Azazel-san and the Slow Descent to Demonic Corruption

Strawberry Nohara licking the cream off a strawberry

Corruption is a fascinating thing, in its own horrifying way. For the past year or so, I’ve been immersing myself in the Horus Heresy series of Warhammer 40k, which has numerous stories of heroes falling into darkness, willing or otherwise. One reads these with a mortifying sense of inevitability, as the protagonists fall further and further until they cross the point of no return. Even if we know how it ends, the novels are excruciatingly painful to read. Stories about corruption also illuminate the darkness in one’s heart, portraying no one as immune.

The early episodes of Azazel-san started with the protagonist, Rinko Sakuma, keeping her common sense around in dealing with demons. It’s usually a normal person like her who’s the main character, becoming our lens into the absurdity that happens in the show. Unfortunately, nothing is simple or clear-cut when associating with demons, no matter how cute they look.

Drunk Sakuma kicking at a door, saying "There is no God"

It’s her growing knowledge and exposure to demons that put a darker shade on her character. She develops a real mean streak by halfway through the show, and starts learning cruel ways in order to keep her demons in check. One might argue that it’s merely her true self that’s emerging forth, but it’s been remarked in the show how she’s been spending more and more time at her work and less at school. The sort of depraved company she surrounds herself at work is thoroughly warping her!

Beyond the vulgar, slapstick comedy, I can’t help but view Azazel-san in this manner. Rinko’s descent to becoming more like her sadistic mentor is played for laughs, but so are heavier issues like humans abusing demonic contracts. What did Akutabe have to throw away in order to become such a fearsome person, earning the terror of angels and demons alike? Why did he hire Sakuma in the first place? Did he see himself in her, despite the latter’s innocent exterior?

Sakuma smashing someone's face (and camera) with her staff

All in all, isn’t it a little horrifying?

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