Synopsis: Gabimaru the Hollow is one of the most vicious assassins ever to come out of the ninja village of Iwagakure. He’s ruthlessly efficient, but a betrayal results in him being handed a death sentence. He has only one hope—in order to earn his freedom, he must travel to a long-hidden island and recover an elixir that will make the shogun immortal. Failure is not an option. On this island, heaven and hell are just a hair’s breadth away.
The third and final manga of the dark shonen trio alongside “Chainsaw man” and “Jujutsu Kaisen”. Comparing with the other two Hells’s paradise popularity is not much but certainly lives upto it’s title as the underdog of the three. The author Yuuji Kaku is an former assistant to Tatsuki Fujimoto(Author of Chainsaw man), so gradually I had some expectations for it. And if I’m being honest here, it didn’t live up to it.
After reading an awesome manga like Chainsaw man, I thought hell’s paradise would be the same, action-packed and gore manga but it was different in case hell’s paradise. From horror to very unpleasant monsters that just elevates the feel of the story. Even with all the positives there were some disappointments which I’ll get to later.
Story & art
Starting with the story. From the very first chapter the story does a good job of hooking the readers into the extraordinary journey that awaits them for the next 120 chapters. When you first start reading it you notice that the story is only about finding the elixir of life so that Gabimaru can return home to his wife but the as the story continues the mystery of the elixir and the island grows.
From a simple mission turned out to be a life and death situation. And one thing that helps make this story really evolve is the feeling it creates. Along with mysteries behind the island, the horrorful and creepy art makes flow of the story absoluetely good making it a wonder to read. Yuuji Kaku’s excessive body horror is just a pleasant sight to watch for anyone who like art. I’m not a fan of horror but art like that can make anyone like it and even people who are not scared of horror terrified.
As long as the story goes, I lost my interest halfway through the series mostly because it was getting too confusing. Even with all the new concepts and characters, it was all just too much to consume. The flow of the story became abrupt in the middle because the author was trying to add in too at a certain point. Yuzuhira telling us that Yui may not be real, Shugen’s group arriving at the island, the stories of Tensens.
All that confused me pretty badly but I’m glad I stuck on until the end because it got real good. Around the 90th chapter the story just blew up. From awesome fighting sequences to new evolved monsters. The last few chapters were a blast to read. With such solid and detailed art.
The worldbuilding of Kotaku
Kotaku is the island where the elixir of life is present and where most of the story takes place in. It is said that concept of the monsters on Kotaku references the experimental Beast Folk in The Island of Doctor Moreau from which the manga took inspiration from. After Kotaku was discovered by humans, the island’s forest became bundled with bloomed samurai who were presumably victimized by the Paradise Butterflies carrying mature samples of Tan, resulting in them undergoing Arborification.
Creating a place with such terrifying monsters. From the centipedes of Kotaku have human faces to Wadatsumi that prevents anything from leaving Kotaku if it has not come from Hōrai’s floodgates. They have a body of an eel, tentacles with deformed faces and sharp claws, and have the head of a human. The island is also where the the Tensens reside.
Tensen are seven synthetic humans who were born from a single Tao puppet of Rien. Before the truth was found out by Gui Fa, they were once believed to have been the product of a combination of Xu Fu’s mystic Tao and Flower Tao. They are also able to regenerate their bodies from any form of injuries they receive in an instant and are able to unleash a transformation known as their Kishikai’s.
What Yuuji kaku has been able to achieve is amazing. Creating a setting that could horrify the bravest of men. This is not done with ghosts but monsters, absoluetely petrifying monsters.
A look at Yuuji Kaku’s absoluetely horrifiying art
The characters. One of the most imoprtant part of this story. This mangas showed us an array of characters from Shinobis to Asaemons to Tensens. This is where my disappointment began, with such good story and art the characters ruined the manga for me.
Gabimaru is an elite shinobi assassin formerly from Iwagakure. Gabimaru is calm, level-headed and rarely shows any emotions. He is calm to the point where he is unfazed by any sort of crisis, such as being executed or when he is confronted and attacked by a strong enemy. His love for his wife helps him survive the island.
I’ve taken a liking to gabimaru. Gabimaru is definetely not like other MC, at first we saw him as the overpowered character who can take on anybody but when we get to the island his strength has changed. In the upcoming battles he takes his time to the point that it is confusing for me what kind of character gabimaru really is. Nevertheless it was nice to see a chracter who was not acting like the destined one to defeat the villain.
Yamada Asaemon Sagiri is the 12th rank Asaemon in the Yamada clan and the assigned monitor of Gabimaru. Sagiri generally displays a calm demeanor when taking on her role as an executioner. However, after landing on Kotaku, she allowed herself to act casual around others as long as she continued to do her job.
While talking a look at her character individually, she makes a good MC. She is aware that some view her as being unworthy of becoming a samurai and tries to improve herself but when she is added to the other characters in the story it just becomes confusing as to why she’s there. At the beginning it was clear, she and gabimaru made a good team constantly helping each other.
