Review: Devil May Cry (2007) Anime | My Reviews 14 OCT 2007

For any non-gamer out there, Capcom’s Devil May Cry is one of the most popular extreme action titles to ever grace the PlayStation 2 and there are currently 4 titles in this hugely successful franchise (the fourth game is in post production for the PlayStation 3). This 12 episode long anime series is produced by the Madhouse Studios and is directed by Shin Itagaki.

The anime details the exploits of the permanently broke and in debt (but always ultra cool) half-human, half-demon Dante as he struggles to make ends meet with the operation of his gun-for-hire business, Devil May Cry. Each episode is annoyingly self-contained and ends up being pretty much the standard demon of the week story, with Dante being challenged by some beastie which he then kills off by the end of the show. The stories are all well told, but the lack of a continuum or an advancing storyline soon becomes very frustrating and leaves Devil May Cry wallowing as a VERY average title.

The writers attempt to be clever and string the last couple of episodes into an arc, tying into the very first episodes story, but to be honest, at this late stage in the show it is a little too late. This is quite a disappointment because with the richness of the Devil May Cry universe, there was more than enough scope to come up with a compelling or richer storyline for this show than just the run of the mill monster-of-the-week formula it degenerated into.

(However, don’t get me wrong, the standalone episodes themselves are all pretty good. Predictable yes, but well executed and all interesting in their own right – perfect fodder for Anime society screenings or something along those lines then.)

In terms of animation quality, Madhouse studios, as per usual, doesn’t disappoint. Although there is a remarkably noticeable difference in animation quality between the opening and last episodes of the series (as always the big budget is spent on the two ends of the series), Devil May Cry screams pure, unadulterated style. The action sequences are fast, fluid and extremely stylish in presentation, following very much in the vein of the cut-scene style from the legendary game series. The demon character models start looking a bit flat and uninspired as the show progresses, but the main characters such as Dante, Lady and Trish never fail to shine.

Note that this is an older-teen orientated show, so there is a fair bit of on-screen violence and gore, particularly towards the end of the series.

Devil May Cry features a very competent voice cast, but it really is the soundtrack that shines above all. Heavy rock riffs feature throughout the show and add to the pace and style of every episode. If you enjoy music with a harder edge, then Devil May Cry certainly wont disappoint.

In summing it all up, to say that I was bitterly disappointed by this show is an understatement. As a fan of the game, the anime was perfectly adequate, just disappointing, while to any other anime fan this show would be pretty much an average affair and lie around on the heap with all the other mediocre titles around. The style and flair which Devil May Cry is known for has been captured well in the anime, but the lack of a cohesive storyline really, really hampers the enjoyment of this show and I can only recommend it being watched one episode at a time, spread over a decent length of time – It simply doesn’t warrant hording all the episodes and then watching everything at once.

Thank goodness it does at least try and save itself from complete ignominy by putting on a great show right at the death of the series, but it is too little too late though, and as much as I hate to say it, Devil May Cry should not be at the top of any anime fans must see list :(

Enjoyable, fun, but stops a long, long way off from being great.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.