Hozuki's Coolheadedness

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Hozuki's Coolheadedness
Hōzuki no Reitetsu.jp.jpg
Cover of the first Japanese volume
鬼灯の冷徹
(Hōzuki no Reitetsu)
Genre Dark comedy, supernatural
Manga
Written by Natsumi Eguchi
Published by Kodansha
English publisher Kodansha Comics
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Weekly Morning
Original run March 3, 2011 – present
Volumes 26 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Hiro Kaburaki (season 1)
Kazuhiro Yoneda (season 2)
Written by Midori Gotō
Music by Tomisiro
Studio Wit Studio (season 1)
Studio Deen (season 2)
Licensed by
Original network MBS (season 1)
Tokyo MX (season 2)
English network
Original run January 10, 2014 July 1, 2018
Episodes 39 (List of episodes)
Original animation DVD
Directed by Hiro Kaburaki
Written by Midori Gotō
Music by Tomisiro
Studio Wit Studio
Studio Deen (2017 OVA)
Released February 23, 2015 March 21, 2017
Episodes 4 (List of episodes)
Manga
Hozuki no Reitetsu: Shiro no Ashiato
Written by Monaka Shiba
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Nakayoshi
Original run December 1, 2015 – present
Volumes 2
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Hozuki's Coolheadedness (Japanese: 鬼灯の冷徹, Hepburn: Hōzuki no Reitetsu) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Natsumi Eguchi. The plot revolves around Hozuki, a demon who works for the King and Head Judge of Hell. It has been serialized by Kodansha in the magazine Weekly Morning since March 2011, with chapters collected in twenty-five tankōbon volumes as of March 2018. The manga was adapted into a television anime series; Wit Studio produced the first season in 2014, and Studio Deen was responsible for a second season in 2017–2018. The former studio also produced three original animation DVDs (OADs) in 2015 and the latter one OAD in 2017.

The first season was made available to English-speaking audiences through Crunchyroll, which streamed it, and Sentai Filmworks, which licensed the series to be released on DVD. The second season was acquired by Sentai, who will release it on home media and made it available through the streaming website Hidive. In Japan, the Hozuki's Coolheadedness manga had over 10 million copies in print as of July 2016. The manga and anime have been featured at various times in weekly top ten lists of best-selling in their respective media. The anime has been well received by English-language reviewers, and was usually elected one of the best anime of 2014.

Plot[edit]

The story centers on demon Ogre Hozuki (鬼灯, Hōzuki) who works under King Enma (閻魔大王, Enma-Daiō), the King and Head Judge of Hell who determines what kind of hell the dead will be sent to. The serious-minded Hozuki attempts to manage and troubleshoot unusual problems which occur in the Japanese hell. Two of the most prominent subordinates of Hozuki are Karauri (唐瓜) and Nasubi (茄子). Other people in the hell include Oko (お香, Okō), the chief assistant of Mortal Hell; Peach Maki (ピーチ・マキ, Pīchi Maki), a famous idol in Hell; and Yoshitsune Minamoto (源義経, Minamoto no Yoshitsune), a commander in the Crow-Tengu Police. The main rival of Hozuki is Hakutaku (白澤), a Chinese medicine expert who works at Shangri-La. Hakutaku is assisted by Momotarō (桃太郎), a famous samurai in his days of living. Momotaro's three pets are also regular characters in the series: Shiro (シロ), the dog; Kakisuke (柿助), the monkey; and Rurio (ルリオ), the pheasant.

Production[edit]

In 2010, Natsumi Eguchi won the Honorable Mention Award of the 57th Chiba Tetsuya Awards for Hinichijōtekina Nanigenai Hanashi (非日常的な何気ない話, lit. "An unusual casual story"). The character Oni (, lit. "Ogre") of this work was the model to create Hozuki that would first appear in their debut in the Morning's 32nd issue of 2010 with the story Jigoku no Sata to Are ya Kore (地獄の沙汰とあれやこれ, lit. "The State of the Hell, and This and That"). Some time later, after changing its name to Hōzuki no Reitetsu the series started to be serialized in the magazine.[1]

