The Unsung Hero of Hazbin Hotel

Hazbin Hotel is the latest craze in the world of animation fans. While it isn't the best option for people under 18, averse to profanity, religious zealots, or anyone who prefers their cartoons to have a palette of more than three colors, it has a devoted fanbase all over the world. While it has potential, I can't recommend this show due to its chaotic plot and inconsistent storylines. However, I appreciate the immense amount of creativity in its character designs and backstories and its absolutely stellar soundtrack that includes at least one toe-tapping and inspired musical number in every episode. As the show's heroine and the Princess of Hell, Charlie Morningstar should be my favorite character. However, something about her does not sit right with me, whether it's the fact that her princess-like naivety makes little sense for someone who has grown up surrounded by corruption and wickedness or that her voice actress, Erika Henningsen, does almost too good of an impression of Mandy Moore's Rapunzel to the point where it comes off as uncanny. Instead, my favorite character was an underused angel counterpart to Charlie who only appears in one episode.


Emily, who is introduced in the show's sixth episode, "Welcome to Heaven," and then immediately scrapped, is a young seraphim that the Heavenly order wishes to protect from the underlying corruption between Heaven and Hell. As someone who is openly sheltered and lives in a literal paradise, her naivety makes more sense with her backstory than Charlie's. When she learns that Charlie wants to make peace between the two worlds, Emily forms an immediate kinship with her to the point where many have theorized that they may be revealed as sisters in a future season. Emily made me realize that the show could have gone in a completely different direction from her perspective. Instead of seeing Charlie trying to reform demons in Hell, where we already know life is miserable, it would have been interesting to lead with Emily thinking her life was perfect and then slowly learning that Heaven is not the peaceful place she thought it was and fighting for a chance to work together with Charlie. Instead, we hear her promise Charlie that she will try to fix things at the end of her introduction episode and then never see her again.


Focusing more on Heaven and its secrets would also give the series a better visual appeal. While the designs of the demons in Hell are creative and appealing, it was difficult for my eyes to adjust after getting blown out by so much exposure to red, yellow, and black. Heaven also has a limited color palette consisting mostly of lavender, blue, gold, and brown, but I found it more immersive than the repetitiveness of Hell's three colors on every character and background. By focusing on demons as subversively good people, the series follows a cliche trope that has been used in anime for at least the last decade. Meanwhile, the corrupt actions of angels, who are presumed to be good, but are actually just as morally questionable as demons, is a more creative and original premise for a modern show. Emily turning her back on her own kind would create a massive moral dilemma with greater stakes for her than it does for Charlie, who has the support of her people for her endeavors even though many of them have doubts about her future success due to her naive nature.

The relationship between Charlie and Emily also holds far more potential than the first season gives it credit for. More screen time for Emily would allow us to have a more balanced perspective of the challenges and corruptions between both worlds rather than focusing solely on Hell. Even if Charlie and Emily are not revealed as sisters, they would have worked better as a couple than Charlie's girlfriend, Vaggie, who barely seems to be in a relationship with her until the end of the season. A star-crossed relationship between a high-ranking angel and a high-ranking demon would create high emotional stakes that could give the show a more cohesive plot. As a side note, it did seem somewhat gratuitous to make Charlie a lesbian since that seems to be the go-to solution for every adult cartoon to seem more "modern." In many ways, Hazbin Hotel could have been stronger by not giving Charlie any love interest allowing her to divert all her focus to the demons she wishes to reform.

While Hazbin Hotel boasts captivating character designs, an impressive soundtrack, and a unique premise, its chaotic plot and inconsistent storylines leave much to be desired. The underused character of Emily, with her sheltered naivety and potential connection to Charlie, highlights the missed opportunity for a more balanced perspective exploring the corruption in both Heaven and Hell. Focusing on Emily's journey of disillusionment and collaboration with Charlie could have offered a fresher narrative with higher stakes and a more nuanced exploration of good versus evil. Ultimately, Hazbin Hotel's true potential lies in its ability to delve deeper into the complexities of its world and characters, rather than relying on tired tropes and predictable plotlines. Whether it seizes this potential in future seasons remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: there's more to this Helluva show than meets the eye.

Comments

Sugar said…
The truth is that Hazbin Hotel has never caught my attention, many Star vs fans moved there when the show ended and as someone who preferred the first two seasons of the show with a more traditional magic girl feel instead of 3 and 4 more "adolescent and irreverent" I'm not attracted to Hazbin at all... not to mention that I'm more attracted to the aesthetics of the angel girl than to Charlie and the angel is not the protagonist.
Personally I'm paying attention to Gods School an Indie animated series that reminds me of ever after high and the old teen plot shows from the 90s and 2000s.
Lisa Dawn said…
Oh, I figured you were a fan because you asked me to share my thoughts on it quite a bit. It's nice to see we're on the same page. :)
Sugar said…
Haha, sometimes I recommend things that I follow and other times I only mention animations or books that maybe someone else might be interested in. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean that others can't love it.
However, I am glad that indie series are shining, Gods School is doing quite well anyway, and Faeries Family, another Indie animated series based on a webtoon (I've been following this adorable one for a long time) opens the space for Indie book authors as well They have managed to write what they love without following the main trends of fashion and the market great series that animations do the same and bring series that adapt to lovers of princesses, the feminine, romance and kindness.
At least the "coquette" style of 2024 has brought back pink, glitter and lace hahaa.
PrincessContent said…
Sorry that this show wasn’t to your liking but thank your for checking it out!

Some of the criticism you have I agree with.
Emily would have made for an interesting love interest for Charlie. She’s a very sweet character and the moment she meets Charlie, they have instant chemistry. A fallen angel storyline with her would have been interesting as well.

Charlie’s and Vaggie’s relationship sadly suffers because of season 1 being just stuffed to the brim with plot and so, so many characters. I listened to an interview with the creator, where she said they sadly couldn’t slow the story down because they didn’t know if a second season would be greenlit. They wanted to wrap up some things so it would have to some expect of an satisfying ending.
But now with a season 2 greenlit, they can slow down and explore more things, including heaven, in a better pace.

Now for Charlie.
I do not mind that her naiveté comes of as unrealistic from someone who was born in literal hell. I find her endearing and her hopeful and cheerful nature gives me comfort. She reminds me to try to stay hopeful and to see the good in people, despite all the horrible things that happens in the world.

Have a nice day! :)
Lisa Dawn said…
Thanks, you too! I have to say the show is so quite good if you only listen to the songs and their context and ignore everything else. I think that's its biggest strength.
PrincessContent said…
Yes, the songs are fantastic! My favourite one is It starts with Sorry 🥰
Lisa Dawn said…
That one's good, but "You Didn't Know"is my favorite.
Great job keep posting these interactive posts
Pencuri Movie said…
Thanks for wonderful content.

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