: I’m going to try to use the pronoun that matches they gender they manifested in any given scene. Not sure that’ll work in the long term, but based on a scene in this episode, they make conscious choices on their gender, so I want to respect their choice.

Did you get the impression that Zhu Jin would rather not fight? That she would rather just chill with her friends, if that’s what they are? Because when she found Gabimaru at the gates to Horai, she seemed surprised, then seriously bummed.

Still, she applied herself with a level of skill that cost Tenza his life (and I still think he and Nurugai were a great couple – until the very end). She went after Gabimaru – hard – and came away with a broken arm, then a broken neck.

Surprised, Zhu Jin regenerated, then attacked again with even greater ferocity. She was surprised once again at Gabimaru’s response.

In surprise, she said (06:01), “You broke my neck again.”

That’s something you don’t often hear someone say!

Favorite Moment from Hell’s Paradise Episode 9

Hell's Paradise Episode 9: Gabimaru felt grateful to see Yui, even if only in a dream

Even it was merely a dream, Gabimaru was grateful to see Yui again. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Expectations in the Form of Cinematic Ancestry

Have you ever watched movies like Kid with the Golden Arm? Turns out there’s a word for that movies and others like it: Chopsocky. I reproduce that term in the spirit Variety, its originator, intended it, which was “simply as a martial arts film with no negative connotations.”

The reason I ask is that those movies set my expectations for fight choreography. Fights had to be fast, intricate, and ferocious. I was in my late teens when I saw the first of those movies, and they inflamed my imagination with what was possible.

I’ve seen a lot of development in cinema since then. Movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon pushed the envelope with physical effects. Other films (pick one from the Marvel Cinematic Universe) pushed the boundaries of what stunts plus special effects could accomplish.

It’s probably because of how my experience formed my expectations, but when it comes to fights, I prefer physical effects. Sure, seeing Iron Man fight is enjoyable. The special effects are spectacular. But my mind knows they’re computer generated; I know the trick, so to speak. That’s why seeing Michelle Yeoh fight as the character Yu Shu Lien is infinitely more satisfying.

Hell's Paradise Episode 9: The fight scene between Gabimaru and Zhu Jin was ferocious

The appalling ferocity of this battle nailed the show’s vibe. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Why do I bring this up now? Because, for me at least, certain medium lend themselves to certain kinds of action. I prefer physical effects for fights, with one exception. Animation. In animation, there’s no “trick.” What I watch is all animation. So if Gabimaru fights, he fights it the same context as just walking around. There’s no discontinuity like I can see between Tony Stark giving a press conference and fighting as Iron Man.

And that’s important because Gabimaru’s fight against Zhu Jin was about as satisfying a fight as I’ve seen. They went after each other. The warm up was itself a joy to watch – they pounded on each other and countered each others’ blow with appalling skill. That stage ended when Gabimaru temporarily put Zhu Jin down using Ascetic Blaze.

Delivery: Gabimaru’s Hope and Pragmatism

Turns out that merely pissed off the Tensen. She came back as an enormous plant-thing – a mode one of the Tensen later called her “Kishikai transformation.” Zhu Jin slammed Gabimaru to the ground with an electrical attack, and when he tried to fight back, his body froze. He had hit his limit. The monster proceeded to pound him with vigor.

He thought he woke up at home. He thought the island had been a nightmare, and he thought that because he was home now with Yui. I thought for a moment that Gabimaru might have been fooled – and willingly so. But no. He knew.

In my favorite moment of the episode, he willed himself to accept reality, not to get away from his wife, but so he could be reunited with her in reality.

“Even if this is a dream, I’m glad I got to to talk to you,” he told the imaginary Yui (13:14). Though he knew it was a long shot, because he added, “I’m sorry. I might not make it back home.”

Hell's Paradise Episode 9: It looked like curtains for Gabimaru in this scene

It looked like curtains for Gabimaru in this shot! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Gabimaru’s motivation throughout the series is really, really simple. He just wants to be with his wife. That’s something that’s simple yet beautiful. I want to see him succeed, which made the shot of him hanging from Zhu Jin’s tentacles so horrifying. 

Doesn’t that go to show the power of animation plus effective character writing? To make us feel for the characters and hope they can achieve their goals? Hell’s Paradise certainly had both going for it!

What did you think of Mie’s contribution in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to share in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Hell’s Paradise Episode 9: Favorites

  1. This was one of those episodes where it’s the conclusion of Act 1. Everything has been established: the stage, the stakes, the characters, the mystery, the danger, etc. Thus, a few things of note.

    The Tensen are definitely not gods, even if the original inhabitants of the island apparently worshiped them. They’re just grotesque monstrosities which feed on human life. They’re powerful, resilient, and possess unusual abilities, but now we’ve seen they have limits, and they need the elixir to rejuvenate themselves. They’re still tremendously dangerous, but they *can* be defeated. It’s just a question of how to do it with what resources are readily available.

    Combined with how there are seven of them, with an unseen master, and I’m getting a definite Fullmetal Alchemist vibe. 😉

    An interesting detail: Mei uses the same power as the Tensen, with the glowing hands thing. The Tensen are also familiar with her, specifically. I’m going to venture a guess that the connection between them is significant. (I think we just found out where Mei learned to be ashamed of her scar) Maybe she’s the same sort of creature, or some bastard creation that is similar to them, or the child of their original master… there are a number of possibilities. Fortunately, she seems to at least be on Gabimaru’s side.

    1. I think it’d be hilarious if she turned out to be the master. With her having warmed up to Sagiri and Gabimaru both, that could really change the odds!

      But I think you hit the nail on the head: “how to do it with what resources are readily available.”

      That’s going to be an uphill battle!

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