Collage of Yui, Gabimaru, and the Chief of Iwagakure holding baby Gabimaru in Hell's Paradise

Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku has taken over the anime fandom just like its “Shonen Dark Trio” counterparts, Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man. The series, which premiered on Crunchyroll in April this year, is a classic action anime with more gore than ever. However, it’s more than an edgy, violent animation. It has a thrilling premise, only made better by its complex characters.

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Since Hell’s Paradise introduces several new characters at once and mostly takes place on the dangerous island Shinsenkyo, its narrative is full of flashbacks about life before. These recollections from the past serve as a way for fans to know the characters’ backstories and determine which ones are their favorites. Viewers are rooting for criminals like Gabimaru and the Aza brother to survive, especially thanks to these memories.



10 Twisted Keiun’s Sadism

Ep. 3 “Weakness & Strength”

Close up to Twisted Keiun in Hell's Paradise

On their first day in Shinsenkyo, Gabimaru and Sagiri stumble upon Twisted Keiun and his executioner, Kisho. When the villain gets violent against Gabimaru, Sagiri warns him about his violent tendencies, which prompts a flashback. As Sagiri explains that Keiun is a monk who “fell in love with weapons,” the series shows him licking the blade of his sword after killing a dozen people to steal from them.

This flashback is short, but it’s enough to remind the audience how dangerous Shinsenkyo really is. It isn’t just the island trying to kill the main characters, but the other criminals in it too. Even though it’s only the third episode, “Weakness and Strength” tells the viewers that Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku is one of the most violent battle royales in anime.

9 Rokurota’s True Nature

Ep. 6 “Heart & Reason”

Rokurota bleeding in Hell's Paradise

“Heart and Reason” pits Gabimaru and Sagiri against Rokurota, a cannibal giant. By the end of the episode, the monster dies in the hands of the two warriors only for a flashback to reveal the truth: Rokurota is a gigantic 8-year-old whose only sin is having an insatiable hunger combined with brute force.

After the flashback, Rokurota sheds a tear and then dies without truly understanding himself or why society never accepted him. This moment reflects how tragic Rokurota’s backstory is, delving into the good-bad dichotomy that permeates the whole show. This softens the audience’s perception of the Giant of Bizen.

8 The Beheaded Storyteller

Ep. 2 “Screening & Choosing”

Close up to Sageri thinking in Hell's Paradise

According to Sagiri, her father was a virtuous executioner, to the point where he once beheaded a storyteller who didn’t even notice his death. In fact, the man kept talking even his head was severed. All this happened in front of Sagiri, who remembers the story through a flashback in the second episode of the series.

This memory is a great example of how gruesome the show can be, but it also establishes Sagiri’s core storyline. She wants to be as great as her father with the katana, but her journey hasn’t been as simple. Starting with the fact that she’s a woman, the Yamada Clan didn’t welcome her easily.

7 The Aza Brothers’ Childhood

Ep. 4 “Hell & Paradise”

Chōbei smiling with his hands tied in Hell's Paradise

After a couple of glimpses at Tōma and Chōbei, Episode 4 finally delves into their backstory. As told by Tōma, he and his brother were orphaned from a young age and Chōbei took it upon himself to protect him. This led Chōbei to a life of crime, and he eventually becomes the Bandit King. This also earned him Tōma’s eternal gratitude, which is how he ends up Chōbei’s monitor on Shinsenkyo.

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Anime fans love a rogue with a heart, which has put Chōbei on top of the popularity lists. Knowing that this criminal’s main motivation is to take care of his little brother warmed the viewers’ hearts and raised the stakes in battle. Now nobody wants to see the Aza brothers perish. Even after the battle against the Tensen left them wounded, fans are rooting for them.

6 Gabimaru’s Bath

Ep. 7 “Flowers & Offerings”

Gabimaru and Yui standing close in Hell's Paradise

Gabimaru’s main motivation to survive the Kotaku island is to reunite with Yui, his beloved wife. In “Flowers and Offerings,” he remembers a conversation with Yui while she washed his back, in which she reminds him of the importance of relaxing before a fight, which proves useful for her job.

