Demon Lord Dante Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: D+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Demon Lord Dante

Demon Lord Dante Vol. #4

By Luis Cruz     December 09, 2004
Release Date: November 30, 2004


Demon Lord Dante Vol. #4
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Regaining his memory of the past and his true identity, Ryo determines to fight as the Demon Lord Dante. As the showdown approaches, Saeko, who turns into Medusa, enters the devildom on her mission to release the Great Demon from his seal. What await her, however, were enormous enemies that hinder her attempt. Dante fights and kills the Golden Sacred Beast, but from the dead body another enemy appears: Eve. The true identity of Eve is Saori who has been chosen to destroy the demons and Dante. Dante completely loses his will to fight facing his own sister; he is stabbed and gets seriously hurt? Dante is in a terrible pinch? Who will survive the ultimate war?

The Review!
The truth behind God, Devils, Adam, and Eve are revealed in the final volume of Demon Lord Dante, if you can manage to stay awake during it.

Audio:
My primary viewing session consisted of the Japanese audio track. It is a straightforward stereo track containing no noticeable problems. Most of the track is dialogue, but there are spots that capture the creepy, otherworldly feel of the demons. Music and dialogue were balanced well and did not overshadow each other; outside of the opening and ending theme songs, the music does not make much of an impact while watching the series. The end result is a solid but not overly impressive audio track.

Video:
Geneon provides another solid transfer for this volume; there are no noticeable defects on the print itself or from the digital transfer. The colors are vibrant and present some great detail in both the day and night scenes. Geneon has placed the English translated credits directly onto the print, and the original credits are not present on the disc. At first glance, it is a solid and lush transfer. But... the partial obscuring of certain scenes continues. While it does not affect the plot, it does detract from the impact a scene could make.

Packaging:
Demon Lord Dante's face set against a flaming background dominates the entire front cover. The series logo and volume title are along the bottom. The back cover contains the requisite synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications. No volume number is present on the packaging. The insert is a fold-out with the front cover image is on the outside. When you open up the insert, you are given a listing of the episodes along with screenshots.

Menu:
A close-up of Ryo's face takes up most of the main menu; his face morphs between his human and demon form. The menu items are to the right of the screen over a flaming background. A piece of music loops in the background; the final touch is a periodic flash that has Dante's face appearing over Ryo's. Functional and a touch creepy, the menus get you into the content quickly.

Extras:
Three terse profiles of God, Satan, and Eve are your only extras.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Anime is rife with shows revolving around devils and demons; however, Go Nagai manages to stand the genre on its head and puts a different perspective on it. Rather than having humanity struggle to save the Earth from a demonic horde, it is the demonic horde that must take back the Earth from God and humanity in Demon Lord Dante. This is the fact we learn as the final volume opens up.

The human population of the Earth evolved from apes infused with the essence of the energy being known as God. They have taken over the Earth that rightly belonged to Dante and the others that turned into devils to fight God over a millennium ago. Dante vows to defeat God and to return Earth to its rightful owners once and for all. He says his final good-bye to Saori and heads off to free Satan from the parallel dimension Satan hid himself in.

A distraught Saori is then chosen by God to be part of his ultimate weapon "Adam and Eve". God also begins to gather his essence from humanity reverting mankind back to a primitive, ape-like state. The final battle for Earth is nearing as both sides begin to marshal their forces.

Meanwhile, the final remnants of the God Squad are deep in their underground lair. Sosuke tracks down Dr. Kosuke and finds the good doctor working on one last SX devil. In yet another about face for the character, Sosuke is once again infuriated with the doctor's practice and finally kills Kosuke. Sosuke is then killed by the SX.

The final battle consumes the last two episodes; Medusa enters the parallel dimension to find Satan while Dante and his followers fight off Adam and Eve. Medusa eventually sacrifices herself to free Satan from his imprisonment. Satan returns to Earth with a legion of devils to help in the battle.

And that is about all Satan does; his devil army is quickly defeated, and he basically stands around watching Dante do battle for the remainder of the series. He briefly touches the mind of God which is a convenient plot device that allows him to serve as an on-screen narrator. The battle plods along with both Dante and Eve realizing that they are actually Ryo and Saori doing battle. Representing light and darkness, they end the battle and join together resulting in the complete destruction of the known universe and the creation of a new universe. Saori and Ryo romp as the new Adam and Eve on the freshly created Earth.

And that is how the story ends; it is a fitting end but one that the audience could see coming to some extent. It was clear from the beginning that Ryo and Saori would be the key to ending the war between God and Devil, but the concepts behind the ending do not feel fleshed out.

Part of this is due to the length of the series; the thirteen episodes were just not enough to fully explore and flesh out the characters and concepts behind the story. Sosuke continues to be my standard example; his behavior seems erratic throughout the series. Sometimes, he hates all devils and willingly follows Kosuke and his agenda. At other times, he finds the God Squad's actions no better than the devils they are supposed to be fighting. He slips back and forth between hating and following Kosuke too easily, and there is no clear motivation why he does this.

Medusa's sacrifice also has no impact on the story as Satan is for all purposes an unnecessary player. Also, there was little time set aside for Dante to really grow to love and care for her once again. The audience sits through endless pieces of exposition and setup, but they get very little in return for their patience.

The only saving grace of the series is Go Nagai's take on what God and devils really are. He combines Biblical stories with evolution and science quite well and brings a number of interesting ideas to the table. Unfortunately, thirteen episodes was just not enough time to flesh them out and provide an engaging world and set of characters to draw the audience in.

In Summary:
Demon Lord Dante had a number of intriguing ideas and twists on various theological themes and religious stories. However, the audience has to sit through large amounts of setup and exposition for a minuscule pay off. The series could have benefited from being stretched over more episodes; thirteen episodes just did not give it ample time to create characters or a world that could draw the audience into the story. This is evident in the episodes of this final volume; they had to rush through too many plot threads in order to bring the series to some sort of conclusion. The end result has many of the characters becoming irrelevant to the events and serving only as on-scene narrators. Without a tight story, this series just did not deliver much to recommend.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Pofiles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable

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