Devil Lady Vol. #1 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Paul Jacques
Review Date: Monday, August 11, 2003



What They Say
Jun has always been different from everyone else-the life of a fashion model is unlike anything else in the world. But she has no idea how different she is... until a mysterious stalker throws her head-first into a brutal confrontation with the supernatural!

From Go Nagai, the master of animated horror, comes a harrowing odyssey through the twisted maze that is Jun's new life. By day a beautiful, shy fashion plate. By night a terrifying vision of demonic power.

The Review!
If you liked Devil Man, meet his other half, she’s to die for.

Audio:
I listened in Japanese and English, which are presented in Dolby stereo. Sound was clear and the incidental music was used to make an impact on the scene situation in a very thriller like fashion.

I really liked the opening theme, a seriously spooky "Ave Satani” like chant music (similar to Omen) which doesn’t appear to have a name. The closing music is called “Rebirth” which is nice, but a little uninspiring. I guess the choice of music styles is to represent to two sides to Jun’s personality.


Video:
The film presentation was very good, clear with crisp character outlines, although the colors are a little pastel for me. There were no visual problems detected on any of the episodes.


Packaging:
The box itself is replete in red, lots of red. Red on the front (with a black devil lady), red on the back (3x black stills) and red on the inside (4x black monster drawings). I’m sure that if an insert had have come with this DVD, it too may well have been red. Last but not least is the printed DVD which is …. silver actually (I think they ran out of red).

It should be noted that the R2 release does not include the 4x monster cards. Instead the boys & girls at ADV UK have had the monsters printed onto the inside of the cover sleeve, and to be honest it looks better than the cards.


Menu:
A simple black and red menu split into three horizontal zones. With the episodes listed on the top zone and DVD options at the bottom, the whole thing accompanied by the looped chant played over some character scenes.


Extras:
Nothing to get excited about I’m afraid. We have clean open and close, original trailer and some artwork. Yup, no one stayed up late to put this one together.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I quite liked Devil Man, it was good honest gratuitous violence and gore. So I was very much looking forward to this disc.

Episode 1 is your basic meet the characters storyline, but it is presented in a very sedate and “arty” manner- maybe this is for grown ups? We meet Jun and see her in the glamorous world of modeling, but she doesn’t look happy at all. After work she meets her younger friend Kazumi, at which point she seems to cheer up a little, but afterwards she drops back to her usual gloomy self. Jun certainly is one unhappy bunny, but that may well be down to creepy visions she keeps having!

Later in this episode we meet Lan Asuka who heads up a secret government organization whose job it is to protect the Earth from Demon Beasts. She persuades Jun to go to an abandoned warehouse, but this is just a ruse to force Jun’s alter ego, Devil Women, to emerge under a very extreme situation.

The next episode starts where first finishes off, that is with a big monster (literally) fight. The bad monster is dispatched with alacrity by Devil Lady. Jun wakes the next day feeling bewildered and horrified at the previous nights events.

Later that evening whilst Jun grabs a little quality time with Kazumi, but Lan appears and reminds Jun that she’s now works for the Company (aka Human Alliance) and that she is expected to do their bidding. Later Jun discovers a little more about her condition (Neotenic) and the secret war that rages on earth. The end of the monster fight scene leave us in no doubt that Jun, and the monster she kills, are a related species.

Episode 3 has the demons make a pre-emptive attack on Kazumi’s home and family, as a means of exacting retribution on Jun killing of their kind. Jun finds out about the attack very late, and there is a real sense of urgency as she attempts to warn Kazumi about the impending doom- quite an exciting episode.

Episode 4 sees Jun wakes up within a Government building after her previous battle with the Beasts. In this scene we learn about Jun’s childhood and aspirations as she relates her past to the spying security cameras in her room. After the emotional unloading Jun meets a senior figure within the Human Alliance, from this meeting Jun learns exactly what her role is within the organization.

Later Kazumi turns up at Jun’s place as her home as been destroyed and she says she has no one she can stay with. It is obvious from Kazumi demeanor that she isn’t dealing with the situation very well, and more importantly she doesn’t know what part Jun had in her misery. The episode ends with Jun and Lan dispatching another wee beastie, but more importantly we see that Jun is beginning to assert who own will in these situations.

The final episode has Jun fight a Beast who is also a close friend (Aoi Kurosaki) from her high school. This story throws lesbianism, love, revenge into the mix and bakes for 15 minutes. I like this episode best (no, not for that reason) because we see Jun try deal with her awkward relationships of Kazumi and Aoi, as well as come to terms with what she is becoming.

The series does seem similar to the original Devil Man, and characters from both series have a lot in common, as are the monster designs. What is different about this series is the interesting use of angles, scene shots and incidental music to give a more thriller like effect. One might even describe this title as being a little less titillating and slightly more thoughtful Devil Man.

In summary - This series has promise, but at this point I’m unsure whether Devil Lady will go the smash and gore route of Devil Man or evolve into something darker (queue spooky music).

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original cover art,Clean credit animation,Original Japanese trailer

Review Equipment
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.




Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Devil Lady