An anime that started with a fairly poor first episode and pretty much never got any better, Devils’ Line was one of my bigger disappointments to come out of the Spring 2018 season.
I would really like to start this review with an overview of the story, but unfortunately, I’m not sure there really is one. There’s a few different ideas, but none of them ever develop or end up being resolved. And that’s part of the problem with Devils’ Line as a whole, though it certainly isn’t the only issue sucking the life out of this series.
Firstly we have Taira Tsukasa, who is one of those super pure girls who has never fallen in love. Then her friend from school tries to attack her and it turns out he’s a vampire and she’s rescued by another vampire who turns out to work for the police hunting down devils (and don’t ask why vampires are called devils in this story, they just are). All of that seems fine but then Tsukasa is apparently in love with the rescue vampire, Anzai, and the two of them are in a relationship.
If you are wondering what happened in between the rescue and the falling in love, other than Anzai forcibly sticking his tongue down Tsukasa’s throat, I’m going to say not much. The story just expects that audience to believe these two are now in love.
Seriously in love. Like they’ll throw themselves into life-threatening danger on more than one occasion for the other person. Even though vampires and humans can’t actually be involved in a relationship and there is government discussion around a law to allow humans and vampires to have sex only is supervised by a doctor (what?).
I’ll get to the other plot lines that trail about in this mess in a minute, but I want to take a moment to look at Tsukasa’s character, because she is perhaps the stupidest thing about this entire series, and there are some stupid things happening in this series.
The girl meets a guy once who after saving her, by injuring her mind you, gets so out of control because she’s bleeding that he forces himself on her, shoving his tongue into her mouth, and has to sedate himself to calm down. She’s then just totally fixated on him. Letting him into her house, chasing him around the city and into danger… A sniper takes a shot at him while he is in her house and she gets cut by broken glass leaving a permanent scar on her face, and the only comment she makes regarding that several episodes later is that it hurts less than not being with Anzai. I actually can’t recall a single decision or comment that came out of Tsukasa’s mouth that wasn’t either asinine or stupid, and as she’s a character a lot of the action is built around her presence really hinders the story.
Though probably not as much as the fact that everyone seems to fall in love with her. her vampire friend who initially attacked her. Anzai as the saviour. Her lecturer at school who attempts to rape her. The girl is a dishrag and there is nothing about her that is interesting and yet every single person she meets seems to like her and either want to have sex with her or protect her, or both.
But as much fun as the vampire/human relationship issues are, and they do permeate the entire story, even at fairly odd moments when you would think the cast would have better things to do than worry about whether Anzai and Tsukasa can sleep together, the story also seems to want to explore how vampires (devils) fit into modern society and how the general public responds to them. We get mass protests, terrorist groups, calls for segregation, and it all seems like this should go somewhere. There’s even a vast conspiracy within the organisation Anzai works for where there are double agents all pressing their own agenda.
This could have been a fairly gripping story really. And yet it plays out in the background with only a few episodes where it is the focus. Then we get to the end of the season and this story line just kind of stops. We don’t know what legislation actually gets passed or what happens to the conspirators or anything else. The story just turns its focus back to Anzai and Tsukasa’s relationship.
There’s also some subplot about the institution where Anzai grew up and his parents. An escapee vampire from their joins the group midway through the series. Nothing ever eventuates from this plot point.
While I was harsh to Tsukasa earlier, I should probably point out that there isn’t a single decently developed character in the entire series. Not one character is actually interesting or well explored. At the end of the season you would be hard pressed to remember more than a handful of names and when you think about why some of the characters existed at all you will draw a blank. They contribute nothing overall to a story that goes nowhere.
Then we have the visuals. Right from episode one it was pretty clear that this anime was not exactly a gorgeous feast for the eyes. Murky imagery, poor contrasts in the colours, and some really bad choices with animation to make the vampires seem fast (animation choices that seemed to disappear a few episodes in) all worked to make this series a pretty ugly thing to watch.
