|Index||4 reviews in total|
With action, adventure, demons, horror, mysteries, philosophy, and mounds
upon mounds of gore, Devil Lady has all the right ingredients for an
exciting and intriguing anime series. Unfortunately, the materials were
added out of order, whipped with a dirty whisk, frozen at the wrong
temperature, baked for too long, and dropped on the floor, resulting in
something that's definitely doesn't help in making Go Nagai's name any
revered. Starting out as an interesting series with a somewhat alluring
story, Devil Lady has gotten progressively worse, hitting its third volume
with the crushing knowledge that the previously `alluring story' has
absolutely nowhere and accomplished nothing. Containing four wholly trite
and hackneyed episodes, the third disc further continues the air of
with its rather blasé packaging. Trying to embody the image of horror as
much as possible, the disc is enclosed by a tri-colored cover that looks
like it was smuggled from the cutting room of Nightmare Campus or Demon
School Porn Club Naughty Jungle Teacher. Inside the shiny disc, however,
where all the non-magic happens. As extras, ADV has thoughtfully added the
textless opening and ending sequences, which are so special that they're
included on every single volume in the series. There is one brief extra
is worthwhile, however, and this is few slices of original artwork
in a minute gallery. These four shots show gorgeously drawn portraits of
certain characters in a variety of mediums, and are truly amazing.
Normally, the number of extras on a disc doesn't matter, as their purpose is to serve as just that-extras, and occasionally an added incentive for purchasing an already capital-worthy DVD. It is a pity, then, that the extras for the third volume of Devil Lady are so scant, as it wouldn't hurt to offer viewers a bribe to even watch the show. The original concept of the show started out rather interestingly, featuring Jun who is a model that occasionally turns into a beast. She works for an offshoot of the government that controls the epidemic of Beasts that are living amongst humans, and conducts research on what makes humans turn into Beasts and what not. Sadly, by episode ten, this is still the overriding plot of the show, settling into a comfortable groove of being a very patterned, Beast-o'-the-Day series. This in itself wouldn't be as bad if it weren't for the fact that not only are the episodes redundant, they are also incredibly drawn out and slow. An entire twenty-five moments are devoted solely to a story that could have been done with much more fire and pizzazz in half the time. The main cause of this is the pacing, making it seem like the writers tried too hard to make the show deep and profound. Each revelation made by the characters or conclusion drawn by viewers is repeated over and over again, echoed by other characters repeatedly, just to make sure the paper-thin story was filed away into the minds of the audience. This was done even for the obvious, making it exasperating to listen to the characters grope for time by reinstating for the third time what just happened in the previous scene.
This isn't to say that the story was devoid of good qualities, however. In fact, the one very impressive part about the way the episodes were written was the use of symbolism and foreshadowing. An example is the first episode, where the weather pattern and the color of the sky were used to parallel both the reoccurring events in the plot, as well as hint at what was going to happen. The palette used was later tied into the Beast's past, too, giving even more meaning to the symbols mentioned earlier. Scattered with instances such as these, the scenes were able to give themselves a much more thought-provoking air without the distraction of a babbling cast to reinforce any imagery used.
Although scenes that use the aforementioned images, like rain and skies red with fire smoke, are wonderfully drawn with vibrant backgrounds, the rest of the art in the series leaves much to be desired. Crafted in Go Nagai's infamous style, the scenes are littered in gore, creepy images, nudity, and sexual innuendo. In fact, the last episode contains a strong dose of implied quasi-incest, tentacle rape, misogyny-but this should come as no surprise to viewers familiar with many of Nagai's other works. What brings down the use of gore and nudity is not the content, but the boorish way in which it is portrayed. Nudity is roughly drawn, blood is carelessly made to appear and spray in unscientific ways-crude remains the only word that can be used to describe it. The characters themselves don't look bad at all, but with all the unclean foreground art and random elements and bodily fluids clustered on them, it only adds to the atmosphere of uncouthness.
