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Devil May Cry: The Animated Series – The Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 26, 2009 by  



“Full of action and Dante vs. demon battles galore! The anime series based on the popular video game series receives its first High Definition treatment.  If you are a fan of the anime series, the Blu-ray release features better picture and audio quality over the DVD release!”

TITLE: Devil May Cry: The Animated Series – The Complete Collection

DURATION: 12 episodes (300 Minutes)

 

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9),  Dolby TrueHD English and Japanese 5.1, English subtitles

 

RATED: TV MA

 

COMPANY: Showgate/FUNimation Entertainment

 

RELEASE DATE: August 25, 2009

 

Based on the video game series from CAPCOM

Directed by Shin Itagaki

Series Composition by Toshiki Inoue

Script by Bingo Morihashi, Ichiro Sakaki, Shotaro Suga, Toshiki Inoue

Music by rungran

Character Design by Hisashi Abe

Art Director: Katsushi Aoki

Chief Animation Director: Hisashi Abe

Sound Director: Masafumi Mima, Toshihiko Nakajima

Director of Photography: Kazuyuki Oota

“Devil” Design by Yutaka Minowa

Color Design by Naoko Kodama

Prop Design by Masahiro Kimura

Anime Production by Madhouse Studios

 

 

Starring:

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Reuben Langdon as Dante

Akio Ohtsuka/Rob Mungle as Morrison

Atsuko Tanaka/Luci Christian as Trish

Fumiko Orikasa/Melissa Davis as Lady

Misato Fukuen/Hilary Haag as Patty Lowell

CURSED to live as both monster and man, Dante must spend his life fighting the demonic forces of darkness.

Brandishing his sword, Rebellion, and his always-loaded guns, Ebony and Ivory, Dante is more than happy to send the demons back to hell-especially when there’s money to be made.  The wildly popular video game is now a series, and this time, there’s no sympathy to the devil.

 

Since 2001, the CAPCOM video game series “Devil May Cry” has been a staple in Japanese action-based video games that have achieved popularity worldwide.  Originally created by Hideki Kamiya (known for his work on “Resident Evil 2”, “Okami” and the “Viewtiful Joe” video games) and produced by Shiji Mikami (“Killer 7”, “Resident Evil” and “Dino Crisis” video games).

The popularity of the video game eventually led to an anime adaptation directed by Shin Itagaki (“who worked on “Black Cat”, “Fullmetal Alchemsit”, “Gurren Lagann” and “Inuyasha”), series composition by Toshiki Inoue (“Dragon Ball Z”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Galaxy Angel” and “Death Note”) and character designs by Hisashi Abe (“Gunslinger girl”, “Sorcerer Hunters”, “Chobits” and “Spirit Warrior”).

The anime is a 12-episode television series which aired on WOWOW TV and features animation by the popular anime studio MADHOUSE.  In order to keep the soul of the video game alive in the anime industry or at least some connection, the series also features Bingo Morihashi who worked on the “Devil May Cry” video games but to focus more on the storyline that was in the manga and novel series.

The anime revolves around Dante, the son of the demon Sparda (a demon that betrayed his fellow demons and sealing the gate between the demon world and human world) and is a mercenary for hire.  His goal is to take on demons and runs a company called “Devil May Cry”.  Known for his white hair and his red clothing, Dante is fearless when it comes to battling demons and carries a sword and dual guns which he calls “ebony” and “ivory”.

In the anime series, Dante is literally a kick ass mercenary but when he’s not fighting, he’s broke and constantly eating pizza and strawberry sundaes.  He is heavily in debt (typically from the destruction that he causes when fighting the demons) and so he is open to jobs offered to him by Morrison or by another devil hunter named Lady (both people, he owes a lot of money to).  Also, temporarily takes care of an orphan named Patty who is looking for her mother.