Watching sagiri I rememerd Orihime from bleach, they both have the potential and they’re strong but it’s all to waste as in the end they achieve nothing. Orihime simple supports Ichigo whereas sagiri to gabimaru. During the fight against shija, I thought with gabimaru down sagiri finally has chance to prove herself but in the end gabimaru saves the day again. I’m glad atleast in the ending she got to do something.
Yuzuriha also known as Yuzuriha of the Keishu, is a kunoichi and one of the few criminals recruited to acquire the Elixir of Life. Yuzuriha is friendly and cheerful around others with a typical teenage girl personality. She is shown to be carefree and prefers to do things at her own pace. Because of her reputation as a criminal, Yuzuriha has no problems when it comes to killing or who she has to sacrifice to achieve a goal
Another great character ruined. Ruined means in a different way, she had great character development and proved to be one of the strongest characters but her death was the one which ruined it for me. When she died during the battle against Ran I felt really sad but I was glad that she got a good ending like senta. Even though it was sad, the story felt a little bit realistic but she just gotta pop back up. If only that didn’t happen she would’ve one of the best characters of the series. Of course some fans would be happy but that revival just ruined the character for me.
Chobe Aza and Toma
Aza Chobe also known as the Bandit King, is a well-known bandit leader in Iyo that is responsible for multiple crimes committed. Toma is a relatively new member of the Yamada clan trying to rise in their ranks and is the assigned monitor of Chobe Aza. He turns out to be the younger brother of Chobe Aza and had a mission of infiltrating the Yamada clan to rescue him from prison.
Again the same problem. After reading this manga, I feel like he author definetely loves his characters more than the story. Toma is a great character, one of my favorites to say. Being in his brother’s shadow, he always wanted to protect his brother and fight alongside him and he did. He improved himself and proved that he is also powerful.
Now to Chobe. Chobe isn’t a bad character but similar to Yuzuhira his death was greatly exaggerated. After such a emotional moment of chobe leaving his younger brother alone, he comes back in the end. That chapter was so emotional but the author made it look like nothing happened which again makes me doubt the story.
Tamiya Gantetsusai formerly known as Tetsunosuke is a renown master swordsman known throughout as the Blade Dragon and Eight Provinces Unparalleled. He considers fighting to be fun and lives to seek out and battle strong opponents that can make him feel a thrill whenever he has to draw his blade. Even when critically injured, Gantetsusai’s carries a satisfied smile from the adrenaline he gets from fighting and feels as though as he is becoming stronger with each injury.
My favorite character from this manga. Gantetsusai Tamiya. Love everything about him, literally the only character from this manga that wasn’t done bad. I won’t say much because he’s just that good.
Shugen is the 2nd ranked Asaemon, as well as an Assistant Instructor, in the Yamada clan. Shugen is the leader of the second team sent to Kotaku after the shogun became impatient waiting for the first team to comeback. Shugen is very dignified and diligent in his duties as an Asaemon. Shugen believes in order of all things in the world; the order in which those who abide by the law are to be protected while those who break them should be punish without mercy.
I hate him from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know whether it was the author’s intention to make us hate him or he really is that hateable. At first he gave us the sasuke kinda vibe but he just turned out to be an annoying character, to tell the truth the manga would’ve done better without him. If only the author made a little bit cool instead of making him someone who crys every single time he kills someone.
My second big disappoinment. It’s not disappointment but more like the unexpectedness got to me. I was expecting the ending to be a awesome fight scene where there would a few sacrifices and new hidden powers used but never in a million years did I expect a sentimental ending where the villian turns good in the end. After all the twists and turns, this was something I never expected so I figure that’s why the ending was slightly dissatisfying for me but looking at other perspectives, it was actually a pretty good ending.
Everyobdy got to live in the end and got a happy ending. The most happy thing for me is that Yui is alive, probably the most likable supporting character. Not the ending I liked but definetely a good one.
A nice manga with a lot of different possiblities with a good pace what otherwise could’ve been another simple action manga. While comparing it with chainsaw man and jujutsu kaisen it definetely does not have the upper hand but a manga that every shonen lover should read. Even with all the faults it maged to pull me back in the final chapters for an epic conclusion.
Finally finished it. Took me hours to write this much. This is pobably the longest post I’ve ever written. I know I say this for every single post but this time it’s the truth. A good read indeed. I’m looking forward to the future mangas by Yuuji kaku but for now I just gotta look forward to the anime adaptation. I also found this interview by Tatsuki Fujimoto analyzing Hell’s paradise.
Leave in the comments below what you thought of Hell’s paradise: Jigokuraku.
Thank you for reading.
[…] HELL’S PARADISE: JIGOKURAKU – A manga in review(Spoilers) […]
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow, it definitely sounds like a complicated world, but also kind of interesting!
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s very fascinating to read a manga like that, and the amazing art just made it 100 times better.
LikeLiked by 1 person