The rough and unpolished feeling exuded by the artwork also transfers itself onto the animation, which is mediocre at best. The movements aren't particularly graceful, though they serve their purpose adequately. A bit disappointing, though, is the way effects were animated, like fire and wind. The colors used were bland and the animation choppy, resulting in something that looks more like a low-budget hentai production than anything else. As with the gripe about the artwork, the amount of bodily fluids dripping amok in the series also contribute to the cheap-hentai look, the shoddy way they were done serving only to taint what could have potentially been a good suspense or action series.
Though your eyes may get wary at the low quality look of the series, your ears will get an equal opportunity to indulge in mediocrity as well. Although the acting for both language tracks is done properly and by the books, no passion is thrown behind the voices. The difference lies between good actors who feel their characters' triumphs and pains, and readers who simply read their lines to gather paychecks-much like the difference between an impassioned pianist who weaves stories on a keyboard and a piano player who hits the notes as they are printed on the page. The one exception is the Japanese actress for Jun, played by the amazing Iwao Junko who is able to make her voice burn when she's angry, and cry when she feels pain. To credit the English dub, though, it must be said that the script is rather impressive. Although ADV altered a few of the lines and violated the silent respites in the original script, the lines were translated mostly faithfully.
It can't be said that Devil Lady is a bad series-it just doesn't live up to its potential. Rather than explore the philosophical points grazed in the dialogue, such as the rights of humanity and its co-inhabitants, the scenes dwell on the wrong parts of the story and make the story clunky and rough. Impersonating the uneven pacing of the script, the visual aspects of the story contribute to the raw feeling of the show, stripping it of any grace or imagery and then forcing it back later when this loss is recognized. Fans of Go Nagai will be thrilled at the nudity and bloodshed and repressed hentai urges, but such things otherwise bring down an already mediocre show. Devil Lady has an interesting story behind it, but unless the potential can be acted upon, not watching these episodes will be nothing to lament.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In modern day Tokyo, a beautiful but fragile young supermodel, Jun
Fudou, finds her ordinary life turned upside-down when she is visited
by Asuka Lan, a shady and mysterious woman with a secret agenda of her
own. Soon Jun discovers that she can, when provoked, transform into a
demonic giant, hence the title of the series. Under Asuka's command,
Jun is forced to track down monsters--some of who may actually be her
close colleagues in disguise. All the while, Jun's relationship with
her best friend Kazumi begins to slide.
Created by Go Nagai, this dark, Gothic-horror 26-episode series is most definitely not for young children. In addition to having a complex, sometimes nail-biting plot, THE DEVIL LADY also has its lion's share of gory violence and nudity. The battle sequences between the devilish Jun and the monsters are as bloody as you'd expect, and there are also scenes where several characters are nude. Still some other episodes feature somewhat sexual situations; for example, at one point, Jun is tied to a bed while a character (changed into a demonic cat), draws her claw against Jun's chest and slurps blood from the wound. Later, another character--Jason Bates--who, like our heroine, has the ability to transform into a devil beast, attempts to rape Jun.
To THE DEVIL LADY's credit, however, the show handles the above in a supernatural manner, so it's not so disturbing. And while some may bemoan that the production values are on par with an old-school Anime--uneven cel count, and somewhat limited backgrounds, in many ways it makes it easier to stomach a show like this.
However, there were two things that ultimately made THE DEVIL LADY for me. The first is its ominous musical score, provided by Toshiyuki Watanabe. Sparingly used, yet memorable, it adds to the show's creepy atmosphere. The main theme, in particular, a choral chant reminiscent of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" as well as Jerry Goldsmith's score for THE OMEN, is a knock-out. The other quality that struck me about THE DEVIL LADY was the compelling portrayal of Jun as a character. In between periods of killing, we see her overcome with remorse and shame for having committed such acts, and the very real pain we feel from this makes it all the more sad when she starts to become more monstrous and lose touch with her normal self. This issue of duality adds a human aspect and credibility to what could otherwise have been just another throwaway horror Anime flick.
