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Devil May Cry Complete Collection UK Anime DVD Review

9 min read

Devil May Cry CoverAn anime adaption of the popular video game franchise is definitely got both it’s charms and flaws – fortunately it’s definitely enjoyable enough to ignore most of the problems.

What They Say
Based on the popular video game series of the same name, DEVIL MAY CRY follows the story of a demon hunter named Dante, who is half demon himself. This unusual bloodline gives Dante the edge over other demon hunters, making him the best at what he does. Accepting only the most difficult and important jobs, Dante is hired to protect a young heiress named Patty, who is being inexplicably attacked by hoards of demons. The legendary slayer has no problem felling evil minions under his sword, but the secret that lies behind their interest in Patty could prove more dangerous than even Dante’s expert skills can handle.

The Review:
Audio:
For this review I listened to the show in its English language form. It has a standard 2.0 mix which was a bit disappointed for a show with such name value like Devil May Cry. However, the English mix has another major problem – this was encountered on both the first and third discs (mainly the first) that at various points the sound completely dies down to nearly a whisper during certain lines. I switched to the Japanese at these points to see if the same problem was there, and it wasn’t. As these are test discs it may just be on these however if one language track has parts which you can’t hear and have to rely on subtitles to find out what they are saying, then it does seem a poor act of laziness on the producers part. The audio conversion is very good outside of this as no problems (aside from the third disc where there was one noticeable slow down between the audio and the subtitles) however this was a major problem that is noticeable to anyone, so this has to count against it.

Video:
The video conversion is superb – especially considering the light and dark nature of the show, which combining shadowing, full screen effect and CGI and manages to make it flow naturally. There are various impressive moments where the conversation is show to it’s fullest, usually during Dante’s battle scenes (though the poker game of death, the creation of the gates, and the Lady/Trish acrobatic battle are other moments of brilliance) however the overall package is not only visually attractive to viewers, the colour scheme considering the amount of shadow that is used is still somehow able to flow through to the screen and aside from an above niggle in the audio, it matches with the subtitles and audio near perfectly.

Packaging:
N/A.

Menu:
Each of the three discs uses the same image of Dante with a gleaming sword slashing towards you, on a red and black background with each of the selections for set-up, extras, play all and episode select. However, a bit of a problem came with the fact that the selection process doesn’t indicate very well which one you are selecting. It may seem obvious but when you move the control to your selection, it’s indicated by a small blue bar which is closer to the selection NEXT to it. On more than one occasion, I pressed the wrong selection when trying to view the extra I wanted. After a few attempts, you get used to it but it does make for an inaccessible menu. Also, whilst dark into colour works in a moving animation scenario, on a straight screen it’s very poorly lit and the contrasting colours make it hard to make out some of the choices. Also, the same images for each disc when other characters like Lady could have been used again indicate a strong case for laziness regarding the menus.

Extras:
If you’re a fan of the DMC Video Games (specifically 4) you’re in for a treat, as there are a lot of video game extras. There are 8 cut scenes from the game, as well as promos of the games (in English and Japanese), game footage from E3 and the Tokyo Game Show, a nice ratio spanning over three discs.

The anime oddly doesn’t seem to get as much in terms of the extras, aside from a trailer and the clean opening and ending, but there is a nice extra on disc 1 which is an interview with Toshiyuki Morikama, the Japanese voice of Dante. He talks about his character, back-story, working on scenes and what he thinks his relationship with Lady is about. It’s fairly short, and considering this is the anime you wonder why the game is more focused on other than the obvious advertising, but it’s still a nice mixture of extras for Devil May Cry fans.

Content:
12 episodes welcome you to the Collection of Devil May Cry, based on the popular Capcom video game. I’ve actually never played any of the games so this was a new experience to see if the anime could convert me, and also I could go into it without trying to compare it to the video games.

We are introduced fairly quickly to Dante, a half human/half devil who works a freelance business where he slays demons as well as other mercenary like jobs – such as when he is hired to be a bodyguard for a young girl named Patty Rowell – Dante comes across as someone who can be all business when he is in the zone, but at the same time has a child like immature nature when bantering with Patty or ordering strawberry sundaes for lunch. As Patty is being targeted by devils who want to kill her because if she doesn’t make a certain deadline, a fortune inherited to her will be forfeit, it leads to a chase as Patty thinks she has found her long-lost mother, but turns out to be a trap. However, Dante is more than adept in taking care of himself, and has impressive sword and gun skills designed to take out devils. The story ends with basically Patty using the money to help out the orphanage where she grew up and becomes a permanent decoration at Devil May Cry, much to Dante’s displeasure or comic value.

