The Devil May Cry series has been adapted into light novels, manga, and even a live play, but often these adaptations get swept aside in favor of the games. Devil May Cry: The Animated Series came out originally in 2007, so I’m going to review it 16 years later. “Strike when the iron is ice-cold,” as they say.
The anime follows a monster of the week format, where Dante is approached with a mysterious case, usually brought to him by Morrison, his broker, and goes to investigate it. Most of the time, the problems are solved in the same episode in which they are introduced. The show does have continuity, but the viewer wouldn’t be lost even if they started halfway through.
This iteration of Dante is depressed and usually more serious than his in-game counterpart, which explains the anime’s placement in the timeline next to Devil May Cry 2, another serious portrayal of Dante. Some people in the fanbase almost consider him a separate entity, due to how mopey he is.
Anime Dante isn’t an awful version of the character, like Donté from the reboot; it’s just a bummer to see our resident wacky wahoo man so depressed and serious. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad portrayal of the character, though, as Hideki Kamiya envisioned Dante to be a lot more serious and brooding than what we know today.
Dante is in perpetual debt since he usually lets his morals get the best of him during jobs, which often leads to him not getting paid. Despite this, he keep taking these jobs, meaning that he isn’t really in it for the money; it’s mostly for a mixture of selflessness and heavy guilt, as well as his self-imposed debt to Red Grave.
A lot of the franchise’s fans were put off due to the anime’s focus on story; the anime has way more world building and dialogue than action scenes, which divided the fans, especially when the action scenes are so one-sided, as Dante easily gets rid of the demons. There isn’t much action, and it ends very fast, which can be disappointing at times.
Seeing Dante, Trish, and Lady effortlessly fight the demons makes the action very cathartic; there is a lot of build-up to these scenes, and the story uses them sparingly. The action scenes are done well, but the animation can be a mixed bag at points.
The anime’s art style is a nice blend between western animation and anime, and it looks fine for the most part, but every once in a while there are some really awful shots. Dante is possibly the worst offender; sometimes he looks normal, while other times his head is ridiculously thick and his mouth looks huge. This happens to everyone at some point, but Dante usually has it worse.
There’s also a slight issue of resolution, where the anime was originally made either in 540p or 480p, but got stretched to 1080p. This seems to happen on the DVD, Blu-ray and streaming. The aspect ratio is correct, but the anime looks low-res.
The Devil May Cry series is usually light on plot, so seeing how Dante conducts business and interacts with people outside of the games is pretty fun. Some of Red Grave’s citizens that interact with Dante are regulars on the show, like the workers at Dante’s favorite fast food place and Patty, an orphan that Dante sort of adopts.
Patty is an anime-only character and her only cameo outside of the anime is being briefly mentioned in Devil May Cry 5. She’s an orphan who inherited a large fortune and hangs around the Devil May Cry shop to play poker with Dante. She’s a pretty fun character and doesn’t overstay her welcome in the episodes.
It’s very easy to make a child character annoying by accident, but Patty is fun enough when she’s on screen. Despite the fact that she’s always pestering Dante, she remains an endearing character and plays off his brooding and moping well.
The little bits of continuity the anime has involve Patty looking for her mother while a low-level demon plots in the shadows, showing up every other episode to taunt Dante and manipulate the situation in his favor.
It’s a nice touch that the anime’s English dub brings in Reuben Langdon, who voices Dante from the third game onward. I can’t say I like the English dub, as I usually dislike dubbed anime in general, but I won’t get into the whole sub versus dub thing since it’s incredibly subjective.
The soundtrack is serviceable, but unfortunately doesn’t come close to the level of the games. It’s disappointing that none of the tracks from the series were included, but it does have a really good version of the opening theme played on a guitar, which kicks in every once in a while during the action scenes.
Devil May Cry: The Animated Series is a fun 12-episode anime for fans of the series. It may not be dripping with action like the games and may have some growing pains due to the Japanese art style being westernized, but it remains a fun and well-paced piece of extra content for fans of the series.
Devil May Cry: The Animated Series can be streamed on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation Now. Episodes can also be purchased on Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV. For those who prefer physical media, there is a Blu-ray release as well as a DVD box set.