As Miss Beelzebub likes. – Episode 1

By: Vrai Kaiser October 12, 20180 Comments
Beelzebub patting a kneeling Mullin on the head, surrounded by sparkles

What’s it about? Hell is a kingdom staffed by fallen angels and ruled, in Satan’s absence, by the demon Beelzebub—and lower demon Mullin has recently stepped into the job of her attendant. She’s not exactly the imposing figure he imagined, but one thing he can’t get over is how cute she is.

Didn’t Hell used to be edgy? Like, at least a little bit?

Beelzebub as a chibi lifting her arms next to an incredulous Mullin, with an image of Christ in the background. subtitle: We work according to God's will

I recognize that this is a petty complaint. Satan and his followers as sympathetic figures goes back at least as far as Milton’s famous Bible fanfic Paradise Lost, and that’s a lot of centuries for an idea to go stale. Hell as bureaucracy is nothing new either, particularly in anime. But Miss Beelzebub is the absolute epitome of the sanded down “we like these names and also wanted to do a vaguely royal hierarchy without it being connected to real countries” approach to Christian mythology I’ve ever seen.

All the pink and food porn and fluffy not-Tribbles…I never thought I’d find myself missing Angel Sanctuary, but here we are.

There’s nothing wrong with being pink or fluffy or soft, mind, and fans of very gentle-looking aesthetics may find themselves drawn to the almost alarmingly bright pastels and rounded edges. Looking at it feels like a long, relaxing exhale, and Beelzebub is drawn toward lots of cute and cutely drawn creatures for snuggles (some attempts more successful than others).

Beelzebub patting a kneeling Mullin on the head, surrounded by sparkles

It’s a very gentle show, rarely rousing itself beyond a deadpan comment from Beelzebub or a blushing tsundere outburst from Mullin; mostly, its heart is firmly in rom-com land. The opening theme introduces three couples blushing and staring at one another across heart-and-macaron backgrounds: Beelzebub and Mullin, a large man and a very short Lolita-fashion woman, and a cheerful womanizer and hyper-competent woman no doubt doomed to clean up after him.  These types of shows generally cycle between subplots in order to give the viewer a variety of relationship dynamics and keep the format light.

Hopefully it will settle into itself better than this first episode, which escalates quite quickly from Mullin just starting his new job to an emphatic kabedon in the space of what can’t be more than a few days. Mullin’s tsundere outbursts are mostly endearing in that he seems to long for Beelzebub’s approval, but when the show tips toward him wanting to protect her (allegedly Satan’s right-hand demon) it fumbles the landing and winds up coming across as presumptuous and possessive of a woman he barely knows.

It feels in too much of a hurry to hit its marks rather than letting the couple breathe and find a natural dynamic, and it winds up feeling extremely out of place in a show whose jokes and visuals are in no hurry at all.

Mullin blushing and holding his coat in front of a naked Beelzebub. subtitle: Do you have no shame?!

As a last note, the otherwise aggressively fluffy visual style does come with a bizarre undercurrent of fanservice—we see Beelzebub sleeping naked multiple times, and she comfortably strips at several points as well (though the latter is mostly drawn sparingly and for comedy). Her breasts are also waaaaaaay the heck out there, even when she’s fully clothed. And, just in case UzaMaid! didn’t fill your quota for Wacky Comedy Pedophiles, the opening credits also seems to include a woman slobbering over an underage-looking boy. So…there’s that.

There are a couple good jokes and soothing moments in here. While there are one or two troubling signs on the horizon, it might appeal to folks who don’t mind a bit of fanservice with their iyashikei.

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