Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 17 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Devil Lady
Devil Lady Vol. #5: The Purging
By Chris Beveridge
June 06, 2003
Release Date: June 24, 2003
Devil Lady Vol. #5: The Purging
What They Say
© ADV Films
In a desperate attempt to stave off the encroaching Devil Beast incursion, mankind responds with a typically crude escalation of global military might. But man's ignorance may defeat all the grand plans of advanced technology and massive armaments.
Meanwhile, Jun, the only true hope for mankind, is on the run from those who do not understand her plight and those who understand it all too well. An enemy of both the state and the forces that seek to destroy humanity, she must surmount impossible obstacles to save civilization... and her soul.
Rumors of war are becoming fact.
Whispers in the dark draw closer.
The fetid breath of destruction warms the night. The Review!
With a title of “The Purging”, it’s a bit deceptive or at least sneaky based on how all this plays out.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The track here is a standard stereo mix that makes good use of the forward soundstage, most notably during the action sequences as well as with the gorgeous music score attached to it. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions on either track.Video:
The transfer for this series continues to deal with the materials well. The feel of the animation itself is quite dark, especially with most of these episodes taking place at night, so the blue skies look good with hardly any macroblocking or pixelation. There’s a feel of grain throughout that’s very minor and looks to be more intentional than not, so as to give things a slightly soft and almost comfortable feeling, which balances out the suspense that the show builds. Colors look great, there’s no cross coloration and I was hard pressed to find much in the way of aliasing.Packaging:
One of my favorite covers of this series, the dual imagery works great here with Jun in the foreground in human form while her shadow reflects the Devilman inside of her. The back cover features only a few small screenshots but makes up for it in just a general look and feel. There’s a brief summary spread over most of the back cover as well as listing the discs features and basic production information. This release is in a clear keepcase, but the reverse side of the cover is completely red with nothing on it, giving it a very strange feel when you open it as you expect more. There’s also no insert, but that’s made up for with four trading cards, each of them about one of the Beasts found in the episodes on the disc. Don’t read them until afterwards though as they may spoil your enjoyment. The back cover also lists a “behind the scenes” extra, but none is actually on this disc.Menu:
Set up in a letterbox style, the central portion of the menu has a small sequence from the opening playing repeatedly to the opening music with the almost flame-like movement of the light against the reds and blacks. Selections ring the top and bottom of the menu, as well as providing instant episode access. Access times in the menus are nice and fast and the layout works good overall.Extras:
The extras continue to be pretty repetitive, as outside of the textless opening and ending sequence we get a few pages of original artwork gallery and a Japanese trailer for the series.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series gets closer to its final episodes, things naturally start to speed up and the plots all start coming together. That’s normal for just about any series at this point and Devil Lady is no exception, as we get some rather good episodes here, some new revelations and a deepening of bonds.
Kazumi’s role in everything starts to become a bit more clear, though in the end I think her real role is to simply become bait for Jun instead of an anchor to Jun’s nearly lost humanity. With Jun now apparently gone for good, she tries to live on in the house but is ousted by some mysterious man in black. She ends up taking to the streets essentially, trying to figure out what to do. The streets continue to be much more dangerous than normal now that more and more people are transforming into beasts at random as well as the number of troops on the street. She figures she’s wanted on some level with her relationship to Jun, so she tries to keep a low profile.
One bad mishap at a club where the majority of the people there started turning into beasts in rhythm with the pounding music, Kazumi finds herself being led deep underground to the old sewer system by a young kid. As it turns out, there’s a small group of early teens here who have partially transformed, such as gaining cat ears, tails, antenna and the like but really retain their humanity and sanity. Kazumi ends up falling in with them to try and survive what’s going on outside in the world.
Jun herself finds things to be a great deal rougher, but she’s become accepting of it at first as her captivity has her in a strong cell after her last hospital bed, where she had brutally attacked the nurse. Strangely, even though she’s in a cell, she’s able to get out and walk around the compound. It’s in here that she comes across Jason tied up in a glass cage where Asuka seems to be having her way in teasing him. She soon finds out that he’s incapable of turning back into human form and that he’s possibly becoming unbalanced by it, insisting that she has to give him a gift of power that help him evolve on.
The support cast also starts bringing in some new elements to the show. Maeda spends some time on New Jersey doing research on who Asuka really is at the direction of his military superiors, who are seemingly moving away from the Human Alliance methods and coming up with their own plans. During his time there, he ends up coming away with some really intriguing twists and turns on what’s been going on in the world over the past several years and a number of very interesting revelations that push the story forward.
Jun’s manager at the agency, Satoru, also gets in on things here as he tries to find Jun. Life in the city is getting worse, and he’s sent away his wife and daughter to the countryside to ride it out, but it also appears to not be a difficult decision on the part of him and his wife, as there’s hints that she believes he’s been unfaithful or more in love with Jun. Through his eyes, as well as others as the episodes progress, we see the disintegration of the society through the fear and continual attacks as well as the brief relief come when a drug is introduced to help combat the beast progression.
There’s a lot of really great stuff going on here with new revelations about characters pasts and their motivations that fit in nicely without feeling forced or departing dramatically from the established view of the character. There’s a fair amount of action scenes throughout as more people transform but there’s also a real sense of urgency creeping into things, particularly the segments with Kazumi and the other kids.
With only a few more episodes to go, I’m anxious to see how it’s all going to wrap up. It’s been great to have a horror series that doesn’t require tentacles or over-eighteen action to get greenlighted.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Original Japanese artwork,Printed monster cards
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.