Angels of Death - My Serial Killer Boyfriend Can't Be This Cute!
I’ve been watching the dubbed version of Angels of Death on Funimation and have had pretty strong opinions about the series so far. Now, since I’ve had such strong opinions, I thought I should check out the latest subbed episodes (10 compared to the dub’s 7) before doing any mid-season write ups.
However, the last four episodes I’ve watched (7-10) have been a completely different story altogether, focusing on our heroine’s mysterious past, mysterious feelings, and mysterious eyeballs, asking questions like what's her purpose? What are her motives? What is her favorite color?
With the tenth episode titled “The witch trial shall start,” you can guess that we have now come to a full on courtroom style interrogation which after four episodes just feels redundant.
So you know what? Let’s pretend that I didn’t watch those most recent four episodes. And let me tell you why Angels of Death would have played better as a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.
Angels of Death sets itself up to be the anime equivalent of a Saw movie. Our heroine, Rebecca, wakes up in a multilevel dungeon, each ride up the elevator forcing her to face another serial killer while using her wits to overcome obstacles.
The first killer she encounters is Zack, a bandaged man with a scythe who is none too bright. The next is a mad doctor named Danny who Zack actually helps take down.
And thus this odd team of innocent little girl and serial killer is formed, Zack being the brawn and Rebecca being the brains of the outfit, solving puzzles and reminding Zack that you can’t just cut through iron bars. That’s stupid, Zack.
As well as not being the sharpest knife on the block, Zack is also loudmouthed and immature. He is illiterate, acts on impulse, and nags constantly which I have to assume is all played for laughs because otherwise it’s just obnoxious.
It reduces a terrifying serial killer to your run of the mill too cool for school shojo story line boyfriend, as if we need his loveable tsundere to get through the episode without wetting ourselves in fear.
Angels of Death does not benefit from these moments of brevity. In my opinion, the series doesn’t need any comedy at all and in fact could use a double dose of spooky instead. However, if they had to employ comic relief, I wish they would have done it creatively or used its premise to make its jokes more relevant.
Instead of having a serial killer that never tries to kill his victim, you could add Wile E. Coyote moments where Zack attempts to off Rebecca but she obliviously wanders out of the danger. As they ascend to new floors with new themes of death, he could plan out different traps and scenarios to try to ensnare her. Maybe she even wises up and reverses some of his own traps on him in true Road Runner fashion.
Or you could choose to use Rebecca as a more willing participant. She does want to die after all. So perhaps Zack is resisting the urge to kill her every episode, yet she continually puts herself in the way of his scythe or otherwise tries to set him up to accidentally do the deed.
Both of these scenarios could be an interesting use of dark comedy that doesn’t take away from the weight of the situation.
Instead, My-Boyfriend-Is-A-Zombie won’t shut up, our martyr sheep protagonist won’t speak up, and nobody ever gets slashed up.
The episodes build up moments of tension, moments of how things could end badly, how someone could get hurt, and then shy away from the notion entirely, skipping away giggling like a schoolboy who just showed you a dead bug.
A perfect example occurs in the judge’s domain. There is a room filled with machine guns and our serial killer du jour has been defeated by the duo at this point, lying helplessly on the ground. As a last ditch effort to get revenge, she activates the switch to the machine guns.
Too delirious to consider her own position, she doesn’t realize she is in the direct firing range of the machine guns which open up and riddle her body with holes. Our protagonists look on with horror and even in their moment of victory are appalled by the scene.
A scene which doesn’t happen. Because I just made that up.
What really happens is the machine guns begin firing but conveniently miss everybody. Seriously. A room full of machine guns designed to rip apart any who enter manages to miss our villain, miss our heroine, and miss our serial killer boyfriend who are all stationary in the murder room.
Why? What was the point of having her hit the button at all?
Smearing some dirt and blood on the walls doesn’t make this anime Silent Hill. Repeatedly showing the viewer pooling puddles of ketchup doesn’t make a scene scary.
Above all, filling a dungeon with monsters and dropping a lost lamb in the middle of it is only an effective premise when the serial killers are actually serial “killing” and not serial “chatting,” which is all anyone seems to want to do anymore.
I just can’t wrap my head around the direction. I don’t understand what the point of this is supposed to be for the viewer. At this point I don’t care about what the characters are going through and as a viewer I’m not having fun. With comments like “anyone else skip the first half of this episode” on VRV, apparently I’m not alone.
I’m going to keep watching I guess. It should end in the next few episodes and I’d really like to know what the point is. I just want to know what exactly I’ve spent my time on so far even though I realize that the answer is probably going to be as anti-climactic as a serial killer in a room full of machine guns.
And don’t even “still a better love story than Twilight” me. Angels of Death doesn’t even get that accolade.
Fight me in the comments.
I found out that the original work Angels of Death is based on is an RPG Maker style horror game of the same name. You can actually find it on Steam and it’s got pretty good reviews.
Anyway, a lot of this anime is making more sense to me, the pacing, the characters, the character choices if I frame them all in that RPG Maker setting.
It doesn’t excuse all of the problems I pointed out in my mid-season review, not at all, and I guess I need to play the game now to see if the original work holds up better than the anime does!