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Beelzebub (Episodes 1-26) PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 23 August 2011 00:00

Beelzebub

Here's something you don't see very often: a series based on a Shounen Jump title that's consistently fun to watch. Who'd've thought it was possible. Oga Tatsumi's just become surrogate father for young baby Beel - who just happens to be the son of the Demon Lord. Which seems to give the kid a free pass on wearing any clothes, unfortunately...

Oga Tatsumi is a first year student in Ishiyama High, a notorious school for delinquents. One day while taking a nap by the river he sees a man floating by, and the man suddenly splits in half to reveal a baby boy inside! This boy is the son of the Demon Lord, and Oga has been chosen as the one to raise him, together with the baby's demon maid Hilda. With his close friend Furuichi and a bunch of other characters joining in on the fun, Oga must raise baby Beel while preventing the world from being destroyed...

That "prevent the world being destroyed" bit isn't too far from the truth. If Oga gets too far from Beel (about 25 meters seems to be the cut-off), the electrical shock the kid unleashes would be fatal. There are plenty of not-so-fatal shocks delievered, too, every time Beel gets annoyed or upset. And let's not forget that when it's time for him to pee, the resulting flood is of biblical proportions. But, with Beel having decided that Oga's the strongest person he's seen since arriving in the human world, it's Oga he's going to stay attached to - come hell or high (pee) water.

That's the downside. On the upside, Beel comes with Hildegarde, aka Hilda, his nanny who is far too cute to ever be considered a demon (unless you get on her bad side). After passing herself off as Oga's new wife to his family, she moves herself in and helps - up to a point - with the day-to-day tasks of raising Beel. Meanwhile, best friend Furuichi tags along, hoping to score with Hilda but instead only managing to draw the affections of Alaindelon, a Dimensional Transfer Demon who shares more than just his looks with Freddie Mercury.

Also featuring are the TKKH, the top five brawlers at Ishiyama High; and Aoi, his classmate (and female gang leader) who's also stuck looking after a young child. This is a Shounen Jump show, after all - brawlers are going to feature heavily, but unlike most of its stablemates, Beelzebub keeps the fights short, doesn't indulge in unnecessary posturing, and thanks to the inclusion of Aoi and her eccentric gang mates (deadpan waterpistol wielder Chiaki has gone straight into my list of favourite characters, despite getting hardly any screentime) there's some eyecandy to go along with proceedings as well.

It's also funny, gut-bustingly so in places, and that's something I really wasn't expecting from it. When I first heard of the show and its premise, there was a roll of the eyes and a little mental marker put down to watch just the first episode and then drop it, but here I am still watching and still enjoying the antics of Og and his ever-growing gang of acquaintences. It's surprisingly addictive fare.

There's just the one thing about it that annoys me, and that's Beel's refusal to wear clothes, a failing compounded by the decision to draw him, shall we say, anatomicaly-correct. Thanks, guys, but I really don't want to see baby wang waved in my face on a regular basis - and that's sadly what Beelzebub insists on doing, week in and week out.

Still, as failings go, it's a small one, and despite it this is still a show that manages to be genuinely entertaining, even while rehashing some of the same old Shounen Jump themes that we've seen so many times. The 26 episode covered here are just the start - the series looks set to be a long-runner - but you know what? That doesn't bother me one bit. Worth checking out.

Rating - ***