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The Devil Lady

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Beauty and the Beast Go Nagai's "The Devil Lady" Devil Lady silhouette Jun Fudou - model Meet Jun Fudou, a popular fashion model. Jun also has other talents - she just doesn't know it yet. Lan Asuka needs someone with those talents, and she's decided to use Jun, whether Jun likes it or not. Vague feelings of unease have troubled Jun all day. Was it just her imagination, or was a blonde woman following her home? Even when she gets home her uneasiness keeps getting worse, until the doorbell rings and Jun finds the blonde woman at her door. Introducing herself as Lan Asuka, she commands Jun to come with her, brushing aside any questions or protests. Jun follows Asuka, and is driven to a warehouse on the docks where she is told to go inside. Asuka is about to test Jun's hidden talents by locking her in the dark with only a monster for company. A chained-up man transforms into a beast before Jun's eyes, bursting his shackles then attacking her. Terrified, wounded and faced with a violent death, some instinct is triggered in Jun. Her eyes start to glow and her body changes. She becomes a monster herself, and defeats the beast. We see the triumphant Devil Lady, with her demonic grin and glowing eyes, covered in the blood of the fallen beast. Asuka has the hunter she was looking for, although she soon finds out that Jun is even more than she had hoped for. Jun awakens the next morning, dismissing these events as a nightmare. But when she finds blood-soaked rags in her bath, she realises that her nightmare was real. And it's about to get worse, as she finds herself drawn into a conflict that threatens to destroy her life and the lives of those around her, including her young friend Kazumi, who moves in with Jun after her home and family are involved in a clash between Jun and her enemies. Asuka begins to use Jun quite ruthlessly as her devilbeast hunter, and Jun increasingly depends on Kazumi and the support of Asuka's secretary, a man named Maeda, in order to remain human. The final player arrives in the form of Jason Bates, a devilman himself, who has his own plans involving Jun. Jun also starts to have nightmares, where the sky is red and devilbeasts are fighting amongst themselves for supremacy over the world. What's even worse is that she sometimes hallucinates during the day, seeing the nightmare world overlaid on top of the real world. Is it just a nightmare or is it a true vision of things to come? What will happen when the secret of the devilbeasts' existence is revealed to the world? The Devil Lady is a very well crafted and deceptive series. With the main character and the enemies she faces being big and powerful monsters, the show could easily have turned into just a sequence of gory battles, in a monster-of-the week style. And during the initial set up stages, that's apparently what you get. But only if you aren't looking very hard. Some background events that initially seem insignficant eventually lead to a series of surprising changes in the nature of the story. In the first episode, when Jun is sitting in the dressing room, getting more frightened by the minute, the music builds to a crescendo as she pulls back the curtain to reveal ... nothing. Silence. The harsh strings made us anticipate trouble, but nothing happens. We feel as unsettled as Jun. Music is used sparingly in the series, and when it appears it signals to the viewer that something important may be about to happen. But, as the first episode demonstrated, we can't be certain of this and the uncertainty helps maintain suspense. Another technique used to immerse the viewer is how a scene is presented. Usually, a scene is presented from a character's point of view. We know only what the character knows, and our reactions mirror those of the character. An alternative is to show a scene where the viewer has more information than the character. Now we are horrified by what is lying in wait for the character, and the tension builds in us as the moment of revelation approaches. Finally, there's the good old cliff-hanger ending, which is used at various points in the series, but usually in episodes that are part of the larger series plot, rather than in episodes which can stand on their own. Neither this use of music or the presentation of scenes is novel, of course, but it does help to connect the series with, say, classic Hitchcock thrillers. Once Jun is established as a hunter, we get some different types of story thrown in. Jun has to deal with an obsessed fan who wants to follow in Jun's footsteps, but is thwarted because her idol keeps winning all the modelling roles. Add in that she's a devilbeast and you get something very nasty. In another, Jun is convinced that someone is watching her. No matter where she is, she doesn't feel safe. Paranoia sets in and even Asuka thinks she has a mental problem. The viewer knows about a voyeur, but is there a connection to Jun's phobia? With the dark nature of the series, it is inevitable that bad things will happen to people who don't deserve them. A strength of this series is that even the monsters can be victims. The "Flames" episode is particularly heart-breaking for Jun when she has to deal with someone who is a danger to everyone, but means no harm, and is unable to even understand the situation. Even Jun, with all her power, cannot solve every problem and save the victim at the same time. Eventually the pacing of the show changes, becoming less episodic and more continuous. The scale of the conflict grows rapidly when it no longer proves possible to