The second volume of Hell’s Paradise has been something of a journey – mainly because it has been somewhat tricky to read. Not because of its gory content, but this is the first time I have reviewed a VIZ Media title using their digital e-book system. It has been tough to sort it out, but VIZ’s friendly staff have helped us at Anime UK News out and we can now properly review these titles digitally.
As for the story itself, the journey for our heroes has been considerably harder. The condemned felons and their executioners sent to Shinsenkyo, in order to find the elixir of life for the Shogunate, have already had to deal the various strange and violent beasts of the region. A few have already been killed, and we start the second volume with the convicted ninja Gabimaru the Hollow and his executioner Sagiri having to fight off a kind of fish monster.
In the end, another group from the expedition come to their aid, the female ninja Yuzuriha and the two executioners accompanying her. One of them, Genji make his explicitly sexist views about the female executioner Sagiri being in Shinsenkyo in the first place, saying that she should have stayed at home and should not be doing this line of work. A brief fight between the two however is ended when another of the felons, the seemingly unstoppable giant Rokurota, starts attacking the entire group.
We also follow some of the other felons as they attempt to find the elixir. These include Chobe, the son of a ronin samurai who became a bandit and who is sick of people saying his father’s sins have been passed down to him and his sister Toma; and Nurugui, an androgynous girl who came from a rebellious mountain tribe.
Like with the first volume, the fight sequences and artwork by Yuji Kaku are the stand-out feature of Hell’s Paradise. Highlights in this volume are not just the battle with Rokurota the giant, but a less gory tussle between Sagiri and Genji which is strangely captivating.
As well as this, this second volume also has a fair number of flashback sequences as it tries to detail the pasts of all the characters, the reasons why the felons are condemned, and why the executioners got their skills and relate to each other.
The story is again slowly building its world as the characters continue to find themselves in even greater peril. For these people due to be executed, there really is no peace for the wicked.