At the time of my writing this, the main page for Angels of Death is sitting at a 6.92, and the top reviews are either negative or not seriously written. However, this was one of the shows I enjoyed most during the Summer 2018 season, so I wanted to write a brief review on its behalf.
A major contributing factor to these low scores is that people don’t know what to expect from this show. You wouldn’t know this from the synopsis above, but Angels of Death isn’t really a horror series – it’s somewhere between a buddy comedy and an otome game, except that all
of the suitors want to murder the lead rather than date her (Half of them do still want to date her though). It’s difficult to encapsulate the series in its entirety, but that absurdity is part of the fun.
It might clear up some details if I talk about the source material that this anime is adapting. Although a manga exists, Angels of Death originally started as a freeware RPG Maker game. If you’ve ever played Yume Nikki or something like it (My personal favorite is Irisu Syndrome, which does have a free English translation), you know that these sorts of games can be surreal experiences, and this adaptation absolutely nails that tone while still poking fun at its genre conventions. I haven’t played the game myself, but I’ve been told that the plot of the anime diverges, and I’m definitely interested enough to check it out.
The strength of this series lays in the rapport established between its two leads, Rachel and Zack. The two are an odd couple, but they play off each other really well comically, and it was great to see their dynamic evolve over the course of the show. As they rise through the floors, they go from mutually using each other to actually caring about each other’s wellbeing, and this development is strangely endearing. There was one arc about halfway through the series in which the pair is separated, and those episodes felt empty, but they also made me realize how much I cared about their bond. Despite being a campy horror comedy, Angel of Death’s central relationship is a lot more developed than most anime romances, even if it is founded on murderous intent.
Angels of Death definitely wasn’t the best show of the Summer 2018 season - its middle section dragged on, and it probably would have helped if it had been cut down to a standard 12 or 13 episodes – but there’s nothing else quite like it and I’m glad I watched it. There’s no other show where characters are as likely to get oddly sentimental about their blades as they are to conduct a trial that wouldn’t be out of place in the Ace Attorney franchise, and it was this emotional range that kept me coming back each week. If any of this mess sounds entertaining to you, then I wholeheartedly recommend you check it out.
(NOTE: Some spoilers up ahead)
(This rather LONG review is going to be covering the entire series as a whole.)
When I think back on how I first started watching this series, which happens to be a RPG game adaptation, I didn’t know what to really think, and now that the show has come to a conclusion, I now wonder what kept me going with this show. How is it that I personally enjoyed this more than some of those other popular (and sometimes overrated) horror/psycho/thriller shows? Well, let’s proceed on to the next floor…
The majority of the story is basically the two MCs navigating through
each different floor and inspecting every bit of detail within. There’s a total of six floors, though the two are not immediately of concern, one because it is originally Zack’s floor. Through the inspection of each floors, clues can be found and actions can be done that would help the two move onto the next floor, but not until they beat the master of that respective floor.
The setting and premises of the show is just….grimy and eerie as hell. At certain points, some of you guys as viewers may feel like you’re in that room yourself, walking along with the two, gripped with a sense of unease, paranoia, and restlessness…as if you’re being trapped like an animal in a cage. Now unfortunately the downside is that there really isn’t a lot of frightening moments, if at all…especially those of the jump-scare type. Because of that, it can feel like nothing is really going on. The nature of the story narrative can understandably get a lot of viewers wondering what’s going on, but I think that’s a thrill that the show succeeds in providing….the uneasy feeling of not knowing or expecting the unknown, hence one of the reasons we may have fear of the dark, phobic or non-phobic. Needless to say, this experience is not for everyone, so while I honestly think the showcasing of the eeriness and twisted adventure was done very well, it is definitely not meant for the casual viewer. Some of the scenes made me feel like I was watching Evangelion all over again (except no bitchy you-know-who involved, thankfully)
And now, onto the next floor…
First off, I applaud J.C. Staff’s work on the animation quality of the show, as the studio rarely showcases this sort of quality consistently throughout an entire show. The 2D designs, especially of the characters, just feel so crisp and pristine, even in the dank, dreary settings of the story. The designs of the characters in particular are very creative and representing of their nature. Take these two examples: Rachel’s short stature, blonde hair, and ordinary looking clothes make her seem like any normal kid, though to me personally, because of her usually-blank blue eyes, she can also be seen as an angel who’s lost her wings and her memories (OR even a witch in disguise, based on what Gray initially accused her of being). Zack’s much taller stature, untidy hoodie, bandaged face, and intimidating scythe sorta depict as sort of a Grim Reaper, a Shinigami, or even a fallen angel. Other notable character features include Danny’s creepy eyes and lizard tongue, Eddie’s odd mask and short axe, Catherine’s ringmaster attire, and Gray’s priest clothing and seemingly pupil-less eyes.
