D.N.Angel - Reviews

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sothis's avatar
Mar 19, 2005

Story
As a big warning ahead of time, this will be a very, very difficult series to assess. Though I had high hopes for DNAngel, there were so many things about this series that tarnish it, that I can't expect giving a high score in most categories. That being said, the story:

Niwa Daisuke is a "nice guy". You know the type: super quiet and shy, a pushover for anything that has a vagina (especially the popular girl he has a crush on), and in general, very... nice. He also has a strange dysfunctional family consisting of mom and grandfather, who constantly turn the house into a life threatening obstacle course to train him for unknown purposes. Dad isn't around; he left when Daisuke was a baby. Things change on Daisuke’s 14th birthday, when he’s told about his family history and the heavy burden he must bear. At the age of fourteen, male children in the Niwa family inherit the power of Dark, a phantom thief who is notorious throughout history. Luckily (or unluckily) for Daisuke, that time has now arrived and he must get used to his new alter-ego taking the reins of his body once in awhile. At the same time, Daisuke can’t get enough of Risa, a twin he’s had a crush on for a long time. The only problem? She’s attracted to Dark! Looks like Daisuke has a lot of growing pains ahead of him.

DNAngel has a lot of problems, and the plot definitely is one of them. The pacing of the entire series is very reminiscent of E’s Otherwise: first four episodes are engaging, catchy, and exciting, and the remainder, with the exception of the last few, turns into 100% filler and slice of life, which ends up being a huge disappointment. The first four of DNAngel, in this case, involve Dark taking over Daisuke’s body and stealing a new artifact for unknown reasons. These artifacts are works of art that are possessed by a spirit of some sort, and in general these episodes will probably remind you of Vampire Princess Miyu TV or something related (as far as the whole "evil power gets people to do bad things, tragedy, etc). Unfortunately, after that point, the seriousness goes away, the angst-factor is turned up about 15 notches, and each episode turns more into a "who does Daisuke like? Which girl likes Daisuke?" sub-arc (though it lasts almost the entire series) that quite frankly reminded me of every other dating-sim series out there. The last few episodes come seemingly out of nowhere with a heavy plot-driven conclusion, but considering the previous twenty episodes had almost zero plot, this felt very forced and rushed, and otherwise uninspiring. I will admit that the overall "plot" at the end, and/or the somewhat interesting (but still confusing) plot twists made up slightly for the total waste of my time which was the rest of the series, but given the ratio of content to crap, they could have made the series about 6-8 episodes instead of 26 and it would have been just as good.

Really, that’s my main problem with series like this and E’s Otherwise: lack of identity. They can’t decide what kind of series they are, and not in a good way. Some series have a good mix of different genres such as comedy and drama, but with series like the above mentioned, usually one aspect of the series is so overbearing that the other aspects are barely noticed and the series in general loses its touch. In DNAngel’s case, this is easily noticed with how much the plot was overshadowed by the slice of life and dating-sim type aspects. If I start watching a series that appears to be a dark and serious thing, I don’t expect that 2/3rd of it will then present itself as Daisuke and the Olsen Twins try to figure out who has a crush on whom. If I wanted that, I’d go to the mall and watch the kiddies hit on each other. Then again, had this presented itself as slice of life/romance from the beginning, I might not have thought the difference between the first/last episodes and the rest of series was so jarring.

Overall, a story that could have been compelling, interesting, and engaging, but ended up being so poorly paced and so scattered that I left feeling very disappointed.
Animation
Easily the best part of the series, by far. If you enjoy bishounen type characters (similar to anything Clamp, including X TV), look no further. Dark is very gothic with his black tight clothing and flowing purple hair, and all of the villains are very beautiful, whether they are male or female. Unfortunately, I still felt there was something a bit weird about the designs, and I think it was the overly round alien looking eyes (even more so than normal). Also, I didn’t enjoy Daisuke’s character design at all. His hair was way too chunky and pointy (DBZ anyone?), and in general he just looked... fake. It’s hard to explain. Also, Hiwatari’s character bothered me from the beginning, but that might have been because of the seiyuu choice. He’s this completely nerdy looking kid, with bright pastel blue hair (wtf?), and on top of that, has a very famous seiyuu who sounds a lot manlier and different than his image would portray. I’m sorry; I couldn’t take him seriously with how badass he was supposed to be, versus what he looked like.

