Anime Spotlight: Riddle Story of Devil

Riddle Story of Devil is an anime based on a manga by Yun Koga. The series is produced by Diomedea and is directed by Keizo Kusakawa. Riddle Story of Devil aired on Japanese television from April 3-June 19, 2014. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American streaming rights for Riddle Story of Devil.

Tokaku Azuma transfers into Myojo Academy as a member of Year 10, Class Black. There’s a total of 13 students in the class. 12 of them are assassins disguised as students, and their target is Haru Ichinose, the 13th student in the class.

On the first day of class, only five of the students are there: Tokaku, Haru, Isuke, Nio, and Student No. 12 (who says she won’t introduce herself until after the sun sets). We later learn she is Mahiru during the day and Shinya Banba at night. Haru gives everyone cell phone straps that she’s made. At the time, Tokaku thinks she doesn’t want it. Later, when Nio tries throwing hers out of a window, Tokaku saves it. Isuke then also throws hers at Tokaku and says that she doesn’t want it.

It turns out that Tokaku and Haru are roommates in the dorm. And since Tokaku is Student No. 1 in the class, she has been given the task of taking roll call. In addition to the characters we already met, we meet some of the other classmates who weren’t in class that morning: Haruki, Chitaru, and Hitsugi.

During Episode Two, we meet the remaining members of Class Black: Shiena Kenmochi, Otoya Takechi, Suzu Shuto, and Kouko Kaminaga. Haru and Tokaku come to know each other better after Isuke tries to assassinate Haru before the start of the competition. When the assassins are brought together for a meeting, Tokaku declares that instead of trying to assassinate Haru, she will protect her instead.

Most of the remaining episodes of the series focus on the various students as they try to assassinate Haru in order to get the prize, which is being granted whatever they wish. Each attempt is somehow thwarted by Tokaku. When it gets down to just a couple of students remaining in the class, the true nature of the assassination game is revealed, as well as secrets about Haru.

At the end of the first episode, I wondered if the potential promise I had seen for the series would manifest itself as the series progressed. Sadly, I ended up being rather disappointed in that regard.

By the end of Episode Two, I had a major issue with just how many characters were being thrown out there at once so that I had a hard time keeping their names straight. At the end of Episode Four, I found myself feeling a little frustrated because characters were being written out just as the audience was getting to know them. I also realized the weakness of knowing the fact that a student has to fail each time they try to assassinate Haru, because the series would come to an end if that didn’t happen.

By the end of Episode Five, the only thing that was keeping my interest to any degree was discovering who the next person who tries to assassinate Haru is and how they’re going to do it. Admittedly, at that point, if I hadn’t been watching the series to write about it for my blog, I would have dropped it after watching Episode Five. The formula that had been developed started being changed with Episode Six, so the series started becoming a little more interesting again. However, after truths are revealed in Episode 11, things became very confusing and crazy in the final episode. In fact, I found myself spending most of Episode 12 feeling rather confused as I watched it.

While Riddle Story of Devil wasn’t my least favorite anime I watched during the Spring 2014 anime season, it definitely ran a close second. I’m in no hurry to ever watch this again.

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