Demon Prince ENMA Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
May 25, 2008 by Dennis Amith
“When you watch a dark anime from Go Nagai, you know you will get a dark storyline filled with humor, fan service but a twist on the horror genre. ‘Demon Prince ENMA’ is another awesome interpretation of a Nagai manga that is definitely worth checking out!”
DVD TITLE: Demon Prince ENMA Vol. 1 (aka Kikoushi Enma)
DURATION: Approx. 78 minutes (2 OAV episodes) + 20 min. for special feature
DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / Japanese Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 ch and Dolby Digital Stereo / English subtitles, 16:9LB (except on bonus content)
CATALOG #: BUDH0111
COMPANY: Bandai Visual/Honneamise
RATED: 16 UP – Contains violence and brief nudity. Parental Guidance required.
STORYBOARDS & EPISODE DIRECTOR:: Kanbe Mamoru
SCREENPLAY: Yoshioka Takawo
DIRECTOR OF ANIMATION: Tanaka Ryo
PLANNING: DYNAMIC PLANNING
ORIGINAL STORY: Nagai Go
ANIMATION CREATION: BRAIN’S BASE
Enma – Tokumoto Yukitoshi
Yukihime – Chiba Saeko
Kapaeru – Saito Setsuji
Grandpa Chapeauji – Nagashima Yuichi
Lola – Komatsu Yuka
Hata Nanami: Noto Mamiko
Enma is a character created by the genius manga artist Go Nagai, known for such masterpieces as Mazinger Z and Cutey Hone. Now, the popular character makes his appearance in an all alluring Japanese horror anime for adults. It’s a hair-raising erotic suspense in which Enma takes on complicated and gruesome incidents caused by demons. The anime, with its fear-intensifying 5.1 ch sound and beautiful erotic and grotesque images, is a must-see.
Demons lurk in the darkness. But humans have lit up the darkness of the night with neon lights and turned their world into one that never sleeps, so demons now lurk in the “darkness of the human heart.” Unfulfilled hearts, suppressed hearts, despair…such darkness of the heart is the place they lurk.
Enma is the Demon Prince of the Underworld, a demon “Born of Fire.” His mission is to take back or destroy demons that have escaped to the human world from the Underworld. Along with his partner, Princess Yukihime, “Born of Ice,” and the monster, Kapaeru, Enma set up “Enma’s Detective Agency.” Tonight, like any other night, they will roam the sleepless city. Horrific incidents that could not possibly be human acts occur one after another. The stench of evil lingers at the scene… Enma’s fire rips through the darkness.
If you have never watched a dark anime (or read a dark manga) by Nagai Go, you’re in for a treat.
Nagai was the first anime creator that I’ve met and I literally have his autographed artwork in my office because I’m such a fan of his work.
He has created so many manga titles and anime based on those titles which people are familiar with. Titles such as “Cutey Honey”, “Mazinger Z”, “Devilman”, “Getter Robo” and the list goes on. The man is truly a legend.
One of his earlier manga titles “Dororon Enma” was created back in 1973 and even spawned an anime series featuring a child demon prince named Enma (born of fire) and his partners Princess Yukihime (born of ice) and a monster named kapaeru as they take back or destroy demons that have escaped to the human world.
Granted, the anime was targeted more towards children back in 1973 but here we are 35 years later with the first volume of the “Kikoushi Enma” four-part OAV series aka Demon Prince ENMA from Bandai Visual/Honneamise.
This time around, the demon prince and his partners are grown up and make their return to the human world.
Enma is more or less a demon prince who really could care less about human life. All he wants to do is bring back or destroy the demons that have escaped to the human world. He’s quite brash, insensitive and also quite perverted.
His partner Princess Yukihime is a bit more caring towards human life but has short fuse when Enma gets into his lecherous ways. She is fond of Enma, has trouble discussing her feelings but is very calm and collected.
As for Kapaeru, he is a Kappa (which is a demon monster in Japanese folklore of that resemble frog, lizards, turtles in human or monkey-like form) that speaks good English and in a strange twist of situations in the human world, humans accept that he is a weird person that is wearing an outfit or someone cosplaying a kappa (when actually he is a real monster).
The fourth character assisting the team is Grandpa Chapeauji. Which is a hat demon and a hat that Enma wears. Grandpa has deep knowledge of the Underworld and can detect demons.
And in order for the team to catch these demons, they form a detective agency.
The first episode is titled “Nobusama: Rot-Pus Suck Demon” and shows the group having returned to the human world. The story focuses on Lorelai Heinrich. A woman who is born to a German father and Japanese mother.
