Friday, December 25, 2015

Dance with Devils Review

Dance with Devils Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the show Dance with Devils. If you wish not to know some plot details, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please exit the tab, and join me once you've watched the show. Or you know, you can continue to read, since you don't care about spoilers.

Anyways, with that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Back when I first watched Kamigami no Asobi, I was worried that if I told anyone about it, I was going to get judged. Though I saw some harem shows up to that point, that show was my first reverse harem and since those mainly appeal towards girls, I was concerned that people would view the reason why I watched that show in the wrong way.

But after I told a few people, they didn't seem to care. That made me pretty happy, considering that the majority of the reverse harem shows I heard of have been given a bad rep. Kamigami no Asobi was a really enjoyable show, and made me consider watching some of the other more popular ones (yes, that includes Diabolik Lovers).

When I first heard of this show back in July, I didn't check out the PV right away. But I did look at the characters, and I was immediately interested. Besides, this would be the first reverse harem show that had an order of 12 episodes that would air while I've been following the anime seasons. So I was like, "Sign me up ASAP!" Also, Brain's Base was back on animation.

Though I was a bit concerned with the game studio Rejet (responsible for the creation of Diabolik Lovers) and Elements Garden on music (Uta Pri was either too boring or too cluttered with many genres at once), I was willing to put that aside in order to see if I could enjoy this show. Did it impress me? Or did the experience somewhat mirror what I had for Uta Pri Season 3?

Well, let's start off with some GIF's and 1 meme to express my feelings for this show in a nutshell:

Yeah, let's just say this show and me were not the best of friends. After a promising start with a semi-good story, great animation, and a nice score, this show quickly turned itself upside down in the 2nd half. Along with the interesting story going out the window despite more plot development, we have weak characters being the main downfall here. Combine these two elements together, and you get a really unsatisfied person who thought the anime was going to be better than this mess.

So yeah, this is probably my angriest review yet. Strap yourselves in guys, this might not be pretty,

Let's open the storybook and see what we find:


Ritsuka Tachibana has lived a fairly normal life. With her brother off at school in London, and her mom working as a translator for novels, nothing really remarkable has happened to her. But one day, she is summoned by the student council of Shiko Academy on the account of breaking some of the school rules. This is actually a ruse used by the student council. You see, the 4 boys that make up the student council are actually devils, who are after the Forbidden Grimoire in need of its power to rule the universe.

The hypnosis process fails however due to the pendant that Ritsuka wears on her neck. Though she is unaware of what happened, things start to turn upside down when she returns home to find it ransacked by mysterious men and her mom injured. When she calls the police, they arrive to find nothing wrong with the house, as if it were magically cast back to normal. Except for one big problem; her mom is nowhere to be found.

That night, when she tries to go to her friend Azuna's house, she is interrogated by the same men who wrecked her house, demanding the location of the Forbidden Grimoire. She is saved by the president of the student council, Rem Kaginuki. He agrees to help Ritsuka on her pursuit to locate her mother, though only for the sake of the academy.

As Ritsuka further delves into her mysterious life (or is tricked to by the members of the student council other than Mage and Rem), she finds out more secrets about herself and the people around her (especially her brother when he returns home). In this web of deception and destiny, who will she be able to trust? Her most trusted allies who've hid what she is or who they are? Or the student council despite being untrustworthy due to being devils or just plain creeps?

I will give the show credit for this: it has at least story progression throughout every episode. Something new was revealed in each installment, and that kept me interested in continuing to watch the show in the first half. In the second half, it is still there, but unfortunately, it's not as exciting. But I did appreciate the effort of having a story develop as it went on in a reverse harem.

It's a shame that the second half of this show becomes a hot mess. It's almost like new script writers were brought in (though that was not the case), because the series completely lost its magic. While the build-up is still there, all of the excitement became replaced with rage or boredom. While I found the show to be boring at times during the first six episodes (kind of like the first season of SNAFU, which is rather funny, since both of these shows share the same Japanese director), I didn't find myself getting agitated every two minutes. It was either by some dumb predictable plot twist I should have seen coming, a rage-inducing character death (we'll get to that), the show being far too anti-climatic, or not allowing the characters to breathe and function.

