Reviews

Dec 6, 2012
Last_Chevalier (All reviews)
Beelzebub is a genuinely funny anime. And I mean laugh out loud 'til your sides hurt sort of funny. You know you're in for a good time when we are introduced to the basic storyline in the first episode... a huge guy floating down the river spots a “handsome and good looking young man” "who cared nothing for his follow humans". He proceeds to then bestow the green haired demon baby (Beelzebub) unto our protagonist, Oga Tatsumi, in one of the strangest fashions imaginable, before taking with an impressive ballerina pirouette. Hijinks ensue when the baby's beautiful demon maid servant, Hildegarde comes looking for the toddler and finds him attached to Oga. Hildegarde is not impressed but is intent on forcing Oga to fulfil his contract with baby Beel. Oga spends many many episodes trying to pawn the baby off to someone more badass than himself while trying to keep his family, who comically misinterpret his situation, off his back, with varying degrees of success, and lots and lots of comedy. Along for the ride are Furuichi, Oga's best friend and the show's resident pervert, and a host of other delinquents from his infamous Ishiyama High.

As you can probably tell, Beelzebub is a show that doesn't take itself too seriously, and this approach works very well for the story being told. The main characters, particularly Furuichi, seem aware that they part of a show that routinely sets them up with ludicrous scenarios, as if to test their reactions, and they are not shy about calling out some of the more preposterous elements that arise. Characters also address the viewer directly, which adds a nice touch of humour to the show while making the situations more relatable. I found this approach more satisfying than one where we are asked to accept ridiculous circumstances at face value.

The show has a lot of heart, and can also be surprisingly creepy at times; these are demons and the underworld we are dealing with after all, but this never lasts for very long, which is a pity because I think the show would have benefited from playing up the darker themes for longer periods to counter the otherwise jovial tone, which becomes a bit tiresome over a 60 episode arc. Still, the show maintains enough originality to entertain and the delivery of punch lines remains top notch for the most part.

One place where the show does disappoint terribly is in character development. Its remarkable how little the main characters change over the course of the series. This actually turns out to be a main detractor for the comedy as the show goes on because I often found myself wishing for fewer farces and more feeling. Some decent character growth would have solved this issue, but alas there just isn't enough of that to go around. Relationships are especially frustrating. Waiting for something interesting to happen between characters other than fights with comically named "special attacks" is like watching paint dry; there just isn't a lot going on there. The supporting characters fare a bit better in this respect, in particular with an entertaining story arc involving a multi-player FPS.

To add to this, the filler episodes quickly become an annoyance. Simply put, there are too many of them. This wouldn't be so bad if these episodes contributed something towards developing characters, however, they do not. And in the end I kept feeling like these episodes were simply taking away valuable time that could be better used oh say, developing characters.

Overall though Beelzebub is a well written series which keeps track of its story plots, at least until the last episode, so you almost never see characters “forgetting they did something”, or acting out of character, which is very impressive for a farcical comedy like this. Eventually though, lack of character development and some nonsensical villains make it hard for me to call this anime great. Halfway through this series, if you're not being entertained by the humor, chances are you aren't being entertained by anything else. And this is unfortunate, because the show had all the right ingredients to make it absolutely amazing. Still, I would recommend watching the series because you will not regret doing so, if only because it is very different from a lot of what is out there. Moreover, I managed to find a much more satisfying end by basically ignoring the last episode and switching to the manga to get more out this series. The story of Beelzesama and his contractor Oga Tatsumi, does not end at episode 60, and for my money, is definitely worth catching up on.