[Anime Review] Dance with Devils [Why do I even trust Rejet anymore?]

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Episodes: 12
Aired: 2015
Studio: Brain’s Base
Creators: Rejet

Synopsis

Ritsuka Tachibana has always been a good student, so she is completely shocked when she is suddenly summoned by the student council. Even more, they seem to think of Ritsuka as a troublemaker. Led by the handsome Rem Kaginuki, the student council—also consisting of Urie Sogami, Shiki Natsumizaka and Mage Nanashiro—tries to question her, but it soon becomes clear that they have ulterior motives.

However, this is only the beginning. When her mother gets kidnapped, her life is turned upside down, and Ritsuka gets drawn into a world of vampires and devils. Both groups are searching for the “Grimoire,” a forbidden item allowing its owner to rule the world. The return of her brother Lindo from overseas gives her hope, but even he appears to be hiding something. In a world filled with secrets, Ritsuka questions whom she can trust in this dark musical tale, while the handsome and dangerous members of the student council compete for her attention.

Opening video

…Why do I even trust Rejet anymore?

That is enough to express myself, right? You guys don’t need any more clarification, right? Right?!…

….No? You do?

Well…FINE! Let me put on my reviewer-glasses and give this a try.

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Story


 

I’ll be serious and straightforward here; I can’t generally really find anything redeemable in Dance with Devils, at least when it comes to the plot, mostly because it tends to suffer from the same problems that Diabolik Lovers had. And by that I do not mean the guys treating the heroine like a Masochistic-Blood-Pack-On-Two-Legs, not entirely at least, but it’s all the plot points put together that just makes me ponder why did I just watch 12 episodes of this. I felt like most of the story tried to insult my intelligence ; it is quite a simple story generally, but the execution of it is cringeworthy. My problems start with the overall decisions of the heroine, then how little it took for everybody to fall in love with her despite her not being anything special (typical reverse harem though), the said-“protection” that Ritsuka had to have at school and the quality of that “protection” which makes me question the overall quality of the forces of “God” and how did they manage to even last this long, the vampires convenient villains being strong at convenient times, horny demons, horny vampires, horny dhampyrs and it finally ends with an unsatisfactory climax and some pink sparkles…for the most part. I at least did manage to appreciate Ritsuka’s choice in the end, must not lie.

The plus that I DO give it though is the main reason why I even considered to finish this anime over many others that I have on my list: the musical aspect of it, and I say “musical” referring to the actual theater  genre of the “musical” (not UtaPri or StarMyu style).A musical is when the story gets conveyed and progressed through several songs at climatic times, either to express the resolutions of the characters and their inner feelings as well as a good chunk of the action. Dance with Devils actually managed to do quite well at that part and even if sometimes it was quite cringing and cheesy, I really did appreciate the “theatrical” take on it, where the characters genuinely seemed to want to act like “actors” and not “anime characters”.

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Characters


 

Now, the part where Dance with Devils actually does a pretty good job at compared to Diabolik Lovers (and only in this context), are actually the character relationships (some of them). They have a lot more thought put into them, overall. I think the relationship between Lindo and Ritsuka was particularly well-made (I put the emphasis on “compared with DiaLovers“; normally, a good relationship base would be the least that I could expect in a fiction, so I’m already bringing my bar down a lot). Lindo was really one of the best thought-out characters in the whole anime. He had a defined backstory, an actual cute day-by-day interaction with Ritsuka, an actual purpose to which he strove for from day 1 to the end, an actual REASON to fall in love with Ritsuka to begin with and lastly, he came to terms with his own nature. I feel that he comes closer to a “character” that I can actually feel empathy for and actually being able to cheer for.

The others? …Not so much. Rem started off interesting only to fall in the usual “main guy trope”; he gets a crush for Ritsuka out of nowhere, makes an issue out of it for the whole show, then at the end realizes that nothing matters in front of love (…not even his Demon King daddy almost blowing his head off, but RIP Demon King-daddy and him disappearing into thin air when it was convenient for Rem to stop brooding).

 

Urie and Mage can just take eachother by the hand since their purpose literally resumed to “hentai flirt” and “impulsive bad guy“. These two are the main reasons why I was actually more interested in Shiki at the beginning because of his creepy-sado-masochistic-self-mutilation fetishes (which is literally a combination between Kanato and Azusa, but I’ll let that go). I was especially sad to have no type of backstory on any of these guys. Not even Rem got any and that plays a big role into my feelings for him, mostly when it was revealed Urie is Rem’s childhood friend, yet I can’t say I can point out any moment of genuine closeness between them, in any way.

But now concentrating on the positive aspects, I liked Roen and I was surprised he could actually make a very valid villain…only if he were given an actual chance, but the authors preferred to ignore him for the sake of the vampire threat…But back to positive!  I also liked the teasing moments between the demon guys; they clearly seemed to dislike eachother, but in reality it’s just simply what happens when you put together a bunch of guys with too much pride to sell.

