Anim(e)ania returns and this time we’ll be looking at an anime that gained a little popularity but it was one of those that pretty much went straight to DVD and had a small following, but nothing that would get it on American Television. Recently, a boxset of the complete series was released at $85, but when you figure it was normally 10 DVDs at more than $20 a piece then you’re actually getting it cheaper than most consumers did…like me. Most anime fangirls you’ll meet have probably heard of D.N.Angel because it does get a little heavy on the romancy stuff towards the middle-end, so bear that in mind. Fangirls love it because they can pretend there are yaoi undertones when there aren’t.

Before I get started, this is one of those slice of life with a side of fantasy action productions. Now, when I say “slice of life” what I mean is it’s sort of a subset of anime. It’s basically all those anime titles where there isn’t anything particularly special about the main character and the anime revolves around his daily routine with school and other normally dull activities. It’s like getting a “slice” of their life. If you need a popular anime reference, Bleach started out as basically a slice of life anime because there was nothing particularly special about Ichigo until he gets his soul punched out of him, it was just about his happy little school world.

Another thing I’m going to mention, there is kind of a notion that this is considered a “yaoi” or “shounen-ai” anime. In lamens terms, it deals with homosexuality. Now, I’ll grant that if you twist a bunch of plotlines, have tunnel vision, don’t pay attention, and happen to be a sex depraved female lusting for something to get off on…well then it still isn’t really. However, the main character is very much into girls as you’ll find if you watch D.N.Angel. The main argument is that Daisuke seems to be a little more attentative to his male antagonist than he should be. I guess a scene where they get trapped in a giant freezer could be construed as a “yaoi” example, but again…you’d need to do some plot twisting and general nonsensical fangirl nonsense for that one to REALLY fly. Also, just because you save someone’s life and they happen to be the same gender as you, which happens here, doesn’t mean the two are in love.

Now, that being said, let’s move onto D.N.Angel. It’s a story about a boy named Daisuke Niwa, he’s your pretty average anime kid. He’s very likeable, his hair could never exist in this world or the next, he has good grades, he always listens to his mother about his curfew, and he even has a cute little pet rabbit thing named Wiz. He’s a good kid and this is one of those times where him being too perfect will not grate on your nerves. Daisuke is so damn likeable that you’ll almost immediately gain an affinity for him. His only problem is that his mother and grandfather, since his father left when he was still very young, act like cult members. They dress in hooded robes around a cauldron in the basement, of course Daisuke doesn’t really ask too many questions because, like I said, he’s a good kid and he lets them do what they want.

However, he soon realizes it is because he is the host for an entity known as Dark. His full name is Dark Mousy, no I don’t know why it’s Mousy. A legendary Phantom Thief that takes control of Daisuke’s body and attracts an enormous amount of popularity for his dashing good looks and his ability to evade the police chasing him. Dark, basically, can only be hosted by a member of the Niwa family and the last host was Daisuke’s grandfather. Since it is a genetic thing, it obviously couldn’t be passed to Daisuke’s mother since Dark is a man. How does this transformation happen? Whenever Daisuke has a romantic thought about his love interest…BAM…he becomes Dark.

When Dark is Daisuke there is usually an internal dialogue between the two and vice versa when Daisuke is in control. They pretty much act like siblings, they seem to hate each other but in times of danger they do show obvious compassion and caring for the other.

Dark always leaves the police a letter saying exactly when, where, and what he is going to steal. For the most part he steals artwork with an evil aura that only Dark can dispel, telling you why he has to do that would mean I’d have to give you spoilers. The main antagonist is a brilliantly gifted boy around Daisuke’s age who heads the investigation to find and capture Dark, naturally he transfers to Daisuke’s school unknowing that Daisuke houses Dark, the very person he is after.

There is a particularly charming instance where he leaves a note saying he is going to steal the heart of the most beautiful woman in Japan, and it turns out it was a clever way to surprise Daisuke’s mother for Mother’s Day.

So, that’s the general overlay of D.N.Angel. I didn’t give anything major away, it’s 26 episodes so there is a lot, even for overlaying sake, to mention because there is A LOT going on in this series.

Something I didn’t do with the last Anim(e)ania was talk about dubbing versus subs. Subs are the little yellow or white, if they aren’t yellow or white chances are you’re watching a bootleg, that translate the Japanese into English for us. Now, a lot of hardcore anime fans will tell you that dubbing is retarded because it always sounds…off and just not as good. In the 90’s and early 2000’s I’d say that’s probably right, but lately the production of the dubbing has been rather good. In the case of D.N.Angel, I watched it in English after I watched it in Japanese and for the most part the English cast does a good job. You’ll probably find, if you watch it in Japanese first, that while the English cast is decent…you’d rather have the Japanese cast, especially for the Daisuke’s love interest and a Western based blond that transfers in to Daisuke’s school.

D.N.Angel is a particularly beautiful anime to watch, there are some 3D animations thrown in for the background that are really stunning with the already gorgeous animations. One thing, however, is that maybe mid-way through the series you’ll get a feeling of repetition because there are a string of episodes where the formula goes “Daisuke wakes up->Mother/Grandfather talk about next art piece to be stolen->Daisuke doesn’t want to because stealing is wrong->Daisuke goes to school->Slice of Life->Daisuke comes home->Mother flashes picture of his love interest->Daisuke becomes Dark->Dark steals artwork and maybe fights off a demon from the art->Yay”

But, what this anime really has going for it is that likeability for Daisuke I mentioned. Because of how much of an affinity you get for him you actually start giving a damn what happens to him, well, unless you don’t have a soul. That factor alone instantly makes every character he interacts with that much more important because you’ll find yourself feeling genuine emotions depending on the situation. It’s a little hard to explain but it’ll make sense if you pick it up and watch it.

So, how can we sum up D.N.Angel in my closing moments. It’s a stunningly beautiful anime that for it’s first section is an excellent anime. However, it does get repetitive towards the middle and that might throw some viewers off because of how strong the first part of the series was. The likeability of Daisuke plays a huge role because of how important establishing that affinity for the main character is to not only him but all the characters around him as well. It does get a little lovey dovey as well, so if you’re not looking for ANYTHING like that then steer clear of this. If you’re open to anything and want a good watch that does have its romance moments then I would highly recommend this to you.

All in all, I’m going to give D.N.Angel…

3 ¾ Non-Existent Stars out of 5, it would have gotten 4 if not for that patch of repetitious episodes.

(From Top Left to Top Right to Bottom Left to Bottom Right: Daisuke Niwa , Satoshi Hiwatari(antagonist), Dark Mousy, Riku Harada(love interests twin sister),Risa Harada (love interest)

(From Top Left to Top Right to Bottom Left to Bottom Right: Daisuke Niwa, Satoshi Hiwatari(antagonist), Dark Mousy, Riku Harada(love interests twin sister),Risa Harada (love interest)

So, there you have it. If there is a specific anime series or movie YOU want to hear my opinion about then just leave a comment. If I can review it, like because I’ve seen it, then I will.

P.S. What does D.N.Angel stand for? It’s either a clever way of tying in the fact that Dark has black angel wings and is a genetic, D.N.A, deal as to who hosts him or “D”aisuke “N”iwa “Angel”. I like the aforementioned reason myself.

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