Messy aspects show its ugly colors when plot lines are dropped and forgotten for a while, and when events are rushed or happen with no build-up, which cause the characters to suffer even more. 180 degree tricks are used often, and it only seems like they're used because the writers found them to be convenient at the time. It's very insulting when it seems like the staff doesn't even care about where the show is going, because it's very apparent in the last few episodes.

For example, the student council boys begin to distrust Rem when he lies about the Forbidden Grimoire's location (it's found out to be Ritsuka at this point), and confront him on a random rooftop. After a musical number (I'll explain those later too), they basically announce to Rem that if he doesn't admit his true feelings, he should be expecting them to not work together anymore. When Rem still won't admit what he thinks about Ritsuka at that time, the others decide to look for her on their own. But by next episode, they're back with Rem again. And suddenly they fully trust him now for some reason. Well, besides the fact that he finally admitted that he loved Ritsuka. And now the whole group of bishes are together, and they're going to save Ritsuka, and......and.......

I'm sorry. What?

For starters, that's some great development there. How the hell did the devils trust Rem again so fast? Didn't they mention they were just going to find Ritsuka on their own since he wouldn't be true to his feelings? This is ridiculous. Not only because they decided to forgive Rem so easily, but its also because Lindo suddenly trusts Rem now as well.

Ugh, these stupid 180 plot flips that make absolutely no sense.

Ritsuka's mom, Rem's struggles with meeting his father's expectations, and Lindo being an exorcist are also small examples. 

But it gets worse. The show becomes so clamored with ideas, it doesn't even know what to define itself with. Is it a reverse harem? Is it a supernatural battle anime? Is it trying to be dramatic? Is it trying to make me feel things? Why should I care?

At the end of the day, the story for Dance with Devils is way too chaotic. It's a reverse harem meets stereotypical love drama meets supernatural battles meets poor love interests meets the most pathetic love story in the world meets Ever After High. And it's one hell of a cleanup.

But sadly, the story isn't the only bad thing. Let's also talk about another thing that got on my nerves:


Oh, where to begin:

This is, by far, the worst group of characters I've had the acquaintance of meeting in a reverse harem show. The only ones the show even bothered to develop properly were Ritsuka, Lindo, and Azuna. And of course, the best one got killed off.

By far, the males dominate the worst part of the character chain. A proper metaphor to describe how disappointing each of them are in the personality department would be burnt pancakes. Though flavored syrup does help a bit in improving them, they're still not as satisfactory as regular pancakes. It's kind of meh to think that the Sky Wizards Academy group have more depth to them than the males in this show ever did, which is pretty sad.

I wanted to know more about how the devils in the student council all met, why they trust Rem so much, and also why they've fallen for Ritsuka. In all fronts, everything disappoints. Aside from this moment with Mage:

Pretty much nothing is answered beyond that. Or it's because of Ritsuka's stupid scent making the devil boys come to the yard. It's really pathetic. I haven't wanted STARISH from Uta Pri Season 3 back, but after this, I think I just might.

But let's start off with the lead in all of this, Ritsuka:

The best way to describe Ritsuka is that she's basically every reverse harem heroine. While she does have moments where she's defiant or won't accept something without proof, by the end of the series those feel really tacked on as if to say, "Oh look, old Ritsuka's back!" Also, her brain cells take a nose dive around Episode 7.

In Episode 3, even though Urie tricked her into coming to the school for his own gains, it was understandable because he lied about having information about her mother. However, you really start to question Ritsuka's intelligence when pretty much every single guy does this trick later on (besides Mage and Rem). But Episode 10 is probably the worst example of this. She openly accepts an offer to the head of the vampire's castle with one of his underlings, even though he pretty much killed her friend earlier. I understand that this is the first time we've seen him by his face, but he's easily recognizable. How about his lips, or, gee, his f**king voice?

God, Ritsuka. You can do better than this.

