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"Demon Lord Dante" is okay. Nothing exciting, nothing bad.
Review by Matthew Anderson
3 OVA series
Running Time: 100 minutes (4 episodes)
Rated: R (Violence, partial nudity and Adult situations)
Ryo Utsugi has some serious problems. For the last 10 days he has been plagued by horrific visions. Thanks to a motorcycle accident, he starts having stronger visions of young girls being killed. As he tries to find the cause of these visions, he gets drawn into the investigation of the murder of several high school students.
What does his visions, a group of Satanists, and a secret cabal of Christians have to do with the murders? The answers to those questions will bring Ryo to the edge of insanity, and bring fourth an unspeakable evil.
Heaven help us all if Demon Lord Dante is resurrected.
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: This is one sharp looking transfer. There are no pixels, wrinkles, or blemishes anywhere to be found. This is the benefit of digital based animation. Many of the technical errors of the past are gone.
AUDIO: Both the English and Japanese 2.0 are pretty evenly matched. The Japanese has a little more treble than it's English counterpart. There is a fuller soundstage on the English track, but it's softer than the Japanese.
EDITS: Clean open and close are used. Japanese episode titles have been replaced with English.
EXTRAS: Quite a few extras on this one. Highlights from episodes 3-6, character profiles, a production press conference clip, text less clean open and close and the US "Demon Lord Dante" trailer.
STORY: Like Devilman, "Demon Lord Dante" is another tale of arrogant punk kid turning into a demonic creature on the side of good. Shouzo Uehara takes Go Nagai's manga and gives us a straight forward action/horror film. You know how things are going to end, but it's a bloody ride getting there.
ACTING: Nothing really exciting on either end. The Japanese cast does a better reading, with it's strong vocal cast. There are times when the English cast gives a haltering delivery. It's typical B-movie acting.
FAN SERVICE: Most of the fanserve centers around Saori. Saori in the shower. Saori naked on an alter. Saori in her panties. While there is a lot of violence toward women, you don't see very many of them completely naked.
Devilman fans will have hours picking out the obvious references to Go Nagai's seminal work.
Go Nagai is an interesting story teller. From "Mazinga" to "Cutie Honey", all of his titles are full of action, striking visuals, and macho dialogue. On the flip side, most of his stories have a similarly themed follow-up. "Cutie Honey" has "Kekko Kamen". "Mazinga" has "Getter Robo". Now "Devilman" fans have "Demon Lord Dante".
"Demon Lord Dante" is okay. Nothing exciting, nothing bad. It's a pretty typical "Go Nagai" story about a young boy fighting his destiny to become a force of good.
I wasn't that impressed with the writing. The story like a toned down version of Urotsukidoji. I could see what was going to happen a mile a way. There are some genuine moments of suspense which do add to the creepy atmosphere. Instead of building on it, the writers quickly dump it in favor of some sort of bloody action sequence. It's a B-Movie that doesn't go too far in any one direction.
The story may be nothing thrilling, but the animation is very well done. There is quite a bit of detail, and the motion moves fairly smoothly. The gore is plentiful, with some really good blood splatter. The character designs are distinctive enough to differentiate, but that's about it.
The characters themselves are all standard Go Nagai templates, with the punk kid, cute yet smart girl, demonic powered madman, and Doctor/father figure who knows everything. You even have a Chicken Lady who looks a lot like "Silene". They are not working very hard to make this show different from "Devilman".
I have to give the cast some credit. They have to deliver some pretty cheesy lines with out sounding stupid. Well, they sound stupid anyway, but at least they try do it with all sincerity. If the intention was to go for a B-Movie flavor, the writing staff have met their goal.
If you like "Devilman" and you can't stomach the non stop rape and violence of "Urotsukidoji", then Demon Lord Dante is for you. For the rest, pass on this one.
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