If you’re like me and gaming is part of your regular regime along with watching anime then you’ll know the struggle when you have to decide which activity to dedicate your time to (because there are never enough hours in the day to do all the stuff we really want to do). Well this anime sort of kills two birds with one stone because it’s an anime based on a gaming franchise that has had success since the days of Playstation 2… None other than Devil May Cry…
Devil May Cry, as the name duly implies, is based on the game franchise of the same name that was released by Capcom and has had 5 releases so far. The anime was produced by Madhouse and is based on the manga and novel volumes that have also been released (just in case the games and anime weren’t enough). The series was directed by Shin Itagaki and written by Toshiki Inoue, who has written for various other animes, e.g. Death Note and the Iron Man anime adaptation, as well as Japanese TV dramas and movies.
Evolution of the DMC gaming franchise.
This show is based on the Dante from the first Devil May Cry game, i.e. white-haired Dante who works in America and runs a “muscle for hire” business called Devil May Cry (original, I know). His clients are few and far between but that’s because his job is sort of specialised – after all, demon removal isn’t your regular 9-5 job. Whenever there’s demon trouble, Dante is the one that you can rely on to help solve the problem. Of course, he gets by with a little help from his friends including Morrison (gets him jobs), Trish (a femme fatale of sorts), Lady (a fellow demon hunter that has him deep in debt) and Patty (a young girl that hangs around the office and annoys his brain from time to time). The plot itself starts off episodic in nature as we slowly get acquainted with the jobs that Dante does and the people in his life. As the story moves along, a sub-plot that was developing in the background throughout the series slowly starts moving to the foreground and culminates in a big showdown of sorts between Dante and the demons.
He gets by with a little help from his friends.
Dante conducts business with the help of Morrison, Patty, Trish & Lady.
I will admit that I watched the anime before attempting the games which left me with no preconceived notions of what the character should be like. This might play a part for some who have enjoyed the franchise before watching the anime, so you’re welcome to take this review (as with most reviews) with a pinch of salt.
For me though, I loved it! And no, it’s not just because it’s another Madhouse production, although their trademark style of animation is definitely there. It’s because this was such a well-balanced show. Although the focus is about hunting/killing demons, Dante’s interactions with his comrades provide a nice contrast to that side of the business. In a way, I guess you could say that it mirrors the fact that he is a man made of 2 halves – 1 half demon, the other half human. Just how he is able to step into either realm, he is also able to lead a life that contains both nastiness and normalcy. If he’s not slaying the supernatural, he’s eating strawberry sundaes and pizza…
Pizza, bike races, strawberry sundaes & a gunfight or two: all in a day’s work for Dante.
That said, the style of the animation and the rocker-esque music suit the show and action is well choreographed for the most part. However I have noticed that they tend to use a lot of “money shots” or dramatic shots for effect… There are plenty of those almost 90s-inspired action hero frames where we see the hero/heroine in a pose that lets you know he/she is about to bring the pain… You might find it cheesy (like a 90s action movie) but if you’re into it, you’ll enjoy it because those moments are usually served up with a catchy line or a phrase, a mischievous/serious look and it’s curtains for the villain.
Those cliche action shots with the witty one-liners lend to the “bad-ass” feel of the show.
The storyline was well handled, I felt, because if you’ve never watched the games and have no knowledge of Dante and co. this show introduces you to them in a somewhat natural manner where you learn as you go along – about his parentage, what he does, his weapons, his buddies and about him as a person with that slacker-like attitude that hides a man that embraces the human side of himself and does what he feels is right by adhering to his own sense of justice, so to speak. While you’re being introduced to Dante and getting to know more about him as he goes through the various cases that come his way, you will slowly see the sub-plot developing. This too is something that remains in the background so as to not confuse the viewer too soon with any additional information. So for an anime that’s only 12 episodes long, it manages to introduce the characters whilst balancing dual plots…
Get to know Dante – both the past & the present.
In terms of accuracy to the games, the anime remains true to the original Devil May Cry in terms of appearance, attitude and timeline (what with him being in debt to Lady at the time – a debt he only comes to relieve in Devil May Cry 4). The personality of the character is preserved – with the flippant attitude and quick quips, all the while demonstrating that he values his friends and family, e.g. he keeps a picture of his mother on his desk and looks upon it fondly from time to time but never says much about it. He has Ebony and Ivory (his guns) as well as Rebellion (his enormous sword) with him and isn’t shy about using it. So I would think that most gamers would be alright with this adaptation. And whether you want to watch the subs or the dubs, you won’t be disappointed because the voice acting for both is well-executed.
If you’re looking for a fight, you’ve come to the right place.
Rebellion, Ebony & Ivory are always up for a party.
This show is a nice slice out of the Devil May Cry franchise that allows non-gamers to enjoy the story for what it is – a guy that hunts demons – and allows gamers to see their character in a different format. It’s a kick-ass show that is pretty much “what you see is what you get” and what you get are a few laughs, a lot of action and some great entertainment!
Image credits: Capcom, Madhouse
End: Devil May Cry anime review