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Demon Prince ENMA Vol. 2 (a J!-ENT anime DVD Review)

June 15, 2008 by  



The second and final volume of the “Demon Prince ENMA” OAV series takes a chilling turn as the series showcases less on the main characters and focuses on five individuals who try to survive in an inescapable mansion and avoid being killed by a demon.

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: Demon Prince ENMA Vol. 2 (aka Kikoushi Enma)

DURATION: Approx. 85 minutes + 12 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / Japanese Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 ch and Dolby Digital Stereo / English subtitles

CATALOG #: BUDH0112

COMPANY: Bandai Visual/Honneamise

DIRECTOR: Kanbe Mamoru

ORIGINAL STORY: Nagai Go

ANIMATION CREATION: BRIAN’S BASE

RATED: 16 & Up – Contains violence and brief nudity. Parental guidance is suggested.

STAFF INFORMATION:

DIRECTORY: Tanaka Ryo

SCREENPLAY: YoshiokaTakawo

STORYBOARDS & EPISODE DIRECTOR:: Kanbe Mamoru

PLANNING: DYNAMIC PLANNING

ORIGINAL STORY: Nagai Go

ANIMATION CREATION: BRAIN’S BASE

CAST INFORMATION:

Enma – Tokumoto Yukitoshi

Yukihime – Chiba Saeko

Kapaeru – Saito Setsuji

Grandpa Chapeauji – Nagashima Yuichi

Benten Yuri: Kobayashi Sanae

Abashiri Naojiro: Hosoi Osamu

Known for such masterpieces as “Mazinger Z” and “Cutey Honey”, the genius manga artist Go Nagai’s later animation is a fascinating and stylish, erotic thriller. In the second volume of this series, Go Nagai’s popular character, Enma tries to get to the bottom of a series of mysterious incidents caused by demons. With alarmingly realistic 5.1ch sound and under the assured direction of “Elfen Lied’s” Mamoru Kanbe, the fiercely beautiful images makes this a chilling, hair raising sensation!

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.”

Born of fire, Demon Prince Enma of the Underworld has come to the human world and destroyed lots of demons but there seems to be no end to them.

Now the stench of demons seems to be closing in on Enma and his group. One after another, victims are swallowed up by the darkness of their hearts. Enma is consumed with a furious rage. Whose darkness has this enemy demon concealed itself in? Having submerged in the darkness of the heart, the demon has grown and is finally prepared to show its true self! A special person has been consumed by this darkness and it can only be repelled by Enma’s flame!

I really enjoyed the first volume of “Demon Prince ENMA” because it had a good balance of comedy and a good balance of creepy, horror and the characters of Enma, Yukihime, Kappa and Grandpa Chapeauji solving mysteries was very fun to watch.

The series has its roots ala “Dororon Enma” back in 1973 when the group were much younger and Enma and Yukihime were children and more of an anime targeted towards children back in the day.

With the first volume, Go Nagai’s dark and humorous style is very evident and with volume 2, things take a crazy shift and becomes more like an American horror film ala “SAW” and “FINAL DESTINATION”

Not only are people getting killed by the monsters but a major character is killed as well.

In episode 3 titled “Karuma: Misery Swirling Demon”, a demon has made it’s move, killing some familiar faces from the first volume and also a major character. Five individuals are brought together and end up in a mansion. The inescapable mansion has no windows, keeps changing each time and its quite evident, there is a monster that feeds on their darkness and is out to kill them.

In episode 4 titled “Enma”, the surviving members of the inescapable mansion try to fight to stay alive and Enma makes his move against the demon.

GRAPHICS:

In the first volume, there were a lot of outdoor scenery but in the final two volumes, everything is taking place in a mansion. The mansion is shown quite a bit ala CG but I really enjoyed the first volume because it takes place in a variety of areas but nevertheless, the final volume is quite creepy and full of violence. A lot of darkness, blood, etc. The video features a 1.78:1 transfer and is anamorphic 16:9LB with the special features in 4:3.

AUDIO:

As usual, Bandai Visual continues their audiophile treatment with a 448 kbps encoding for the 2.0 and 5.1 mix. The voice acting by the actors are very done, definitely showcasing the emotions of fear throughout the two episodes. But that creepy ambiance via audio is still done quite well!

EXTRAS:

Special features include voice actor interviews wtih S. Sato who plays Kapaeru and M. Yamamoto who plays Sat-chan), Cho who plays Grandpa Chapeauji and S. Kobayashi who plays Yuri. This was a blast to watch and to hear the characters talk about their scenes of the final volume.

Included with the first volume DVD is a 16-page booklet which feature character profiles, settings and even short manga pages of by Nagai and short story by Hayasaka Ritsuko and others.

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.

Volume 1 was exciting and humorous because it featured more monster hunting and the main characters of Enma, Yukihime and Kapaeru much more.

This volume focuses more on the characters we met from the first volume and how five of them must fight from being killed by a demon in a creepy mansion.

Volume 2 by no means is a weak story. If anything, the storyline gets more creepy, darker and more violent and less humorous.

I was also surprised by the death of one of the main characters. And speaking of the main characters, I admit that I was a bit surprised to see less of the main characters but its understandable why it was done and it was part of the strategy to capture/destroy the demon.

The final ending was a bit of a surprise though. I don’t want to say it was a let-down but it’s one of those endings where its left interpreted by the viewer and looking online to see how others view the final minutes, it seems they are also perplexed by the final moments.

Nevertheless, I got what I expected from a Nagai horror anime series. The first volume was truly exciting and a great balance of horror and humor but the second volume becomes focused on more of the creepy, horror and violence and I suppose, missing that humor was a wee bit of a letdown since the first two episodes had so much of it.

I guess it felt like an another American horror film cliche of a group of people together and everyone tries not to get murdered.

Nontheless, the final volume was still enjoyable to watch. It was definitely creepy!

+ 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

+ For some, the final moments of the episode

– No English dub for those who need or prefer there anime with that included

– The first volume had a great balance between horror and humor but vol. 2 focuses more on horror, fear and creepiness and rarely any humor.

– Second volume was enjoyable to watch but since it focuses more on the side-characters and less on the primary characters, the storyline plays out like an overdone modern American horror film

– For some, the final moments of the final episode…

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