She indirectly mentions that she knew later, but that's pretty much impossible considering she didn't have any sign of recognition on her face when he first showed up. *sighs*

Plus, she's pretty much this in a nutshell:

You guessed it, guys: Ritsuka is a special snowflake. You thought Arata from Trinity Seven was bad, but she's way worse. Not only is she the Forbidden Grimiore herself, but she's also the daughter of Lord Maksis, the Devil King.

You heard me right, not only is she the object both the devils and vampires lust after, but she's got some devil blood in her. Isn't that great?

Make it stop. These feel tacked on just so that Ritsuka can be even more special then she is already. I mean, she's got several devils lusting after her, so why not add a few things just to make her even more valuable "property"? Makes perfect sense, right?

Ugh, can we just move on? Oh wait, now we're going into even more uninteresting territory. The males, blech.

Since the anime barely bothers to put any effort into developing these guys other than Lindo (who's my least favorite), why should I care? These guys won't be getting solo sections like I normally do. Instead, a couple of paragraphs will do the trick. Let's get started.

Rem Kaginuki, the student council president. Main trope: the calm and collected. (The blonde in the middle)

Also known as Rem Arlond, from the high ranking devil family. As the series goes on, he manages to develop feelings for Ritsuka, though she finds out about the student council being devils and questions him about it. He then straight up ignores her when they manage to run into each other, mainly because Ritsuka doesn't trust him, and asks a few questions that he has difficulty answering. However, it's so apparent they have "feelings" for each other in Episodes 2 and 3, and then he pretty much ignores her once Lindo comes into the picture back from England. Aside from a few conversations, the feelings seem to dwindle for each other until Episode 8 comes around when they admit their love for each other in a song.

Romantic development, you say? Main ship, you say? LOL

Yeah, this makes absolutely no sense. How do you suddenly admit you're deeply in love with someone after you pretty much pretend they don't exist? And then they become somewhat of a couple by the end of the series. It doesn't work that easily. I've never seen a couple just start to fall in love, then act like they hate one another, admit their undying devotion for each other, hating each other again (mainly Ritsuka, which also comes out of nowhere), and then all of a sudden, BAM! We're so in love that we can't contain it anymore! Let's live together forever!

If I wanted insta-love, I'd watch Sensitive Pornograph over this. It may be more explicit, but at least the couples feel more realistic than this does.

Urie Sogami, the vice-president of the student council. Main trope: the playboy. (The brown haired male)

Oh my god, when were playboys this annoying? -_- Ren was at least ridiculously funny and cheesy in Uta Pri, but Urie is either just a Windows Movie Maker template or really gross. Not only does he try to hit on Ritsuka multiple times, but he also calls her his butterfly, and get this? His pet in Episode 10! What an outstanding gentleman!

Why do fangirls love these types of guys so much? I will never understand.

Mage Nanashiro, the secretary of the student council. Main trope: the brash boy. (Blonde at the far right)

My favorite based on his looks, his personality is probably also the best out of this wreck of males. Though he still suffers from poor development, his blunt attitude is actually pretty funny. Not only does he outright admit that the student council is devils, confirming Ritsuka's worst fears, but he also constantly asks her if she's fallen for him. Though some of his desperation does come off as annoying, it's at least better than some of the other interactions between the guys and Ritsuka. Now, if the guys had development....

Shiki Natsumezaka, the treasury of the student council. Main trope: the masochist. (Purple haired male)

Shiki is technically a fallen angel, but he still counts as being a devil. Though he is a masochist who seems to love pain inflicted on himself, he also has some sadistic tendencies. Besides creepy dialogue, the other really creepy thing he does is shred Azuna's leggings with his wing feathers a la Ikki Tousen style in his featured episode. That's pretty much it. Like all of the others, he is boring as f**k.

There's also Loewen, Rem's pet Pomeranian who can turn into a human, but I don't consider him part of the harem. He is first confirmed to be the mysterious blue-haired boy in Episode 7, almost tears Ritsuka's heart out, and then disappears for a few episodes before showing up in Episode 11 to rescue Ritsuka from Lord Nesta. As you can see, he is involved so little that his love confession is pretty much meaningless.