keep the public from becoming aware of the existence of the devilbeasts - how can the public ignore scenes such as these? Devilbeast eyes Lan Asuka, stalker test specimen Wolver Jun having a bad day Devilbeast transformation Devil Lady revealed Jun - what have I done? A shock for Jun and Asuka Giant Wolver Giant Devil Lady Jun and Asuka, hound and master Jun meets Satoru Kazumi freaks out   brocken spectres Devil Lady unleashes lightning   The Characters Jun Fudou. Although confident when modelling, she is sometimes rather lonely. Kazumi is her best friend. After becoming the Devil Lady, her personality changes. She becomes more confident and alluring, a benefit for her modelling career, but not all the changes are beneficial. Jun Fudou Lan Asuka. A powerful woman, Asuka is ruthlessly efficient. For her, the end result justifies the means. Jun is a weapon under her control. Although she is sometimes terribly cruel or callous with Jun, she does care about Jun. Lan Asuka Kazumi is a teenage model who idolises Jun and dreams of following in her footsteps. After her home is destroyed, she moves in with Jun, hoping for a closer relationship. Jun, although she cares deeply for Kazumi, feels responsible for her troubles and tries to keep her at a distance, afraid that she will be hurt again. Kazumi Takiura Maeda. Asuka's personal secretary, he becomes Jun's driver. Genuinely concerned about Jun, he tries to help her. Eventually he gets caught up in a conspiracy that may kill him. Maeda Jason Bates. A devilman who accepts his evolved nature, but retains his human soul. Intrigued by Jun, he travels to Japan from the USA, where he works at the Samuelson Lab, which is studying devilbeast transformations. Jason Bates Satoru. Although he appears to be a young boy, he is actually a leader of a group of very powerful devilbeasts. He is a clever and dangerous foe. Satoru   Jun gets advice from Maeda The Devil Lady anime was released in Japan in 1998, based on the "Devilman Lady" manga series by the (in)famous Go Nagai (creator of "Devilman", "Mazinger", "Getter Robo" and "Cutey Honey") and produced by TMS Entertainment. ADV released the R1 version in 2003 with six volumes containing the 26 episodes. A cheaper complete collection is due for release in July 2004. The English dub was produced by ADV's Monster Island studio. One of the most important aspects of anime is the voice acting. Jun Fudou is a particularly challenging role, since Jun is at times a frightened woman, a confident model, a sexual predator, and various shades of demon. All have to be convincing, while still being recognisably the same person. The Devil Lady is blessed with great performances for Jun Fudou. Iwao Junko (Cardcaptor Sakura's Tomoyo) is superb in the Japanese track, where she easily handles Jun's demanding voice switches. Shawn Sides handles the English dub with a skillful perfomance which is probably as overlooked as the show itself is. While one would hope that all the characters are voiced with skill, in this series the other performance that really matters is Lan Asuka. Asuka is a difficult character since she comes across as being very inhuman at times. She uses her voice to command people, to persuade them to do what she wants. Her voice is her weapon and it needs to be wielded, sometimes harshly, sometimes with sympathy. Kaoru Shimamura and Siân Rees-Cleland both manage to keep Asuka on that narrow path between sounding too weak to be believable and too flat and wooden. The end of the series reveals why Asuka speaks this way, but we need to still have some investment in the character for the ending to work properly. Probably no one is ever going to love either performance - the character simply isn't sympathetic enough to really involve the viewer in the way that Jun Fudou does. After laying a solid foundation in the early part of the series, The Devil Lady smoothly changes into a much more complex and interesting story, with plenty of surprises along the way. Some of the characters either change their behaviour, or increasingly show aspects that were easily overlooked in the earlier episodes. Others hold more or less power than we believed. The conflict is more complex than we knew. This isn't a simple good humans versus evil devilbeasts conflict at all. Some horrifying acts are carried out by "good" humans, which shouldn't be much surprise to anyone who knows about the conflicts of the last century, while "evil" devilbeasts help one of the main characters. Neither side is unified in what it wants or how it will act. Trapped between humanity and devilbeasts, Jun has to find a way to protect those she cares about, even if they fear her in return. Kazumi, her link to remaining human, is all too easy a target for anyone wanting to get at her. In order to survive, Jun must become stronger, but can she do that and still remain human? Or will she just become the next beast to be hunted down? Even worse, will her nightmare visions of Hell on Earth come true? Devil Lady enjoying work Jun meets Jason Bates The ultimate voyeur Jun is persuaded to hunt Jun's primal urges take control Jason Bates, Devilman Jun's nightmare Tears from the Devil Lady Anime On DVD Reviews The Awakening
Volume 1: The Awakening
The Becoming
Volume 2: The Becoming
The Strengthening
Volume 3: The Strengthening

The Gathering
Volume 4: The Gathering
The Purging
Volume 5: The Purging
The Victorious
Volume 6: The Victorious
Text and layout © Colin Whitehead, published and owned by Anime On DVD "The Devil Lady" © Go Nagai/Dynamic Planning, MBS, Polygram K.K., TMS-K English Language Version © ADV Films

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