By far the best part of the animation was the depiction of Dark and Krad as the black and white angels, especially when they fought together fluidly. I also enjoyed the depictions of the artwork and in general, the backgrounds and scenery were both beautiful. There was definitely an old movie type feel to the scenes, especially when the art galleries and such were shown lit up at night by police headlights. Colors were beautiful and vibrant, and besides Hiwatari’s hair, were a good mix of dark shades.
Sound
Don’t get me wrong... at first, I was impressed by the background music. It’s orchestral and pretty, but after awhile it gets very, very, very old. There are some series that have one track that repeats itself the entire series, and it still ends up being catchy. DNAngel, for whatever reason, just isn’t one of those. The same song is played so much (through so many types of scenes) that it loses its appeal by the end. Also, I really didn’t enjoy the seiyuu, almost entirely. Daisuke’s voice was whiny and made him sound like a wuss, and in general became grating after awhile. I wanted to smack him upside the head and yell "GET A BACKBONE". Hiwatari’s seiyuu is quite well known, but really, really didn’t fit what he looked like. Risa and Riku’s actors were annoying, and Riku’s especially got on my nerves for some reason. Only Krad and Dark’s voice actors were not only not annoying, but also fitting. Actually Kosuke’s voice was well placed as well.
Characters
As I’ve made very clear, the reason you watch this isn’t for the plot, but it’s not really for the characters either (even though they are the focus of the bulk of the series). The "mid" 20 or so episodes that make up the bulk of the series are focused on one main thing: Daisuke and his relationship with the twins Risa and Riku. Risa and Riku are total opposites: Risa is extremely girly (to an annoying fault), who thinks she can get whatever she wants and whoever she wants. I might add that I hate females like this and consequently wanted to see her get slapped and thrown in a ditch somewhere for being so ridiculous. Riku is almost the complete antithesis: she’s athletic, has short "boyish" hair (instead of Risa’s flowing locks, because of course, she’s more feminine, right?), and in general doesn’t appear to care about anything except sports. Needless to say these twenty episodes focus on a love triangle of sorts that didn’t really get to me. Maybe it’s because of the characters involved that I can’t bother feeling empathy towards the "relationship", but in general I thought the love story was very uninspiring and ultimately was too blatantly exploited (in an attempt to draw your attention from the fact that the plot was ass until the last few episodes, perhaps?).

Dark and Krad end up being the mystery of the series, because we have no idea who they are or where they came from. Ultimately, at the end of the series we find out why, but the answer felt rushed and in general is a little confusing. Literally the only thing that moved me in the story was how the saga of Dark and Krad played out in the last few episodes, but that still wasn’t very much.

As far as character growth, yeah, there was some. Daisuke changed from totally whiny to still sort of whiny but less of a pushover. Riku became a little more solid. Risa became less annoying but still stayed annoying. Hiwatari and Dark were probably the most developed and I enjoyed their stories, but Hiwatari I still couldn’t take seriously because of the combination of seiyuu plus appearance. In general, I don’t know... the characters moved me very little. You know it’s a bad sign when two completely episodic characters (who show up for maybe 2-3 episodes) move you with their tale of tragedy more than the main characters.
Overall
DNAngel had great potential, and I had wanted to watch it for a very long time. The idea of the story had sounded good, the graphics looked beautiful, and in general it seemed like something I’d really enjoy. Little did I know I’d leave feeling so disappointed. The attempt to wrap up the story with a rush of plot points that were confusing didn’t help. The fact that 2/3rd of the series was filler that got repetitive and boring didn’t help. The audio didn’t help. The weak characters didn’t help. Overall, I felt like watching this, except the last few and first few episodes, was a waste of time, and that sucks. Had the pacing stayed even, the characters been less annoying and the plot stayed consistent, this would have been a great series to recommend to people. As it is now, the only people I’d recommend watch this are those who really want to see the bishounen characters, or must see anything with angels in it. Bear in mind, though, that no matter what the screenshots look like, the amount of angels and such is very minimal compared to the overall slice of life feel of the series.
5/10 story
7.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
6/10 characters
6/10 overall
Utomneian's avatar
Feb 5, 2013

