Calloo callay! Our favorite demon bureaucratic wonk is back for a second season of marvelous mayhem in “Hozuki’s Coolheadedness 2” (“Hōzuki no Reitetsu”).
You know, Hell is not going to run itself, so Hozuki is hard-pressed to make certain everything that needs to be done gets done. We also get an absolute ton of backstory on him, so we learn how he came to be a demon and how he obtained his Club of Retribution and why he is the way he is.
We also get to see more of the inner workings of Hell and all its departments, as well as the increasing rivalry between Hozuki and Hakutaku, as it is now just an excuse to bash each other, both verbally and actually. Most people shake hands when they greet; these two punch each other out.
The best parts of the show are seeing the slow-grinding bureaucracy in action (or is it inaction?) It’s just that there is a ton of work to be done all day, every day. We take a trip to the Records Department and it is no different than any Cube Farm in the mundane world. We see the rather duplicitous reporter Koban, plying every angle he can to get a scoop, but since he deals in rumor and gossip-mongering, he isn’t any better than real-life paparazzis.
Then, when Hozuki has to entertain Ichiko and Niko (center and left; they are Zashikiwarashi, mischievous spirits), it gets more unhinged and turns into a caliber of sitcom (and I mean that in a positive sense). It’s just in seeing all these people and the other Kings and their realms, you realize that Hell is just another entity, not any better than where you currently work, which is why when you die and have to work here, you can just slide in and start doing your job. I mean, you have spent a lifetime doing it here, and it ain’t no different there.
There is the concern that a second season can lose all the charm and grace that the first season brought, as you are afraid that it will not plow new territory and be a kind of reheat from the first season. Fear not, loyal readers. If anything, the series expands on what it has to give a deeper degree of understanding and why things are done the way they are done (more or less). I mean, a butthead boss is a butthead boss, period. Again, since I really know what Hozuki goes through, I have a greater affinity for this show than any others I have seen, even those that deal with bureaucrats (like “Servant X Service”) and what that is like.
As always, a marvelous looking show, in both the design of the numerous Hells and the splendid palette of color and light. And the characters are actually well defined. Even if they are forced to be two-dimensional, they never come off as such. This is how things are done, so get things done, right? High marks, again, and you need to hunt this season down.
My personal reason not to binge is to enjoy fully what goes down and wrong in hell. That being said, it can easily take on a Full Binge Approach, as it’s just another day in the working week and there is just so much that needs to get done. Never enough hours in the day. Not the right person for the right job. Elvis Costello was right: “Welcome to the working week Oh, I know it don’t thrill you, I hope it don’t kill you.” Why is Hakutaku still here?
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Nice design choices)
Plot 8 (Getting better and better)
Pacing 8 (Moves along well)
Effectiveness 8 (Good use of flashbacks)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 10 (Bureaucracy has never been funnier)
Overall 8 (How does anything get done?)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I’ll take that one.