Only die-hard acolytes of Marilyn Manson will appreciate this anime, says Judge Mitchell Hattaway.
It is a nightmare…It is real…It is eternal.
The Demon Lord Dante, resurrected in the form of young Ryo Utsugi, is cutting a path of destruction through Japan. Ryo fights the will of the demonic entity now dwelling inside him, while at the same time doing his best to conceal his dual nature from his family. The forces of Heaven are conspiring to destroy him, while a Satanist sect urges him to accept his powers and destiny. The Four Demon Kings, ancient devils who at some point in the past swore allegiance to God, are released from their tomb in Siberia in an effort to destroy Dante, but they have plans of their own. The military unleashes its firepower against the dark lord, but are unable to stop him. All hope seems lost.
This is the continuing story of a quack that has gone to the dogs. Oh, sorry, I was thinking of something else there, but that's pretty much what I was doing the entire time I was watching the three episodes presented on this disc. Geez, who thought it was a good idea to wake up this guy? There's either too much mumbo or too much jumbo in this story. The religious themes bandied about come across like something dreamed up by Anton LaVey's kindergarten class. It essentially boils down to this: forces of God bad; forces of Satan not so bad. Go Nagai, the creator of the manga on which this series is based, is also responsible for Devil Man and Devil Lady; does anyone else notice a pattern here?
The plotting is incredible puerile. The Four Demon Kings apparently have the ability to teleport, yet they insist on hijacking planes and transit trains. The Satanists hold meetings out in the middle of a forest, with everyone garbed in robes and speaking in hushed tones; shades of the masked ball from Eyes Wide Shut, but without the redeeming craft, of course. The head Satanist attempts to recruit Ryo by showing up at his house in the form of a giant fly and scaring his family. The Demon Lord Dante battles another demon in the middle of a large city, and the army, seemingly having learned nothing from all those Godzilla attacks, napalms a sizeable section of the business district after rockets and tanks prove useless. Ryo's father, leader of a religious organization determined to defeat Demon Lord Dante, apparently converses with God (literally) on a daily basis, yet somehow can't figure out what's going on with his son; seems that might have come up during one of the confabs. Ryo receives cryptic messages through his Sony flat screen from a well-known television personality (and you thought it was bad when Mary Hart was giving people seizures).
As Judge Joel Pearce mentioned in his review of Demon Lord Dante Volume 1, someone decided to censor all the fun stuff in this series. The packaging promises us gore, violence, nudity, and sexuality, but you'll likely find more titillation in a Sears catalog. The naughty bits on nude figures are obscured, and there's little more than a few blood spatters during the shots of beheading and dismemberment. I did manage to find some nudity and sexual content in the previews for the next volume, but five bucks says it will be excised from the actual release. Trust me, it won't be worth it to find out, either.
The technical presentation itself measures up to Geneon's high standards. The video is spot on, with excellent color balance; the animation itself is designed to mimic Go Nagai's original artwork, so scenes vary from brighter than bright to darker than dark, and all points in-between. The dubbed English and original Japanese audio tracks are rarely called on to do much more than convey dialogue (there's way too much exposition here), although there are a few moments when the sound field is extended beyond the screen, and both do the job nicely. Extras consist of character profiles, previews for other Geneon releases, a brief interview with Go Nagai, and episode highlights (a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one).
All in all, I'd advise you to skip this series; do something more exciting instead, like painting your bathroom. You'll thank me later.
All charges against Geneon are dropped. Go Nagai is hereby ordered to lighten up. Court is adjourned!
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• Go Nagai Interview
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