i honestly have mixed feelings about this, the first 12 episodes i hated it because all the characters seemed two dimensional, i didn't see a point in watching a boy pine over a shallow girl, and a dark angel who stole art, seemed boring, but my friend implored that i watched the whole thing...  but then, what's this?  character and plot development?  about halfway through the series, just as i was ready to stop watching, i slowly noticed changed in things and i no longer wanted to kill myself, because the anime really was grinding me with boredom until then, lol.

i really wish plot development wasn't so slow though, most anime watchers who have less tolerance than me would have quit watching by episode 5-10, which is the normal cut off zone for uninteresting anime  :p  but despite being bored to tears early on, i was brought to tear from emotionally driven plot around the upper teens of episodes  :'3

so, i'd say this is worth watching, but start at episode 13...  i'm serious...  you're really curious of what you're missing?...

okay, SPOILER ALERT:  kid gets rejected by girl he thinks he's in love with, his parents are mages or something, his blood has curse, edward elric's voice takes over boys body, transforms into dark angel, steal art and no one know why, boy is depressed, he whines, edward elric's voice laughs, steals more art, some other boy gets locked in a freezer with him, the anime has a yaoi tease (IMO), edward elric's voice starts hitting on the boy's crushes sister, then kisses her (i think? i forgot) boy gets made at his alter self (edward elric's voice AKA Dark Mousy, such a dumb name), etc etc, okay, ready, go, episode 13.

7/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall
RebelliousCharacters's avatar
Feb 28, 2013

DN Angel was one of the best series I have ever watched. It was what got me into anime and like, the second (?) anime series I'd seen. I mean, im watching it for the third time now. i cant help it, i just loved the storyline and the characters sooo much!! Especially the soundtrack. I always turn up the volume during the theme (Vic's voice is awesome) and I just love the music that plays during the calmer moments of an episode. Dark, Daisuke, and Satoshi were my favorites. I don't think the I disliked any of the characters...even Risa, who is like the most hated character in the show (decided by fans). Anywho...D.N. Angel was and still is one of the greatest animes of all time! Strongly recommend.

9.8/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
10/10 overall
FullmetalCowboy's avatar
Sep 25, 2015

Since I reside in the United States, I am fully aware that some people enjoy watching an Anime dubbed for specific reasons. I have a bilingual preference when it comes to Anime. I like watching Anime subbed and dubbed. When I do rewatch a certain Anime, I would go with the version I enjoyed the most or the one that I think that was the better version. There are some Anime that are good in either version. When it comes to English Dub Voice Actors, Men tend to favor Steve Blum, maybe it’s because he’s got that cool distinctive voice. When it comes to the ladies, they tend to favor Vic Mignogna. Even though Steve Blum is one of my favorite voice actors and being one of the reasons that Cowboy Bebop has a dub that is considered one of the greatest dubs ever recorded, Vic Mignogna has been voice acting since 1999 which is roughly around the time that English dubs were starting to increase in quality. Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist was his career-defining role and my favorite role of his. However, there was also another early fan-favorite role of his when it comes to Vic Mignogna’s fanbase… and it is in D.N. Angel.




Daisuke Niwa is just an average teenager, He turns 14 and He tries to declare his love to the girl of his dreams, but like any average teenage protagonist in an anime, he... fails. Suddenly, whenever he thinks about this girl he turns into the legendary phantom thief known as Dark Mousy. Daisuke's mother is aware of this and she makes him turn into Dark so he can steal valuable works of art for a purpose that Daisuke doesn’t even know…



D.N. Angel is a Xebec production and this series looks fine for the most part but there are glaring and painfully obvious flaws in the animation department. There are times where it recycles some of its animation and there are some times where the character design looks a little sloppy. Much to my surprise, the animation is actually not too bad when it counts. However, the one thing that never aged well was the 3D animation effect. It really sticks out like a sore thumb. I am just going to go out on a guess that D.N. Angel was a low budget production. It would probably explain some of the animation recycling and the cheap looking 3D effects. I do give Xebec some credit for making the character designs mostly consistent. The character design in D.N. Angel may not be suited to your liking but I actually had no qualms with it. It looks pretty average for a Shojo anime and I am okay with that.




