Yes this blog still exists and I did not die.
So anyway. I don’t normally do negative reviews because normally if I hate a show I stop watching it pretty early on, so there’s nothing to review. Unfortunately for me, my patience is greatly extended if the show I’m watching and hating happens to be yuri, or at least is claimed to be. As such, I trudged through all of Akuma no Riddle. What did I think of it? See title. Also thank god Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san came out in the spring too. I’ve been using that to cheer myself up after how bad Akuma no Riddle was.
Before I start tearing it apart, I should probably explain the premise. In Akuma no Riddle, there are 13 students in a specific class in a private academy. The class is known as “Class Black” and all but 1 of the 13 students are assassins. The one who isn’t is the assassins’ target and it’s basically a game of who kills her first. The winner gets fabulous prizes, whatever their heart desires essentially. But one of the assassins decides she likes the target and will protect her instead of also trying to kill her.
From here on out there is potential for spoilers, so if for whatever reason you want to actually watch this show, stop reading.
So why did I hate Akuma no Riddle so much? Lots of reasons, but probably the first issue I ran across was the absolutely insufferable main character. So, this charmer here is Tokaku Azuma. She has no personality besides that she’s supposedly a ~cold blooded killer~ because her family is a famous family of assassins. That’s nice. Too bad they raised an utterly incompetent failure and tried to pass her off as a big deal in this show. Cool. It’s revealed pretty early on that Tokaku is a “virgin”. As in she’s never killed anyone. She’s apparently “cursed” so that she can’t kill, and the nature of said “curse” is absolutely idiotic and when they finally reveal what the deal is it’s basically the least dramatic thing ever.
But anyway, point is that Tokaku has no personality besides being “tough” and “stoic”, but the problem is that characters who have that image are supposed to actually be competent. Tokaku “falls in love with” Haru (but never actually comes close to wording it that way), and decides to protect her, but holy shit her “protection” is essentially useless. She lets Haru wander around at night. In a school of assassins who want to kill her. She leaves their dorm room (since they conveniently share a room), making it easy for an assassin to come into the room while she’s away. One of the assassins is actually able to get a collar with a bomb in it around Haru’s neck while Tokaku is right there. Tokaku, you are garbage and you can’t protect anything and you don’t even have a personality, please stop ruining this show.
Except Tokaku alone isn’t why this show is bad. There are enough interesting characters in Akuma no Riddle that one of them being terrible, even if she is the protag, is something I can tolerate. But no, it has other glaring flaws. For instance, why is Haru still alive despite the incompetence of her protector? Because most of the assassins are incompetent as all hell, too! What a surprise. In the case of one of them, her entire deal is that she wants to pull off this hit because she doesn’t want to be an assassin anymore, so her wish will be to stop being an assassin. Seriously? I mean okay so she was raised in an orphanage that raises assassins so stopping on her own wouldn’t be easy, but that is such a ridiculous backstory I can’t even deal with it. Then there were such brilliant attempts on Haru’s life as the girl who nearly killed herself and barely even scratched Haru in a method that was meant to kill everyone involved, the bomb collar girl who then turned it into a game and gave such an excessive number of hints that it led Tokaku and Haru to being able to save her when if the assassin would’ve just kept her mouth shut she would’ve won, etc. It felt like watching exercises taking place in assassin kindergarten.
Moving past all that, we also have the fact that this show was officially marketed as yuri, and as far as I’m concerned that was a total lie. Maybe I was just spoiled by Sakura Trick back in the winter, where girls actually kiss each other, but I don’t really consider a show where one girl out of nowhere decides to protect the girl she’s supposed to kill, and the only reason she gives is “she’s important to me”, then it’s just lame attempts to assassinate that girl being thwarted by an equally lame protector to actually be yuri. Haru comes out and admits feelings for Tokaku in an indirect way in the end of the show, and two of the other assassins are clearly demonstrated to be in love at one point, but that’s it. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not much. Now, this aspect is why I trudged through this disappointment of a show. I genuinely believed there would be a payoff. But there was not. Needless to say, this soured me to it quite a bit.
The absolute worst part, however, was the ending. Towards the end of the show we got some pretty satisfying fights, including Haru herself taking out an overly powerful cyborg of a woman that ended in said cyborg falling off a building several stories tall. But then, at the very end of a show about assassins, everyone is alive. Haru was stabbed but it was explained away that she survived because her ribs had been replaced and were no made out of titanium. Okay, given the circumstances, that’s believable. Hanabusa somehow survived that several story fall, but okay she is a damn cyborg, I guess I can buy that. But then the two side characters that fell in love with each other are also alive. These two died via poisoned swords. They died in the middle of performing Romeo and Juliet and were playing the lead roles. They were both stabbed and poisoned, them surviving makes no sense, and it also cheapens the hell out of their story. At that point I regretted sitting through this piece of trash show.
Now, of course there were some positives, or else I would’ve bailed on this show, “yuri” or not. The main one I can think of is that a lot of the other characters besides Tokaku are very enjoyable, and one of them is Haru herself. Now, I’m sure plenty of people hate her, she’s kind of naive and kind of dumb, but at least to me her sheer optimism was just too charming for me to not like her. Isuke, a pink-haired assassin who was one of the actual competent ones, won my heart with her attitude and sharp tongue, and she at the very least didn’t disappoint. She went out with a bang, actually giving us a solid fight before leaving, along with Banba, another assassin I liked quite a bit who has a split personality that comes out at night. Honestly, there were only a couple assassins that I didn’t like. Also, the teacher, who was completely out of the loop on the whole assassins thing, was absolutely adorable and hilarious and wound up being one of my favorite characters. Also episode 6, the one in which the two assassins fall in love with each other, is very touching and sweet and heartbreaking, probably the best episode in the show. The last 3 or 4 episodes leading up to the end are also excellent, but then ultimately the ending betrays all of that by being so bad.
In short, Akuma no Riddle was a total disappointment.