First Impressions: Akuma no Riddle

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Akuma no Riddle is a new anime that definitely centers around a theme I enjoy: action. With only three episodes currently out, what began as a slow introduction soon started to transform into something enjoyable. As someone who has never picked up any kind of manga (I don’t need another addiction), discovering this story has been a fun ride so far. 

Ichinose Haru is a student at Myoujou Academy who is being viciously targeted by 12 assassins who are accompanying her as fellow students. Tokaku Azuma, one of the participating assassins, begins to develop feelings for Haru and vows to protect her. The overall plot seems to be a bit cliche, but the idea works here.

There are rules the assassins must follow:

  1. The winner receives anything they want, whatever wish they desire.
  2. People that are not considered Black Class students, including the teachers, are off limits.
  3. Assassins must give Haru a red note, indicating that they are preparing to kill her within the next 48 hours. Failing at their assassination attempt results in immediate expulsion.

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One interesting aspect that definitely deepens the storyline is the fact that both Haru and Azuma have mysterious backgrounds. While I won’t share those details here, the information surrounding their pasts succeeded in making them slightly multidimensional, but the importance just hasn’t really shown itself yet. With only three episodes out so far, obviously these backstories will become more fleshed out and detailed.

I enjoy the slow-building chemistry between Azuma and Haru, especially after Azuma vows to protect the other girl, but I also enjoy just how differently they think. It’s easy to become swept away by Haru’s naivety, or what we assume is simple naivety, but Haru is no innocent by any means. She knows that the other students in the Black Class are there only to kill her, but she’s determined to keep people from dying. She was able to sway Azuma away from her mission… perhaps she can do the same by befriending the others, however, it’s obvious that this task will be nearly impossible (or so it seems right now).

 

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Azuma can’t understand why Haru would try to befriend the other assassins. She also doesn’t understand why the others are “playing nice” when their goal is right in front of them. She even questions herself, wondering if she shouldn’t just finish the job herself now that she’s earned Haru’s trust. That’s what assassins do, right?

These conflicting thoughts really enhance the way Haru and Azuma interact with each other, and it’ll be really interesting to see how their thoughts and actions change one another, especially as they fall deeper within their attraction to one another. But is this deepening attraction a normal, human process, or is there even more to Haru that we haven’t discovered yet?

My main complaint so far is the fact that there are simply way too many characters. Perhaps the future episodes will effectively flesh out the other assassins, but introducing all them all at once was slightly disorienting. However, I wonder if that was the intention. The evil in some of the characters was awesome to acknowledge. Some of these assassins aren’t begrudgingly following these rules because of the reward. Some enjoy killing, and that definitely mixes in a nice dose of fear.

So far, Akuma no Riddle is an edgy, addictive anime that has the potential to become one of my favorites. If you’re a fan of action (I’m just an action junkie) then this show is worth checking out. Why wouldn’t you? The opening is just way too damn catchy!


Note: I’m only just now starting to really broaden my tastes in anime after being introduced to popular shows such as Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online. My thoughts are not only first impressions of the show I’m reviewing, but of anime and the culture in general. Any kind of constructive criticism (or suggestions of shows I need to watch) is welcome! 

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