*Spoilers* There are some spoilers about the content of this show *Spoilers*
I have a very strange scoring system, which I will surely elaborate on some time in the future. However, suffice it to say that the difference between a 6/10 and a 5/10 for me is substantial. In my mind, a 6/10 is ‘okay’ and ‘okay’ is just ‘good’, but without the commitment behind it. If you give a show 6/10, people won’t be coming up to you asking what you thought was ‘okay’ about it, like they would if you had given it a 7/10 or above. 6/10 is the universal score of ‘meh, I don’t care enough about it’. However, I’m a ‘glass half-empty’ kinda guy, so a 5/10 is what I give to shows that I have at least some quarrel with. However, it’s still 1 away from being okay, that’s just math, so it’s a very thin line between the 5 and 6/10. In my experience, it’s tough for most shows to cross that threshold. However, I’m sad to say that Akuma no Riddle is one of those shows that not only crossed into 5 territory, but did so knowingly.
So let’s start with the premise. We are first introduced to Azuma Tokaku, an assassin-in-training who is assigned a mission by her creepy (and completely pointless) headmaster, Kaiba, to join the Black Class, a class in the prestigious Myoujou Academy. This class is very special, as every other person in the class is also an assassin, save for one. That one is Ichinose Haru and Azuma’s mission is to assassinate Haru before any of the other students do. The prize for completing the mission successfully? Literally anything. However, Azuma, for no well-explained reason, decides to become Haru’s protector instead. Sounds like an decent premise. Now, shall we start to list off the problems?
First, this show decided to limit it’s potential right off the bat. The judge of the event, a student name Nio, announces that there are rules in this assassination “game”. First rule? You only get one chance to assassinate Haru. If you fail to assassinate Haru 48 hours after giving her notice that you are attempting to take her life, you have to leave the school. So, let’s take a wild guess as to whether anyone ends up assassinating Haru, who is one of the main characters of the show? If you answered no, congratulations.
These rules completely remove the suspense of the show and make it blatantly clear that these assassins have their work cut out for them. While this wasn’t really a surprise anyways (you can’t just go killing main characters willy-nilly in an anime, this isn’t HBO), to remove everyone’s ability to suspend disbelief is just sloppy storytelling in an anime. First mistake.
Second, an intended effect of this method of story-telling is that tension would build up as the class size became smaller and smaller. The kind of tension the show was hoping for can be seen in other shows like Fate/Zero, Another, Danganronpa etc., where there is a game with a set number of players in the beginning and they get eliminated one by one, until there is only one left. Riddle tried to set up this tension by creating rules to manufacture a game out of an assassination mission. Now, while this technically makes this mission equivalent to a suspenseful killing game, which is always great to watch, it isn’t it could’ve been, and that’s what makes Akuma no Riddle so disappointing. They had a cast of 13 characters to play with and the best they could do was rip off something that has been done to death in a way that seems to have come completely out of left field? Not acceptable. Second mistake.
Third mistake? They made Sugita Tomokazu, one of the best seiyuu’s currently working, play a character who does little to nothing meaningful in this show. Don’t mess with the voice of Gintoki. Just don’t do it. That’s strike 3, yer out!
That’s it for my review, folks. Please feel free to tell me why I suck as a human being in the comments section below. Feel free to do the same for any of my other stuff on this blog. Thanks and have a great day!