As for the CG animation, any of that involved is used sparingly, and thankfully doesn’t have the wonky moments that I would find very offputting in most cases. While it doesn’t really match up to the masterful artwork in the likes of something like Violet Evergarden, Satsuriku no Tenshi is certainly able to hold its own in the animation department.
The majority of the OST featured in the show was well utilized to create an unsettling atmosphere, even during a good portion of the action scenes; this is especially evident when the music would just suddenly pick up to make viewers feel like they’re part of the action, as I had mentioned earlier in this review. The opening theme is “Vital” by Masaaki Endoh, who was actually known for composing and singing the theme songs for Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds. If anyone has watched that show in particular, and listened to its soundtracks, you should be very familiar with the artist’s style of music, which includes this show’s OP theme. While I do not think this OP theme really fits the nature of the settings, it still has a lot of meaning to it despite how awkwardly it stands out. Basically, this theme is supposed to represent Zack’s state of mind and/or feelings, especially toward Ray and their promises/oaths. For the ED theme, which better fits the atmosphere of the show, is sung by the seiyu of Rachel herself, and it’s a rather laid-back and melancholy melody; likewise with Zack’s case, it’s a representation of Rachel’s thoughts and feelings toward Zack. The soundtrack, while not exactly groundbreaking, does its job well for the most part.
One last bit: the voice acting. I thought all the seiyus did extremely well in terms of the voice acting. Rachel with her often emotionless responses…Zack (who shares the same seiyu as Bakugo from BHA and Accelerator from ToAru) with his rough and aggressive attitude of “no lies or BS allowed”…Eddie with his deceptively innocent voice of an obsessed, love-struck soul…Danny with his inhuman, bone-chilling cackles…Catherine with her sadistic, prideful voice tones and laughter…and Gray with his serious yet mysterious lectures. For a show with a limited number of key characters, they did as much as they could in terms of putting enough emphasis, especially during the interpersonal conversations between Rachel and Zack, which were one of my favorite things from this show.
And now, onto the next floor…
Characters is something I really prioritize a lot when it comes to watching anime, often the first and foremost, even above story narratives. For the most part, while I really applauded the characterization and development of the two main characters, as well as the interactions between them, I really felt that the supporting cast could’ve been put to more usage in terms of their roles.
So let’s focus on our two main characters and one support character in particular:
Rachel turned to be…one of the more intriguing characters. After the mental shellshock of being told that her parents were dead back in the first episode, she practically became extremely calm and collected, but isn’t completely emotionless. It turns out that her personality feels very twisted; the fact that she has no knowledge of human empathy and the fact that she had a very appalling background regarding her parents…is not enough to conveniently justify how messed up her thought process is. Whenever she wants, whenever it’s to have a “perfect” family, to protect the one she cares or worries for, or to silence someone for discovering her secret…she’ll stop at nothing, carrying out her actions cold-heartedly and with an ominous expressionless look on her face.
Zack is a sinner (though not as much as Rachel is), a serial killer, by all means due to his unfortunate experiences during childhood, his mental disability, and his lack of academic exposure. Due to his lack of education and his foul mouth persona, he’s often had to rely on Rachel to do most of the problem-solving. He is also extremely honest to nearly a fault, and doesn’t like to suffer lies, orders, and nonsensical subjects, which makes the promises between him and Rachel that much more emphasized. As a child, Zack previously had a silent and reserved demeanor, until the constant abuse from his caretakers and a horror movie he watched…broke his innocent child image and gave him the impulse to kill on sight. He’s also shown to be uneasy when he experiences acts of kindness towards him, usually from Rachel, due to the former having had most people treat him harshly.
During the progression of the story and at the end, though, both main characters, who can neither be considered heroic nor villainous by any means, become more human by nature due to the strange bonds they forged. They’re basically anti-heroes.
