The Fall 2017 Anime Preview Guide Hozuki's Coolheadedness season 2
How would you rate episode 1 of
Hōzuki no Reitetsu (TV 2) ?
What is this?
How was the first episode?
It's been several years since I first watched this irreverent hellbound comedy (back when it was called Hōzuki no Reitetsu), so I was pretty apprehensive about watching this second season. I remembered the show being funny, but it's so rooted in Japanese myths and culture that it's hard to recommend or explain what's so hilarious about it to someone who's not familiar with its brand of rather dry humor interspersed with slapstick violence. It's an odd series built around great-but-obtuse gags like Hozuki telling Momotaro's dog that he looks like the SoftBank mascot while sinners scream in an ocean of blood in the background. I wasn't sure if coming back to that would be as idiosyncratically enjoyable a second time.
Well, I was a big dumb forgetful idiot who deserves to go to The Hell For Big Dumb Forgetful Idiots, which probably exists given how many outdated branches of the underworld they have yet to downsize. This episode didn't kick off with the same kind of bang as Mr. Osomatsu this season, but that wouldn't be Hozuki's style anyway. It's always been a much more low-key kind of comedy, and it's the contrast between its droll punchlines and its haunting supernatural world that makes the series so unique. (Just look at those gorgeous backgrounds! It's really neat to get that kind of inspired artistry for a gag comedy.) The important thing this episode did to reel me back in after three years off the air was spending all its time on Hozuki himself and what makes him special.
The story of Hozuki's childhood and history of working for King Enma is filled with great gags that reoriented me with this world, its characters, and its unique sense of humor. And it's not just a memory refresher either, humoring a few callbacks here and there but all-new jokes and punchlines to carry the story. We actually learn a lot more about our protagonist than we ever knew before, and season 2 could probably be re-titled Hozuki's Pettiness as a result of these reveals. Add in adorably macabre gags that riff on Japanese descriptions of hell and the appearance of more classic folkloric figures like Izanami-no-Mikoto, and you couldn't ask for a better primer to get old Hozuki fans watching again.
As for new viewers looking to give this unique little gem a chance, this season two premiere is pretty easy to understand even if you don't know the characters, so I'd give it a chance and if you like what you see, shift over to season one and laugh yourself all the way to hell and back with Hozuki and friends! I know I will be.
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