In this same conversation, he convinces her to stop covering her face scar, as he finds her beautiful anyway. Throughout the series, viewers can see how Yui has influenced Gabimaru, who used to be a killing machine. Now, he’s a more thoughtful man, who is still trying to learn kindness. After this memory, he shows Mei, who feels self-conscious about her own scars, that there’s nothing to feel bad about.

5 Sagiri’s Connection To Death

Ep. 2 “Screening & Choosing”

Young Sagiri throwing a stone while bleeding in a flashback in Hell's Paradise

After Eizen taunts Sagiri, warning her that being a samurai isn’t a job for a woman, she reminds him that as the daughter of an executioner, she didn’t have much of a choice. The show features a flashback about her childhood and how she coexisted with swords and bodies from a young age and was even ostracized for her father’s job.

This flashback touches on how Sagiri’s fate was decided for her, expanding on her traumas and her high sense of duty. Her journey to become a proper executioner may be questionable, but thanks to this flashback, it becomes obvious why she struggles to take a life without hesitation.

4 The Chief Of Iwagakure’s Immortality

Ep. 3 “Weakness & Strength”

The Chief Of Iwagakure stabbing himself in the head while smiling in Hell's Paradise

The third episode of the series opens with a flashback in which Gabimaru remembers witnessing the Chief of the Iwagakure go through cruel torture, such as being disemboweled and stabbed with dozens of swords. Despite this, the man survives, which leads Gabimaru to believe that the Elixir of Life exists and the Chief has used it.

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This flashback raises the stakes from the very beginning. Viewers could be tempted to believe that the mission on the island is pointless, but this memory may prove that the Elixir is real, so all the criminals have an actual chance at winning an official pardon by the end of the series.

3 Tenza’s Backstory

Ep. 8 “Student & Master”

Close of Tenza serious looking in Hell's Paradise

“Student and Master” introduces Tenza’s backstory and his connection to Shion. A series of flashbacks tell how a dubitative Tenza went from being a street urchin to being a member of the Yamada Asaemon, thanks to Shion’s faith in his potential. Unfortunately, these flashbacks alternate with Tenza’s last moments, after he sacrifices himself in the battle against a Tensen.

Easily one of the saddest storylines of the series, “Student and Master” tricks the audience into relating to Tenza only to have him die a heroic death by the end. Since he’s kind, funny, and even chivalrous, it’s impossible not to love this character. His death proves just how ruthless Jigokuraku can get.

2 Gabimaru’s Backstory

Ep. 3 “Weakness & Strength”

Chief of Iwakagure holding baby Gabimaru in a flasback in Hell's Paradise

A shonen hero isn’t a good shonen hero without a proper backstory. “Weakness and Strength” introduces Gabimaru’s origin. After the Iwagakure kills his parents, a jōnin couple, the Chief takes baby Gabimaru and takes it upon himself to train him.

As baby Gabimaru observes, the Chief tells him that “emotions, even love between a parent and a child, make [him] weak.” With this memory, Hell’s Paradise establishes Gabimaru’s incorrect life philosophy. This marks the beginning of his journey to become an actual hero and leave his self-deprecating attitude behind.

1 Yui’s Kindness

Ep. 1 “The Death Row Convict & the Executioner”

Yui hugging Gabimaru in a flashback in Hell's Paradise

In the climax of the first episode, after Sagiri offers Gabimaru an official pardon, he remembers his wife. As he reminisces about the moment when Yui refused to believe he was hollow and told him that “hearts don’t die so easily,” he sheds a couple of tears. This inspires him to accept the mission in the Underworld, only for a chance to see Yui again.

Yui’s kindness is the catalyst for Gabimaru’s change. While everyone considered him Gabimaru the Hollow, she reminded him that he could still feel. Thanks to her, he goes from being an emotionless assassin to being inspired to live a normal life. This flashback establishes, from the very first episode, how Yui’s small actions led Gabimaru to embrace his emotions after the Chief of the Iwagakure broke his soul.

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