Demon Lord Dante Anime Review
Demon King Dante
US Release By
13 25-minute episodes
2002-08-31 - 2002-11-23
Ryo Otsugi is a boy who, plagued with nightmares of being pursued by a monstrous creature, develops the dubious gift of hearing voices and having visions he can't quite explain. But when he finds himself in the Himalayas, he finally meets the demon from his dreams (known only as Lord Dante) and discovers his purpose in life. But can he live up to it? And does he want to?
I've been watching anime since the early '90s. There has been some truly awful anime, and there have been some great ones as well. However, I have never felt that any anime became a horrible chore to watch. Even through the horrid ones I could at least make fun of it, but Demon Lord Dante reaches a new low in that it's not even bad to the point of having an MST3000 moment with it. But I wanted to give it a chance to see if it got better. It didn't. Not even close.
The biggest culprit here is the plot. I understand what Go Nagai was trying to do, but it ends up with the story being so convoluted and confusing, that it makes Akira look like an episode of Barney. If you've seen Devilman, which is so much better than this crap, it's almost the same story only fleshed out to a confusing degree. Ryo is a punk teenager who eventually ends up becoming Demon Lord Dante. However, he tries to use his powers to save humans instead of killing them. I actually thought this was an update to Devilman, but it's nowhere close.
That leads me to the character development, or lack thereof. They try to get into more of the backstory of Dante and his followers, but they kinda forgot to give any sort of depth to Ryo. Add to that his stepsister, and Dante's former lover, neither which have a shred of interest among them.
Now, I will give Demon Lord Dante it's props in that it looks really good. CGI effects mixed in with large, bright characters at least makes it easy on the eyes. There is really no music or sound to speak of, except the ending theme. Too bad they wasted such a pretty song on such a crappy anime. The voice acting can be described as purely monotonous. I lost count by the end of the first 2 episodes how many times "DEMON LORD DANTEEEEEE!!!!!" is screamed out. The VAs sound bored, and all of the characters have a flat, boring sound to them.
Finally, I know there will be some gore-hounds who see the name "Go Nagai" and "Demon or Devil" in the title, and get really excited thinking they are going to see a showcase of blood and gore. All I have to say is, don't get your hopes up. Demon Lord Dante isn't nearly as gore-filled as Devilman or any of his other gore-flicks. There is violence and blood, but it's mostly in relatively short supply. Normally, I don't need blood and guts to enjoy anime, but it at least keeps the bad ones like this interesting to a point.
All in all, do yourself a favor and pretend that Demon Lord Dante doesn't exist. It's a 13 episode series that you will no doubt be bored by the end of the first disc. Trust me, it never picks up. If you're a blood and gore fan, stay far away. Matter of fact, every anime fan should just stay far, far away.
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Notes and Trivia
As with most Nagai anime, Demon Lord Dante is based on a comic series by Go Nagai of the same name from back in the early '70s. The original series was cancelled, but a sequel ("True Demon Lord Dante") was published in '94. None of these are available in English as of this writing.
US DVD Review
DVD includes most of the standard features. Some art galleries, English and Japanese language tracks, and some trailers.
Geneon calls it 16-up.
Violence: 3 - There are many people killed, and it can get quite bloody at times. But it's not the gorefest people think it is.
Nudity: 2 - There is some nudity, but not much is shown, and all very undetailed.
Sex/Mature Themes: 3 - One sex scene near the end of the series that doesn't show a whole lot.
Language: 1 - I don't recall hearing too many cuss words.
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
Tamiko Utsugi: Rei Igarashi
Saeko Kodai/Medusa: Rie Ishizuka
Saori Utsugi: Sanae Kobayashi
Ryo Utsugi: Susumu Chiba
Sosuke Oshiba: Takahiro Sakurai
Kosuke Utsugi: Takehiro Koyama
Narration: Hiroya Ishimaru
English Dub Cast
Saori Utsugi: Beth Ginnett
Tamiko Utsugi: Jeni Good
Ryo Utsugi: Jimmy Keegan
Demon Lord Dante: Kaleo Sallas
Professor Veil Zebub: Lawrence Darrow
Saeko Kodai/Medusa: Linda Borg
Sousuke Oshiba: Ross Lawrence
Kousuke Utsugi: Scott Burnett
Ura: Carmel Helene
Ohsato: J.R. Lewis
Tsunoda: Lee Indigo
Carne: Michael Harvey
Hirose: Ralph Holland
Zenon: Ted Hartsook
Gusion: Todd Boaz
Samael: Tom Patrick
Pico: Wesley Freitas
Defense Minister: Mike Luparello
Princess: Jeanne Michaels
Defense Commander: John Reardon
Narrator: David Sanford
Based on a comic by: Go Nagai
Director: Kenichi Maejima