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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » D.N. Angel Vol 3. - Facets of Darkness
D.N. Angel Vol 3. - Facets of Darkness
ADV Films // Unrated // March 1, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 24, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

The first half of D. N. Angel comes to a close with the third volume of episodes from ADV.  The show has an interesting premise, but most of the episodes haven't lived up to that promise yet.  Though the show does start to get interesting in the second half of the disc,  raising my opinion of the series.

Diasuke Niwa is a young boy who leads a fairly ordinary life.  Until he turns 14 that is.  On that day, a gene that all the males in his family possess becomes active and turns his life inside out.  This gene causes him to transform into a notorious thief, Phantom Dark, whenever he thinks about the girl he loves.   These transformations will continue until Diasuke's love is returned.  The only problem is that the object of his affections, Risa, doesn't like him, she love his alter ego, Phantom Dark.  It's Risa's twin sister, Riku who is infatuated with Diasuke, but he doesn't seem to notice her at all.

The first episode on the disc spotlights With, Daisuke's pet rabbit and Dark's familuar.  With can turn into a pair of wings that allows Dark to fly, and he's been with the Phantom Thief for generations.  Even though he's immortal, With can get lonely and in this episode he gets a crush on a female rabbit.

The most confusing, and poorly written episode of the series come next.  Diasuke, Risa, and Diasuke's grandfather attend the funeral of a famous violinist.  After they pay their respects, Diasuke's grandfather discover's that he has inherited the musician's prized violin.  When Diasuke touches the instrument though, he's teleported back in time to when the man first obtained the violin.  It's up to Dark to travel back in time and rescue Diasuke before he's trapped in the past forever.

Things start to pick up with the next program.  It that actually features Phantom Dark, who hasn't played a big part in the previous few episodes.  Dark has to steal an artifact from an undersea temple.  He runs into a little trouble, but nothing he can't handle.  That is until he gets near the object of his desire and discovers Hiwatari there.  The young genius has set a trap for the thief, one that Dark may not be able to escape from.

Things shift into high gear as the volume concludes.  Diasuke gets a surprise when his father shows up unexpectedly.  Dark also plans on stealing a valuable ring, but Hiwatari shows up again to foil his plans.  Krad, the Phantom Thief's counterpart, also shows up to battle Dark.  The battle is fierce, between the two phantoms, and it is clear that they haven't met for the last time.

The first part of this volume was pretty lame, the two first shows just don't make a lot of sense if you stop and think about them.  Diasuke turns into dark if he looks at Risa's picture, but he can spend the afternoon with her without changing??   The first episode is also never resolved. With is lonely, but at the end of the show, they haven't done anything to resolve his loneliness.  Of course this isn't brought up again.

The second half of the disc piqued my interest though.  With Hiwatari's return, the main story starts to move and the shows start having a little continuity.  What is the relationship between Krad and Dark?  What triggers Hiwatari's transformation, and why does he hate turning into Krad?  How does Hiwatari's father fit into all of this?  These questions are all raised, and will presumably be answered in short order.  If the rest of the series is a good as the last couple of episodes on this disc, this will be a show worth watching.

The DVD:


Audio:

As is becoming the standard for anime, this disc offers the choice of a 5.1 dub in English, or the original Japanese audio in stereo.  I alternated languages while watching this and found them to be about equal in quality.  I like the Japanese voices a little bit more, they just seemed to fit the characters better.  The English dub made good use of the soundstage though, with voices and sound effects panning both from left to right and front to back.  There were no audio defects worth noting.

Video:

The full frame image was pretty good over all.  There was a slightly larger than average problem with aliasing, causing fine lines to sometime shimmer and diagonals to have a stair-step effect.  Other than that, it was a fine looking disc, with the colors being reproduced faithfully and the image sharp and clear.

Extras:

This disc has some good extras included on it.  There is a commentary on the an episode with Kelly Manison (Eiko) and Andy Mcacin (Kosuke).  I'm not a big fan of anime commentary tracks, and this one didn't do a lot for me.  Kelly Manison was very talkative and energetic, which is good, but neither of the actors had a lot to say about the show.

In addition to the standard clean opening and closing there is D. N. Angel Talk 1 with actor Miyu Irino (Diasuke) and vocalist Shunichi Miyamoto.  This ten minute segment has the two young boys talking about how they feel about the show and the manga that it is based on.  I felt it was a little flat, without much substance, but it was nice of ADV to include it.

There is also a nine minute look at a Japanese ADR session when they are recording the show, and another installment of D. N. Angel Unplugged.  This time If I Could be With You is preformed on a grand piano.
 
Final Thoughts:

While I was watching the first two episodes, I was sure that this series was going to be a waste of time.  Imagine my surprise when the quality of the story picked up dramatically in the second half.  The last two shows start following a major story arc and actually include some action, something that the stand alone shows avoided.  Though I'm not sure if the series will continue as strongly as this volume ended, I'm hoping it will.  For this volume though, you're best off renting it.
 

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