Yuri Anime: First Look at Riddle Story of a Devil Anime (English) Guest Review by Eric P.

April 30th, 2014

akumaWelcome to another Guest Review Wednesday here on Okazu. Returning to our community is Guest Reviewer Eric P., with a first look at Riddle Story of a Devil, streaming on Funimation.com for North America and Crunchyoll.com for other countries. Yay!

From Yun Kouga, the creator of Loveless, we get what has been overtly categorized as a Yuri Action series, Riddle Story of a Devil.

The story is set at Myojo Academy, an otherwise ordinary girls’ private boarding school, except for one specific classroom called the Black Class. Only on the surface do the students in said classroom appear to be normal and cordial, but beneath their masks is a group of professional calculating assassins in training, with the exception of one. Their mission is to figure out which student that is, and whoever is the one that kills her will have any personal wish granted, and whoever fails their turn will be “expelled”.

The assassin trainee we focus on, Tokaku Azuma, is as cold and distant as they come, and defiant in going with the flow of the classroom’s friendly façade. She figures it out almost right away that the target is Haru Ichinose who, out of everyone, does not have the smell of a killer, not to mention that she couldn’t betray a more innocently sunny nature (as a side-note, I can’t help but think of Nagisa from Strawberry Panic whenever I see her). As fate would have it, they are roommates, and later on Tokaku finds out about the grisly cuts that are all over Haru’s body. Not only that, but Haru is very much aware that her life is targeted for termination by the other students, even though she attempted to befriend those very people. It rightfully shocks Tokaku that Haru can maintain a cheery personality, even after shedding some light on a horrific past where Haru’s family was murdered because of her (the only explanation given so far is that  her family is part of a clan). Yet she makes it her firm belief and mission that she will graduate from this school alive for her family and live normally. Slowly but surely, Tokaku is drawn to Haru, her personal walls break down, and she sets her own new mission—to protect Haru from the other assassins.

Upon watching the first episode, my primary single thought was, “This is definitely way better than Sakura Trick.” For that reason alone I felt the need to check out the second episode before having an official first impression. As of these first two episodes, it’s definitely your basic anime series meant to be fun entertainment. All in all, it could be what one would mostly ask for from a Yuri Action series, one of which seems to be off to a promising start. The Action part of it has not quite started yet, but that is bound to change by the 3rd episode. Moving at almost the same pace is the Yuri part of it. Unlike most Yuri series, the two lead protagonists are not blatantly lovey-dovey from the get-go. Instead the story chooses to nurture their relationship more gradually, although viewers can still make out the first stages of their nascent bond as they balance out each other’s polar opposite characters.

That is just one of a handful of little things making for interesting hooks to the story. There must be more to Haru’s past than she’s revealed to Tokaku, more to find out how she can be able to emotionally survive through life the way she does, even if there is the chance she is just forcing herself and it may well partly be an act. There is still something behind Tokaku’s past about a temple she was taken to visit by her mom, something that helps abstain Tokaku from being a full cold-blooded killer even though she had chosen the life of an assassin. And the enigmatic Kaiba, Tokaku’s master who had enrolled her in the classroom, is clearly manipulating his trainee in a game bound to be sadistic with his own ulterior motives. I am genuinely curious in finding out what lays ahead in Tokaku and Haru’s journey together, and so far my only real nitpick is Haru annoyingly referring to herself in the third person.

Overall (thus far)-A cautiously optimistic 7

Thank you Eric! I’ve caught up on the first 3 episodes and I too am cautiously optimistic for several reasons. The story has much stronger writing than I expected, even from Kouga-sensei. Here’s hoping it has a strong ending!
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6 Responses

  1. Liz says:

    I’m seriously enjoying this series. And since it’s streaming on Funimations website there’s a chance it may come out on DVD in the states!

  2. Jin says:

    “cautiously optimistic” indeed. I like that. I am as well, even though fans of the manga keep pointing out with every episode that most of the scenes with some Yuri feeling are being cut out/re-written. (I have yet to get my copies of volume 1 and 2 only recently ordered as Amazon.jp ran out of stock, so I will see). I do hope it has actual Yuri, I will not go into the plot as it would spoil, but I will note that if part of the plot sticks, it is not real Yuri at all. Still, How nice it would be to see a tough, athletic/butch girl get the girl with an ending for them at least similar to the Yuri “zero” couple in Loveless.

  3. BruceMcF says:

    For those curious what “other countries” can stream it in Crunchyroll, it was announced as “Europe (excluding German speaking territories, UK, Ireland, and Scandinavia), the Arab League, and the Middle East.”

    Though note that for whatever reason, the Japanese licensor appears to class the Benelux countries as “German Speaking”, so the “German Speaking” cut-out in Europe includes Belgium and the Netherlands, in addition to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg & Lichtenstein.

    But anyway, just in case y’all were wondering if y’all could stream the series from Crunchyroll during your upcoming vacation in (Arab League member) Mauritania … yes, y’all should be able to (if you can get a good enough internet connection in Mauritania, of course).

  4. Grisznak says:

    My thoughts excatly. So cool mix of sometimes classic motives (bit Noir-esque) with new ways of animation. Might be best Yuri series since Aoi Hana.

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