The music by Takahito Eguchi and Tomoki Hasegawa sounds pretty average for an anime made in 2003 but at the same time, it is minimal to the point where a theme or two will be used over and over and OVER. The music itself isn’t that bad considering the show’s tone. The stringed instruments sound fine, the piano sounds beautiful in this anime but the soundtrack to D.N.Angel  is just poorly utilized with no direction at all. There are a few times where insert songs come in and they are forgettable in this show even though Shunichi Miyamoto is not a bad singer. In fact, he made a great first impression with his singing debut which happened to be the opening theme “Byakuya ~True Light~”. Not only is his singing great and the song itself is catchy, it is the highlight of D.N.Angel’s soundtrack. Oh and the added sound effects for the second half of the series was a nice touch. You wanna know what else is catchy? The first closing theme “Yasashii Gogo” by Minawo. The visuals in the closing may not be much but the song did grew on me even if it’s forgettable for some. However, the second closing theme “Hajimari no hi” sounds boring and the closing visuals are the same since Episode 1. That is just lazy. Good thing it is only a minor complaint on the music department of this series but still, I don’t think the soundtrack was utilized all that well. Had D.N.Angel been given more themes made, the soundtrack would have been decent in the long run.



The voice acting will take me a while to go over, I should note that Miyu Irino was 15 years old when he did the voice of Daisuke. Say what you will but the Japanese voice of Daisuke really makes me cringe. For some reason, when I hear him shout “Dark!”, it really gets on my nerves. The voice just never clicked with me. Masumi Asano is okay as Risa but nothing too special. Sara Nakayama as Riku… Well, it didn’t impress me and I found the voice to be off. Gee, I sure am not thinking highly of the Japanese cast of D.N.Angel. I will say that the highlight of the Subbed Version is Akira Ishida as Satoshi Hiwatari. Then there’s Ryotaro Okiayu as Dark. I cannot say that his performance was bad, I just don’t think it was a stellar performance either. I am not sure what to make of Ryotaro Okiayu’s Dark. I mean, it’s good but I have to credit the other voice of Dark which I will get to after I start going over The English Dub. In the Dub, Daisuke was played by Kevin Corn. Now I never heard the name since he doesn’t have many roles. He also has not done anime voice acting for years so it appears that he is no longer voice acting and I must say that even though it took me a while to adjust to Daisuke’s English Voice, I have gotten used to it and have grown to like it. Sure, there are some awkward moments where Kevin Corn gives some awkward deliveries when Daisuke freaks out by saying “Oh No!” or “Ah! Miss Harada”. In spite of that, Kevin Corn isn’t really that bad in the long run and his voice really never bothered me. Luci Christian on the other hand warrants an apology. I think Luci Christian is a great voice actress where credit is due. Out of all the work I have heard her in, Risa Harada is one performance that did not sit right with me. I found Risa’s English voice annoying. Sure, this may have been from her early days and I forgive her for playing Risa the way she did. Hilary Haag is fine as Riku. John Swasey is fine as a kooky old man, I mean Daiki. Illich Guardiola sounds somewhat cool as Krad but I can’t say it was great due to the character’s short amount of screentime compared to Dark. Then there’s Jessica Boone as Mio Hio, The English Voice of Mio is both hilarious and annoying. The way she talks in the Dub is funny because she has some accent which made it hard for me not to laugh. On the flipside, it’s annoying because she sounds like an attention whore. Greg Ayres is great as Satoshi Hiwatari and one of the highlights of the dub. Then of course, there is… the unanimous highlight of D.N. Angel’s dub. Vic Mignogna as Dark Mousy. Something about Vic Mignogna felt right when it came to Dark’s voice, it was more memorable than Ryotaro Okiayu’s performance. Dark’s flirtatious moments, Dark’s cool moments, and Dark’s down moments were all well-played by Vic Mignogna. I should note that I am not saying this to please any fangirls, Vic Mignogna in my opinion was the best part of D.N. Angel’s dub.