Her father Professor Schtrolheim Heinrech thinks the world of his daughter and sees his wife in Lola but unbeknownst to him is that Lola dates and sleeps with men for money. She does this to relieve her stress from her overbearing father and one day as she takes a bath, the bath starts to fill with blood.
All of a sudden, all these men that she is with end up dead and mutilated? What is going on?
The second episode titled “Piguma: Corpseless Demon” is a story that revolves around a girl named Hata Nanami. She is a hostess at “Cutie College”, a cabaret club. Her co-workers think she’s a bit unusual because she holds this ningyo doll (given to her by her boyfriend) while working.
One day, she comes home from work to catch her boyfriend in bed with another woman. She kicks them out of her apartment and throws the doll out.
Her boyfriend and his new girlfriend see the doll but something is weird about it. He kicks it and it comes back. Is this doll possessed by a demon?
Watching the first volume of “Demon Prince ENMA” is almost the same feeling I had after watching “Devilman” for the first time.
Watching an intriguing yet somewhat dark and twisted anime with humor and fan service (or nudity) but a touch of gore that is genuinely a true Nagai horror story. “Demon Prince ENMA” embodies that similar Nagai style for those familiar with his works but takes the childlike manga from the past and gives it a more modern, mature and dark storyline.
Humor and a nudity is definitely included but this anime is not for the timid. There is blood, gore, violence and it’s all out an animated horror series.
What I found very interesting is how the main characters of Enma and partners view humanity and how they are anti-heroes. They are not there to save humans, they just want to bring their demons back to the Underworld and if they resist, destroy them.
Even in an interview with Enma voice actor Tokumoto Yukitoshi (on the special features), he even mentions how when he played the role, he was told to play Enma as a villain. So, that was quite interesting.
So, each storyline has a dark and tragic side to it but how its done is quite interesting, involving and you do care for the victims and hope they can be rid of their demon possession.
Each episode is a stand alone story but does have a relation to the next as police are investigating the murders and are reluctant to believe that vampires or monsters are causing this.
So, after watching these two OAV’s, I was clamoring for more “Demon Prince ENMA”. I really enjoyed it!
The animation is pretty cool and colorful and dark when they need be. There is talent behind the directing of animation as Tanaka Ryo (known for his work on “Getter Robo”, “Macross Plus”, “Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie” and many others) is part of the staff as well as “Elfen Lied” director Kanbe Mamoru who is the director of the “Demon Prince Enma” OAV episodes. Animation is provided as 16:9LB and in DVD-9 format.
The audio is actually very well done. I watched this and found it cool to hear the audio use, especially dialogue with Yukihime on the right and Enma on the left and to hear the rear audio in place as well. So, I really enjoyed the 5.1 mix for the audio. Both audio mixes are encoded at 448 kbps.
The voice acting is also well done as Tokumoto Yukitoshi gets his first major role as Enma and Yukihime who has a long list of acting roles on her portfolio, does a great job as well. But I really have to give a thumbs up to those who played the victims in each episode. Komatsu Yuka as Lola and Noto Mamiko as Hata Nanami really had to showcase happiness, sadness, terror and they did an excellent job in showing various stages of emotions.
As for special features, you get a ten minute interview with Japanese voice actor Tokumoto Yukitoshi (Enma) and with Komatsu Yuka (Lola).
Included with the first volume DVD is a 16-page booklet which feature character profiles, settings and even short manga pages of “Demonic Prince” by Nagai and Dynamic Pro.
I really enjoyed this anime. Nagai is just a master in creating mecha, cute girl and dark anime storylines and with “Demon Prince ENMA”, it’s definitely an interesting twist to the “detective agency” style of anime of ghostbuster type of teams.
Enma and team are not there to save the world or humanity, they just want to retrieve their demons and bring them back to the underworld and if they resist, well they get destroyed.
So, for those who are expecting the victims to find solace by a typical feel-good happy ending which you tend to see from anime with a hero or heroes coming to save the day, then prepare for the Nagai twist because what you think is probably not what you’re going to expect.
And that is a good thing.
Again, this anime is full of humor, some nudity but definitely a lot of blood and gore. So, don’t openly watch this with the kiddies.
But all in all, definitely a enjoyable first volume and can’t wait to watch the final two episodes in the next volume!
+ Definitely a Go Nagai story
+ A twist on the ghostbuster/detective agency types of anime with the main detective team being anti-heroes in some way.
+ A horror anime OAV series not afraid to showcase perverted humor
+ Very good voice acting!
+ Creepy sound utilizing the digital 5.1 channels really well
- No English dub for those who need or prefer there anime with that included
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