According to Japanese myth and folklore, the souls of the departed are sent to Jigoku (the equivalent of Hell) where they are judged by the Great King Enma. Those who believe this common Asian myth fear Enma, as he is the one who chooses to send them to Heaven or Hell; and from what little I know about what happens in Jigoku according to myth, I wouldn’t want to be there either.
However, in this dark comedy anime, a spin on the afterlife is told in the eyes of Hell’s ruler. And it’s not King Enma! For here in the alternative realm of Jigoku, it is not the Great King, but the Great King’s Assistant Hozuki, who is to be feared!
Hozuki no Reitetsu is a comedy spin on the Japanese afterlife that combines traditional Japanese culture with the retelling of common folklore in a very crass, but humorous way. Hozuki himself, according to some stories (though I can’t seem to find an actual reference) is actually found within the myths as King Enma’s right-hand man (err… demon). And as such, you can probably guess that it is he who runs Enma rather than the other way around. Hozuki is also the Japanese name for the winter cherry flower, which is the emblem on this character’s yukata.
Don’t get me wrong. This series may be blasphemous for a lot of things, but it is way too funny! If I’m going to Hell just for laughing at this show, I am as guilty as everyone else who has ever watched it! Because believe it or not, this series topped the Winter 2014 charts among Japanese anime fans (particularly women) and is also ranked very high in manga sales this year as well!
Hozuki wins at everything. Even if it seems like he has lost, those who defeat him will feel like they hate him even more despite that!
Each episode is told in two situational arcs following Hozuki and the denizens of Hell; so if you accidentally skipped an episode here or there, the story will still make sense and you won’t get lost. Each episode, of course, reveals a new humorous look into the underworld, and occasionally even retells some folktales by somewhat defrocking them!
Cameos seem to also be present in this series, including one very familiar couple in a popular shoujo series.
But if there’s anything to look out for in this series, it’s Hozuki’s obsession with goldfish plants. No, I’m not talking about the flowers nicknamed the goldfish plant (of which there are two). I’m talking about derpy, creepy, screaming, talking, and deliciously tasty, goldfish plants!
So if you are looking for a great comedy with absolutely no feels that’s so crass, you think you’re going to Hell for it, then at least laugh in the face of Hell and watch Hozuki no Reitetsu!