Hells (2008)

  • Year: 2008
  • Released: 14 Feb 2008
  • Country: Japan
  • Adwords: 1 win
  • IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1313120/
  • Rotten Tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hells
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Japanese
  • MPA Rating: N/A
  • Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
  • Runtime: 117 min
  • Writer: Scott Frerichs, Howard Wang
  • Director: Yoshinobu Yamakawa, Amber Lee Connors
  • Cast: Misato Fukuen, Miyuki Sawashiro, Daisuke Kishio
  • Keywords: hell, volleyball, panda, school play, anime, adam and eve,

Hells Storyline

Linne’s a lively teenage girl, rushing off to her first day at a new school, promising her mother that she’ll make a hundred friends. She’ll arrive at a new school and make some interesting friends, but not at the school she expected. Not in the realm of the living, in fact, for a sudden traffic accident sends her through the gates of the after-world. By the time she’s realized that she’s in the afterlife and that her new classmates are demons of hell and not just outlandishly attired urban hipsters, she’s already begun to make friends, make a name for herself, and catch the eye of the handsome, smooth-talking student council president. She’s also earned the attention of Headmaster Helvis-a fearsome red demon with the dress and manner of the King, baby-and that’s not such a good thing. Especially given that something’s not right here-Linne can bleed, which means she’s alive, and that will have some pretty serious consequences for her and in fact for all of Hell’s denizens.—Rupert Bottenberg

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Hells Movie Reviews

Hectic And Strange

This movie got me interested into looking up the manga and its astoundingly faithful to the source. This is kind of a double edged sword. Only three volumes long, its a hectic and confusing story with very underdeveloped characters. But in spite of that, it is still rather compelling. I never felt bored and ultimately enjoyed the experience.

I loved the art style. Its very scratchy and rough, it looks like something that was supposed to be a rough draft and was meant to be redrawn. At first it was off putting seeing such rough outlines but once I got used to it I started to notice something else. All these characters are really well designed. All the characters are so interesting to look at I often just wanted to pause the movie. Even simpler designs like Wolfie’s and less integral characters like Mummyla have a strange allure to them. But no character stands out more than Hellvis himself. The principal of the school is something else all together.

Its not just the characters though, the scenery itself is so stylized that you forget how minimal all the features are. For instance, the classroom is just a bunch of desks in a room, sometimes a void, but it just better serves the characters. It brings them more into focus, making them pop even more as your eye wanders about. But through what should be a clutter of visual stimulation, it subtly draws your attention to Steela by simply giving her something unique. Her desk is the only one that has stitches on it and before anyone says anything, tells you this character in particular is important. When there is scenery, the sketchy style makes hell look so alien to the realm of the living that it expresses what’s happening well. Seeing Amagane running to get through the school gates, the dark skies and medieval stone architecture is so jarring that you know that she isn’t in Japan anymore.

The movie starts one way but makes a very sharp turn before you know it. School stories aren’t uncommon as a character starts to ingratiate themselves with their classmates, resolving their problems and becoming friends, and at first glance that seemed like where the plot was going. Then it starts talking about Cain and Abel and Adam and Eve and all that stuff involving her classmates is thrown out the window for a strange interpretation of a biblical feud. It is disappointing that you don’t get to learn more about the classmates, but this turn I can’t say is bad per say. Its a roller coaster of stimulation, with a lot of jarring twists and turns that are hard to follow, but this kind of works at least to some degree. It is impossible to guess what is going to happen next and if you are just looking for a ride and don’t focus too hard on details, its a fun romp.

Its a very controversial movie. Some people aren’t going to like it because of its style and unconventional narrative. But at the same time, I feel some are going to adore it for those same points. Its not really a movie that translates into a review because its so subjective. Its really something you have to watch for yourself to come to any conclusion over.

Hells: Interesting, but lifeless

Hells was a recommendation, I’d never heard of it and based on it’s appearance I’d likely not have given it a go otherwise.

It tells the story of a girl who is involved in a car accident on her way to school. When she awakens she discovers she’s in hell, a place where the dead go to educate at an academy for whatever is next.

Immediately I was hit by the animation style, it’s one that you’ll see commonly in short films and music videos but for a full 2hr feature it was simply too much. It’s not that I dislike it, it just has its place and this wasn’t it.

More a comedy than anything else it’s seven shades of goofy and I don’t mean that in a good way. It falls into all the usual anime tropes, for example there isn’t much spoken dialogue in Hells……………it’s all shouted!

The plot makes sense but is convoluted and deeply baffling. It involves “God”, Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel and everyone in hell is inexplicably some kind of monster, animal, panda etc with no explanation as to why. Especially considering coincidentally our leading lady isn’t.

So visually it’s overwhelming, the plot is confused and despite it being full of action in manages to be really quite boring.

Though not entirely terrible this just wasn’t for me at all.

The Good:

Has its heart in the right place

Some interesting characters

The Bad:

Not keen on the animation style

Really goofy

Plot is a confused mess

Overall this is a clever anime picture with some fun sequences and obstacles for the main character to overcome.

Hells (2008) is an animated film my daughter and I recently watched together on Tubi (it’s also on Prime). The storyline follows a girl who on her way to school has an unfortunate accident and wakes up in hell. She seeks an opportunity to help the demons in Hell and return to the living. This movie is codirected by Yoshinobu Yamakawa (Little Buster) and Amber Lee Connors (Dead Island). The animation style is very unique and fun. The depiction of hell and the various creatures within it were entertaining. There are some racey scenes with sexual innuendos but they aren’t over done, just strongly alluded to. The storyline is fairly straightforward with some good twists to cause doubt. As additional characters get pulled into the universe the film becomes more and more unpredictable. Overall this is a clever anime picture with some fun sequences and obstacles for the main character to overcome. I’d score this a 7/10 and recommend seeing it.