One thing I was thankful for this year was having the time off from work to catch up on my boxset reviews. That being said, I would have been more thankful if I didn’t have to watch Dance with Devils.
Ritsuka Tachibana is a sixteen year old high school student attending Shiko Academy. Her world gets turned upside down when the members of the student council take an interest in her. Rem Kaginuki, Urie Sogami, Mage Nanashiro, and Shiki Natsumezaka all seem out to get poor Ritsuka. Things then take a turn from bad to worse when her mom is kidnapped by vampires. As she tries to save her mom, Ritsuka uncovers secrets about her own life, and gets sucked into a battle between vampires and devils. So why is everyone so interested in Ritsuka? Well, she is the grimoire, a dark item which will give power to the group that owns her.
From that point on, the plot tries to cram in as much drama as possible. Lindo, Ritsuka’s “brother” (who is later revealed to be her cousin), shows up to take care of her. A musical number reveals his need to protect Ritsuka strays from familial obligation into romantic territory. Lindo is also a half-vampire who happens to be an exorcist, and his father is the vampire king, Nesta. Nesta later reveals to Ritsuka that her own father is Maksis, the devil king.
After singing a power ballad of love, the devils of the student council help Ritsuka defeat Nesta. In the process, the grimoire inside Ritsuka is destroyed.Ritsuka and Rem then admit their feelings for each other, before Rem heads back to the demon world.
Watching this anime was an experience, to say the least. It felt like someone watched Twilight and decided that what I needed to be truly successful was a harem and some musical numbers. Whoever made that decision should probably have someone double check their work from now on. The musical numbers were distracting and superfluous, and the harem of boys chasing after Ritsuka was annoying and pervy.
One thing going for the Brain’s Base studio is they are good at making each of their creations unique. Given that this is the same studio that animated Princess Jellyfish, I didn’t expect this anime to look so traditional. With that being said, there isn’t much else to say about the animation. It manages to look like every other anime where the focal point is that the characters are in high school. Other than the vampire king (who looked awesome), the vampires are identical. The devils don’t dare much better and are drawn to emulate their character type: athletic, romantic, brooding, and main character.
I’m just going to say it: all of the characters in this show were annoying. I disliked them all, which hasn’t happened to me in a while. Even with the most outlandish anime premise, the story tries to find a way to make the characters relatable or at least enjoyable. That was not the case here.
Ritsuka is obnoxious one dimensional, and spends all of her time thinking about her mixed feelings for Rem. Lindo and Rem both spend their time pretending they don’t like Ritsuka, and being creepy about their obsession with her. All in all, it was just a continuation of bad writing.
You would think an anime that’s classified as a musical would have good music. This where the dub of Dance with Devils shows up and says that’s where you’re wrong, kiddo. For the most part, the voice actors absolutely murder the songs they’re meant to sing. Each one managed to sound awkward and as if they were singing in falsetto, regardless of what they key was in. After going back and watching the songs with subtitles, I can say that the music was alright. It wasn’t noteworthy and didn’t have me dancing along like Starmyu did. That said, it was leagues better than it’s dubbed counterpart.
Packaging & Bonus Materials
The boxset of Dance with Devils doesn’t deliver on much in terms of bonus materials. The good news here is that means it’s less Dance with Devils to watch, which is better for everyone. There is commentary on Episodes 4 and 8, but it feels pointless. The bonus materials also include the standard textless opening and ending theme songs, along with some anime trailers.
Those looking to add Dance With Devils to their anime collection can purchase it here from Funimation.
Dance with Devils: The Complete Series48.74
Story and Characters5/10
Voice Acting and Music5/10
Packaging and Bonus Materials5/10
- The show isn’t too long
- The boxset eases your suffering by providing minimal bonus materials
- Character design was unoriginal
- Music videos were unnecessary
- Plot was convoluted and underdeveloped