Now, here’s the support character that want to talk about in particular: Gray. His role is a strange one, compared to the three other Floor Masters sans Ray and Zack, in that he never really makes it clear whether he’s an ally or an enemy. However, before the final episode aired, there is one theory thrown out regarding who Gray really is, and why the main characters just refuse to die despite the numerous scenarios where they should’ve. Here’s some of the quotes:
[START OF QUOTE, with some spellchecks]
Gray is God in this show.
I thought he was just another character with a God complex. But no.
Gray God's entire plan was to find salvation for Zack; this meant uniting Zack and Rachael so they learn to care about each other. Danny is Gray's puppet; he has not died because Gray needs him to strengthen Zack and Rachael's feelings, which he absolutely did do. Zack did not die from his wounds because this was against Gray's will, same for Rachael.
This also explains ALL THE WEIRD SHIT that has happened in the building; this is Gray God's playground and how he tests everyone. Eddie and Cathy failed their tests so they stayed dead. But Danny still had to be Gray's pawn. All those illusions are from Gray. Why is there a chapel in a building like that? Gray. How did the typewriter type by itself? GRAY AGAIN.
Gray smirks when Danny activated the detonation system for two reasons: 1. He totally predicted this so things are going according to plan, 2. He's God, so of course he's not in any danger.
Then, he is angry at Danny for trying to kill Zack and Ray and has decided Danny needs to die for good. But the other two will be saved because that's his will. That's how he knows Rachael is still alive without even looking at her up close.
At least, this is what I think.
But the character DID announce he was God and so far nothing has happened to disprove it; it's more like the opposite; HIM TRULY BEING GOD EXPLAINS LITERALLY EVERYTHING THAT HAS NO EXPLANATION.
[END OF QUOTE]
Exclamations aside…while there seems to be no rock-hard solid proof to say that Gray really is God, he IS a character that gave himself a God complex, so when I think about this, a lot of the stuff kinda fits. Of course, we will never know for sure because the creators basically leave the interpretation up to us as an audience. However, because of the different interpretations that the show spawns…at the very least, I think his character isn’t as bland as many people may think.
Onto the next floor…
As an individual who did anime reaction videos to this show on YouTube, I found this show oddly VERY enjoyable to a great degree, but it’s a different kind of enjoyment. It’s one where I feel like I’m in the building with them, anxiously scanning the surroundings while preparing for any sort of jump-scare (which I unfortunately didn’t get enough of). I also found this show very thought-provoking very often, especially it came to the topic of the “God complex”. The best thing for me in terms of enjoyment value, however, was listening to the dialogue between Rachel and Zack. Despite how contrasting they are in terms of their personality, and how they’re not your conventional main protagonists nor even your typical anti-heroes, their chemistry and their interactions, as well as the light-hearted humor from time to time between the two, gave me smile from ear to ear quite often. There were also quite a few powerful emotional moments that tested my composure, especially during the final episodes.
Now, onto the EXTRA, FINAL FLOOR….
What I particularly liked about the ending is that the creators, more likely than not, left that scene up for the audience to interpret or theorize what happened with our two main characters. To me, I found it very inconclusive but very satisfying. You can interpret that ending in at least two ways: you could say that the two of them finally met their deaths from falling to the ground, thus efficiently fulfilling their promise….OR, you could also say that they escaped alive and on the run, continuing their “neverending” adventures. The scene prior to them disappearing would warm the hearts of many fans who ship Ray and Zack, even though this ain’t no frigging romance show (LMAO). The scene is pretty much a representation of their reliance, trust, and bonds with one another finally coming to true fruition. It was very bittersweet payoff…from my personal perspective, at least.
So now you ask: why did I enjoy this more than a bunch of other shows of the same type or genre(s)? Well, there’s no overblown drama, no immature and/or dumb decision-making, no story narrative fallout, no awkward shounen battle finale shenanigans. While any one of those problems doesn’t necessarily break a show of that kind, they are often poorly handled, and it can take a lot of effort for a show to try to balance out those problems. Satsuriku no Tenshi thankfully doesn’t have much of those problems, if at all. It’s also a nice break from shows that would showcase a typical all-teenager main cast in some sort of school setting, which can invite lots of complications if not done right. Long story short, Satsuriku no Tenshi was very enjoyable for me because it was a nice reprieve from the usual horror/psycho/thriller anime that I’ve watched and exposed myself to up to this date.
