Hell's Angels is a manga
by cult comic artist Shin'ichi Hiromoto, known in Japan (and Italy
) for very violent, raunchy and subversive works such as Fortified School
. This one retains the crude, sketchy style of his previous manga but is far tamer than those, despite being set in a literally Hellish
high school with assorted ghouls and monsters for students.
Young Rinne Amagane is running late for school! Suddenly she notices a cat that has been mistreated and about to be run over by a car; she saves it but is promptly run over by a truck herself. She is late for class... but she finds herself in an academy populated by all sorts of creatures. Apparently she died and went to Hell, but when her classmates discover that she still has her living body, it appears that something strange is going on. So, Rinne not only has to understand how to make friends in this crazy new world and how to go back home to Mom alive, but also to uncover what's going on with human souls and bodies... a mystery that goes right to the beginning of human history, and involves nobody other than Adam and Eve
and their sons Cain and Abel
. Oh and a not-quite-almighty God
makes his appearance too.
Among the other characters, there's the loud and boisterous principal Hellvis (no guesses as who
he is inspired by), handsome student council president Ryu Kutou and Steela/Stealer
, a taciturn and gloomy girl in Rinne's class who seems to be equally feared and despised by everybody.
The manga was originally serialized in 3 tankoubon by Shueisha in 2002, and six years later Mad House remade it into an anime film
simply titled "Hells". It's not a masterpiece by any means, but it's crazy and entertaining stuff.
The manga and resulting anime provide the following tropes:
- All There in the Manual - The students in Linne's class are taken from an obscure 1990s toyline, which reveals their full names (and their monster types, for some of the less obvious girls):
- All-Ghouls School - It's Hell, what do you expect?
- Amazonian Beauty - The East Witches volleyball team is comprised solely of huge, muscular, but still feminine, and in some cases cute, monster girls.
- Anime Hair - Several characters, but especially "Who" AKA Adam, the first man, whose incredibly tall blond hairdo puts both Benimaru and Johnny Bravo to shame.
- Big Bad - Ryu Kutou, who is also the biblical Abel.
- Big Eater - The only thing that characterizes the Mummy girl (that and being a 4-armed Bandage Babe with even an eyepatch).
- Big Red Devil - Headmaster Hellvis.
- Brought to You by the Letter "S" - God has a giant capital "G" on His large forehead.
- Cats Are Magic - How can one with a yin/yang-shaped face and a clock hanging on its neck not be? The fact that it is also God helps.
- Cessation of Existence - Apparently, this is Steela's real and hidden power: she can reduce the souls in Hell to nothingness. Negated by Rinne by means of the wish granted by her after the volleyball tournament, The Power of Friendship and the power of believing really really hard in herself.
- Curb-Stomp Battle - The student council volleyball team utterly owns the Panda team. We only see the aftermath.
- Cute Monster Girl - Rinne's classmates. Well, some of them are cute, others have a quite aggressive appearance...
- Determinator - Rinne is a huge one, she never ever ever gives up. Possibly it has something to do with the fact that she is the reincarnation of Eve. Mario, a member of the school council, is also one.
- Disappeared Dad - Rinne's is never even mentioned.
- Elvis Impersonator - Guess who?
- Emotionless Girl - Steela.
- Flat Character - Except for Phantoma and Kiki, Rinne's classmates have little to no characterization and some of them are not even named in-story. Steela can be considered one, but she becomes an important part of the plot later. The other two members of the Student Council are similarly flat.
- God Is Inept - God did create the world, but in the story He is a weird midget who does nothing save for a bit of exposition. However, He did set the plan to overthrow Abel and destroy Hell in motion by letting Rinne go to Hell in the first place He was the cat, so...
- Holy Halo - Principal Hellvis has one over his head, the only one in the story to have one, for no reason other than Faux Symbolism and Rule of Cool and maybe to foreshadow the fact that he's not the Big Bad, as it can seem initially.
- Inevitable Tournament - The volleyball tournament promoted by Headmaster Hellvis. The winners will be granted a single wish.
- Japanese Delinquents - Rinne's classmates fit the stereotypes of the trope.
- Make My Monster Grow - Ryu Kutou turns Rinne's classmates into huge creatures to stop all other characters to escape Hell.
- Meaningful Name - Headmaster Hellvis AKA Cain is a mix between Satan and a certain american musician.
- Monster Mash - Rinne's class and, by extension, Destiny Land Academy and Hell. Rinne's classmates are a witch, a werewolf girl, a vampire girl, a four-armed Mummy girl, a scaly girl (a gorgon or possibly a mermaid), and two nondescript demon/ghoul girls.
- Motifs - The yin/yang is a recurring one. It's tied to the concepts of reincarnation, evil/good balance and duality that recur throughout the manga.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast - In the Italian edition of the manga, Destiny Land academy was rendered as Deathtiny Land.
- The Noseless - Steela.
- Pandaing To The Audience - The Panda volleyball team. However those are Hellish pandas, and thus incredibly freaky or creepy and not very panda-like at all despite the black/white fur... except for the one that gains a recurring role, who looks like a big plushie with claws and KISS-style facial marks.
- Perpetual Frowner - Steela (except for the end).
- The Power of Friendship
- Self-Inflicted Hell - A fairly interesting variation. It is mentioned that the ultimate fate of souls is Reincarnation, thus Hell (and apparently Heaven too) exists solely because of Abel's grudge against all humanity for being killed by his brother Cain; he created it and forced people to believe in it by means of art and philosophy, so that whenever they die feeling guilty they inflict Hell upon themselves.
- Seven Deadly Sins - Apparently, Rinne's classmates are physical avatars of these. It's never really explained how and why, and it bears no real relevance to the plot. Again, Faux Symbolism.
- Shout-Out - Lots and lots. Here are some:
- Verbal Tic - Hellvis ends often his sentences with "BABY!". The volleyball tournament referee ends all sentences with "ball".
- Werewolf Theme Naming - Wolfy, the werewolf girl.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair - In the anime, Rinne (light blue) and her mom (dark blue).