This isn’t the worst thing ever but what really hurts is that we could have had a decent relationship between Anzai and Tsukasa and an exploration of the trouble they had in building an inter-species relationship. Or we could have had a compelling police drama where there were conspiracies to marginalise devils in society. The issue is, this show couldn’t handle doing both and the end result is an unsatisfying mess.
What did you think of Devils’ Line?
- Episode 12: The True Tragedy is the Story Might Continue
- Episode 11: Oh No – It’s A Trap
- Episode 10: Disjointed
- Episode 9: Vigilante ‘Justice’
- Episode 8: Larger Social Issues Aside, Let’s Focus on Vampire Sex
- Episode 7: Facing Your Fears Apparently Solves Everything
- Episode 6: How Deep Does This Conspiracy Go?
- Episode 5: Ooh, Conspiracy
- Episode 4: If Blood Tolerance Was A Thing, Wouldn’t The Government Know?
- Episode 3: Ill-Defined Relationships
- Episode 2: We’re Just Skipping Over the Falling In Love Part
- Devils’ Line First Impressions
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18 thoughts on “Devils’ Line Series Review: Get Ready For Dark – And I Am Talking About The Colour Palette Not The Story”
I feel you entirely on this one. It was just a mess of everything. I too disliked Tsukasa, and Anzai relationship a lot. I couldn’t buy it because of how it started, and the fact I never felt like they had any chemistry with each other. I was hoping there would be one thing it managed to do decently, but in the end everything was left hanging.
Ugh, the animation was rough to look at times. That lighting in particular was terrible during night scenes. Also, Tsukasa friend with those freaky eyes was the only enjoyable part of the anime for me. I simply kept wondering what the heck was wrong with her eyes. They always looked like they were going to pop out from her sockets.
This anime currently has the most cringe worthy scene this year for me. That lesson was hard to get through, and the dialogue in that scene XD. Ugh, too much to handle
I also just kept hoping that it would get one thing right by the end given how many things could have potentially worked. And yet, there really is nothing to hold onto with this other than ideas wasted.
I wonder if the manga is better? I was curious about this. I was gonna watch it but even though HIDIVE said they were streaming it in Scandinavia they didn’t so I ended up, after some hefty discussions, cancelling my subscription instead of watching it. Anyway, it seems like I didn’t miss anything.
Given people were talking about the anime before it came out, I’m suspecting the source must be better, though I’m not interested enough to go find out for myself at this point.
I dropped this after two episodes and to be frank, I wasn’t impressed by either of those, so kudos to you for staying till the end. 😛
It was more fascination with seeing whether or not it would actually pull itself into something decent. The short version would be, no.
A twilight anime
I may regret saying this, but Twilight was significantly better.
If I put that in perspective, Twilight is one of the few series I’ve read the entirety of under duress (okay it was a book exchange but I held up my end of it and read it despite wanting to drop the books almost every other page).
Okay. If it is that bad I will drop the show
I guess if there’s a second season, you won’t be sticking around to watch Tsukasa gets some awkward “lessons”.
I’m going to pass on that. One season was more than enough.
Wow, this really sounds like one heck of a mess. If there is one thing that I usually dislike in any kind of show, it’s characters that you can’t relate to. If there isn’t even a single character in this anime that you will remember, I’m not even going to give it a chance. Really too bad, as the premise sounds good and of course vampires is usually something that I quite enjoy. Oh well, guess I won’t be adding this one to my list 😊 Thanks for the warning 😀
I was really excited for this one prior to the Spring season. Vampire romance or police drama both sounded kind of fun. Yet it was pretty obvious from episode one this wasn’t going to be all that good. That said, there was at least one thing in each episode that was entertaining enough to make you think that maybe this show would pull itself together. It never did mind you, but it at least kept stringing the audience along.
I really hate it when something that at first looked really promising turns out to be something that really disappoints. I guess Angels of Death is one of those shows this season. The first episode showed definite promise, but after that we know what happened.
Real shame about this one, because really as you said both those teams really sounded like fun. A wasted opportunity if you ask me 😢