Although episodic in nature, THE DEVIL LADY manages to find a plot of its own. While it does build to the typical apocalyptic conclusion and some episodes don't really move the story along, there are very rare moments when THE DEVIL LADY is not engrossing. As a story about a person's downward spiral, it's hard to pull away from every minute of it, but the only episodes that truly succeed in maintaining a thriller/horror feel are the opening three. Every one after that borders on predictable, but in all fairness, there are unexpected twists and just about enough intelligence to make the overall show not only an ideal choice for Halloween, but as a subject for discussion. Actually, I found out that this show is a reworking of another series by Go Nagai; THE DEVIL MAN, only with a man in the lead. To further compliment this show, it never even feels like a spin-off, so you wouldn't think otherwise.
Other kudos should be given to the folks at ADV for their handling of this series. The visual quality on the discs is very good, and the audio comes across very well on both the Japanese and English language tracks. The English dub is produced by the now defunct Monster Island Studios from Austin, Texas, whose track record has been mixed. Their English track for NADIA was wonderful, but SAMURAI X, their previous project, was too stiff, acting-wise, and loose, script-wise. THE DEVIL LADY's dub is somewhere in between. The principal trio of Jun, Asuka, and Kazumi are all excellently voiced and well acted by Shawn Sides, Siân Rees-Cleland, and especially Camille Chen (the latter's screaming scenes, in particular, are phenomenal; you'd swear that she was in the situation for real!). The supporting cast is hit or miss, but most of them verge on good; J. Shannon Weaver, in particular, is disturbingly creepy as the kid-devil Satoru. The ADR script by Elena Carrillo is probably the problem I have with the dub; although faithful in spirit, sometimes it's a little too loose, omitting and/or altering some important lines. This flaw, however, is toned down after the first volume and isn't all that bothersome after awhile. Purists probably won't give the dub a chance due to the aforementioned scripting issues, but for patient dub fans, this one might be worth checking out for the performances I described.
On a final note, THE DEVIL LADY also exists as a manga series, and has some even more horrifying violence and some sexual scenes. This Anime is tamer by comparison, although as mentioned, it's not for the kiddies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have to give some credit to this series: Unlike most of the
adaptations of one of the stories created by Go Nagai (Which tend to
keep only the most pragmatic elements of the original source material)
"The Devil Lady" managed to be more complex and suspenseful than other
Japanese animations with a similar premise: I would dare to say that,
in some aspects at least, it was even better than the original "Devil
It is true that the idea of a secret organization fighting supernatural beings have been done before ("Men in Black" is probably the most famous example) but "The Devil Lady" makes a good use of those kind of archetypes: The plot of each episode tend to be very dark and tragic, but also very interesting as well, combining effectively the action, the horror and the drama.
While this series could be a bit cheesy and over-the-top at moments (Despite the incredible seriousness of the main storyline) the plot and character development is quite well done, having also a very satisfying resolution.
The animation was good too, maintaining a decent level in all the episodes. The same goes for the music, which gives this series an appropriate atmosphere (I particularly liked the ominous intro) capturing the tension or tranquility of each scene. Even when "The Devil Lady" isn't the greatest anime ever made, it is still a good series anyway. At least it serves to show that the Go Nagai stories, despite being excessive and gratuitous, can be done well and have a certain level of subtlety.
This show was so boring. It was your typical anime boring crap, filled
with satanism, female nudity (But almost nothing of Male nudity, that's
why it sucks) ugly designs, a stupid plot and boring and bland
This show was so stupid and boring, that it was completely worthless.
There wasn't any single good thing about this, everything about this show sucked.
This show is pretty lame, even for anime standards. Unless you are an anime fan, don't waste your time seeing this crap.
What a stupid show, and what a waste of time. This sucks hard.
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