The end is coming fast for Hell’s Paradise in the penultimate episode of the season. “Umbrella and Ink” picks up exactly where “Weak and Strong” left off, with our main crew reaching Horai and running into another new Tensen. With the episode’s focus on tao and the unique aspects about it, more about how the mysterious life force can be used on an individual basis is revealed. “Umbrella and Ink” is an action-packed episode that flew by in the best way possible.
The greatest part of this episode was the concentration on Sagiri and the reveal of how she handles tao. Sagiri’s ability to land a strike on Mu Dan without it regenerating is a huge surprise to both the characters and the audience. With Hoko’s help, she was able to truly capitalize on her own abilities and catch Mu Dan when he least expected it. Because of this, the revelation that certain taos can break through and harm other taos is clearly communicated. It’s also smart to use Sagiri to reveal this since Mu Dan spent the better part of the episode thinking that she wasn’t worth anything.
The small highlight on Sagiri and Yuzihara’s growing relationship was nice to see. In an anime that is filled with intense fight scenes and overwhelming lore at times, to have a friendship form between two of the women is great – especially when the two of them started out not particularly liking one another. Hell’s Paradise is a show that relies on relationships between the characters in order to survive, so to see these two really form a connection in the anime is wonderful. Dare I say it’s #girlpower to see them working together?
This wouldn’t be a complete review if we didn’t talk about Senta. Everyone’s favorite four-eyes sacrificed himself for Yuzihara in the most heart-wrenching way. It’s only after Sagiri asks Senta if he has special feelings toward Yuzihara does he reveal how he fell in love with how free and confident she is in herself. He also talks about how he felt trapped in his own upbringing since he was not able to choose a path where he could enjoy his passion in the arts. His sacrifice in order to save Yuzihara is a gut punch, but when Sagiri notes it is for the sake of a criminal, Senta’s loss is all the more emotional.
Last, but certainly not least, Shion’s entrance at the end of “Umbrella and Ink” was absolutely badass. He certainly knows how to make himself known in a situation and it’s the perfect last scene to lead into the finale.
“Umbrella and Ink” is certainly an episode that sets up the end of Hell’s Paradise’s first season nicely. Not only do we have a wild boss battle to look forward to, but also the question of what Gabimaru’s fate will be. If MAPPA ends this season where I think they’ll end it, fans will have a lot to look forward to for season two. This season of Yuji Kaku’s work has been a banger from the start, and I can’t wait to see how it ends.
Hell’s Paradise airs Saturdays on Crunchyroll during the Spring 2023 anime season.
Featured image ©YUJI SHAKA/SHUEISHA, TWIN ENGINE, MAPPA
‘Hell’s Paradise’ - “Umbrella and Ink” - 9.5/10