Disgaea: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
February 13, 2011 by Dennis Amith
A DVD re-release of the anime series “Disgaea” which is loosely based on the popular tactic RPG video game. This latest DVD release features all episodes in one collection, so if you love “Disgaea”, this anime series is definitely for you… dood!
Image courtesy of © 2003 NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE SOFTWARE INC./DARK ASSEMBLY. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Disagea: The Complete Series
ANIME SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2006
DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English and Japanese stereo, English Subtitles
COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment
RATED: TV PG
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Directed by Kiyotaka Isako
Series Composition by Atsuhiro Tomioka
Music by Tenpei Sato
Original Character Design by Takehito Harada
Character Design by Akira Kano
Art Director: Junko Shimizu
Sound Director: Jun Watanabe
Anime Production by Oriental Light and Magic
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kaori Mizuhashi/Barbara Goodson as Laharl
Tomoe Hanba/Michelle Ruff as Etna
Yuko Sasamoto/Sandy Fox as Flonne
Chihiro Suzuki/Grant George as Vyers
Chiwa Saito as Jennifer
Nobuo Tobita/Michael McConnohie as Captain Gordon
Yurika Ochiai as Thursday
Hironori Miyata/A.D. Adams as Vulcanus
From the darkest realms of another dimension emerges the story of Laharl, the son of a demon overlord, and his two sidekicks: his impish servant and an angelic assassin. Awoken from a two-year, poison-induced nap, Laharl learns of his father’s demise and blazes a trail of destruction on his quest to declare rule over the Netherworld. Never skimping on the wisecracks, the diabolical prince and his accomplices battle dragons, sorceresses, robots, power-hungry humans, and corrupt angels.
In 2003, the PlayStation 2 video game “Makai Senki Disgaea”, a tactical RPG game from Nippon Ichi became a huge hit. Released in the US as “Disgaea: Hour of Darkness”, the series would receive several spinoff video games for the Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, Mobile Phone game and the Sony PlayStation 3.
The games became popular in North America and Korea and the series would eventually receive its manga and anime adaptation. The anime series is loosely based on the first Disgaea game, while focusing on the primary character, the plot is slightly different and shortened to meet its 12-episode duration. The DVD for “Disgaea” were originally released as a three volume DVD-series by Geneon back in 2007. They are now being re-released as one complete series courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment in Jan. 2011.
The anime series is directed by Kiyotaka Isao (“Mizuiro”, “Massugu ni Ikou”, “Ai Yori Aoshi”), series composition by Atsuhiro Tomioka (“Pokemon Advance”, “Chrono Crusade”, “Eat-Man ’98”, “Glass Fleet”), character designs by Akira Kano (“Breakage”, “Cleavage”, “Princess Memory”, “Initial D: Fourth Stage”) and art backgrounds by Junko Shimizu (“Midori Days”, “Blue Dragon”, “Doraemon”). Animation is by Oriental Lights and Magic (“Monkey Turn”, “Comic Party”, “Berserk”) and production by D-Rights (“AD Police”, “Sakura Wars”, “Beyblade”, “X”).
“Disgaea” takes place in a time where an angel in training named Flonne is sent to the Netherworld to assassinate the demon lord King Krichevskoy. But when she arrives, the Overlord’s castle is covered in flames. So, for two years, she has been in search for her target and ends up at a dump where she finds a coffin with Krichevskoy’s emblem. So, when she tries to carry out her mission, she awakens whoever is inside it. The person ends up being Laharl, the son of King Krichevskoy.
All Laharl remembers is going to sleep and now he’s awake, unaware that it’s been two years that has past. Laharl learns that his father King Krichevskoy has died while choking on his favorite fruit and now Laharl wants to regain his kingdom which has been in disarray while his father was dead and he was in deep sleep and become the Overlord.
Meanwhile, while Laharl goes to become the Overlord, Flonne tags along in hopes that she can introduce love into his heart, a demon named Etna (who has her own ulterior motives for tagging along) joins the two on Laharl’s quest. And while Laharal makes it known that he is back, there are other demons who are vying for the overlord throne as well.
Also, to complicate matters, from the human world, Captain Gordon the 37th Defender of Earth, along with his assistant Jennifer and the robot Thursday are sent by the Angels to stop any evil that they encounter and that means Laharl and his group.
“Disgaea” consists of the following main characters:
Laharl – Awakened from a two year sleep by Flonne, Laharl, demon son of King Krichevsoky, vies to become the next Overlord of the Netherworld. He is very insecure, very shy when he sees Jennifer’s breast and can’t stand Flonne’s talk about love. Meanwhile, despite being young, he is very powerful and very strong. He uses his power to enforce his authority on his vassals, which include the penguin lost souls known as the Prinnies.
Etna – Laharl’s subordinate who has a secret agenda. She once served the late King Krichevskoy.
