Anime fans new and old will remember the famous ‘Big Three’ Shonen anime from the early 2000s, with Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece dominating Western audiences for their long runs. Fast forward and although the traditional ‘Big Three’ are still around in some form or another, there is an interesting new set of Shonen labelled the Dark Trio for their mature themes. The first to receive an anime adaptation was that of Jujutsu Kaisen in the Fall of 2020, followed by Chainsaw Man two years later, both to much acclaim from critics and fans alike.
The final of the Dark Trio to be adapted is Hell’s Paradise, released in the Spring of 2023, gaining a little less hype than Chainsaw Man in the prelude to its adaptation, but catching the eyes of Shonen fans nonetheless.
What is Hell’s Paradise?
The first of the Dark Trio to be published as a manga in January 2018 written and drawn by Yuuji Kaku, Hell’s Paradise is a Shonen with a historical setting, incorporating supernatural aspects around folklore and demons. Gabimaru the Hollow, a ninja known for being cold and emotionless, is condemned to execution but no one seems to be able to kill him. Despite appearing apathetic to death, our main character is determined to return to his wife, jumping at a proposition from Asaemon the Decapitator, a famous executioner, for a pardon by the Shogunate if he helps her on an expedition for the elixir of life.
The expedition is to an island south of Japan, believed to be Paradise, and as the title suggests not all is as it seems. Faced with violence, uncertainty, and only the option to use his skills, Gabimaru demonstrates his full capabilities with the exploring team consisting of those marked for death.
The Dark Trio have a lot in common specifically with their themes around gore and violence setting them apart from traditional Shonen as the stakes have been raised with the genuine fear that characters could face consequences. One of the main ways to demonstrate these themes is through the animation of the Dark Trio, as all have been adapted by studio MAPPA, known for the likes of Banana Fish, Dorohedoro, and the final season of Attack on Titan, illustrating their credentials for mature content.
Given studio MAPPA’s track record with previous titles it is clear that they can manage the blood and choreography necessary to bring Hell’s Paradise to life in an anime. Well-crafted and animated fight scenes are a specialty of MAPPA’s, with Chainsaw Man showing how well they can blend 2D and 3D animation, Hell’s Paradise’s anime adaptation is in good hands.
Hell’s Paradise promises to be an excellent adaptation of a dark Shonen story, packed full of violence and mature themes. With the Spring 2023 season underway, we cannot wait to see how the final manga of the Dark Trio is adapted by studio MAPPA. Are you excited for Hell’s Paradise to get an anime adaptation? Let us know in the comments!