The underworld is ruled by Beelzebub, someone whom the new attendant Mullin has looked up to probably all his life. He is a little surprised, therefore, to discover that Beelzebub is actually an extremely absent-minded, day-dreamy girl who is obsessed with all things fluffy and cute. She also has a very lax approach to nudity, which causes him a lot of grief and trouble. However, despite his initial misgivings he can’t help finding her to be extremely cute herself…and perhaps she has started to grow fond of him in ways she didn’t expect to either.
The underworld, or Hell, or whatever else one can translate ‘Makai’ to has featured a lot in anime in various creative forms, but this is the first time I’ve seen it represented as a huge european style building in a pastel wonderland. I’m actually not even sure what the connotation of ‘Hell’ is in this world, because parts of it seem to be the same as earth, complete with random bystanders going about their day, shopping, trying to hit on Beelzebub despite the fact that they clearly should know who she is, etc. Unfortunately this episode didn’t seem terribly concerned with any world-building, so we have yet to find out what the difference even is between heaven and hell here (it is stated that Heaven does exist – Beelzebub fought in a war against them and everything, but now everyone’s at peace). It’s another ‘just dont think about it’ show, in other words.
The show does look really beautiful, and I eat this kind of aesthetic right up. It was actually hard trying to decide which screenshots to use because so much of this world and the colours it uses are honestly just lovely. Everything looks soft and cute – from the backgrounds to the characters. There are fluffy, candy motifs everywhere, and the character designs themselves are all adorable. I could easily watch a few more episodes of this for the visuals alone.
Unfortunately that’s…kinda it. The rest of the episode can basically be summed up as ‘Beelzebub does something absent-minded or cute, or is naked, and Mullin reacts to it’. It’s kind of cute at first, but it gets old pretty quickly and its really going to need to have more material up its sleeve to hold my interest. Given that there’s an entire roster of other cute characters in the opening who have yet to appear, that’s highly possible at least – but at the moment I can only watch Beelzebub fluff around and make cutesy sleepy noises for so long. (which, for the record, is a little longer than most other shows that do this kind of thing just because I love the pastel aesthetic that much, but I digress) Given that the episode is made up of several small scenes, I really do think this one would have worked better as a 12 minute show rather than the full 24 minutes, and if it was I may have enjoyed it a little more.
I have made this comparison before, but its even more apt with a show like this one: it’s a ‘cotton candy’ anime. Sweet, fluffy, and aesthetically pleasing, but too much at once and it becomes unbearable. It could end up a nice way to unwind every week, or it could be even more boring. I’ll watch at least two more if only to see the other characters, and decide from there which of the two it is to me.