Flonne – An angel trainee who was sent to assassinate King Krichevskoy but discovers Laharl instead. She is persistent in doing whatever she can to introduce love into Laharl’s heart.
Vyers/Mid boss – Laharl’s rival and hates how Laharl calls him “mid-boss”.
Prinnies – They look like penguins with demon wings and pouches but they are actually human souls who work as slaves in order to pay for the punishment of evil deeds they have committed while alive on Earth.
Seraph Lamington – The leader of Celestia and responsible for sending Flonne to the Netherworld to assassinate King Krichevskoy.
Captain Gordon – The 37th Defender of Earth. Self-righteous, often cocky and is accompanied by his assistant Jennifer and the robot Thursday.
Jennifer – Gordon’s assistant who wears next to nothing. She is very intelligent and is a scientist who created Thursday. She also knows that Laharl is shy around her.
Thursday – The robotic member of Captain Gordon’s team who can analyze and fix things. As well as transform to a weapon.
“Disgaea” is presented in 16:9. The character designs remain faithful to the video game. Considering the anime series was released back in 2006, while not heavily detailed, the colors are vibrant, while art backgrounds are not fine as it focuses more on trees, blue skies, ground and ocean water. Not the most detailed anime series but because the character designs are loyal to the series, everything works out just fine.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the audio, “Disgaea” is presented in English and Japanese stereo. For those who enjoyed the video game series, will probably want to enjoy the original Japanese dialogue, but for the most part, the English dubbed soundtrack is very good. For the most part, Geneon did a very good job in casting the voice talent for Laharl, Flonne and Etna. Especially for the Prinnies.
Subtitles are in English.
“Disgaea: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:
- Special Talk – (4:14) Sohei Niikawa (original creator of “Disgaea”) & Kaori Mizuhashi (voice of Laharl) talk about how “Disgaea” the anime series was created.
- Special Talk #2 – (5:20) Sohei Niikawa (original creator of “Disgaea”) & Kaori Mizuhashi (voice of Laharl) talk about how “Disgaea” is so popular worldwide and how the demon world came to play.
- Special Talk #3 & #4 – (9:04) Sohei Niikawa (original creator of “Disgaea”) & Kaori Mizuhashi (voice of Laharl) talk about video game to anime adaptation.
- Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice Video Game Trailer – (3:20) The trailer for the Sony PS3 video game.
- Japanese Promo – (:37) A Japanese promo for the anime TV series.
- Textless Opening Song – The textless opening theme song “Aishitageru” by Loverin Tamburin.
- Textless Closing Song – The textless closing theme “Kusari” by Hiiro Misaki.
- Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases.
“Disgaea: The Complete Series” comes with a slip over case.
I’m actually a big fan of the “Disgaea” series and own every title that has been released on the consoles for the US. In fact, for the first videogame alone, I am still playing this game as its one of the few games that has major re-playability but also for those who love grinding tactic RPG games, this is one of the better ones out there.
When it comes to video game to anime adaptations, they either work or they don’t. In the case of “Disgaea”, the alternate storyline works but because it’s only 12-episodes long, it’s very loosely based on the first videogame. As for the differences of the anime series and the video game, most video game to anime adaptations tend to be different anyway, so this should not be any surprise for the anime viewer.
And back in 2006, when I first discovered the anime series, I didn’t dislike the anime series, it’s just that if you played the video game first, while Laharl, Etna and Flonne are the main characters, in the video game, you had so much time invested in creating characters and having various characters become favorites. So much that Laharl becomes mainly used for power, as with Etna and Flonne was your healing character.
And by playing this game, you start to love the challenges, especially against the various demons that you go against but still, you’re so used to working with a large group of characters that when you start watching the anime series and it’s pretty much Laharal, Flonne and Etna, part of you feels as if there was something missing.
When I watched this anime series a few years ago, I wondered if I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t play the video game first. I may have and possibly have fallen in love with the game even more afterward. But for the most part, since I watched it after playing the game and spending over a hundred hours on the first game alone, I guess my only feeling for the anime series was that it was alright.
But I will say that with this re-release, it is much cheaper to buy the series as one complete set versus three volumes, so it’s a great deal to buy it now.
As for the DVD, The Japanese and English dub are well-acted and you get the Japanese special features included with “Disgaea: The Complete Series”.
Overall, if you are a big “Disgaea” fan, I think that most fans will appreciate the anime series, for me, it was good but not great and once again, part of me feeling this way is because I dedicated so much time to the video game series and utilized other characters more than just Laharl, Etna and Flonne. But the good news is that the anime series does include storylines with Captain Gordon and his team and also mutiny with the not-so-smart Prinnies.
In the end, if you are a big “Disgaea” fan, “Disgaea: The Complete Series” is definitely for you, dood!
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