Demon Lord Dante Vol. 1 - Dante Resurrects
Go Nagai returns with another occult series! If you enjoyed Devilman or Devil Lady, here is another to satisfy your hunger.
Ryo Utsugi has been haunted by nightmares of a big devil with blood dripping from its teeth. Ryo, who is an absolute slacker, wakes up one morning and discovers he can hear voices around him. Ryo awakens to the morning news as he overhears from the television of news of a brutal murder of a local female whose heart was pulled out of her body. Ryo, upon hearing this, has flashbacks of the female who was murdered, but from the eyes of the murder as if he was there.
Still quite confused by the voices in his head, he decides to take a nice leisurely ride on his motorcycle to try to make sense of the voices. During his bike ride, a truck appears in front of him and he is thrown off of a cliff and passes out. Upon awaking, he is in the hospital, but unharmed. What Ryo doesn't know is that he was saved or protected, but by whom? Well, he will soon find out.
The first two episodes take you on the journey of Ryo and his violent dreams. You are introduced as well to the heaven and hell organizations. What Ryo doesn't know is his father is actually one of the leaders of the God organization. The Devil organization is hell bent on bringing back Dante from the dead to serve them toward world destruction.
The next two episodes shows you the history of Demon Lord Dante. If you're confused after watching the first two episodes, don't worry; the next two reveal a little more character development and the direction that the story is taking. This show is looking more like it's heading toward the direction of a good series rather than a horrible series. Go Nagai has been known to create some terrible ovas and series, such as Karma Sutra!
Go Nagai doesn't skimp on his mix of demons, sex, and hairstyles, and it was evident in the four episodes on the first volume. There is plenty of gore and blood loss in the series, which can be expected from Go Nagai. This first release has been edited; mostly blurring and darkening done to reduce violence and nudity. The likely culprit is Enoki Films USA, the off shore license of this title.
Looking at the animation, you can see the 70's look. No CG effects are apparent in this series, and I don't think that there are any in any of his other work. A few of my friends who watched this with me said that the design of the father was by far the worst looking "father" design ever! What struck me is how the father resembles the villain in Getter Robo Armageddon, Dr. Stinger. This is not uncommon; Go Nagai has been known to have similar character designs, but with slight alterations. The overall animation is very poor and is not one of the highlights of this series.
Demon Lord Dante, the demon himself has an interesting individual design. Not the most solid drawing of devils from previous Go Nagai animes, but it bears to remember that this character was originally from a manga created in 1971! I was pleased on how Go Nagai explains why Ryo's head is in the middle of Dante's forehead. I think Go Nagai was going for that Mazinkasier type feel. Although it looks very weird, it works!
The dubbing began a little shaky, but as the series gets deeper in, the voice actors seem to get better. Personally being a subtitle anime fan, I noticed a few errors. A few times the original Japanese dialogue is being spoken, but no subtitles appear. This only happens once or twice, but still it's very evident. Another slight error that I noticed, and is VERY rare in Geneon releases, is an appearance of Kanji/Kana after episode three. It appears for about two to three seconds and then the English subtitles appear.
The music is pretty average. The opening theme and ending theme just doesn't fit this series. This being an occult type anime, I expected darker-toned music. The opening is way too upbeat, and the ending is a slow song, neither fitting the mood. The background music has that nice 70's feel to it, which is understandable from when this was originally inked.
If you are left scratching your head as where this is going after the first volume, don't worry, you're not the only one. The volume lacked character development, and it seemed that the plot was rushed. What doesn't help, as stated earlier, is the darkening added by the Japanese licensing company. I don't understand why this was added for the point of editing out some blood and nudity shots. I hope that in later releases the "edits" don't continue. In future volumes, I hope this series picks up more steam and gives us a better idea of the plot.