Welcome 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!
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