At a glance, Daisuke is your average boy: shy, awkward, helpful to others and has a crush on the prettiest girl in school. However, Daisuke’s family carries a large secret. On his 14th birthday, he finds out that he shares a body with the legendary phantom thief, Dark Mousy. With an uncontrollable split-personality, how is Daisuke going to cope with everyday life?
summary by Kei
Highs: Second half of the series; pleasant music
Lows: First half does not really go anywhere; intruding CGI
Many anime are based on manga and are usually a mixed bag as far as remaining faithful. However, there are cases like D.N.Angel that take the foundation of an original manga series and turn it into something entirely different. In this case, the results are interesting but nothing worthwhile.
The first half of D.N.Angel is merely good for introductions of characters but nothing else. No great amount of character background is revealed, and there are multiple episodes that are self-contained and could be mixed around without harming the flow at all. In short, it is mostly unentertaining filler and nothing more; most episodes are “Crime of the Week” or Daisuke loitering around school. The building blocks for a plot are in place but are not acted on. However, the introduction of Hio Mio and the second half of the series turns everything around completely. Instead of the usual impotent characters and nonexistent storyline, everything is finally kicked into full gear, and things begin to actually happen. Where it was impossible to actually place this series into any specific genre with the first half, the second half makes it known loud and clear that it is focused on action and romance. A plot surrounding Dark and Krad begins to develop, and information comes out about characters like water from a fountain. So that only took thirteen episodes to get to. It could have been worse.
This series manages to have some good music all throughout despite the variable quality of its contents. One piece in particular was overused quite a lot, but everything else was played sparingly and only in situations that fit. Also, the end theme songs for episodes 24 and 26, Caged Bird and Michishirube, respectively, are quite good and show off the vocal talents of Miyamoto Shunichi. While the music may flow well with everything, the sheer overuse of CGI does not. A lot of the CGI has objects seem to be slightly off color, not be shaded properly in relation to a light source or are too blocky.
Although the manga and the anime are like black and white, D.N.Angel manages to be interesting and keeps things going… if you get through the first half.
Highs: Believable characters; interesting story; good music
Lows: Sometimes sluggish plot; shoddy animation
In an anime with great characters, interesting story and memorable music, what could go wrong? As it turns out, in the case of D.N.Angel, lots of things. Despite its somewhat large flaws, this anime still manages to draw itself out of mediocrity by sheer force of its characters.
The characters are vivid and believable, making it easy to care about their fates. Each character has a unique design which suits them well, especially those of the contrasting Dark and Krad. The seiyuu are outstanding, giving great performances and marrying each voice to the facial expressions and action on screen. The anime didn’t stint on backstory, either, taking the time to fully explore each of the main characters in some detail. Unfortunately for the pacing of D.N.Angel, this made the first half of the anime an exasperating mix of exposition and “Monster of the Week” type filler. Happily though, the second half of the anime picks up, drops most of the filler and proceeds with the story and a cast of well-rounded characters.
In an anime with as much action as D.N.Angel, timing and smooth animation are critical. However, these are among this anime’s stumbling blocks. In quick pan and wide angle shots, the animation can be choppy and jagged, which is a marked contrast from the smooth flowing lines and clean colors of the art. Another flaw in the action is the timing in some of the major battle sequences. In a mess of rapidly changing camera angles, movements and positions are quickly muddled; this makes the action hard to follow and adds confusion where there shouldn’t be any. The well executed scenes almost make up for the poor ones, though. These scenes are complimented nicely, with the exception of one overplayed theme, by good music and a few very memorable songs, including the opening theme True Light.
Despite its obvious flaws, D.N.Angel is still quite enjoyable and well worth the watch for fans of action and romance. Dark, Krad and the others aren’t exactly hard on the eyes, either, making this a good choice for anyone who likes their anime with a side of bishounen.
D.N.Angel can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.