Inside of Every Demon is a Rainbow

May 17th, 2019

For lack of anything better to do, let's take a moment to look at an upcoming western… let's call it OVA that I've had my eye on.

Hazbin Hotel is an auteur-driven crowdfunded pilot episode by one Vivienne Medrano about a hotel in hell dedicated to rehabilitating sinners. I think it's no coincidence that there's been a proliferation of cartoons in recent years about innocent, hopeful people in a very, very unkind world, either overtly or more often, covertly (think Adventure Time or Steven Universe). Hell, if we expand that to indy games, you can't swing a dead cat on Steam without hitting some game about a child in a nightmare world trying to survive. For some reason, it resonates with people in current society. Can't think of any reasons why.

*ahem* Being a Patreon funded thing, there's been about eight minutes worth of clips released over the past year, which is and of itself a little worrisome as that comprises about a third of what the final episode will be. They are rather amusing though, and I really hope it leads to a full series. The animation is fluid and expressive. The glimpses of the characters the promos show paint them as bastards fitting with hell. The showtune is a Parry Grip song including the phrase "cartoon porn addictions," which given his normal saccharine nonsense is notable in and of itself.  

   

I want to call out two things in particular though that I like seeing in it that I virtually never see in Japanese anime, lest I spend four paragraphs rambling about eight minutes of promos. First, the showtune. Given my ranting about corny insert songs, you'll be forgiven if you think I just hate music. I was a band nerd though. I play brass instruments. All the brass instruments. Music is great… when it's used to elevate a scene. As a way to deliver exposition rather than a dry lecture? Fantastic. A way for a character to express themselves and help convey the emotion of a scene? Go nuts. Obviously slapped on after the fact because we made it and we're under contract to shill this VA's CDs? Hell no. This is precisely one of the key things about Symphogear's first season than the later ones massively flubbed. Hibiki and Chris's songs were actually expressing themselves and built into their character and their development, not some random crooning. Similarly, Zombie Land Saga's second episode actually wove the rap battle into an expression of the character's frustration… which was the last time that show used music for any purpose other than shilling CDs. It's also important that the reaction to the big song and dance number is aghast looks and derision from the peanut gallery, not a great big group hug.

Speaking of that, the other thing is the depiction of hell, and more specifically, the characters in it. It's not just that anime depictions of hell waver between the childish brats of stuff like Enma or Disgaea to not being hell in any way shape or form like Miss Beelzebub or Hozuki's Cool Head, it's that the characters in it are unrepentant, petty bastards. Not petulant children. Not over the top sadist nihilists. Jerks with the characteristics of people we all know who both give and get. I want to say nuance, but only because anime's approach to rounding out a character is more often than not "here's a flashback of their tragic backstory," or inevitably shows emotion through screaming. It's something Panty and Stocking tried for, but veered towards T&A and poop jokes rather than snappy comebacks and wittiscisms. It's weird how few characters in anime there are who are horrible yet fun people without having either the mentality of a three year old or being absolute lunatics.

   

Now, obviously, the moral of the story at the end of the day is going to be that helping at least one person makes it all worth it even if the rest of the cruel world derides them, but I am looking forward to the final result, and hoping it leads to a pickup from the powers that be. If you're interested, there's a few more clips on its Youtube channel. If/When it comes out, I'm sure I'll have a little more to say, but when that will be is unknown. Hopefully not too long though.

Posted in Hazbin Hotel | 1 Comment »

One Lonely Comment

  • jgoi says:

    “Obviously slapped on after the fact because we made it and we’re under contract to shill this VA’s CDs? Hell no.”

    The reason I can’t watch Symphogear.

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