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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Demon Lord Dante - Dante Agonizes
Demon Lord Dante - Dante Agonizes
Geneon // Unrated // September 28, 2004
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chris Tribbey | posted November 22, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
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R E P L A Y
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THE SHOW:

Go Nagai needs a hug.

Maybe the manga was better, because Demon Lord Dante is the most depressing anime to come from this guy's work. Devil Man and Devil Lady were evil but at least had their fun points.

There's very little fun in Demon Lord Dante, and the evil isn't all that inspiring either. Through the first two volumes, I forced myself to be patient and see if this series got any better. In the third volume, all hope is lost, for both the story and the audience. I found myself laughing, not because this is funny, but because the series is now worthy of being mocked. And I wouldn't mock Go Nagai lightly.

Dante Agonizes is the name of this third volume, and he's not the only one. In a repeating trend, two of three episodes on this disc are ugly, while the last one on the volume is better. Marginally.

The madness starts right away in the third volume, when the Four Demon Kings, fresh off a good old fashioned blood letting in volume two, call a press conference, or pep rally, or something. The stupid humans show up to this downtown shindig – still not sure what the draw was – and are predictably slaughtered by the demons.

A reporter covering the event continues to talk into his microphone even as his head is ripped off. Onlookers start jabbering away about how cool all of this is. Was this a moment of self-parody in Demon Lord Dante? It has to be. Please tell us, Go Nagai, that you were letting Demon Lord Dante make fun of itself.

Suddenly the Four Demon Kings are attacked….by other demons. Good demons. There's a difference. I think. These are the demons controlled by the "good guys," a religious sect controlled by the father of Ryo, our hero infected with the demon Dante. Through all of this, Ryo is still in denial that he has evil powers. He was in denial through the first two volumes as well.

In the second episode, Ryo's sister is zapped through her home computer and taken to the female Demon King's evil playhouse, the Labyrinth. Ryo – still in denial – must rescue his sister, and in the process must come to terms with the identity of a new demon.

The third episode, after it starts poorly, offers a strange twist to the entire series.

It begins with Ryo discussing with his parents the possibility of moving into his own apartment. Now, by this time Ryo must know that his father is trying to kill Dante, and dad knows his son carries the demon. But here they are, chatting away about the benefits of living on your own. Sigh.

After watching his father's henchmen beat on a demon in human disguise, Ryo is whisked away by a new demon friend, who gives him a history lesson, one that starts off rather interestingly.

Ryo is shown the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gamorrah, and sees himself there. He sees how the cities' destruction came about. And he learns that Satan was actually a good guy, looking to help the humans, while God is actually an evil, malicious entity that came from space!

God creates hell, after the residents refuse to give themselves over to him. God becomes a series of giant horse- and lion-headed beasts that ravage humanity. God is not a nice guy in Demon Lord Dante.

At this point I'm thinking, 'Hey, cool! Something totally unexpected and intriguing. This series may be salvaged after all.'

That is until I saw the Sodom version of Ryo flying around in a jet car and dinosaurs wandering around Biblical Earth. That's when you know you've crossed the line between suspension of disbelief and a complete and utter inability to take this series seriously.

At least Ryo isn't in denial anymore.

THE DVD:

Video:

Some grain apparent at a couple points, but it's a pretty clean picture presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame ratio. Sharp colors, no bleeding, but Demon Lord Dante is a very bland anime, with subdued color usage and sorry looking backgrounds. It's hard to be upbeat about these visuals, even when hell breaks loose.

Audio:

Eerie music is good, though the balance with the English dub overlaid on said music is spotty at times, with the music overruling the dialogue at more than one point. Both Japanese and English Dolby Digital 2.0 options are decent, if plain.

Extras:

Extras include Geneon previews for three titles that are much better than Demon Lord Dante, highlights for the next episodes, DVD credits, and a disappointing one-line profile for each of the Four Demon Kings. In the highlights for the upcoming episodes, there is no English dub or subtitles attached, leaving everyone but the Japanese speakers scratching their heads.

Final Thoughts:

Give us Cutie Honey and Devil Man, not Demon Lord Dante. Go Nagai seems happy with this work, but I'm not. It's not funny, not scary, and just isn't very interesting. Demons usually make for good anime, but Dante Agonizes gets a profound Skip It. And that's with us knowing Dante takes on God himself in the fourth and final volume.

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