There's one last one, and that'd be Lindo. Out of all of the guys, I find him to be the most plain jane, as well as an pathetic excuse for a romantic conflict plot device. First believed to be Ritsuka's older brother (he is actually her cousin, but family's still family), he comes back from England, where he is studying to be an exorcist. His mission: protecting his family, as well as Ritsuka. Well, mainly Ritsuka. Because he never shuts up about it.

I swear, he must have mentioned it about 1,000 times throughout the series. It's like Lilith repeating Arata's name over and over again to the point of irritation in Trinity Seven. I get it, you love your "sister" to the point of infatuation. Can you, like, just shut up right now?

He also has an interesting quality to him. Besides being an exorcist, he is also a dhampir, a half human and half vampire. It mainly shows when he gets very angry. This probably would have made much more of an impact if it wasn't revealed 4 episodes too late. The signs were there with the red eyes since Episode 5, and I was interested. Episode 7 was a perfect time to see it, because Ritsuka got a more in depth look, and it was revealed he had claws. The Exorcist Society just announces it out of the blue in Episode 9. While I'm all like, "Finally! Took this show long enough." Ritsuka acts all surprised.

No! The most important signs were there! Don't tell me you weren't seeing that coming, because you've seen the eyes and claws before!

Okay, back to Lindo now. Though him being a dhampir character was pretty cool, the problem is that he's just so annoying, going on and on about protecting Ritsuka and keeping her safe and how the devils are evil. It's so irritating to watch when these lines appear over and over again in every single episode. And at the end, he accepts Ritsuka's romance with Rem. Um, Lindo, didn't you hate him like all throughout the series? When did this happen?

And we're finally done with the guys. Thank god for that. Now onto Azuna, who's at least better than these males combined:

Okay, let me start off by saying this:

Yeah, this event shown in a screenshot up above here. This should NOT have happened whatsoever. Not only did the writers decide to whip this out so suddenly that it was incredibly anti-climactic, but it just felt like they did it as an excuse to start the next story arc. And to me at least, just for the LOLs.

But onto her actual character. Azuna is Ritsuka's best friend from school. She deeply cares and starts getting worried when Ritsuka gets more involved with the student council. In Episode 6, we find out that much like Lindo, she is an exorcist, which I found to be pretty cool. Finally, a best friend character who has use in the story? Good job, writers!

But then they kill her off.

It's such a waste to me. Why even bother developing a character trope that wouldn't be bothered otherwise, and then just kill her off later? What good does that serve?

Emotions, my ass. This unnecessary death just makes me mad, not only because she was the best character in the show by far, but the fact that they gave her development, and this is how they treat the fans who weren't expecting it?

Okay, let me calm down now.

Other characters in this anime include Maria, Ritsuka's mother, Jek, Lord Nesta's underling who looks like Inner Moka with his hood off (at least his face does), Lord Nesta, the head of the vampires and Lindo's father, and Marta, Ritsuka's aunt and Lindo's mother seen in flashbacks.


The animation for this series was produced by Brain's Base, who are also know for Kamigami no Asobi, Sengoku Collection, and My Little Monster.

This is probably the best thing about this show. Much like Kamigami no Asobi, Brain's Base is very consistent with their animation, and most of it looks gorgeous. Though it lacks some of the bright colors of their previous reverse harem entry and goes for a medium tone, all of the characters look good, and nearly all of it is done well.

Props for that at least! The story and characters may be laughable, but the animation's on fleek. 


The score for this series was composed by Elements Garden, who are known for composing for reverse harem shows before. Uta no Prince Sama, and Kamigami no Asobi come to mind. They are also known for Symphogear's music.

Also like the animation, the score managed to impress me. Though it isn't as striking as their effort in Kamigami no Asobi, as the score blends into the background a bit at the end, it still is haunting and captivating all the same, with many orchestral elements. There's a part to it that enhances a bad scene from being completely horrible to just mildly terrible, or it's an instrumental to a musical number that shows a guy's different style during a solo song. I liked it for the most part.

