DNAngel Complete Collection (Thinpak) (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, August 06, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2005
What They Say
Being a young teen is hard enough for most boys, but Daisuke's is a particularly hard destiny and he doesn't even know it yet. Every male of the Niwa family possessess a peculiar gene that matures on their fourteenth birthday and is activated when he's in love. Now any time Daisuke becomes enflamed with Risa, the object of his desires, he transforms into the legendary thief Phantom Dark. The only way to return to normal is to win the affection of his true love, but she only has eyes for Dark. And she's not the only one: Daisuke's eccentric mom, the entire police force and the boy genius Satoshi, who harbors an even darker secret than Daisuke, all have their reasons to capture Dark. Now Daisuke has to keep his secret in the dark as he steals magical items for his family and attempts to steal the heart of his true love.
DNAngel is a fun blend of action, drama, and typical high-school comedy hijinks.
For this review I primarily watched the English dub. The audio for the English track is a good 5.1 mix with a surprising amount of directionality to both the dialogue and effects. The Japanese track also makes good use of directionality, and is a nice stereo mix. Both the Japanese and English tracks have nice clear dialogue.
The show is generally very crisp and clean looking, with good solid colors. The show frequently reuses a handful of CG shots to establish the layout of the town and school. While these shots are noticeably digital they do fit in with the overall style of the show. There is some minor aftifacting in a small handful of shots, such as the funicular as it recedes up the hill or on the bow in Risa's hair.
The collection comes packaged in a very sturdy art box with a nice close up image of Daisuke on one side and Dark on the other. The art used for both Daisuke and Dark is very appealing and really capture the feeling of both characters. The images are laid over a grey background with strong rounded white brushstrokes. Both characters are overlaid with soft purple feather silhouettes. The overall effect is very appealing. The top of the box is solid grey, while the bottom lists some technical details.
Each disc has nice character art featuring Dark, Risa, Krad, the Second Hand of Time and Hiwatari. Each character is overlaid on a background comprised of purple hued shots from the episodes. The backside of each disc features additional character art of Riku, Dark, Towa, Daisuke, and Mio. The back also lists the titles of episodes as well as having a handful of color shots from the episodes.
The menus are visually simple and extremely easy to navigate. The background is composed of layered feathers in purple tones over the same white brushstrokes seen on the art box. The menu also features a music loop of the opening theme.
This Thinpak collection has a handful of previews on the first disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Daisuke Niwa seems to be the average unassuming teen, albeit one with a wacky mother and grandfather. Not only is he awkward, both physically and socially, but he is also hopelessly in love with fellow student Risa Harada. It doesn't take long to realize that there is more to Daisuke than meets the eye, as we see him expertly hack into a securely locked room and easily navigate the gauntlet of traps his mother sets up for him at home. It turns out that Daisuke's mother and grandfather have raised him to be a masterful thief, and to good purpose. Now that Daisuke is fourteen he has come into the family inheritance, which is to become the Phantom Thief, Dark, whenever he thinks about the girl he loves.
Dark has been sharing the body of the Niwa men for four hundred years. Their shared mission has been to steal pieces of artwork that have harmful magical powers and seal them away. Dark and the Niwa clan take care of any dangerous art, but focus in particular on the creations of the Hikari family.
Once Dark emerges from Daisuke, the show quickly steps into a theft of the week pattern. Unfortunately for Daisuke, as soon as Risa sees Dark on TV she falls in love with him, and engages Daisuke's help in arranging a meeting. His hapless interactions with Risa, and her inclination to thoughtlessly use Daisuke to achieve her goals, leaves you wondering if these two really should get together.
While Risa is busy pining for Dark, her twin sister, Riku, begins to develop feelings for Daisuke. Though Riku does her best to ignore her budding romantic inclinations, it's clear that she and Daisuke really do get along beautifully. Riku gives Daisuke no hints about her feelings until the arrival of Mio, a new transfer student. Mio is a riotous breath of fresh air and her introductory episode is one of the best in the series. Initially Mio attempts to make Daisuke fall for her, but before long she is engineering a romance between he and Riku.
Along with all of the expected romantic entanglements, there is also the problem of poor Satoshi Hiwatari. Aside from the Niwa family, only Hiwatari is aware that Daisuke shares his body with Dark. Hiwatari is a boy genius, who attends middle school with Daisuke while also heading the local police force in their effort to catch Dark. And he too has secrets, not only his body is host to Krad, Dark's other more malevolent half, but he is also a descendant of the evil artwork making Hikari family. Unlike Daisuke and Dark who have a warm friendship and amicably share one body, Hiwatari and Krad are always at odds. Hiwatari does his best to prevent Krad from taking over his body. Krad for his part has little regard for Hiwatari, seeing him only as a means of eliminating Dark.
As the story heats up the character relationships become more complex and the action just keeps coming. Once the pace picks up, it doesn't let up until the end of the series. The show culminates with the Second Hand of Time story arc, in which Daisuke proves that he doesn't need Dark to be a hero. The conclusion to the arc feels almost as if it were the end of the series, as it neatly wraps up most of the plots. However, the larger plot and the fate of both Dark and Krad are resolved in the final two episodes. Though the finale feels a bit rushed, as there is a lot of information crammed in at the end, the resolution is ultimately spot on.
Although the overall concept is fresh, the start of the series feels pretty formulaic. Fortunately it doesn't take long for the story and the character relationships to heat up and by the second half of the season, things are really cooking. The resolution to the various character relationships and overall plot comes to an extremely satisfying conclusion.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
Review Equipment: Samsung HLN5065WX 50" DLP HDTV, Sony DVP-NS975V Progressive Scan Up Converting DVD player, Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV DD/DTS receiver, HDMI cable, JBL Multi-Channel Speaker System with 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: TV PG
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 650
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2