ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku,’ Volume 6

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hells Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 6

Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku is an action fantasy series that uniquely utilizes body horror. From mangaka Yuji Kaku, the series was one of my favorites of 2020.  Published by VIZ Media’s Signature imprint, it’s translated by Caleb Cook and features touch-up art and translation from Mark McMurray. In the series, a ninja name Gabimaru has escaped execution by agreeing to travel to a deadly island and collect the elixir of life. One of many criminals paired with executioners, Gabimaru has barely escaped the island’s flora and the godly creatures that have laid waste to the others. In the last volume, Gabimaru lost his memories after he depleted his Tao, while Sagiri and her crew defeated one of the Tenzen. Now, in Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 6, Gabimaru and Aza Chobe finally meet, and both stand the risk of losing themselves, and not just to each other.

The two fiercest warriors on the island, Gabimaru the Hollow and Aza Chobe the Bandit King, have confronted Tenzen differently. Gabimaru fought against Tenzen and won using the techniques she already knew. In contrast, Chobe has fought off the aborification process designed to turn him into tan and instead has been controlling it using his tao. When the two confront each other, we get a breathtaking action sequence with some of the best illustrations of Kaku’s series. But while Chobe and Gabimaru’s fight is the strongest element of Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 6, the way that Kaku uses this volume to expand Chobe’s character beyond just a visually interesting bad guy is my favorite part of this volume.

Aza Chobe has been an evil character who has literally been eating his way through the island, taking the tan of those he kills, and confronting the island’s terrors without wavering. But, there is more to him. Being connected to his brother, Chobe realizes this volume that having something to lose is what can help make him even more powerful and ultimately help him keep control of the power growing inside him, aiming to turn his body into a source of tan, the substance used to keep the Tenzen nearly immortal. Chobe’s interaction with the Tenzen and his willingness to do what is needed to make it back to his brother, including using his body is a new layer to the character.

Beyond that, there is a sexual tension building between Gabimaru and Sagiri. While Gabimaru’s focus remains on his wife, Sagiri is tasked with replenishing Gabimaru’s tao to restore his memories. In a scene that shows Sagiri straddling Gabimaru and transferring her energy, we see the same process paralleled between Chobe and Tenzen; only their situation results in actual intimacy. However, for Gabimaru and Sagiri, their moment is more wholesome and ultimately showcases how the two are in balance. While romance isn’t the core of this story, it’s clear that Kaku has plans that aren’t entirely platonic for the pair.

In Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 6, Kaku spends even more time explaining how the island works. Tenzen can be killed, but to maintain their near-immortal status, they consume tan. That substance is harvested from people they have put through the aborification process. This opens up the story to let a small piece of hope in, hope that our protagonists can win and escape the island.

Overall, Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 6 is a great read, and Chobe’s section of the volume is its strongest point. If you’re not reading Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This volume showcases the action the series has to offer, but it also shows how Kaku uses horror and fantasy elements to show and expand the series’s world.

Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 6 is available from booksellers on January 19, 2021.


Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 6
5

TL;DR

Overall, Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 6 is a great read, and Chobe’s section of the volume is its strongest point. If you’re not reading Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This volume showcases the action the series has to offer, but it also shows how Kaku uses horror and fantasy elements to show and expand the series’s world.