Helck – Episode 1

By: Cy Catwell July 13, 20230 Comments
Helck's fallen brother, the human hero.

Content Warning: Blood, Fantasy Violence

What’s it about? After the demon lord falls to the hands of a lone, human warrior, the world rejoices as peace suffuses the land and terror comes to a final end. However, in the Demon Realm, a contest begins to determine who will reign supreme as the dead demon lord’s demonic successor and one of the contests is Helck, a man who claims to hate humans despite his obvious humanity.

I came to Helck because I like The Devil is a Part-Timer, a series that seemed to echo what Helck is all about: fantasy and a battle between the forces of good and evil, all with a dash of comedy. In fact, that’s a lot of why I decided to give Helck’s manga a try, though I’ll admit I bounced off of it pretty immediately. Still, I’m a believer in second chances, so when it came time to do Summer premiere coverage, I decided that this was Helck’s redemption arc for me, another chance to see if I could be charmed by a series I’ve seen so many people talking about.

What I didn’t expect with this second chance was to find something that I’m genuinely rooting for so early on, even if it’s got some flaws. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s get into the beginning of Helck’s premiere.

The titular Helck stands on a battlefield.

Episode 1 starts off in medias res with the titular Helck, a beefy, blue-haired man with a First of the North Star body ready to wham-bam-slam some demons and devils into damnation. Why, you ask? Well, Helck hates humanity with his entire soul, and is determined to go from human hero to demonic conqueror.

Enter Vermilio, one of four elite demons in the realm determined to figure out just why Helck of all humans would be fighting on the demonic side. From there, the antics kick into high gear as everyone and their demonic mother tries to figure out just what the heck Helck is up to and whether or not he’s actually Team Destroy Humanity or not. But what’s more important is the dark secret Helck holds close to his heart: one that even demons may come to fear…

Vermilio inquires about a very strange contestant in a supposedly demons-only contest for the title of demon lord.

First things first, Helck has a banger of an OP: it’s exactly what you need to get hyped for a premiere, and is easily going to be one of my favorites this season. Coupled with the actual acting in the show, Helck is already shaping up to be a favorite this season, no question. Helck, himself, is a bit of an enigma, even with some tasty tidbits at the end of episode 1. He’s a pleasant mix of comically goofy and mysterious, which was enough to draw me in.

I also found myself chuckling pretty often at Helck, be it the human causing a kerfuffle in the demonic lands or the antics of everyone around him. While it’s a pretty good joke for the series, I hope Helck outgrows just being about one dude who wants to ruin humanity and finds depth sooner than later. I fully expect it will by the time we do our three-episode check in.

That said, I feel it’s also fair to call Helck’s premiere routine, even if that’s not how I personally felt: we’ve seen this story, in some form, before. Even if you’re not particularly seasoned, I guarantee you’ve caught tidbits of this story somewhere. My biggest fear is that what has the potential to be a really fun series will ultimately end up as bland as porridge. I’d hate that because while this has a lot of what we’ve already seen, there’s enough of a twist here to make it interesting and actually keep me engaged. There’s even a chance that, perhaps, this will even become the spiritual successor to Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle that I’ve been craving since Fall 2020. It’s just a kind of time will tell, though I’m optimistic given how enthused so many people are with the manga.

Vermilio, one of the four lords of the demon realm, looks on in shock at the very human Helck.

Helck has genuine potential: it’s clear the series knows what its trying to do, has the chops to execute the story, and already, hides more depths about its titular character. Question is, will it meet expectations and become a genuinely strong Summer anime, will it fly under the radar and fall into dark horse status, or worse, end up completely mid? I hope that this becomes everything fans want and more: that includes myself. I also hope it encourages people to check out VIZ’s ongoing English release of the manga.

While not necessarily revolutionary in plot, progression, or premiere, Helck is solidly good, and sometimes, good is what you need as a foundation for more. I suggest checking it out and giving it the old three episode try: hopefully, it’ll surprise all of us.

About the Author : Cy Catwell

Cy Catwell is a Queer Blerd journalist and JP-EN translation & localization editor with a passion for idols, citypop, visual novels, and the iyashikei/healing anime genre.

You can follow their work as a professional Blerd at Backlit Pixels, get snapshots of their out of office life on Instagram at @pixelatedrhapsody, and follow them on their Twitter at @pixelatedlenses.

Read more articles from Cy Catwell

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