Riddle Story of Devil (Akuma no Riddle)

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a manga about a high-school class full of assassin girls. With heavy lesbian subtext that could become text anytime soon.


Tokaku, our protagonist. An elite teenage assassin with a dark past… wait, that describes most of the cast. Her distinctive features is that she’s very taciturn, has no sense of humour, and we spend most of the episode inside her head. It’s not a pretty place.

Mr “Dice” Kaiba, her handler, has had her transferred to this Academy’s “Black Classroom” so that she can kill the one student there who isn’t also an assassin. This dude is a complete dick, played with obvious glee by Tomokazu Sugita. I love the way he chews scenery.

Haru is so much the odd girl out in the class that everyone immediately pegs her as the target. She’s nice, wants to be friends with everyone, has no reflexes whatsoever, and just doesn’t smell like a killer. She’s even played by Hisato Kanemoto at her most sugary. Yeah, there’s of course going to be a twist at some point. Tokaku’s immediately smitten, although she’d be the last one to acknowledge it. Good thing they’re going to be roommates !

For some reason only three other girls are present for the first homeroom class (only the transfer students, I guess ?), and all of them are credible psychopaths, given the way they keep snarling all the time. This includes the one with MPD, of course. A few others show up later at the dorms, and they’re pretty much of the same cloth.

Whoever the mysterious mastermind behind all this is, she’s set up cameras everywhere. And that’s taking into account Tokaku disabling a good number of them as soon as she enters her room. It’s hinted that there have been other Black Classrooms organized before, too.

Production Values

Well, this clearly belongs to the Death Note school of directing : lots of darkness, dynamic camera angles and overpowering music to mask the fact that not so much is happening, and the animation is nothing special.

There’s less fanservice than you’d expect, despite the episode including several shower scenes.

Overall Impression

Wow, this show doesn’t believe in subtlety, does it ? But frankly, the premise is so contrived that it wouldn’t work any other way. It needs that frantic energy and the constant overacting to avoid collapsing into a mess.

So far, it works. But there’s the question of whether it’ll be allowed to go anywhere, given that it’s based on an ongoing (and recent) manga series. That’s the problem with these high-concept stories : they rarely allow for partial resolutions that an anime adaptation can satisfyingly end on. I’ve been burned enough in the past to be skeptical over this series’ chances to buck the trend.

Still, it’s an entertaining start. With my expectations adjusted, I’m open to keeping it on my watching list.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014.

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I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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