Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blu-ray Review: Devil May Cry The Complete Series

These days it seems that if anything becomes popular in one medium it's going to appear in another. Movies turn into games, anime turns into movies, anime turns into games, and games turn into anime. That last one is what we're looking at today with the release of Devil May Cry: The Animated Series Complete Collection by FUNimation. Originally a part of the ADV Films brand back in the day, this one jumped ship and has found its way onto Blu-ray thanks to the good folks over at FUNimation. With the high definition anime market being slim pickings it's always a good thing to see a publisher support the format. With that in mind, is Devil May Cry really worth the plunge?

If you've played any of the four Devil May Cry games then I'm sure you're probably very interested in this title. The short answer to the question proposed above is "Yes, it's worth checking out", but it's not a resounding recommendation. The show has its flaws and it's not as solid of an interpretation of the franchise as one might hope. Sure it still kicks a lot of ass and many of the characters are familiar. There's just a sense that it doesn't quite live up to its fullest potential, and that's ultimately what keeps it from excelling.

The show opens up and introduces us to a crazy mixed up world where demons and humans seem to coexist for better or worse. There are demons that prey on humans, demons who love humans, and demons who pretend to be humans. Unfortunately that's really the only explanation we get regarding the plot of the series and if you're not too familiar with the franchise some things will be lost on you. Basically it's all set in the human world, there just happen to be devils living in it. Then again, it's not like there was much exposition about the world in the game series either, but I digress. Right from the get-go we're introduced to all around bad ass, Dante. He's a stylish to a fault machismo demon hunter whose tools of the trade are a sick looking sword and a pair of pistols. It's his personality that arguably sets the tone for the anime (and game as well).

Dante is the byproduct of an interspecies romance between a demon and a human female. He retains the best of both worlds and uses his abilities to help those in need, for a price. He attempts to run a legitimate business of being a monster slaying mercenary, but in all fairness it hardly pays the bills. Or, at least it might, but he isn't very good with money. He relies on a virtually useless agent and some acquaintances to find work, but in the meantime he has to baby sit some kid he rescued. This becomes a source of humor of sorts as the girl, Patty, is quite the polar opposite of Dante in every way.

More interesting than Patty is the introduction of Trish and Lady early on. Lady is a fellow devil hunter who is more or less Dante's equal in many regards, though most of the time she seems to have her own agenda. Trish on the other hand is essentially a physical clone of Dante's mother and is played off as such many times here. She is basically his age but nags him every now and then about his living habits. These two characters play nicely off Dante, but their relationship isn't enough to drive the series. What does keep this show going? Filler. Lots and lots of filler.

Aside from the occasional blip of a larger story scattered about, the entirety of Devil May Cry's twelve episodes is comprised of episodic stories. Something goes down, Dante is hired, and some demon winds up getting its ass kicked in the process. I'm not going to deny that it's fun for short bursts of action-oriented anime, but the story simply feels too shallow for its own good some times. With that being said I must admit that the show is incredibly sexy. The art direction is phenomenal and some of the fights here are truly brutal. Because of that I'd say this is a fun diversion if you appreciated the game series, but not nearly the full-blown, standalone anime it could have been.

Devil May Cry gets 3 stylish, sexy points out of 5.

For a full dissection of the quality of video and audio, as well as what this boxed set includes for bonus features, please check out my full review at DVD Talk.

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