The episode listing of “Devil May Cry: The Animated Series” are as follows (spoiler-less summaries):

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1: “Devil May Cry” – Dante is hired to become a bodyguard for a girl named Patty.
  • EPISODE 2: “Highway Star” – Dante takes on a mission given to him by fellow devil hunter, Lady to take on a possessed, demonic motorcycle.
  • EPISODE 3: “Not Love” – A daughter of a mayor starts seeing a mysterious man.   Dante is hired to kill him.
  • EPISODE 4: “Rolling Thunder” – A woman with lighting abilities shows up.  But she also carries dual guns.  Who is she?
  • EPISODE 5: “In Private” – Dante is being followed by a guy who is jealous that the girl he likes has an attraction to Dante.  But by following Dante around can get this guy killed.
  • EPISODE 6: “Rock Queen” – Dante is hired to protect a group of treasure hunters from a female demon who may have been a rock queen.
  • EPISODE 7: “Wishes Come True” – A man finds a mask that grants him a wish but accidentally murders his friend.  Now Dante is brought in to take on this demon mask.
  • EPISODE 8: “Once Upon A Time” – A man shows up at Devil May Cry believing that Dante is his old friend Tony.
  • EPISODE 9: “Death Poker” – A woman hires Dante to save her husband from gambling but realizes the gamblers he’s going against are demons.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 10: “The Last Promise” – Two men who knew Sparda go up against Dante.
  • EPISODE 11: “Showtime!” – Dante is hired by Patty’s mother, a sorceress that once sealed away the powerful demon named Abigail.  Now another demon wants to free the powerful demon.
  • EPISODE 12: “Stylish!” – Dante, Lady Trish and Morrison try to help Patty,who has left to find her mother.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Devil May Cry: The Animated Series – The Complete Collection” definitely improves on the original anime DVD’s.  Presented in 1080p High Definition (16×9), the animation sports a more vibrant and sharper animation.  Detail in the backgrounds are much more clearer over the DVD and I have to admit that the visuals of the Blu-ray was more appreciated via High Definition than when I first saw it on DVD. Detail on the city landscapes to Dante’s guns seem to be more apparent and sharper and you also take notice of the actual shading and the artistic backgrounds. So, this is one series which I absolutely noticed a major difference between its DVD counterpart.

Character designs by Hisashi Abe (“Gunslinger girl”, “Sorcerer Hunters”, “Chobits” and “Spirit Warrior”) were also well done and I was also amazed by the character design of the character of Patty, mainly for her eyes (her eyes are different from all the other characters) because it reminded me of old “Macross” eye designs.  But overall, character designs are well done, the artistic backgrounds capture quite a bit of detail of the city during the night and daytime and of course, the series focuses on a lot of action-based sequences.    MADHOUSE did a great job on the anime production of this series.

As for the audio, this is where I have a different opinion on things.  The good news is that both audio tracks for the English and Japanese are both presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  For the most part, the positive is that the series is not just front and center channel/dialogue-driven.  The series features a lot of action-based sequences that utilize your surround and rear surround channel.  That’s a major plus!  But the audio quality lacks that punchy bass that I was hoping from the LFE.  Granted, I’m a bit more biased towards audio that utilizes the subwoofer more and enjoy action sequences with more booms but for the most part, the series does utilize action-based sequences quite well.

Now, what I find different is the English and Japanese voice dub.  For the most part,  I preferred the Japanese voice dub on the series mainly for a few reasons.  For example, on episode 6, there is a scene in Japanese where the demon makes this haunting scream that literally freaks you out.  In the English voice dub, the scream is replaced with a short hiss.  Also, there are scene in which normal dialogue sounds quite low and muted in the English dub that you feel you need to increase the volume of your receiver.  In the Japanese voice dub of that same scene, audio is loud and well-balanced.   Then there are demon scenes in the English dub which are gargled and you can’t really understand what the demons are saying, moving to the Japanese voice dub and at least the demons are clearly speaking with dialogue without that gargly vocoder-like sound.  But there is a major difference from watching and hearing this series in High Definition via its lossless audio track versus the original DVD’s Digital 5.1 Surround track.

