Devil May Cry: The Animated Series

Devil May Cry: The Animated Series

Review by: Jd Banks

Licensed by: FUNimation Entertainment

Production by: Madhouse

Devil May Cry hands over what fans want in the form of blood, swords, and platinum white hair. Following the premise of the popular Capcom game, Devil May Cry stars Dante, a rumored half-demon, half-human demon hunter with an affinity towards pizza and sundaes. In spite of being an odds-job mercenary, Dante only services a client base looking to kill demons. Between bouts with man-eating demons, many of which prove to be either annoying or perpetually idiotic, Dante lives a simplistic life waiting for more jobs to filter into his business called Devil May Cry. At his side is his agent, Morrison, who carries in the information and clientele. Other characters thrown into mix include other demon hunters and an orphaned girl masquerading as Dante’s immature sidekick.

The main plot is casual compared to the anime’s game predecessor, but it is in animation that Dante can truly flaunt his personality. With Madhouse’s superb productions making each sword-swinging and gun-toting scene memorable, Devil May Cry reaches the same dynamism as the game. Most of the action scenes are filled with bullets hitting their targets, swords clashing, and Dante dodging deadly attacks made by demons three times his size. There is a monochromatic nature to the anime, excluding the bright-colored orphaned girl, but the animation is on par with the Devil May Cry video game.

Aside from the animation that leaves fans hungering for more action, the characters are downright predictable, bringing down a grade-A anime. Conventional characters and character personas drag an anime down, no matter how great the animation may be. Though Dante is a bonafide badass in killing demons to protect the human world, he has a kind streak that prevents him from paying off his debts. His agent, Morrison, is kind as well, but his nature is more business-like. He may go out of his way to fix a jukebox, but he only does nice things to pass the time without work. Most of the time, he scolds Dante when a job is uncompleted.

Beside Morrison and Dante is little Patty Lowell, an orphan chosen to unwittingly impersonate another Patty Lowell during one of Dante’s assignments. Her vibrant and rambunctious personality contrasts with Dante’s lazy persona as well as everything else that Devil May Cry represents. Typical of anime, Patty plays a crucial role at the end of the series, but other than that, she’s a cheap form of comedic relief, if there is any. Even the squabbles between Dante’s ex-partner, Trish, and another demon hunter dubbed Lady, are not very funny. They just part the awkward silence between demon-hunting.

Discarding the nature of the characters, Devil May Cry has many selling points. The entire anime series is only twelve episodes long, keeping the attention span of those itching to get right to the good stuff. There is the option of picking the English dub version or Japanese language setting with English subtitles. Even the riveting music from Rungran gives the anime an interesting audio backdrop.

Devil May Cry offers an above-average anime within the confines of the conventional anime box. If you want to boost your anime collection, pick up Devil May Cry: The Animated Series.

Video Games Suck Now

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and played games like Mario Brothers, Double Dragons, Zelda, Doom, and Sonic the Hedgehog. They were simple in concept; beat the boss and save the girl or the world. As I grew up, I watched platforms and game graphics became more sophisticated. No more pixels running around as Mario or Link. No more overheated Segas and Nintendos.

While the platforms today seem more like computers than consoles, the games for these platforms have taken a big jump back.

Look at Capcom’s Dead Rising, Techland’s Dead Island, and Bethesda’s Skyrim and Fallout. Players usually talk to Character One, go to the other side of World One, get Item One, and go back to Character One. Then repeat. And repeat.

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Am I in a wash cycle or video game?

Today’s video games still have a core story—defeat the Big Bad Dragon and save the world—but it’s forgotten somewhere between Character Eighty-Seven and Item Five Hundred. Sure, players get to kill zombies, mutants, and gods, but that’s all there is to it. Mindless killing. Mindless Retrieving.  

Don’t get me wrong. The visuals are great and the gameplay is smooth. Even the loading time is forgivable (save for Dead Rising and Fallout) compared to the older consoles. Still, the formula is the same: talk, kill, retrieve, and return. Game developers have dropped the controller on recent games just to make sales. I understand that business can’t be business without money, but if I pay fifty bucks for one game, I want my money’s worth or at least have something fun to play.

Games today leave me with one question: what happened to video games between the 1980’s and the 2000’s? It could be that the gamers themselves have changed and the game developers are trying to appeal to that change. In the 1980’s, it was cool to be anyone. Androgenism, nerds, and Flocks of Seagulls haircuts were cool. In the 1990’s, it was cool to be aware of deep issues like education, racism, drugs, poverty, pollution. In the 2000’s, people hated people. The Rise of Fear and Haterism came up and squashed the open-minded, experimental, fun-loving 80’s and 90’s attitude to a pulp. Many products followed suit, and video games weren’t immune to the haterism. Some of the most marketable games, namely Call of Duty and Dead Island, are racist, war-supporting games OK with murdering Afghanistan or Iraqi people and depicting black and Mexican people as gun-toting thugs and drug-dealers. Not cool or fun anymore. No more hard-boiled, take-no-shit characters. Just emotional train wrecks with guns and a sore spot for colored people.

Game developers didn’t ask for this paradigm shift. They’re regular folks who grew up with the same games I did, maybe dreamed of developing the same fun games. Between their creative minds and their investors, something’s gotta give, and that would be the fun and the story. Those are the two things that keep gamers gaming. I’d rather play Tetris all day than play five minutes of trying to find a saving point in Dead Rising or facing a million of the same zombie in Dead Island or picking up one more useless item on the way to delivering another useless item in Skyrim or Fallout. It’s not my idea of a good time.

The recent video games that are exciting with a polished story are few and far between, but they do exist. PopCap Games’s Peggle, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II, Telltales Games’s The Walking Dead, Vogster Entertainment’s Unbound Saga, Capcom’s Devil May Cry, Konami’s re-released Castlevania, and id Software’s Rage are reminiscent of the 80’s and 90’s optimistic attitude, only with today’s graphics and gameplay. Their core stories and uncompromising characters make up a fun world. In Assassin’s Creed II, players bring conspiracies to light while free-running in Renaissance Italy. The Walking Dead’s in-depth character and story development keep gamers coming back. Unbound Saga embodies Double Dragons’ and Streets of Rage’s linear game play while the hard-boiled main character remains hard-boiled. Rage gives players everything Skyrim and Fallout couldn’t: a small yet interesting world, cool cars and weapons, unique personalities, and fast loading times.

What makes these games memorable and re-playable? These games are reduced to a condensed but polished arena. People have short attention spans, and making the world too big means pushing that attention span to its limit. Rage understood this by taking the player to a different world before the game began to feel repetitive. Players want realism in their games, but games like Skyrim and Fallout abuse it by making everything interactive. Who wants to carry around a billion flowers? The Walking Dead, Assassin’s Creed II, and Rage limited the interactivity to the core stories. Even something as basic as letting players save whenever and wherever they want keeps players happy (Dead Rising, ahem). And the hard stages are beatable—without the help of Google.

Let’s remember: gamers play games to get away from reality. If games are created to frustrate the player with overly-vast worlds, repetitive characters and missions, excessive interactivity, slow loading times, insensible saving controls, war-supporting and racist undertones, and complicated bosses, what’s the point of escaping reality?