Studio MAPPA's upcoming Hell's Paradise will likely be one of the best parts of the Spring 2023 anime season. Along with Chainsaw Man, Hell's Paradise is considered part of what is known as anime's Dark Trio. So, will Hell's Paradise be the next Chainsaw Man? What do the two dark shounen anime have in common?
RELATED: The Best Horror Anime of All Time
What Is Hell's Paradise About?
Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku is a dark fantasy anime set in the Edo Period of Japan. In it, we follow Gabimaru, an unkillable ninja, and Yamada Asaemon Sagiri, in their quest for the elixir of immortality.
When Gabimaru is sentenced to death, Sagiri finds that no method of execution works for him.
Believing Gabimaru's desire to see his wife again is what keeps him alive, Sagiri offers him the chance to receive a pardon if he joins an expedition to help her find the elixir of immortality.
The elixir is located on a faraway Japanese island believed to be paradise, but behind the colorful flowers and idyllic setting lie countless horrors that Gabimaru and his fellow convicts cannot begin to understand.
Anime's Dark Trio Explained
Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku is considered part of the Dark Trio of shounen anime, an unofficial triad that also includes Chainsaw Man and Jujutsu Kaisen.
All three are classified as shounen -- manga and anime published in magazines that are marketed toward a male demographic -- yet they defy many of the most common shounen tropes, which opens them up to a more diverse and mature audience.
All three have their whimsical and lighthearted moments, but they are much darker than what you would expect from a series for teenagers.
These three manga don't shy away from violence, sexual themes, and more saddening subplots, nor do they hesitate to depict less-than-perfect protagonists.
Yuji Itadori is still pretty wholesome, but if you thought Denji made an unorthodox shounen protagonist, wait to see Gabimaru.
This hardened warrior, who has trained as a ninja since early childhood, isn't out to save the world.
He kills so dispassionately that he got the nickname "Gabimaru the Empty," with his one redeeming quality being his love for his wife, and his wish to start a normal life with her.
This is a far cry from the adolescent protagonists of previous works who would be selfless to a fault and always do the right thing regardless of whether it was realistic.
Moreover, the three anime -- which are all adapted by studio MAPPA -- aren't afraid to depict the grotesque, often delivering excellent horror vibes.
Plot-wise, they tend to be character-driven, use violent plot twists that catch you unaware, and rely less on formalized, stylized tournaments with a single end goal.
While very different from each other, the three manga and anime all do something new with tired shounen tropes, showing us that dark can actually be fun!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Anime Characters That Could Beat Chainsaw Man
How Are Hell's Paradise and Chainsaw Man Related?
At their heart, Hell's Paradise and Chainsaw Man are different stories, with one unfolding in the Edo Period and the other in an alternative version of the 1990s. However, fans of one are likely to enjoy the other due to their similar themes and aesthetics.
Both Series' Creators Worked Together
Hell's Paradise is based on a manga written and illustrated by Yuji Kaku, who used to be the assistant of Tatsuki Fujimoto, creator of Chainsaw Man.
The two manga creators worked together on Fire Punch, another dark, apocalyptic shounen work that seems like a fair candidate for a MAPPA adaptation.
Gabimaru and Denji Are Relatable Leads
Chainsaw Man and Hell's Paradise both have unheroic, selfish protagonists who still manage to feel relatable due to their basic but human goals.
Moreover, both works feature grotesque enemies that will give you nightmares, but you can tell that their artists had fun drawing them.
So, Is Hell's Paradise the Next Chainsaw Man?
Of course, the two shows are by no means the same. Already, Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku's historical setting already seems more colorful, and the manga tells a smaller-scale, slightly less transgressive story.
It's too early to tell if Hell's Paradise will become the next Chainsaw Man, but if you miss the latter's surrealistic gore and want more of it (but with flowers!), you should definitely check out Hell's Paradise this April.
Discover more of our insights and the latest Hell's Paradise news by following us on Twitter @epicstreamanime.
READ NEXT: Amazing Manga That Are Getting an Anime