And I have realized that I did not speak of Ritsuka yet. Well, she’s not the worst reverse harem heroine that I have ever seen. She tends to be “louder” than most, though her naivety and tendency to have stuff spelled out for her annoyed me quite a bit at one point.

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Animation&OST


 

If I had anything to complain about, regarding the musical aspect, it would be for the “cheap” animation choices during some of the songs, which almost seemed flashy for the sake of covering the overall lack of diversity and inspiration (or maybe laziness or lack of budget, I don’t know. I want to believe it’s the later).

Then, I would also like to point to one moment of brilliance which was the final fight with Jek. Despite not being able to care any less for Jek in the first place and despite the actual fight being quite short, it’s the only moment that I can think of right now where I praised the angles and the actual “fall” moment, which actually did give me quite a bit of shock because I did not expect for it to go that way.

Lastly, about the OST, most songs are cringe-worthily cheesy, but I did appreciate the vocals, mostly Hirakawa Daisuke, Saito Soma and Hatano Wataru. I do see myself in the future humming one of the Dance with Devils songs, like I do with the Diabolik Lovers ones.

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Conclusion


 

I think they could have done way better.

And I’ll ask myself again: Why do I even trust Rejet anymore? This might be a subject for a Let’s talk post, but I think it’s important for the review to actually summarize why I keep coming back to Rejet whatever they end up making. It’s their guts. Yes. It makes me feel like they have realized that if they dive into the “controversial” and specifically into otome “fetishes”, then whatever they make, whatever the reaction, it’s always a strong one, which can only bring them profit. There will be those that love it and hype it. And there will be those that hate it and try to do everything to discredit it, which will attract other haters and more discussions will be made. This is how Diabolik Lovers still didn’t manage to just “die out” up to today and it will probably get a third season and who knows how many other otome game extras and merchandise. Dance with Devils probably won’t have the same effect for its more “innocent” nature, but I think that it’ll still be remembered, seeing how it’s getting a real live musical and a PSVita otome game already (and Singles were already teased from before the anime was even released and there’s an actual manga for it in the publishing). Rejet are smart when it comes to promoting, I give them that as well.

Also, I have the suspicion that Dance with Devils is going to get a second season based on the last scene with Roen and Maksis. So what I have said above will probably prove itself even more true, if it’s the case.

Note:I must direct you to my reviews of Diabolik Lovers and Diabolik Lovers More,Blood to have a more extensive view of what I mean whenever I reference it.

Last note: This anime contains incestuous romantical feelings. Personally, I did not have a problem with it and, on the contrary, I considered it one of the good points of it, but if you’re uncomfortable with “incest feelings”, I recommend you do not watch this anime.

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16 thoughts on “[Anime Review] Dance with Devils [Why do I even trust Rejet anymore?]

  1. Good points. I feel like if Rejet tried they could actually make something good. Heck, Otomate might be nothing but stock tropes but every now and then they come out with amazing stuff like Code Realize and Bad Apple Wars.

    I get that they are really marketing toward fetishes but I just cannot fathom why girls find it hot for a man to overpower and treat her awfully. Yes, it’s different for everyone, but until you yourself experience a similar situation, they won’t stop spouting love for the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are able to have these fetishes exactly because they don’t take it seriously. They look at guys like Ayato and like him for that one moment of sadomasochistic play, only to go back to normality and forget about it till the next time they get horny. XD I am quite direct in saying this, but there’s no other explanation to what Rejet is trying to do. Or at least, I HOPE that they’re not trying to promote unhealthy relationships and just simply create what they do for that “once in a while” fetish. Ultimately we have to keep in mind that “Rape” is also statistically proved to be one of the top fetishes a human being has.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rape is really wrong, I won’t deny. Personally, I think there is something really strangely attractive with those kind of events you get in the Rejet animes. I don’t think its about feeling threatened or anything, I think it’s the danger of it? Or maybe it’s being dominated by a really sexy guy? It’s hard to get. All I know is that I enjoy it when its fiction but if it were real, I would explode the guy’s nuts. I don’t think fantasizing on rape is any good though and I don’t think a game or a tv show should bring up those subject lightly. Yep, 4 days late on this one, sorry.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Fanta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XD *hugs* where’ve you been girl? Idk if it’s my dumb laptop but when I try to look at your posts they’re not there 😦
        So glad to see you again! XD
        And hmm well as long as it makes you happy! I personally can’t say I understand but hey, we all have certain things lol so np:) And not at all!!! I’m just so glad to see you again! XD

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah I’m alive sorry I’m not really updating the blog anymore. My life is pretty full right now xD but hey I still come by from time to time xD I’ll try to update more often when school is finally over ^-^

