MAPPA and Twin Engine’s Hell’s Paradise has slowed its pace for Episode 7, “Flowers and Offerings.” Based on the manga by Yuji Kaku, Hell’s Paradise has been pretty much perfect since it aired seven weeks ago. Balancing action and shocking moments with thoughtful character studies, the series has managed to pack every punch it can. However, with Episode 7, the series takes more time to set the stage for the future instead of showing action.
In Hell’s Paradise Episode 7, Gabimaru, Sagiri, Senta, and Yuzuriha stumbled across a deserted village. With the homes covered in vines and a mist keeping the mystery alive, the group encounters Hoko and Mei. Hoko is a giant sentient tree with the ability to regenerate its limbs, and Mei is his young charge. A child who doesn’t speak, Mei is aggressive at first until Sagiri calms her. This meeting allows the group a moment of rest while Hoko finally gives the group valuable answers to questions they had about the island’s danger and even more than they could have thought of.
At the same time, the kissing couple that Chobe and his brother encounter reveal themselves to be the dangerous masters of the island. Able to change between male and female, able to regenerate their bodies when cut in half, they may be beautiful, but they should be terrifying. MAPPA uses these brief moments with Chobe and his brother to illustrate the information that Hoko is giving our main group. As he details the reality of the island which includes the origin of the Elixir of Life and the gods of the island known as the Tensen, Chobe and his brother are destroyed by these perfect humanoid creatures.
Without showing the fight itself, audiences get to see the results which prove dire for the brothers. This choice works to create an air of mystery and myth around the Tensen and their strength. But in a series that has taken liberties with how much is shown in animation compared to the manga, this was a moment to let loose. While I think it’s a misstep not to show a detailed fight sequence, I have to give kudos to this foundation-building episode for interjecting a moment of normalcy as we see the stakes rise.
Hoko details the dangers outside the village, explaining how the island operates in three sections, with the center, the Horai, containing the Elixir of Life and the mighty Tensen. The lore is built extensively in this episode, and Senta exists to showcase the ways in which the story reimagines Taoist religious explorations into monsters and gods working in their own name. The Tensen keep every human from leaving the island, killing them and giving them a vibrant death as the flowers overtake the dead bodies, converting the strangers into Tan. That Tan energy created by death then becomes the way that the Tensen and the other monsters on the island stay alive.
As the lore of the series builds in these moments of exposition, it never loses its footing. MAPPA’s ability to exposition dump while still pushing forward a narrative is unmatched, particularly because Gabimaru gets another moment of humanization. Using a bath to show the more vulnerable side of each of our main characters, Sagiri plays the role of the attendant as she starts to build a relationship with Mei by teaching her how to bathe using bath products and not just water and gives Gabimaru a moment that reminds him of his wife.
While the last few episodes have given us a look at how strong and violent Gabimaru can be, Hell’s Paradise Episode 7 shows audiences a quiet side again. The bath in this forgotten village is a moment of rest for everyone, and for Gabimaru, it’s a moment to remember his wife. As we look back into the past, we see Gabimaru talk about feeling uncomfortable while bathing, as if he’s washing away the focus of a fight. Instead of giving into that notion, his wife reassures him that care and rest are necessary so that he is not spread so thin that he loses the ultimate battle with life.
In Hell’s Paradise Episode 7, MAPPA once again manages to present a multifaceted story. It builds out the lore of the series, it shows the danger of that lore in action, and it gives audiences a deeper look into one of our main characters. While I don’t think this episode is perfect like many of the last, I do think it’s an important one. Even i fit leaves me incredibly anxious to see more of the Tensen in focus. At the midpoint of the series, I’m interested to know if MAPPA is looking to finish the 13-volume story in one season or if they’re aiming to explore it more. Time will only tell.
Hell’s Paradise Episode 7 is available now, exclusively on Crunchyroll with new episodes every Saturday.
Hells Paradise Episode 7 — "Followers and Offerings"
In Hell’s Paradise Episode 7, MAPPA once again manages to present a multifaceted story. It builds out the lore of the series, it shows the danger of that lore in action, and it gives audiences a deeper look into one of our main characters. While I don’t think this episode is perfect like many of the last, I do think it’s an important one. Even i fit leaves me incredibly anxious to see more of the Tensen in focus.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.