The search for a special grimoire leads an odd-jobs man into the most unlikely of situations.
What They Say:
Episode 1 - I am Providence
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With its origins going back to an eroge game that was eventually adapted as a PS2 game, visual novel and more, it's also one that has found its home with an anime TV series that ran for twelve episodes back in the summer of 2006. Crunchyroll and Kadokawa have brought it out for streaming in late 2010, in a better late than never, as the show never got picked up for a US release even when the market still had some potential to it. Focusing on an odd-jobs man named Kuro who finds himself being caught up in bigger events while trying to just live his life, it's the kind of otherworldly fantasy style show that takes some time to get into its groove as it explores the basic setting and the characters who tend to go for the expected laughs and gags.
Kuro's something of a rarity as he's someone who has studied the occult and magical theory at the Miskatonic University and the field of study he went into is not one that's publicly known. While it seems like the world is very similar to the Earth we know, it has that edge of darkness to it with magic and the supernatural very much a part of things. Kuro's being hired to help look for a specific grimoire in the opening episode has him going further down into the realm of this area, especially when he meets a pale skinned raven haired beauty named Nya while searching for the book. Everything goes to hell even faster for Kuro as just a bit later, a girl literally falls from the sky onto his head, causing the obligatory nosebleed, right as a group called the Black Lodge arrives to capture her. With a bit of magic skill though, she's able to fend them off and suddenly finds herself needing Kuro's assistance.
The bringing together of the two is the catalyst to get things moving here as Al Azif ends up finding that Kuro has some real magic potential and creates a pact with him when they're really trapped by the Black Lodge and its wacky leader, Doctor West who uses a rocket launcher inside of a guitar case. Having Al Azif actually being a grimoire herself given human form that bonds with him when needed to amplify his magical abilities, he's able to provide the physical side to things to help fight against the Black Lodge. Everything goes big in the attack, especially as Kuro gets transformed a bit into a winged attack machine and Al Azif is a pint-sized demonic angel of sorts telling him what to do. The world that's explored here definitely has its own rhythm to it, but it's not given the primacy here to really be made clear as the focus is on trying to get your attention with the characters and action rather than exploring the setting some.
Demonbane is one of those series that starts off really awkward in getting things across. Kuro's time is initially interesting as we get a feel for what his circumstances are as he's drawn in to the search for a special grimoire and we see a touch of his back story that explains why he's different. When it gets to introducing Al Azif into the show and the Black Lodge, it sets itself up for something bigger and then pushes it as far as it can by mixing magic and mecha together with a wacky leader for the Black Lodge. The opening episode is a bit too spastic to really come across very well, though it tries to provide enough hooks to bring you back, from the cute book as girl angle to maids that help setup the mecha control room that's very Gravion reminiscent. The scale of events here just feels like it gets too big too quickly to really work well.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.