Devil May Cry: The Animated Series (2007) is frequently overlooked in the anime world. The series has been out for over a decade now, but people tend to forget that it even exists. (Unlike its more famous video game counterpart, produced by Capcom.)
While this anime may not be the best of the choices out there, the show still has a lot of hidden charm (in places we’d least expect). And like always, there will be some spoilers in this article. So if you don’t care to know what happens, then run along now. Begone plebeians.
What’s The Devil May Cry Animated About?
Taking place sometime during the events of the fourth game, Dante (the hero of our story) is hired as a protective escort for an orphaned girl named Patty. Patty’s presumed to be the lost heiress of the Lowell family, so she requires constant protection from those seeking her inheritance. And since members of the Lowell family also happen to cohort themselves with devils and demons alike, Dante’s expertise as a Devil Hunter is much needed for events to come.
As the plot proceeds, it’s eventually revealed that Patty (the orphan) is only a temporary stand-in for the real Patty Lowell (a grown woman of the same name and features). The woman took advantage of their similarities and used Patty as a diversion for her relatives so she could claim her inheritance at ease. In which case, Patty decides to stay with Dante so they can find clues about what happened to her mom.
Dante As An Anime Protagonist
In comparison to his more lively and reckless game counterpart, the anime’s version of Dante is pretty bland. He lacks personality (and at times, emotions). He’s rather flat for an anime protagonist and it’s disappointing to watch. There’s little growth in his character as his story is already established in the game series.
Anything that defines him in the anime are all situations or items alluding to events of the games. (Which offers us practically nothing about him.) In which case, newcomers are stuck with watching this empty husk play hero as there’s nothing substantial for them to learn about Dante.
Dante is pretty “mysterious” and “aloof” in this series. He rarely has a specific goal or motive in mind (or rather he never reveals it to the viewers), so it’s hard to find any likable attributes about his character. The reason he slays monsters is because he works as a Devil Hunter (it’s his occupation); he primarily does it to get paid — and just barely. His only interesting feature comes from his love for strawberry sundaes and pizza as he eats on them in almost every episode.
Dante As A Role Model
The protagonist is a terrible adult. It’s a shame because I tend to idolize people like Dante. He appears to the audience as this suave, silver-haired hero because he’s always there for others whenever needed. (It’s always easy to get enthralled by a handsome face when they’re out there saving you.) He also appears favorable because he has a quirky habit of eating junk food every day. (Who needs drugs when all the cool kids are living off of ice cream and pizza?)
However, the sad reality is that Dante is less of a badass character and more of a glorified couch potato. He’s always financially indebted to others as he has constant troublemaking meets an end. (He would rather borrow money from people than find a second job.) And when Dante’s not out there slaying monsters, he just lounges around on his desk waiting for a gig to magically appear. (I guess jobs are hard to come by for devil-hunters living in a world where demons exist. Guy really needs to learn how to market himself better.)
The Adventures Of Dante And The Little Orphan Girl
Patty and Dante are the worst duo in the history of heroes and child side-kicks. (I’m not sure what the creators were trying to achieve in pairing the protagonist with a little girl as his “foil” for this anime. Their interactions are incredibly annoying to watch.) The couple are like this ventriloquist act where the little girl annoys the audience with her vast amount of emotions to make up for the fact that our hero lacks any.
Patty, being the kid that she is, has the worst case of self-preservation. Her desperation to find her mom, and her desire to be perceived as an adult, seems to overwrite her own intelligence during the most essential moments. She’s a constant liability for the protagonist because she neverlistens to what others tell her unless they’re the bad guys.
Dante’s occupation and living habits already make him a hazard to those around him — so why add a child to his life? It’s never fun to watch someone endanger people out of their own ignorance. To make matters worse, Dante also allows her reckless behavior to continue because he never wants to deal with her.
Thoughts On The Supporting Characters
Lady and Trish are probably the best characters in this show. They’re Dante’s allies from the games, and they have the most memorable of appearances. These characters only appear in a handful of episodes, but there’s never a shortage of scenes that show off their unique fighting abilities. Trish can conjure lightning, and Lady is an expert at using heavy guns. While their rigid and hotheaded personalities may not make them the most favorable characters out there, they’re still more interesting than Dante.
