Greetings and salutations! I caught the simulcast for Angels of Death and loved it. For those of you new here, Angels of Death is an anime based on a Japanese horror adventure game of the same name. Episodes of this anime are simulcast on Crunchyroll Fridays at 9 am Eastern. Below, I offer a recap, screenshots, as well as my personal commentary, observations, and speculation regarding Angels of Death episode one.
Please Note: the following may contain spoilers depending on how you define them. There’s a TL;DR below for those that want to reduce the chance of spoilers. This is a horror anime recap so keep in mind that images, links, clips, and text may contain violent, graphic, or disturbing images.
Eerie Innocent Start
Angels of Death stars innocently enough with eerie music, a quiet girl in a chair, and her counselor introducing himself to her. This is how we meet Rachel and her counselor Danny. When next we see Rachel, she is in a room, alone, after dark, and the first thing she notices is the moon, which she remarks on being pretty but looking like a fake blue moon. Her first and immediate concern is to get to her parents, but upon opening the door she realizes this is not the hospital that she remembers. It’s pretty clear, though, that she’s missing more than a few memories. There are cameras everywhere and strange messages scrawled on the walls.
She begins calmly checking rooms and comes across a typewriter that writes on its own. I don’t know how many of you have had a conversation with a typewriter, but this one is a persistence interrogator, forcing Rachel to examine her circumstances. During this conversation, we learn Rachel has not just witnessed death but witnessed people being murdered. It’s implied that she doesn’t know the people murdered, but it’s clear that it’s affected her psychologically.
At this point, I’m getting that same sense of impending evil that I got when watching the scene in The Shining where Danny is riding his bike along the long, narrow, and intensely claustrophobic hallways of the hotel. You know, right before he meets the twins. (Warning: this clip contains scenes of violence.)
She states, “I want to get out of here.” And there’s a thunk and a whining that draws our attention to the elevator. It’s as if her desire to leave has activated it. Thinking she’s found an exit, she steps in. Immediately, a voice announces “the girl on the bottom level has been selected as a sacrifice” harkening back to the ominous writing on the wall.
Enter the Scythe
Before Rachel can make a move, the doors slam shut and the elevator rises, and the doors open once more as the voice announces, “Beyond here is the play area.” Now, maybe it’s the American in me, or maybe I’m just blessed with a strong sense of survival, but an announcement that would be enough of a clue that upon getting off the elevator, I’d be looking for a weapon. Rachel, however, is not all there mentally and emotionally, so she wanders until she encounters a crime scene with enough pooled blood to make Freddy Kruger proud. Okay, maybe not that much, but close. Rachel notices an injured bird and her attempts to help it are thwarted by our second main character making his intro in true serial killer style. Poor bird. Yeah, if the title didn’t clue you in, Angels of Death is not an anime for the squeamish.
The scythe-wielding maniac in bandages pursues Rachel in a deadly game of hide-and-seek that Rachel
mercifully wins, but you can see her fragile psyche is strained. She has the presence of mind to know she
needs to escape, but as she comes across the bird once more, her desperate attempt to “fix” the bird gives us insight into her fractured psyche. Our scythe-wielding maniac, on the other hand, discovers he’s been outsmarted. There’s almost a satisfaction to his smirk as if this is the first time he’s encountered someone that capable.
Rachel escapes to the next floor and recognizes it as the hospital that she remembers, but dark deserted hall offers no comfort. She is stopped by her counselor from the introduction. We learn he is Daniel Dickens, and he
claims he is her counselor. Our scythe-wielding maniac, on the previous floor, has come across the bird. Noticing Rachel’s “handiwork,” he grins maniacally but says nothing.
Rachel and Doctor Danny are strolling along the hall ostensibly “looking for the exit together” and there are so
many red flags in this conversation that I am thinking Rachel has to be a complete mental mess not to be picking up
on it. She finally seems to get it when they come across a thick glass barrier and he is all too pleased to
announce, “It seems like the two of us are trapped here together.” Umm… yeah. Suddenly, he feels more dangerous than our scythe-wielding maniac.
Fortunately, Rachel can read the writing on the wall—both literally and proverbially—when Doctor Danny begins
discussing his desire to have “perfect eyes.” But what was that writing he wouldn’t let her see? And what is all this
talk about rules?
Doctor Danny’s overtures get creepier and we learn he has some serious mommy issues, but our trusting little Rachel agrees to help him find his false eye. At this point, I’ve taken to calling him Doc Creeper, but we get a few more clues about what might be happening, specifically when he remarks that she is still in a dream. Yeah, no. Dude, any sane person would call this a nightmare.
Fortunately, she gets a reprieve as Doc Creeper sends her to wait in the operating room while he puts in his eye. At this point, Rachel finally gets that this is not the doctor she knows and decides it’s time to run. Good heavens, Rachel, I’m glad you got that—this guy is so disturbing even Pedobear would be unnerved by him.
Hunter Becomes Hunted
Of course, as she is about to escape, Doc Creeper catches her and wrestles her to the operating table constantly complaining that she doesn’t remember who she is, who he is, and why this is happening to her. This hints at a deeper story and, yeah, I am so here for it.
Doc Creeper who somehow suddenly grew a Gene Simmons tongue claims, “Your mother and father are waiting for
you in hell.” Now normally, that’s just a villain saying standard villainy crap, but there’s something in the way Rachel’s
mind snaps. She looks like she is remembering something and all the fight goes out of her. This implies that there is a lot more to what she can’t remember than just how she got here.
As Doc Creeper is celebrating his imminent victory (take note villains #6 on the list), the most unlikely of heroes shows up. No, not Deadpool but our scythe-wielding maniac. He’s hunted Rachel down intending to kill her but since all the drive to survive has gone out of Rachel, he’s not so interested. As she lays there not moving and he complains about not being into “cutting up dolls” another announcement is made.
Apparently, this is against the rules and now our scythe-wielding maniac has been labeled a sacrifice as well. He
obvious gets that he’s in some trouble as he nonchalantly announces, “I guess I should run.” Umm… okay?
So while our Scythe Boy is kicking the crap out of the elevator door, Rachel is remembering enough to make her
believe that she shouldn’t be alive. This episode ends with Rachel very politely requesting our brash scythe-wielding
maniac do her a favor by killing her.
This is a solid start for a horror series, in spite of its video game origins. The music is well chosen, the art is clean, but this is definitely not for the very young or squeamish. There’s a strong color symbolism in terms of blue and red seen throughout this episode, but it wasn’t a forced feeling, more of a well done artistic choice that lent to the atmosphere.
The story is engaging and works well for fans those haven’t played the game while still being true to its source material. Fans of the game will likely enjoy the ride. Overall, I’m giving this one a spot on my watchlist.
Fair Warning: If you are a fan of horror anime, give this a watch. Anime Baba doesn’t recommend this for anyone under thirteen, for those that are uncomfortable with violence, adult situations, or anyone who has experienced assault-related trauma.
We get a lot of clues as to why Rachel might want to die. I’m banking on the people she saw killed being her parents. I’ll bet she survived in some miraculous way that has her feeling that she should’ve died with them. Since I haven’t played the game yet, I have no idea if this is revealed in it or a new story that we get to learn via the anime. The only thing the game players I know have said is “the anime is following the game almost perfectly.” Guess what game I am buying on Steam this week…