Anime Gems Season 2: Hōzuki no Reitetsu

Hōzuki no Reitetsu is a show about japanese Hell, based on traditional scroll depictions dating back to the 12th century, featuring the Courts of Death that judge the souls of the perished, and the eighteen levels of hell.

The twist is that it’s reimagined as being run under the principles of japanese management culture, with lots of bureaucracy and corporate nonsense.

The anime focuses on the demon Hōzuki, who is the aide of King Yama and basically runs the place. He takes care of diplomacy with foreign hells, does training courses for demons on how to properly punish the sinners, public relations and the press, and all sorts of unspecifyable crisis management.

Because Hell is a workplace with a lot of diversity, this includes things like smoothing over demon/demon and demon/sinner relationships, organizing summer festivals and making sure his boss stays in shape – all of the above usually being resolved with generously administered violence.

If you thought anime was strange, you’ve probably got nothing on anime based on traditional japanese folklore. The show is one cultural reference after the next, blending together old time asian weirdness with modern day asian weirdness into an odd hodgepodge that is way funnier than it should be. The artwork is fine, the theme music is fine, it’s a great anime. It’s just really weird.