Hidden Gems: Beelzebub

I’ve seen a lot of shows that can pump me up with their action.  I’ve seen a lot of shows that can make me laugh my ass off.  Hell I even know a few that can do a bit of both.  But nobody else does it quite like Beelzebub.  It’s stupidly over the top action, characters and dialogue are a rare mix that culminates in what is quite possibly my favorite action-comedy anime.  So what does Beelzebub have to offer?  Let’s start with the premise.

Like many shows before it and many that followed it, Beelzebub begins in a high school.  But this is a special high school, home to all of the violent delinquents in the area.  Brawls and beatdowns are more common on this campus than lectures.  Enter our protagonist Oga Tatsumi.  He’s the up and coming freshman widely known as the Rampaging Ogre.  While Oga is forcing his opponents to grovel before him after a fight by the river, a strange mustachioed man floats by and splits open, leaving Oga with a green-haired baby.  This baby loves Oga’s violence, scary faces and heavy metal music.  It also shocks the hell out of him and anyone nearby when it cries.  It is later revealed by a blonde woman wearing a goth lolita dress that Beelzebub is the second son of Satan and he has been sent to the human world to destroy it.  But since he is a baby he needs a parent and Beelzebub has chosen Oga.  What ensues are the strange adventures of a delinquent who seeks someone stronger than him so that he can dump Beelzebub off on them.  I did say this would be stupid didn’t I?

Ok so we have an undeniably stupid premise with a setting that sounds equally stupid.  Are the characters going to be ok?  Well yes the characters are some the most ridiculous fuckers I have ever seen.  One of the prominent ones has a giant silver pompadour.  Everyone involved in this story has something that makes them ridiculous, some of them just look ridiculous, some act ridiculous, others talk ridiculous and some do all three.  I should also note that almost all the dialogue in the show is in stereotypical delinquent Japanese, which sounds like yakuza speech.  I found this be a lot of fun since yakuza speech is a lot more in your face and needlessly aggressive compared to polite formal Japanese.  More “kora’s” than “desu’s” if you know what I mean.  Because everyone behaves in the pointlessly aggressive fashion they are constantly butting heads, making threats and getting into fights.  On to the action.

There’s a lot of small time comedic fights in Beelzebub.  Either the major characters will straight crush a bunch of small fries for comedic effect or the fight will end in with losers in some pretty embarrassing states.  But while there are plenty of low key humor fights, there are plenty of bigger and more impressive fights to go around.  What separates Beelzebub from a lot of other fighting shows is that its fights are made almost entirely of brawling.  This isn’t about skilled people showing off their grace and deadliness, or at least not very often.  This is about strength and toughness for the most part which on the one hand means simpler choreography and on the other means very satisfying punch sounds.  The battle noises are excellent and they are given plenty of attention since the action is just as ridiculous as the rest of series.  The music during battles is also very good, the songs seemed to be designed around the battle noises for the scenes they featured in.  That sounds like it would be an obvious thing to do but for the most part I don’t think a lot of battle music actually does it, more often the themes are all about sounding badass as opposed to working with and around the battle noises in the scene.  So is there anything else to that makes Beelzebub good?

The humor is to die for.  Beelzebub can usually be funny just because of how ridiculous people sound when they talk.  Also I should mention that most of the characters are dumb, not just ridiculous but actually dumb.  Therefore a lot of the humor is either slapstick or situational, because the characters just have such a narrow range of skills and experiences.  A lot of the humor actually kind of reminds of America’s Funniest Home Videos, if you happen to have seen those.  So that’s the good news, is there any bad news?

Beelzebub has two problem areas, the first few episodes and the ending.  The ending was just rushed because I think the show was cut off while it was airing and just threw an ending together.  Also it’s not a proper ending because the story didn’t conclude it just reset the status quo.  The beginning episodes have some great moments but they also have the most repetition in them so they can feel like a bit of slog compared to the rest of the show.  But if all the stuff I mentioned above sounds like it’s for you I’d encourage you to try out the show and push through the first few episodes because it does get a lot better pretty quickly.  I also just highly recommend this show to everyone because few shows can make me laugh as hard as this one, and the good action is a bonus.  And that about wraps this up, hopefully you all enjoyed it and I’ll see you in the next one.

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