Eguchi developed a sympathy for yōkai manga such as GeGeGe no Kitarō and Akuma-kun because of her parents influence. Their "strange" preferences for these instead of the typical girl's manga or battle manga, lead her to declare that she "has been reading only afterworld yōkai books since [she] can remember[s]". The horror-themed The Laughing Salesman and Manga Nihon Mukashi Banashi, based on Japanese folktales, were also series she mentioned. Eguchi attributes this childhood experience to the fact her mother was a classical studies professor, and as such she had access to several mythology and folklore books. One such book was Shigeru Mizuki's compilation of 101 yōkai stories. The influence of the anime adaptation of Mizuki's GeGeGe was highlighted by Eguchi, who appreciated the characters' scary but cute features and their variety through each episode. Other non-horror works also influenced her, including Doraemon, especially the main character's bossy personality in the "insane" manga—as Eguchi dubbed it—as opposed to the educational anime.[1]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Written and illustrated by Natsumi Eguchi, the manga series Hozuki's Coolheadedness is serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Morning seinen magazine since March 3, 2011.[2] It has been collected into twenty-three tankōbon volumes by Kodansha; the first was released on May 23, 2011 and the twenty-sixth was released on March 23, 2018.[3][4] In addition to the regular edition, some volumes were also released in a "limited edition" (限定版, Genteiban) accompanied by new cover artworks and series-related merchandise.[5][6] An English-language translation is published by Kodansha Comics through its digital content distributor Kodansha Advanced Media. The first volume was released on March 21, 2017.[7]

A comic and anime official guidebook was released by Kodansha on February 3, 2014,[8] while an artbook was released on November 20, 2015.[9] A special chapter was published in Kodansha's Nakayoshi magazine on December 27, 2014.[10] In the same magazine, a four-panel spin-off by Monaka Shiba has been published starting from December 1, 2015; subtitled Shiro no Ashiato (シロの足跡, lit. "Shiro's Footprints"), it focuses on Shiro.[11] Its first tankōbon volume was released on November 22, 2016,[12] and the second was released on July 21, 2017.[13]

Volume list[edit]

No.Release date ISBN
1 May 23, 2011[3]ISBN 978-4-06-387017-6
2 August 23, 2011[14]ISBN 978-4-06-387035-0
3 November 22, 2011[15]ISBN 978-4-06-387061-9
4 February 23, 2012[16]ISBN 978-4-06-387086-2
5 May 23, 2012[17]ISBN 978-4-06-387110-4
6 August 23, 2012[18]ISBN 978-4-06-387135-7
7 November 22, 2012[19]ISBN 978-4-06-387159-3
8 February 22, 2013[20]ISBN 978-4-06-387190-6
9 May 23, 2013[21]ISBN 978-4-06-387212-5
10 August 23, 2013[22]ISBN 978-4-06-387240-8
11 November 22, 2013[23]ISBN 978-4-06-387269-9
12 December 20, 2013[24]ISBN 978-4-06-387273-6
13 February 21, 2014[25]ISBN 978-4-06-387295-8
14 May 23, 2014[26]ISBN 978-4-06-388333-6
15 August 22, 2014[27]ISBN 978-4-06-388361-9
16 November 21, 2014[28]ISBN 978-4-06-388393-0
17 February 23, 2015[29]ISBN 978-4-06-388426-5
18 May 22, 2015[30]ISBN 978-4-06-388426-5
19 August 21, 2015[31]ISBN 978-4-06-388486-9
20 November 20, 2015[32]ISBN 978-4-06-358781-4
21 March 23, 2016[33]ISBN 978-4-06-358804-0
22 July 22, 2016[34]ISBN 978-4-06-388618-4
23 November 22, 2016[35]ISBN 978-4-06-388660-3
24 March 23, 2017[36]ISBN 978-4-06-388701-3
25 September 22, 2017[37]ISBN 978-4-06-510212-1
26 March 23, 2018[4]ISBN 978-4-06-511108-6

Anime[edit]

An anime adaptation of Hozuki's Coolheadedness was first announced through Morning's 31st issue in June 2013.[38] The exhibition of the anime's first promotional video took place in July at Japan Expo in Paris and Anime Expo in Los Angeles.[39] The Hozuki's Coolheadedness anime series was produced by Wit Studio and directed by Hiro Kaburaki, with screenplay by Midori Gotō and characters design by Hirotaka Katō.[40] It was broadcast by Mainichi Broadcasting System's programming block Animeism[41] from January 10, 2014 to April 4, 2014.[42] The entire series was released by King Records from April 9 to August 13, 2014 both in DVD and Blu-ray with an "A" and "B" version for each one of the six compilations.[note 1][note 2]

The series was simulcasted by Crunchyroll and was available for several countries, including the English-speaking United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.[40] Sentai Filmworks licensed the series to the North American market in January 2014,[40] and released the series on a single box both on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 17, 2015.[51][52] At the Supernova Pop Culture Expo in April 2015, Madman Entertainment announced the series's licensing.[53] Madman made it available through its streaming site AnimeLab in August 2015[54] and through a DVD box released on October 21, 2015.[55] An English-subtitled version is also broadcast to Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore by Aniplus.[56]

