The Devil May Cry, but you will too

Last week, I wrote about the sad state of video games based on TV shows. Well, this week’s release of the Devil May Cry anime DVD proved TV shouldn’t be based on video games either.

Last week, I wrote about the sad state of video games based on TV shows. Well, this week’s release of the Devil May Cry anime DVD proved TV shouldn’t be based on video games either.

As a video game franchise, DMC is a stupendous romp through stylish, gorgeous visuals, butter-smooth game play and an engaging storyline involving crazed demons and buckets of blood. Intrigue and downright coolness run rich in the games, yet the animation spin-off seems to drop those qualities.

The first DVD for the animated DMC series hit shelves Tuesday and includes four episodes taking cues from the video games. The best features include extras that are actually videos of, and from, Devil May Cry 4, also released yesterday. The worst … well, the worst feature of this anime DVD is harder to identify.

First up, the visuals aren’t nearly as innovative or slick in the animation as in the games. The games had lead character Dante moving fluidly through his environment, with polished backgrounds and acute details at every turn. The anime’s visuals are indistinguishable against any other anime of Japanese influence, save for maybe the abundance of frustrating shadows cast across each frame and janky character movements.

Next, there is a serious dearth of character development in the show. Dante, who is an undeniable badass with suave and smarts to spare in the games, comes off as a dense, pretentious dick. He’s believable as a gun-and-sword-toting devil hunter who can get out of any sticky scenario in the games, but his infallibility and constant calm just feel forced, contrived and the result of bad writing and production, not seamless shifts from bloody action to level-headed stud-liness.

Then there’s a child introduced in the anime, Patty Lowell. A six-year-old benefactor to some anonymous rich guy’s fortune, Patty’s safety is placed at Dante’s behest, which leads to predictable and unsuccessful humor about a cutesy little girl’s antics clashing with the devil hunter’s adult-themed bravado. Patty’s voice is grating, whimpering, and annoying enough to justify setting off firecrackers in your ear canals.

The voice acting overall is pretty shit-house, actually. Dante’s voice actor (Justin Cause) sounds like he studied at the William Shatner Constipated Talking Academy and his constant, worthless asides are spoken in a breathy manner that could denote cleverness, if only his words weren’t so trite. Take this conversational gem, for example:


“But I tell ya, there’s a ton of demons out there that could totally pass for human.”

Other Character:

“Oh yeah, and she was packing heat, too.”


“Well, demons do have fingers. That’s all you need to pull the trigger.”

The action-sequence dialogue from all the characters is even more cliche, and there’s only about 15 minutes of actual plot advancement amid the speech. It’s not worth trying to explain the premise or plot lines beyond Dante looking after Patty, as each subsequent episode goes something like this: Dramatic sequence sets the tone, Dante is recruited to solve said drama, a demon shows up, Dante slays said demon, shitty jokes are made and a preview of the next episode is shown.

Now, it seems fair to point out this reviewer’s perspective: I don’t watch much anime. Sure, the occasional Adult Swim Japanime graces my screen, but I otherwise refrain from this art medium, which relies too much on exaggerated textures, stoic frames and subtitles to tell the story. It feels, however, like even regular anime fans will be disgusted by DMC, as will fans of the gaming titles. The next four episodes are slated for a DVD release April 2, but if the first disc is any indication, the rest of the season ought to be avoided.