Should You Watch Devil May Cry?
The anime is pretty short. It only has twelve episodes in its collection so you can easily binge-watch it under a day. And like the Resident Evil (live action) series, you can also watch this under any order so long as it’s not the last two episodes.
The Story’s Kind Of Forgettable
Devil May Cry: The Animated Series is truly an uncut gem in the rough. A lot of this show is filled with a bunch of self-contained “fluff” (filler episodes). There are compelling moments in the series, but those moments are quite few. The overall story’s also bland because it holds off on any progression until the last few episodes. Everything in this show is barely connected together as much of the series relies heavily on the actions of one character to carry on the events of the main plot. But even then, a lot of this anime can be skipped over without any repercussions for understanding its story.
This series has a lot of potential for great storytelling, but that potential is left untempered and ignored by its creators. A majority of the time people are just watching Dante go on generic adventures. Yes, the fights and action sequences are fast-paced and fun; but the story that builds up to those amazing moments is boring and long. The anime feels endless to watch at times because a lot of its content has already been done before in other shows like it. It fails to bring anything “new” to its redundant formula. In which case, it’s hard to maintain an interest in it once you get a gist of what’s likely to happen.
It’s The Little Things That Count
One of the few reasons why I bother with Devil May Cry is because of its animation and music. The details on some of these things are incredibly breathtaking at times. (Although there are still some sloppily executed moments if you pay close enough attention.)
For its time period, Devil May Cry has some pretty gorgeous animation. The characters in this series are better designed than most anime. They have more realistic facial features (mirroring their game counterparts) instead of traditional bug-eyed companions.
Gorgeous Pictures Of Food
The details they add to the food in this series are beyond words. It’s incredibly mouthwatering to watch fictional people eat food in this show. (Which is bad, if you’re watching this on an empty stomach). All Dante ever eats is pizza and sundaes, so you’d think that people would get tired of seeing them after a few episodes. But they don’t, this series somehow makes it work. Instead of growing sick of seeing the same food items being presented over and over again, I only begin to crave them as they continue to appear.
Now there are two things I hate most in the world when it comes to food, and that’s whipped cream and strawberry syrup. But, my God, the amount of details provided for these sundaes are amazing. Artificially flavored ice-cream never looked as tempting as they did in this series. The dallops of whipped cream and artistically placed strawberries in these images make the entire thing look like a masterpiece. (It probably tastes like shit but this series makes me want to try it anyway.)
Can We Just Take A Moment To Appreciate This Opening Theme Song?
If mouthwatering pictures of food can’t persuade you to give this series a go, then how about some music? The Devil May Cry opening is a nostalgia trip for those who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons. (An era where shows like Gargoyles and X-Men were known for having some of the best lyric-less theme songs of all time.) There’s not a lot of openings out there that can capture a person’s attention without lyrics. It’s even considered a rarity these days for a cartoon to have such a memorable theme song when it’s without the aide of supplementary vocals.
Devil May Cry does an amazing job of maintaining its overall image with its opening song. Following the aesthetics of the protagonist’s punk-rock nature in the game series, the (almost) metal genre of this song fits perfectly into the overall theme. The opening starts off with a powerful electric-guitar solo before it decides to depress its listeners with a more somber melody.
The intense beat of the music is then mellowed down with an orchestra of traditional instruments that gives off a lamenting and sorrowful tone for the song, which is rather befitting for the series as a whole. (I’m sure those familiar with Dante’s backstory can all agree that his life is definitely contrived of both those emotions. Even if his one-dimensional husk of an anime counterpart shows no sign of it.)
So Is It Worth The Time?
While the story is slowly paced, the series is still not a bad choice to watch just once. Devil May Cry is an anime with a lot of ups and downs. It’s the little things that are appreciated in this anime as there’s plenty of charm in its music and animation.
Although I would rather others try out the games if they’re looking for something more heft with the story. The original series provides a more substantial outlook for the characters and lore of this universe. The latest addition is coming out this upcoming March, for those interested.