As far as characters go, Daisuke is just a typical teenage protagonist. Granted, he technically develops in time by… well, I can’t say because that would give away a few things about the plot but seeing as he goes through some complicated events and seeing the outcome of his character, he’s got some decency in terms of writing. Risa is probably on the same page as Daisuke except that Risa takes longer to develop. Riku managed to be a character worth watching, and Satoshi is the one that got a lot going for him. He may not play a huge part to start with but he did get character development as the show progressed down the middle and onwards. Dark and Krad are nice but I have some issues with one of them. Dark is actually somewhat interesting through flashbacks and he actually has some relevance in the series. I just have one question, What the hell is with the name Dark Mousy? Dark alone is fine by me but... Mousy? That's just a nitpick I have with Dark. Krad on the other hand was sidelined until near the end of the series after two appearances, seriously... Krad? You know... "Dark" backwards. (another nitpick). Towa is a pointless character, then there’s Mio Hio again. She’s annoying but there’s more to her than meets the eye, which felt forced to me. Granted, her good side is her redeemable factor. The characters in D.N. Angel don’t necessarily leave much to be desired because this series isn’t too sophisticated. It is geared towards older kids and teens. I just have one major problem with D.N. Angel



The Story to D.N. Angel is monotonous in the first half of the series with all the burglary missions, but as the series switches gears… It does pick up but it doesn’t go very far. The reason I stated that I found the first half of D.N. Angel monotonous is that the story doesn’t go too far after Episode 1 and the show decides to go off track for a little while. Some of the episodes early on don’t advance the plot whatsoever. The reason that it does pick up is that after it switches gears around the second half is that stuff becomes more relevant and stays that way throughout the rest of the series. The outcome really isn’t all that much. D.N. Angel just did not impress me all too well. I haven’t seen many anime where the character writing goes from average to decent and the story writing is mediocre. The Direction by Koji Yoshikawa and Nobuyoshi Habara is lazy, and Naruhisa Arakawa’s screenplay is not even worth comparing to the manga of the same name by Yuriku Sugisaki. the Manga has been on hiatus since 2005. That means Yukiru Sugisaki has not done jack shit to the D.N. Angel manga for 10 years, that is just not good news. Either way, this series is pretty forgettable with some exceptions.




D.N. Angel was available by ADV films in the past, but this anime was rescue-licensed by Diskotek Media. If you live in the U.K. It is out of print since ADV Films also released it in the U.K. D.N. Angel is also available by Madman Entertainment If you happen to live in Australia or New Zealand. The D.N. Angel Manga by Yukiru Sugisaki is available by Viz Media. A PS2 Video Game “D.N. Angel: Kurenai no Tsubasa” was only released in Japan. A manga called “D.N. Angel TV Animation Series” (which is essentially animation stills in the manga format) was also only released in Japan.



Overall, D.N. Angel is a series that will vary with some people but if you are just looking for a random anime to watch, give this one a try and see for yourself whether you like it or not. The animation’s not too bad, the characters are decent, and the music is fine but poorly utilized. It suffers greatly with a plot that goes nowhere until the middle of the series and yet the plot progression does not make up for the early stages of the series and I still find the overall plot of D.N. Angel to be mediocre even though the characters are not the cause of it. D.N. Angel is  cursed with bad directing.




I give D.N. Angel a 4.6 out of 10.




Feel free to leave a comment.

 

2.4/10 story
7.3/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
6/10 characters
4.6/10 overall
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MugenNeS's avatar
Dec 26, 2010

Another anime that could have been a classic, D.N. Angel has a fantastic story as well as plot, but then dies out during the end of the series. The animation wasn't nothing too spectacular, but it worked for the time I guess. The sounds wasn't too bad, although there might be many out there that will argue. The characters themselves were memorable, well in my opinion they were, however, there could have been more of a back story for most of the cast.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
9/10 characters
7/10 overall
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