a.k.a. Dante the Satan
a.k.a. Maou Dante
Thousands of years ago, the powerful Demon Lord Dante waged war with God. He was defeated and imprisoned in a frozen prison in the Himalayas. Fast forward to present-day Japan where Utsugi Ryo has been having strange dreams. In these dreams, he finds himself face-to-face with the Demon Lord. As Ryo searches for the truth, he finds himself running into the Children of God, Satanists and his own darker half.
summary by Ender
Highs: Interesting and unique themes
Lows: Animation; music; cheesy voice acting; laughable story presentation
Before Nagai Go brought Devilman to the anime world, he tried his hand at Demon Lord Dante. The story was left unfinished until 2002, so fans everywhere can now realize this “lost classic.” But now that I look back at it, I’m positive the world did not need this story to be told.
Starting off on a positive note, there are a lot of good story ideas and messages being tossed around here. Much like Nagai’s other works, Dante tries to explore the dual nature of good and evil while showing that humanity may indeed be in charge of its own destiny… but this anime sure doesn’t know where it wants to go. While I am not very religious, I found the presentation of Lucifer’s war on Heaven told in a “history is written by the winners” perspective to be vicious enough to keep me watching. Too bad the style doesn’t reflect the soul. To be blunt, this whole series looks like a Hammer horror film from the ’60s.
Most of the imagery tries to be different but winds up looking stupid; demons being created in test tubes, God as a flaming hound, Beelzebub holding a meeting in a fish tank and demons breaking into a church to steal a Menorah… I could not keep a straight face even if I had tried. Characters continuously change sides for script convenience, and when reasons are given, they are hackneyed and come out of nowhere. The line delivery isn’t much better, keeping with the unnecessary, campy ’60s tradition. It’s sad when the drama comes from dialogue such as, “I am… Demon Lord Dante!” “Gasp! Demon Lord Dante?” “Correct! Demon Lord Dante!” or Ryo yelling “Why?!” in his voiceover. Couple this with music that’s best suited for a Castlevania game and animation that makes Weiss Kreuz look like Fantasia, and you have a sure-fire audience deterrent.
I should have known this was going to be bad, but my naïveté got the better of me. It is rather disheartening to have one of Nagai Go’s creations turn out so bad. There might be some painful, B-movie entertainment to be had, but if you’re going to watch this anime, then bring an exorcist with you. Viewing Demon Lord Dante may just damn your otaku soul.
Demon Lord Dante can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.