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.

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Uzumaki Volume 1 Review

Uzumaki Volume 1

Art and Story by: Junji Ito

Published (JP) by: Shogakukan Inc.

Licensed (US) by: Viz Media

Spirals seem pretty harmless—until Junji Ito’s Uzumaki comes into the picture.

Uzumaki is a manga about Kurozu, a small coastal town cursed by all things spiral. When Shuichi Saito’s father becomes obsessed with anything spiral, a series of events reveal the deep-seeded curse of uzumaki, or the spiral. Told from the perspective of Shuichi’s mild-mannered girlfriend, Kirie Goshima, Uzumaki follows the twisted fates of the town’s inhabitants.

Uzumaki is more of a psychological horror with a corporeal feeling about it—almost as if spirals can grab any reader and drive them crazy. With each event surrounding the residents of Kurozu, readers become just as confused and fearful as the townspeople. No one knows why the spirals are causing such chaos, and the characters don’t try to seek out why the events are happening in the first place.

By the end of the first volume, the spirals seem to be just a natural occurrence. With the repetition of spirals throughout the manga and the characters not making a break for another city, Uzumaki leaves any reader wondering how much more damage can be inflicted by spirals.

The art of Uzumaki is truly beautiful while depicting gory scenes. There are points in the manga where certain scenes could be isolated from the rest of the manga and framed inside a J-horror exhibition. Ito does an excellent job in making impossible things—Shuichi’s father twisting his entire body into a spiral—believable. It helps the imaginative story become more realistic and visceral for the reader.

Uzumaki showcases the talent of Junji Ito, one of Japan’s leading horror comics artist. Besides Uzumaki, Ito has released horror greats like Gyo and Tomie, which was turned into a live-action movie. Drawing from famous inspirations Kazuo Umezu, Hideshi Hino, and H.P. Lovecraft, Ito has forged several unforgettable horror manga that garnered him the prestigious Umezu Prize for Horror. His background as a dental technician also appears in his work, especially in the various illustrations of the human body.

With its chilling story and convincing artwork, it is easy to see why Uzumaki was nominated for “Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material” in the 2002 Eisner Awards.  Uzumaki has the whole package in a horror manga. This is one manga that will definitely have readers thinking twice about spirals.