Hell’s Paradise episode 10 aired on Saturday and gave us a 21-minute crash course on Tao and everything surrounding it. While the majority of the episode was spent regurgitating what “Tao” exactly is from different perspectives, we were still able to receive a little bit of action with a stunning cliffhanger.
Tao This, Tao That
Gathering the information from episode 10 of Hell’s Paradise, Tao is all about balance, hence why the episode is called “Yin and Yang” or “Shadow and Light“. That much is clear and rather simple to understand. It’s a concept that’s not difficult to understand with words but rather difficult to achieve, which Shion reiterates in this episode. Speaking of which…
Shion is the most interesting character to me in this episode. After Yuzuriha grew tired of the vague explanations regarding Tao and how she wishes there was a “hot teacher” to dumb it down for her, it immediately cut over to Shion in a new scene. Then Shion proceeds to basically explain what tao is in his own words without ever mentioning the word “Tao” himself. It’s a little detail in the writing I like. It’s not grandiose and it’s a rather simple cut, but it still gave a little humor to the serious situation both parties are facing.
However, I liked this scene for one specific reason and it’s because it gave viewers the slight notion that Shion is on another level compared to everyone else that arrived on the island, even Gabimaru who has no grasp of Tao and depends on Mei to explain it to him. Despite being physically blind, even Shion can see what Tao actually is.
It may have not been noticeable at first, but Shion is on the same level as the doshi that appeared at the end of the episode. Take a look at the photo comparisons below. Shion can sense Tao in his surroundings exactly like the doshi can. So does that mean Shion is more than a man but less than a god? I found this perspective revolving around Shion interesting. While he’s not particularly Hercules in that sense, he has, indeed, reached a level beyond average human limitations.
I will say besides the development regarding how strong Shion actually is, the mystic powers of Tao and how they affect Mei directly is another interesting aspect of the episode that can leave viewers guessing just as Gabimaru was. But from previous episodes, and this week’s, it’s clear that the Tenshin lose years of their life the more they expel Tao from their bodies.
This would explain why Mei aged as well. But the question is why is Mei living in isolation away from the other Tenshin when she’s clearly one herself? Perhaps Mei is the Yang to the Tenshin’s Yin in some ways. The light amidst the overwhelming darkness that plagues the island of Shinsekyo. Another question that leaves me wondering—is Mei one of the strongest Tenshin?
The more Tao the Tenshin store in their bodies, the younger they are. Given that Mei was physically the youngest among them, it could mean she has stored more Tao than the others have. Or perhaps it means she’s actually among the weakest as she didn’t seem to expel much in saving Gabimaru yet still aged rapidly. Mei is a mystery that gave this episode a little more wonder that I definitely enjoyed.
The one thing I’ve come to love about Hell’s Paradise is how the remaining characters are all converging on a single path slowly but surely. In the beginning, the characters were scattered. Some died, some lived. And now they’re all in their own squads getting closer and closer to Horai and the Elixir of Life. When you think about it, most of the characters are now together setting aside Choubei and his brother Touma.
We never really take note of that while we’re enjoying the series but I like to think that’s just wonderful writing on Yuki Kaji’s part and MAPPA’s ability to relay that part of the story. While the exposition was set as a race to the Elixir of Life, episode 10 was the first to really gave off the feeling of who will get to it before anyone else. It finally feels like the storyline has gone from basic survival to a race for something that is growing nearer and nearer.
That being said, I loved Gantetsusai’s character. He couldn’t care about the elixir or the pardon. He just wants his name etched on the walls of history for centuries to come. He gives a fresh take on the criminals that were sent to the island to find it and he provides some humor along the way. I have to hand it to him by also becoming a protector for Mei as well.
Hell’s Paradise Episode 10 Wrap-Up
With Choubei possibly dead and leaving his brother in a fight with the odds stacked against him, episode 10 of Hell’s Paradise gave us one of the better cliffhangers of the series so far. While the majority of the episode was just regurgitating what Tao is and how different people described its nature, it was still an overall enjoyable watch with some laughs courtesy of Fuchi and a shocking ending.
The artwork was kind of wonky at times that were noticeable even on the first watch-through of the episode but it didn’t necessarily detract anything from it from me other than thinking it could’ve looked a little better.
Episode 10 rating: 7.5/10
Make sure to vote for Hell’s Paradise in our weekly poll! Episode 11 will be airing on Saturday, June 17. Crunchyroll will be streaming the episode with English subtitles.
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
©YUJI KAKU/SHUEISHA, TWIN ENGINE, MAPPA