A while back I decided to stop reviewing Beelzebub. I did this because at the time I had too much on my plate and needed to cut back on my work load a little. The excessive use of filler killed the enjoyment of the series for me as well, and while negative reviews are both fun to write and read, I needed to drop a series from my review pile. This one just happened to be the first on the chopping block.
Since then I have picked up a few more series, and learned more about how to write reviews. I’ve also changed my approach on how to review series I am behind on. It just didn’t sit well with me to leave this series unreviewed when I’m picking up so many other series. And at the time I dropped it I had resigned myself to expecting this series to be cut short. Obviously that has not happened, so it is with great joy that I catch up with all the missed episodes, starting off a new weekly review series.
The main reason I dropped this show was because the filler was rancid. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time. In retrospect the filler wasn’t all that bad, some of it was even quite good. But it wasn’t what I was watching for, so the series just seemed like a major disappointment.
Filler – Episodes 16-17
As would be my luck, the episode right after I stopped reviewing this series weekly was not only canon, but it also mixed filler in with the canon very well. The next was complete filler, but after that we came into proper canon material.
Oga vs Tojo – Episodes 18-21
The Oga vs Tojo arc was several episodes long, and really helped restore my faith in the series. I still did not decide to review every week because by that point several episodes had passed and I had no time to play catch up. There were a few parts of the arc that seemed odd to me, such as the stylistic choices during the first Oga and Tojo fight. But the whole set of episodes were a good mix of what makes the original manga good, along with some additions put in by the anime.
The Demon World – Episodes 22-24
I love any episode that has Kunieda in it, and since the animators seem to share my love, I get a lot of treats out of this anime. The episode Secluded Mountain Training acts like filler, but is all canon material, and was a ton of fun to watch.
The demon world arc only lasted two episodes, and had a bit of material cut out of it. But it was a lot of fun to see how the animators expanded on the material from the manga. The story probably could have been milked for more, at just two episodes it feels more like a short interlude, rather than the full arc it could have been.
St. Ishiyama – Episodes 25-28
With their school destroyed, though not as fully as it should be, the students of Ishiyama High get split up between several different neighboring schools. All the important characters get put in one classroom at the same school, St. Ishiyama.
The anime takes a chance to spread out a little more, and adds in filler that felt much better crafted than the early filler. Beelzebub really is a show that could go on for a while, with the perfect balance of filler and canon material. All that it needs is to learn how to do good filler. I enjoyed these few episodes because they let the viewers get to know some of the new characters more.
The Six Holy Knights – Episodes 29-36
Oga and co learn about the six holy knights, students from St. Ishiyama who excel in certain fields, and have authority to keep the order in school. After an encounter with some quite douchey St. Ishiyama students, Shiroyama is sent to the hospital. The event escalates into an all out brawl between Oga and friends, and four of the holy knights.
When faced with expulsion because of their brawling, the Ishiyama High students are given the chance to face the six holy knights in a volleyball game. If they lose they are all expelled, but if they win the six holy knights loose their authority.
These episodes are the highlight of the anime for me, combining everything that makes this anime great. Namely, bizarre humor. It all comes to a climax when they win, only to have their victory interrupted by a ghost from Oga and his former friend Miki’s past.
The Plot Thickens… – Episodes 37-43
With the introduction of the singular most badass of badasses, Saotome Zenjuro, things start to heat up. Oga meets Beel’s older brother En, who was sent to destroy the world. Fortunately he is easily distracted by video games. And good thing too, because if he doesn’t have his way, his temper tantrum could bathe the entire city in flames.
After spending a day goofing off at an amusement park, En’s maids warn Hilda that En’s retainers might try to harm Beel. Shortly afterwards they get ambushed by En’s servants, and Hilda is mortally injured. Oga has a hard time fighting their attacker, before being saved by Saotome. While Tojo and his group are saved by the timely intervention of…Kanzaki? After Hilda’s condition stabilizes, Oga starts training at Aoi’s dojo. Hilda decides that they need to find En, and get him to call off his minions. While Oga and Aoi go off for training, Furuichi and Lamia try to find En, with little success. So they enlist the help of the rest of the Ishiyama students.
I didn’t think much of this series when it first came out. To me it just seemed like it could never compare to the manga. But after some growing pains, I can honestly say that it has grown into a series that I absolutely love. It has all the weirdness, and comedy that I could ask for.
The series’ penchant for filler is a bit unnerving on a weekly basis, but there is usually enough there to entertain anyone that can ignore the manga canon and just enjoy the series for what it is. I will be the first to admit that I couldn’t do this until much later. Most of my misgivings about this series come from knowing the source material too well. And while I still think the anime could pick up the pace in how it adapts the manga, I highly recommend Beelzebub to anyone that loves screwball comedy and a fight here and there.
If you liked my review, Watch the Show Here!