What is Tan in Hell’s Paradise?
Lord Tensen in Hell's Paradise Episode 7 (Image via Yuji Kaku/MAPPA)

Hell’s Paradise Episode 7 showed Gabimaru, Sagiri, Yuzuriha, and Senta stumbling across an abandoned village in a clearing near the forest after escaping from Rokurota. As they wondered how to safely scout the region, they came across a little girl called Mei, and her protector, a tree-like being named Hoko.

Hoko invited them into his abode, offering them both food and a bath, stating it was the least he could do considering that they were going to die. Despite being threatened at sword-point by the convicts, the creature maintained his composure and revealed the shocking truth regarding “Tan,” or the Elixir of Life, which was rumored to exist on the island.

What is Tan in Hell’s Paradise?
One of the few surviving members of the arborified Hoko (Image via Yuji Kaku/MAPPA)


Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for the Hell’s Paradise anime and manga.


Hell’s Paradise Episode 7 introduces the concept of “Tan”

Understanding the composition of Tan 

Hell’s Paradise Episode 7 showed Hoko explaining that all humans who set foot upon the island, which they called Kotaku, were destined to die at the hands of the Lord Tensen, who were the masters of the island. These beings were immortal and seemingly indestructible, commanding the unnatural monsters Gabimaru and the others had earlier encountered in the forest.

Lord Tensen also punished “sinners,” namely humans who were trespassers on their land. But their punishment was not limited to pointlessly killing the intruders, since they resorted to using the humans as raw materials for creating Tan. While Hoko’s narration continued in the background, Hell’s Paradise Episode 7 showed Aza Chobei and Toma encountering two of the Lord Tensen and engaging in combat against one of them.

What is Tan in Hell’s Paradise?
Hoko explains hor Lord tensen produce Tan (Image via Yuji Kaku/Shueisha)

Despite cutting his torso in half, the Lord Tensen regenerated and eventually defeated the brothers, throwing them into a pit full of flowers. Toma realized that the flowers were all sprouting out of humans who had been arborified.

According to the principles of Taoism, any living or non-living being’s life force was known as Tao, which when mastered can extend lifespans, grant superhuman strength and regenerative abilities, and other god-like abilities. Lord Tensen used humans as a source of Tao, which they extracted to create Tan for themselves. 

What is Tan in Hell’s Paradise?
Toma and Chobe are thrown into a pit of arborified humans (Image via Yuji Kaku/MAPPA)

Is Tan really the fabled Elixir of Life? 

What is Tan in Hell’s Paradise?
Hoko shows the effect of Tan on his body (Image via Yuji Kaku/Shueisha)

Tan is a prototype to the Elixir of Life, created by Lord Tensen, using Tao extracted from various sources including humans. While the so-called elixir did indeed grant immortality to the members of Lord Tensen and the tree-like Hoko species who were born and raised on the Kotaku island, Tan does  not have such an effect upon human beings.

Consuming Tan would cause human beings to slowly turn into trees, a process known as Arborification in the Hell’s Paradise manga, and eventually cause them to die. Lord Tensen’s goal was to refine Tan and create a true Elixir of Life which would grant one immortality without the side effect of turning into a tree.

What is Tan in Hell’s Paradise?
Lord Tensen tries to perfect the Elixir of Life (Image via Yuji Kaku/Shueisha)

In its current state, Tan would only be beneficial to Lord Tensen and the arborified Hoko, who stated in Hell’s Paradise Episode 7 that he has lived for over a thousand years. The creature even broke off his arm and demonstrated his regenerative properties after Gabimaru questioned the validity of his information.


How knowledge of Tan affects Gabimaru’s journey in Hell’s Paradise

Hell’s Paradise Episode 7 showed Gabimaru looking visibly excited to know that the Elixir of Life existed upon the island, realizing that he had a real chance of reuniting with his wife. But the revelation also triggered the reckless side of the former assassin’s nature, making him focused on nothing but retrieval of the Elixir. The episode ended with Gabimaru deciding that he had no time to lose, especially now that he knew more about the layout of the Kotaku island and a lead on where Tan might be located.

Arundhoti Palit is a literature post-graduate and an anime content writer at Spiel Times. A bit of a Japanophile, Arundhoti enjoys reading manga and Murakami during her spare time. Be it books, movies, manga or anime, she tends to dive deep into theories and background research, picking up weird trivia and info-dumping along the way.