Speaking of the songs that I've mentioned throughout the review, this show also dabbles in musical elements with solo or group songs. At the beginning of the series, it made me bring out the jazz hands, but towards the end of the show, the songs drop too. While the first few did a good job introducing the characters and their feelings at the time, most of them are either too boring, too cheesy, or just make me want to hurl because a couple were beyond saving.

My favorite out of the entire series would have to be the student council introduction song. That number was pretty badass, and offered a promising introduction to the student council, even though we didn't get it. A link below:

But I also liked Mage's solo song simply because of the way it's sung. Anyone else find it hilarious that he pretty much half belts his lines?

But other than that, the other songs were okay. Either they had pretty cliche melodies, disgusting or cheesy lyrics, or just had me gagging all the way through. The Rem and Lindo duet in Episode 9 and the group song from Episode 11 are both great examples. It's kind of a shame when you think My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a show that's mainly directed towards kids and that I love, has better writing for its musical numbers than this show ever did.

If the writer of the songs from Uta Pri did the songs for this series, I'd find that absolutely hilarious to be honest. But moving on from that.

The voice work for this show is actually pretty good in both languages. However, I find Japanese to be slightly better, since the English dub is not final yet. Easily the most memorable voices of the show would be Ritsuka in English and Japanese (her Japanese seiyuu comes from the same idol group as Yu Serizawa, who played Yoko in Jitsu wa Watashi wa. Both of them do a good job with making their characters sound cute without being overly so), and the student council (mainly in the English dub). I would watch more of the Broadcast Dub, but since the last half of this series is so bad, I'd rather not bother.

Highlights in the original Japanese are Himika Akaneya, Soma Saito, Subaru Kimura, Risae Matsuda, Kazutomi Yamamoto (as both Loewen's dog form and young Lindo), Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Yuuto Suzuki, and Keiji Fujiwara.

Highlights so far in the English dub are Dawn M. Bennett, Garrett Storms, Aaron Roberts, Ricco Fajardo (who goes for a more gravelly approach as Mage than Subaru Kimura, and pulls it off really well), Seth Magill, Morgan Garrett, Katherine Bourne (for her first credited role, she's pretty good), Morgan Berry, and Derick Snow (I'm assuming at this point he's both forms of Loewen, but I'm not sure).


Here are more GIF's and another picture that manage to sum up my feelings to this anime once again. It's been a few months since I've felt so complied to write a really ranty review, but considering this is worse than the 3rd season of Uta Pri (and that was pretty bad at parts), I have no choice. There's more ridiculous moments, more stupidity, and not as much enjoyment because of no Ranmaru. This is easily the worst anime I managed to complete this year.

I haven't seen a full anime this average and poor since Cuticle Detective Inaba, and even I had to skip around since I was lost. This series was watched week by week (half of it by force), and even Cuticle Detective Inaba turned out to be slightly better than this. The ending turned out to be more realistic too. Oh wait, that's right. BECAUSE IT HAD AN ACTUAL ENDING!

Dance with Devils doesn't have a good ending, as it leaves various questions unanswered, the devils still wanting Ritsuka even though she already made her choice (as to why, I'll get back to you on that probably never), and that cliffhanger reeking of desperation, I'm just glad it's over.

Some of you may think I'm being a bit too kind on this show with the score I'm giving it, but the animation, the musical score, and at least the good moments in the beginning manage to give me something more substantial. As a whole, this show easily gets the lowest number I've given a show, being lower than a 6.5. If it was a grade, it'd be F for fail.

I'll leave off with this; I'd rather reread part of Lord of the Flies then ever sit through this again. And that's saying something.

Score: 5.5/10


Animation is gorgeous.

Good score.

Story progression (mainly in first half) is great.


The unamusing mess of the second half.

Story threads are either forgotten or are changed with no development.

Little to no character development of the males.

Azuna's death.

Episodic songs are either average or really icky.

Ending that demands a 2nd season that might not be possible.

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