FINAL SCORE: 8.8/10
The final call? Satsuriku no Tenshi is a very good series, but not an easy one to recommend due to its unorthodox methods of storytelling. If you’re a thrill seeker or just someone who want to feel like they’re in a video game, this show probably fits your bill. As a personal recommendation from me, though, I suggest you try it out if you like good chemistry and interactive dialogue between characters who have become unlikely allies/friends/partners. Don’t dare ask for romance, though.
Satsuriku no Tenshi was a good anime
It's a good and honest adaptation of the game.
Ok first, we gonna talk about the story (6):
A young girl wakes up in a unknown basement and tries to escape it, the second floor's resident tries to kill her and she escapes from death. Finally, the murderer should ally with the protagonist, who wishes to die from him. They met other murderer and finally escapes the basement, with a lot of injuries. For saving the protagonist's life and kill her later, the 2nd floor's murderer accept to go to jail. Satsuriku no Tenshi ends with a cliffhanger, the
murderer escapes from his jail and kills the psychiatric doctor of the protagonist, they met and... Nothing. just a sentence, which is the name of the last episode "Well stop crying and smile".
It's not really original, but i liked the idea of a giant and incognito basement and of the murderer who's too stupid to survive alone. Not original, but still cool. Some scenes aren't really pertinent in an anime, but we can easily see the prints of his video game inspiration.
I was really disappointed by the final episode, and i was really angry afterview.
Now, let's talk about the art (7):
I liked how is designed Satsuriku no Tenshi. Well, yes, it has some bad points, but i liked the chara designs, i liked the backgrounds. It's only my mind, i don't think that you'll have the same.
Third, the sounds (9):
Oh god were can i begin.
Vital (OP) is a good song, PraY (ED) too, and the OSTs gives us a lot of sensations. I really loved it, and i'm really sad. Sad because i didn't find them on youtube or others plateforms.
Now, the characters (7):
Rachel Gardner (4) :
She's an original kind of characters. Intelligent, unexpressive, i liked how she is. But we learn too late her past, and i think it's why i didn't really care about her.
Isaac Foster (8):
Well, i liked Zack. Is past with the old blind man was really touching, his conditions of murderer and honest guy make him a polyvalent character, and that's what's make him an excellent character.
He was just the little guy who loves Rachel and made a grave for her. His talent of furtivity in the darkness was kind of interesting, but that's all.
Just a sadistic character and that's all. She was stupid as hell.
I didn't really know what to think about him, he's just crazy. But with his relation with Rachel, i tough he was pedophile. I don't know if he is, but he seems to be like that. From the last episodes, he had a good developement and that's why i give him 7.
I know nothing about this priest, and that's why i love him. he's mysterious and isn't an enemy or an ally of Rachel. I'm dissapointed about the fact that we don't know a thing about their relationship, but i have some hope for an OVA.
And finally, my enjoyment (7)
I liked the first episodes, but since the 9th, i started to be disappointed, even if i liked to see the evolution of the characters.
this review includes the 16 ep of the anime , let me happily review it
watching the anime was like having a strange meaningless annoying dream but you didn’t really hate it because it was somehow deep and left a taste of something in your mind lingering for a while ..
some people might watch the anime simply and don’t get what’s the unique experience they just had ..
the anime could easily pass as a hollywood movie , imagine a building having each floor dominated by a murdere psychopath with whatever facilities they ask for , they wait for sacrifices to ring their door to toy
and kill them or the sacrifice could manage to kill the psycho and pass the floor , the main girl is a sacrifice trying to get her way through the floors with another psychopath ..
while it ofcourse had the anime cliché moments , and minus point for not packing all the psychos with their past life story and environment which turned them into murderes paycho as it would have be hell interesting , but the main characters stories were great so i’m forgivin them , i had my mind full already with empathy toward the psychos who are actually human who never found love and u get to understand and feel for them ..
at first the lines the main charcter say will not make sense and you will judge the anime and that it has weak script lines , yet in the end all the things makes sense and fall in place since they are psychos who had raw emotions and words ..
over all i loved it , and loved it much more by the ending episode .. it was the perfect ending for such an anime
i think the story had much more potential than how was the anime portrayed , the story could be a novel or a movie and better with back up story for each criminal