For most of the collection until near the end, the formula is pretty much the same. Dante is hired to do something, which leads to interesting but obvious battles. Fortunately, it doesn’t become too repetitive (albeit obvious) mainly due to the variety of jobs and the interesting characters that accompany and help Dante. Episode 2 we are introduced to Lady who is also a demon hunter, and amusingly a running gag is shown where Dante is up to his eyeballs in debt with her (and amusingly later on in the series with Patty), his long suffering agent Morrison, who also acts as a repairman when Dante has one of his fits much to his annoyance, and a recurring devil named Sid, a weak devil who appeared as a taxi driver during the Patty ep, but becomes much more relevant during the final episodes. T

he variety of battles that occur through the season including have a bike race with a man named Vincent trying to avenge his brother who was killed by a demon who likes to race named Red Eye, being hired to kill a demon by a rich man who is very overprotective of his daughter, ironically the demon in question wishes to become human and specialises in healing, as Dante shows his philosophies that he isn’t simply a ruthless killer, the introduction of Trish who is Dante’s former partner which leads into a great fight between her and Lady (and later become friends…and key headache inducers for Dante), another episode with Dante being stalked by a guy because a waitress he likes seems to be infatuated with Dante and he wants to try and prove he’s a pervert and a villain (DMC has a surprisingly decent comedy value with the relationship between Dante and all three girls and episodes like this),

Dante being hired to protect a former popular band now treasure hunters, a very tense poker game which is probably the best episode of the bunch when the twist happens at the end and the legendary King who apparently kills anyone who loses to him/her is revealed, the prison episode where Dante manages to break through a devil’s gate and found out the reason behind a man’s sentence for murder, someone who insists he is the brother of Dante (said real name as Tony) which also shows the inflexibility of the human mind when the truth is revealed, and taking on two brothers who want to fight Dante and earn their name in demon folklore by defeating the spore of Sparta in Dante.

That covers 10 of the 12 episodes, which follow the same routine pretty much just in different methods – Dante goes out for job, insert debt reference here, defeats demons but ends up with more problems. So the episode nature of the show does work against DMC mainly due to the obvious conclusions. However, the final two episodes come full circle from episode 1 as Patty’s mother is brought into the show, and Sid reveals what his true plan was. Patty mother’s is a descendant of a sorcerer and asks Dante to guard a magical talisman, capable of opening gates to other worlds – however Sid is able to trick both her and Dante, to retrieve the talisman to open the gate, and to become the most powerful devil in the world. The final episode is a real show off of animation and battling, as Dante is crucified (literally) by the demons as Lady/Trish try to fight off the onslaught of demons, and Patty tries to save Dante. The outcome is not as obvious and quite entertaining, but ultimate anti-climatic when the finale goes through as it’s back to business as usual. The fact that Patty for example remains at DMC and there is no real mention of her mother after the battle shows that the loose ends this show has were almost put under the rug, meaning that the anime in the end was one big showcase of Dante kicking devils’ butts.

Aside though, it’s not a bad series. Indeed, it’s very fluid, and has incredible fight sequences, so anyone looking for a bit of action will enjoy this. The dark nature of the show means that the art has to come through just right, and it does combining CGI and animation very well. Also, the characters are very fun – Dante in particular is not quite the bad ass you may expect, as his love for strawberry sundaes and pizza, his ongoing debt problems and verbal barrage with Patty (a young girl) and Lady show his childish nature. It’s surprisingly comic at times which wasn’t what I was expecting when I put the DVDs in. I’m not sure how fans of the games will find it, but if you’re just looking for something mind-numbing, no real plot, just lots of action and fun, then there are far worse out there.

Summary:
Devil May Cry shows that as a show it’s quite brainless, and you don’t require much thought to enjoy it. The predictable nature means that everything can be thought ahead of time, and it pretty much turns into the Dante show. However, at the same time, Dante is a great character, his interactions with others are fun, and the fight sequences are fantastic. It’s not a show that you need to think about, and it’s not one that will draw you in. However, it’s a show you can enjoy it for what it is, and it’s recommended considering it’s a decent price, and a bonus if you’re a fan of the games.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Interview with Toshiyuki Morikama (Jap Voice of Dante), Cut Scenes From Devil May Cry 4 Video Game, Game Footage From E3 2007, Tokyo Games Show Footage

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: C
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: Anchor Bay Home Entertainment UK
Release Date: October 19th, 2009
MSRP: £15.99
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37C3030 – 37″ Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV – Tangent Ht-50 Home Theatre System Multi-Regional DVD Players/Speakers – Tangent Subwoofer 50-150 Hz, Impedenced 8 OHM.

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