In June 2014, a series of three original anime DVDs (OADs) was announced to be produced by the same staff of the anime series.[57] After the release of three teaser videos in August, October and November,[58][59][60] the OADs were screened between December 6 to December 28, 2014 in eleven theaters in Japan.[61] They were released along with the 17th, 18th, and 19th manga volumes on February 23, May 22, and August 21, 2015 respectively.[57] In November 2016, the twenty-third volume of the manga announced that the series would receive a new anime project, beginning with an OAD. It was bundled with the manga's twenty-fourth limited edition volume, and released on March 21, 2017.[62] The staff was the same from the anime and previous OAD series, with Studio Deen taking over animation production from Wit Studio.[63]

A second season was announced in March 2017, with the staff from the 2017 OAD returning to reprise their roles.[64] The second season premiered on October 8, 2017.[65] Sentai Filmworks licensed the season for home media and digital release in North America.[66] Sentai's website Hidive simulcasted the season with English subtitles in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.[67] After the 13th episode aired on December 31, 2017,[citation needed] it was announced that the second season would take a break and return in April 2018.[68] The second cour of the second season premiered on April 8, 2018,[69] and ended on July 1, 2018.[citation needed] Three DVD and Blu-ray boxes covering episodes 1–19 were released between January 17, 2018,[70][71][72] and July 18, 2018, and the last box is set to be publihsed on September 19, 2018.[73]

Audio[edit]

The Hozuki's Coolheadedness anime series's music was composed by Tomisiro under Starchild Records, while Sound Team Don Juan produced the sound.[40] The series uses "Jigoku no Sata mo Kimi Shidai" (地獄の沙汰も君次第) as its opening theme; it is interpreted by the series' main cast members under the name Jigoku no Sata All Stars (地獄の沙汰オールスターズ, Jigoku no Sata, lit. "Hell's Judgment All Stars").[74] It was released on February 19, 2014, and was followed by the series's ending theme, "Parallax View" (パララックス・ビュー, Pararakkusu Byū) by Sumire Uesaka, on March 5, 2014.[75][76] Another song from the series, "Ake! Jigoku no Kama no Futa" (開け!地獄の釜の蓋), was released on June 1, 2014.[77] The anime soundtrack album was released on December 3, 2014 into two version; one with only the CD and another with a CD and DVD.[78][79] The OAD's theme, "Enma Daiō ni Kiite Goran" (閻魔大王に訊いてごらん) by Uesaka, was released on December 12, 2014.[80]

An online radio program was and broadcast by Animate TV between December 28, 2013 and April 6, 2014, lasting thirteen episodes.[81][82] The show, titled Hito ni Kibishiku (ひとにきびしく), was hosted by Hiroki Yasumoto, Hōzuki's voice actor, and received the other anime's voice actors as guest.[81][82] To accompany the return of the anime in 2017, a second season titled Motto Hito ni Kibishiku (もっとひとにきびしく) started to be broadcast on September 15.[83]

Reception[edit]

Oricon comic rankings
No. Peak
rank
Notes Refs
1 20 1 week [84]
2 22 2 weeks [85]
3 29 2 weeks [85]
4 12 2 weeks [86]
5 6 1 week [87]
6 7 3 weeks [88]
7 8 3 weeks [89]
8 6 3 weeks [90]
9 6 3 weeks [91]
10 10 2 weeks [92]
11 7 3 weeks [93]
12 6 3 weeks [94]
13 3 4 weeks [95]
14 5 4 weeks [96]
15 2 3 weeks [97]
16 5 4 weeks [98]
17 5 3 weeks [99]
18 3 4 weeks [100]
19 4 4 weeks [101]
20 6 3 weeks [102]
21 3 3 weeks [103]
22 2 4 weeks [104]
23 3 3 weeks [105]
24 6 3 weeks [106]
25 4 4 weeks [107]
26 6 4 weeks [108]

Public response[edit]

As of July 2016, Hozuki's Coolheadedness's first twenty-two volumes and related works, including illustration collection, had 10 million copies in print.[109] Several volumes of the series have been featured on Oricon's weekly chart of the best-selling manga; all volumes since the fifth one have reached the top 10 (see table). Hozuki's Coolheadedness was among the best-selling manga series of 2014 and 2015,[110][111] and individual volumes have also reached the list for the first half of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.[112][113][114][115] The series's guidebook also entered the top 25 of best-selling comics.[116]

