First Impressions of Akuma No Riddle
Akuma No Riddle starts out following Tokaku, top of her class, 16 year old assassin in training. It seems that there's some sort of Lee Harvey Oswald School for Girls out there and she's rocking socks there. We then find out that she's being transferred to some elite mega school to kill one of her soon to be classmates. Other than the target, the rest of the class is also comprised of Mr. Oswald's little achievers. So it's an anime about a high stakes game of kill the guy with the ball.
Artistically, the anime is above standard. They do a good job using different lighting to capture the mood pretty nicely. The quality is pretty consistent and they manage to properly blend the characters into the scene so there's nothing that strikes you as being jarring or out of place. The only thing that I can honestly say that bothered me was that the irises of the characters seem to come to a point at the bottom making them look hexagonal.
The character designs are about average, the assassin girls have some variations of the standard female character tropes so common to anime but there's already a promise of a bit of depth to them that I'm hoping will be brought out in later episodes. Tokaku, if anyone, is the one most guilty of being a stereotype by having the militant hard-ass personality that is almost standard issue to female assassins in anime. To be fair, it's hard to escape using tropes since there's so many of them. Some of the costuming isn't quite what I would have thought of, particularly since they're all supposed to be wearing the same school uniform, but that doesn't stop a few of the characters from sporting this year's latest in street walker chic.
The plot starts out strongly waving its mind games flag, promising lots of psychological shenanigans and dark secrets to follow. I'm perfectly okay with this, that means that the characters are going to have depth and development and will at least try to feel human instead of everyone simply being a soulless walking weapon rack. Already by episode two there's some nice character growth and exposition being shown and some hints at what makes all of these girls tick. I'm liking where this is heading so far.
I'm giving this one a B+, losing its chance at higher because there's some things that are a bit overused, in particular I don't like the assassin school headmaster cum deathgame master, he just oozes cheese and the character archetype is beginning to become overused and worn. I will keep watching this one and am kind of excited to see where they take it. Watch it, it's pretty good.