Devil May Cry Review

The Series

It's disturbing how something can have all of the nature sucked out of it by a bit of marketing. When I chose to review the series of Devil May Cry, I was expecting violence, sex and a high level of bad taste to keep me royally entertained. Instead I got a re-tooled private eye set-up with cute kids, family friendly buxom wenches and expressionistic, controlled flashes of blood when I craved viscera and plenty of it. The fact that I can describe a series about slaying demons as being prosaic and repetitive is testament to how hard the creators have worked to remove any interesting edges from the original video game that spawned these 12 episodes of caring, sharing lightly entertaining monster murder.

Dante is half demon half human, and he makes a dubious living taking on assignments for his clients which all boil down to evil spirits screwing up the happiness of their dull human lives. Every episode, Dante will be cool and eventually vanquish the supernatural bad guys whilst suffering at the hands of his love interests and a sort of adoptive daughter who populate his back story. There will be some fight sequences, some pretty obvious demons in human disguise, a little bit of morality, and some "comedy" to make sure that you have had your regulation 24 minutes of "fun" minus four for titles that promise more entertainment than you will get here.
Except for the concluding two-parter, Dante never looks like coming off worse against the foes of the netherworld and usually they are dispensed with a large waft of his hefty chopper or the repeated rogering of his potent pistol. That Dante never seems to get any romantic action is more than made up for in the sexual culminations of his mighty slayings, and teenage boys everywhere get the vicarious reassurance of knowing that she may not fancy you but at least you killed a few things along the way.

The format is generally that each episode is a story in itself and nothing approaching originality distinguishes a sole instalment from another. The animation lacks verve and often simple movement as characters walk against unchanging backgrounds for long periods. The music is bad rawk mixed with occasional ballads that accompany montages of something approximating to what a sociopath might consider emotional depth. The worst is reserved for the domestic situation with the annoying brat Patty, whom Dante is lumbered with after rescuing in episode one. She is the very embodiment of what merchandisers might describe as perky - Patty wants nice dresses, watches soaps and is so unremittingly cute that you might start to consider the great chasm of pain that exists within an existence that requires you to experience her plasticated presence.
This is an anime series though, so perhaps the violence and ugliness will make up for my gripes, right? Unfortunately not, as the violence is so short, the battles so utterly one sided, and the animation so limited that for every 30 seconds of action, you have to endure 20 minutes of bad soap, non existent story and perky, perky Patty. Now I have never seen the game but I can't imagine that an action ratio of 1 in 40 will keep many of you involved and this series feels like a shameless cash-in with all the niceness and sexlessness brought in to make the product more palatable to the wider world.

Devil May Cry, the series at least, is bobbins.

Technical Specs

This is a set of three dual layer region two encoded discs with four episodes on each disc. Each episode is available with 5.1 sound in either the original Japanese or an English variant. The bit rates for both tracks are very good with the English track sounding cleaner, better separated and less bassy. The speakers are covered reasonably well with effects and music particularly dispersed across the soundstage and if it weren't for some of the stilted nature of the English vocal performances I would advise this track over the original Japanese. The optional English subtitles do not seem to be dubtitles and they are clear, easy to read and grammatical.
The visual transfer is slightly more problematic and I couldn't work out whether this is a standards conversion as it does seem to be heavily interlaced, rather murky and lacking proper black levels. I did notice some compression artefacts and some sawtooth effects which may annoy, especially on larger displays. The image is anamorphic, framed at just over 1.78:1 as there are small black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, and colours are not quite as bright as you would ideally like even if edges are natural and the overall look is sharp enough. I suspect existing R1 releases look much better than this.

Special features

Each disc carries the opening and closing titles of this series without names and,well, titles! Outside of these TV based extras there is really only one sole TV series extra which is an interview with the voice actor who played Dante in the Japanese version, a piece which has previously been available from the Devil May Cry website. The remainder of the extras relate to the fourth version of the video game and from the assorted sneak peaks, excised scenes and trailers here it is clearly animated and created with far more skill and verve than the TV series. I am not one for video games but the animation and scenes offered here made me want to search out the video game to wash away the disappointment of this spin off series.


Rather too restrained and calculating for my taste as a series. This presentation has great audio, satisfactory video and lots of extras for fans of the video game.

3 out of 10
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out of 10

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