All the six compilation of the anime series were featured both on Oricon's weekly chart of the best-selling DVD and Blu-ray, reaching the top 10 in both categories.[note 3] Its first two volumes were released the same day and they ranked first and second on the DVD list, while were second and third on the Blu-ray list.[117][118] The first DVD, the fifth Blu-ray and the sixth DVD volumes topped the list.[117][124][125] The first Blu-ray sold over 6,700 copies and the last one sold over 4,700 discs.[118][126] In a survey by Rekochoku with 500 men and women between the ages of 10 and 50, Hozuki's Coolheadedness was voted the best anime that started in January 2014.[127] Asking the same question the site Animeanime.jpg received over 2800 votes, and the anime was the fourth most voted in general, while was atop among women.[128][129]

Both the first two DVD boxes and the first two Blu-ray boxes of the second season ranked fourth on Oricon's weekly chart of the best-selling animated media.[130][131][132][133] The DVD version sold about 1,000 copies per box,[130][131] while the Blu-ray one sold over 2,000 discs per box.[132][133] The third DVD box charted eleven and sold 725 copies.[134]

Critical response[edit]

The 2012 edition of Takarajimasha's Kono Manga ga Sugoi!, which surveys people in the manga and publishing industry, named Hozuki's Coolheadedness the nineteenth best manga series for male readers.[135] In 2012, it was one of the 15 manga nominated for the 5th Manga Taishō and was selected by jury for the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards.[39] The series was nominated for the 38th Kodansha Manga Award for Best General Manga,[136][137] and ranked fifth on the "Book of the Year" by Media Factory's Da Vinci in 2014.[138]

Several reviewers named Hozuki's Coolheadedness among their favorite of the year or of the winter season; this include Vichus Smith of Electronic Gaming Monthly,[139] Seb Reid of UK Anime Network,[140] Kelly Quinn of Tor.com,[141] and Amy McNulty and Gabriella Ekens of Anime News Network (ANN).[142][143] Most reviewers pondered over its humor that requires some understanding of Japanese culture, but they ultimately appreciated it.[139][141][142][143][144] Quinn considered it to be one of the most original comedy shows of the year because of its "sadistic humor and bizarre setting".[141] Ekens affirmed that "While not every episode provoked peals of laughter, there was just enough cuteness and cleverness aside to make me love this little show."[143] Reid compared it to Polar Bear Cafe because of its "dry, sarcastic" humor style and "weird" stories, and praised the writing for its peculiar stories and dialogues, as well as its "deadpan acting".[140] Josh Tolentino of Japanator often compared it to Lucky Star for its slow pace.[145][146][147] He commented, "I've heard rumblings in some circles about [the anime] being intensely boring, but I'm having fun so far. It's just really low-key in the way that, say, Dilbert is low-key."[145] Nicoletta Christina Browne of THEM Anime Reviews also found it similar to Dilbert and salaryman manga, especially on the depiction of Hozuki–Enma relation.[144]

ANN's Carl Kimlinger was generally unfavorable; although noted its premise as singular, he criticized its music, characters and "comedic incompetence".[148] He nevertheless praised its sumi-e-inspired visuals, which are "startlingly beautiful at times, and utterly distinctive at all times".[148] Quinn also echoed a similar praise for its visuals,[141] while Tolentino stated "one of this show's best qualities is how it shows off traditional Japanese art".[149] Browne commended the mixture of modern character designs with classic art style that creates an "unique and appealing look", and said that "the animation is generally quite good, if low-key".[144] Kate O'Neil of The Fandom Post also praised it, stating "the animation is quite superb".[150] O'Neil also said, "It's the weird artsy kid sitting in the back row of desks combined with The Office. Many viewers won't get the appeal, but it's always been a fascinating and often funny watch with a great artistic style and well defined personalities."[151]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See the attached sources for volume 1: DVD ("A" version),[43] DVD ("B" version),[44] Blu-ray ("A" version),[45] and Blu-ray ("B" version).[46]
  2. ^ See the attached sources for volume 6: DVD ("A" version),[47] DVD ("B" version),[48] Blu-ray ("A" version),[49] and Blu-ray ("B" version)[50]
  3. ^ See the attached sources for volume 1 and 2 (DVD),[117] volume 1 and 2 (Blu-ray),[118] volume 3 (DVD),[119] volume 3 (Blu-ray),[120] volume 4 (DVD),[121] volume 4 (Blu-ray),[122] volume 5 (DVD),[123] volume 5 (Blu-ray),[124] volume 6 (DVD),[125] and volume 6 (Blu-ray).[126]

References[edit]

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