        Liked by 2 people

      • They are both very good points. I think it’s both getting dominated by a sexy guy and the danger of it that might be sexually arousing. I sincerely don’t have that big of a problem with “rape fetishes” or “sadomasochistic play” anymore. Not as much as I used to. My issues comes in games like Men of Yoshiwara, surprisingly, when the heroine genuinely loves the guys, but they get their crazy butterflies starting to eat on their brains at one point and they actually attempt rape, for some reason or another. It’s different when it happens in stuff like Diabolik Lovers (Dance with devils is really toned down on that aspect so I can’t use it as a good example) who establish from the very first moment that they’re NOT nice guys, than when it happens with a person that’s supposed to love the heroine. And then it’s horrifying for me how the heroine accepts it and forgives it and actually is the one to FEEL SORRY for them. No, just no! whatever color their brain butterflies are, it’s no excuse for rape or rape attempts!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not trying to justify the “abuse” or “fetish” or whatever in Diabolik Lovers, it’s just that it stopped bothering me as much since it seems the clear point of it from the beginning, so I just can’t manage to take it THAT seriously. Though the anime makes it way more annoying with like 13 guys just waiting to jump on her, must not deny. =w=

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yeah I know what you mean ! It’s some kind of fetishes and all. I don’t really care about them being hurt and stuff, I just think fantasizing over something like rape is wrong because it happens to really good person and that destroy their life very often. Let’s be honest, a horny hot guy can find a girl really easily without having to rape her, the rapist are the super gross ugly old guys <.< I won't go deeper in this because it can get really ugly… Anyways, maybe there wouldn't be that much of a problem for me if the main character would fight, even just a tiny bit, but of course not, she'll let them have their way even though they are such jerks <.< you spineless little shit! Okay, that's enough badmouthing for me xD

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahahaha. I’m sorry, but I find this post so funny especially since you can’t hide your dismay about this series. I haven’t watched this yet, although I do wonder why people recommend I watch this series. I hear reverse harem fans saying it’s good. Hmmmmmm. We’ll see what I’ll think about it when I do get to watch it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sure want to hear your opinion of it when you eventually watch it. XD And it’s funny that you found reverse harem fans saying it was good (of course, everybody is free to like it haha) It’s just that on my side, the people I know were horrified of it. XD Must be the circles I keep. XD

      To resume everything that I already stated in the review, I would describe it as “cringe-worthy”. XD I feel like it would have worked way better if it wouldn’t have been presented as a reverse harem at all, overall. As a love triangle it could have worked better and without the other guys’ “episodes” they could have put some more work into the actual love triangle and focus. But nooooo. This is Rejet we’re talking about. Obviously, though, I’m interested in the manga which will adapt every character’s “route” with the heroine and I’m very interested in the otome game too. Substantially, it doesn’t suck, but in its anime form I just couldn’t take even half of it seriously. Maybe written differently and with a bit more time, my opinion would have been different.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, for sure, I will. But I don’t think I’ll watch this anytime soon, but I’ll eventually watch it because I’m a reverse harem fan. 😉

        Oh. Interesting. That makes me curious. Oh well. I think that the main draw would be the hot guys and the seiyuu over the story. Most of the reverse harem like this, I don’t even care that much for the heroine. Just screengrab the hot guys. XD
        Hmmmm. A manga, huh? I wonder if they’re going to have original stories separate from the anime? Do you know?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, however it pains me when I see people say how reverse harems are all brainless fanservice about idealistic guys that will never fit any real guy-standard and stupid heroines that are useless only because they need their men to do everything for them. 😦 I personally know that it’s not like that for all of them, but some reverse harems out there sure don’t help themselves out of that stereotype. The ones that get fairly popular too 😦 Though it also depends what a person seeks from the genre…I also like to stare at hot guys but I get turned off when they start to be like “voila! I’m your hero! now let me take you! I deserve it because I’m a hot bishie!” XDD or when they fight over the heroine as if she’s an object.

        I think the main story will be the same, however the heroine will get her romance with each of the guys per turn. So it will be like an otome game just that you don’t have to play it XD Since I think the guys in the anime were very underdeveloped (Lindo to a side) I’m seriously looking forward for it. I could only find Dance with Devils: Blight arc which will cover Shiki, the sado-masochistic guy. There’s only one chapter out for now though 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my gosh. I can totally relate. I think that’s the main reason why reverse harem gets a bad rep to non-watchers. They think that all reverse harems are trash with the hot bishies as their only redeeming quality. They don’t know that there are a few really good reverse harems out there. And I agree with you about the guys treating the heroine as an object. It’s annoying how she mostly just let things happen to her and let the guys do their thing without her doing anything. It’s annoying, that’s why I don’t care that much about the heroines of most trashy reverse harems. I’ll just ogle the hot guys and I’ll be happy. 😉

        Oh. That sounds interesting. Well, I can’t really talk about it that much now since I haven’t watched “Dance with the Devils” yet, but you’ll be the first one I’ll call to talk about it when I get the chance to watch it. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

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