With that being said, the English voice dub is satisfactory and of course, with a TV MA rating, Dante uses more mature words during his fighting sequences.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Devil May Cry: The Animated Series – The Complete Collection” features a good number of special features but at the same time, they are video game cut scenes and if you are still playing the “Devil May Cry” video games and don’t want to be spoiled, it’s best to not watch these cut scenes.  The bonus features are featured in 480i Standard Definition with Dolby Digital Japanese 2.0 audio.

  • Special Interview: Toshiyuki Morikawa (Dante) – (5:10) An interview with Japanese voice actor Toshiyuki Morikawa.  Morikawa talks about his role and the difference between the video game and animation.
  • Devil May Cry: The Game – Seven cut scenes from “Devil May Cry” – These are the cut scenes from the “Devil May Cry 4” video game.  If you haven’t beaten the game or are planning to play it, you may want to skip these cut scenes.
  • E3 2007 Preview – (1:55) “Devil May Cry 4” E3 promo.
  • Tokyo Game Show 2006 Preview – (2:21) “Devil May Cry 4” Tokyo Game Show 2006 Preview.
  • Short Trailer – (1:19) The short trailer for “Devil May Cry 4”.
  • Long Trailer – (3:3) The long trailer for “Devil May Cry 4”.
  • Devil May Cry 4: Final 2007 Footage – (3:06) Footage from “Devil May Cry 4”.  There is a warning that if you haven’t played and are planning to play the game or haven’t beaten the game, that the trailer may have spoiler footage.
  • Devil May Cry 4: First 2008 Footage – (2:57) Footage from “Devil May Cry 4”.  There is a warning that if you haven’t played and are planning to play the game or haven’t beaten the game, that the trailer may have spoiler footage.
  • Clean Opening Animation – (1:31) Clean (textless) opening animation composed by rungran.
  • Clean Closing Animation – (2:44) Clean (textless) closing animation sung by Rin Oikawa.
  • Promo – (5:38) The “Devil May Cry: The Animated Series” promo.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

When it comes to video game adaptations to anime or even a live-action film, typically a person can only hope that the adaptation is well-done since so many adaptations in the past have failed.  “Devil May Cry: The Animated Series” was quite interesting for the fact that Dante is such a popular character for video gamers and to see an adaptation, one would wonder how much of that violence and devil hunting would become a part of the animated series.  Let alone, will it have an interesting and captivating storyline.

For “Devil May Cry: The Animated Series”, with the series focusing on the novels and manga, it was more important to make the majority of the episodes, pretty much stand-alone type of episodes and featuring Dante taking on a a variety of missions.

So, this is where it comes down to the viewer and how big of a “Devil May Cry” fan you are.  Some may want a connected series and a storyline that is much more dramatic and taking Dante to a level he has not been before.  But the series chooses to focus on missions that really, a viewer can watch episode 2-9 in any order that they wish and it wouldn’t disrupt the storyline because really, the main storyline is establishing the orphaned girl Patty, Dante’s financial woes and then from episode 10-12, the storyline becomes quite connected and much more involving.

I’m a fan of the video game series and own the four games and thus have some vested interest in the character of Dante, so it was nice watching those humorous moments (especially his fascination with the strawberry sundae) and there are episodes that are quite intriguing such as “Not Love”, “Rock Queen” or “Once Upon a Time” but some storylines that you ask yourself why?  Such as the second episode “Highway Star”… a demonic motorcycle, it worked back in the 1980’s via Stephen King’s “Christine” but it just doesn’t seem right as an episode for “Devil May Cry”.

So, in a way, part of the enjoyment comes from a fan appreciation of the video game series and to see where the series will go for the anime and what kind of battles Dante will get himself into.   But along with awesome fighting visuals, there has to be a captivating, intriguing storyline.  But in the end,  you feel that the animated series was just average and although it had its potential, doesn’t reach further than that.  But if you are a very big fan of the anime series, then the Blu-ray is the definitive version to own with its much vibrant picture quality and lossless audio tracks.






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