What They Say
Superior technology may have bloomed by the year 2012, but it has not changed the face of humanity. For young men like Kay, life is still plagued by nothing but homework and girl trouble. When an unknown force besieges Earth with robotic war machines, however, it is Kay who is chosen to defend the human race.
In order to activate the super-weapon Devadasy, Kay must find his perfect match. Only one man and one woman together can use the Devadasy, and protect the peace of mankind!
The audio presentation for this releaes brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the English language dub, both of which are encoded at 192kbps. The show features a pretty basic stereo mix with nothing to the rear channels and only some minor directionality across the forward soundstage. Most of the shows dialogue is center channel based with only a few moments of movement while the music and sound effects fill up the entire area pretty well. Throughout both tracks, we didn’t notice any distortions or dropouts.
Originally released in 2000, the show is presented in its original full frame aspect ration. The animation for the project feels more mid 90’s than shows that AIC had been producing at the time and there was definitely some appeal to that. The look and feel of the show is pretty dark with most things happening at night or underground interiors. Colors look good but there’s a fair amount of break-up on lower grade players with the blacks. Thankfully we didn’t notice any cross coloration and aliasing was very minimal that playback in general wasn’t an issue.
The cover reflects the dark feel of the show with a muted blackish gray background of a city with the Devadasy in front of it. To offset all this darkness we get to see the green haired Amala in a schoolgirl outfit. The back cover shows of various bits of animation and has a brief summary of the show. Production information and disc features are also provided clearly here, though the runtime uses a typical OVA running time instead of the actual disc running time, giving the packaging 20 minutes that don’t exist on the disc. The insert provides a different shot of the mecha against the same image of Amala as well as providing the chapter stops.
The menu continues to feel of the packaging with the dark look set against the metallic gray with a simple static image of the Devadasy set to no music or any animation. Selections are simple and quick to access with little here outside the program itself and some trailers.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ever since AIC released Tenchi Muyo, they’ve managed to perfect their release schedule, especially in the last couple of years. The first thing they do is to release a 3 episode OVA series for some property that they want to really develop. If it does well, it spawns a TV series and goes from there. If it does really well, it gets multiple incarnations and turns into a marketing goldmine. If it doesn’t do well, then the OVA series is left as is and they move on to other things.
Since its release in 2000, Devadasy was one that didn’t spawn a TV series or much of a buzz. A lot of this is probably attributed to the fact that people who saw it couldn’t help but see how overly influenced by Evangelion it was. It’s very easy to see this as the opening couple of episodes of a more sexual and more mystical oriented show. I mean, come on, we’re introduced to the lead male and his last name is Anno of all things.
Taking place in 2012, we get introduced to Kei Anno, a high school boy whose like most others we see. Doesn’t like school, hates homework, so on and so forth. The only difference is that it’s been a year since a mysterious alien race invaded the Earth via their nanomachines. They’ve infected various parts of the world, which have seen been quarantined. Those who live there go about their lives normally, but anyone from outside those zones come in wearing containment suits and such. It’s an interesting setup to be sure, and provides plenty of avenues to explore but doesn’t touch on them much.
We also learn about a solar-system sized object moving into the solar system that’s heading directly for Earth and is part of the same nanomachine race. So the pressure is on to cleanse the planet and spearhead the defense. In Japan, this is being led by a group called the Spirits, who have managed to acquire a giant mech that was discovered years ago. It seems to have the ability to fight the machines that the nanomachines create. The only thing is that it requires two people to operate it. One to provide the energy for it while the other becomes one with the mech. It’s an interesting symbiosis for the two-person mech format. It also gets explored in some detail as Kei and Naoki end up working together. This brings some particularly unpleasant experiences to the mission after a near-rape encounter between the two earlier.
Kei and Naoki’s admission to the Spirits group came as part of a nationwide open-call for teens who wanted to help save the world. Though they weren’t told of how much danger they’d be in, most wanted to escape their dreary lives in the quarantine zones. This is another aspect that’s only briefly touched upon and could have used some time spent on it. Kei and Naoki worked well together until that particular episode. Kei also has the hots for Amala, a dark-skinned green-haired girl who discovered the Devadasy along with his father years ago.
There’s a whole lot of sexuality both implied and mildly explicit in the show. This adds an element that was touched upon in Evangelion somewhat but not in such a strong way as here. While that works in its favor, especially with AIC character designs, the way the show is told doesn’t help. It jumps back and forth between “472 days after the aliens arrive” and “362 days after the aliens arrive”. Some of the segments were as short as 10 seconds, causing you to get jumbled as to what takes place when. The shows’ entire build-up to the third episode is good, but the way it culminates falls flat in the end with some leaps that just make you roll your eyes.
The best way to describe this show, and it may be something that will pique people’s interest, is Ranma and Akane redrawn AIC style, getting lucky and piloting supernatural Evangelions. The show does feature some promise, one I wouldn’t mind seeing fleshed out over a regular series and with some simple changes to get away from the blunt Evangelion sledgehammer being used.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: C+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: April 30th, 2002
Running Time: 70 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.