Anime Spotlight: Dance With Devils

Dance With Devils is an anime series produced by Brain’s Base and directed by Ai Yoshimura. The series aired on Japanese television from October 7-December 23, 2015. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American distribution license for Dance With Devils.

A girl named Ritsuka Tachibana finds herself being summoned by Shiko Academy’s student council. They ask her some puzzling questions, and she has no idea what they want from her. Later, Ritsuka finds that her mother has been kidnapped. Rem Kaginuki, the president of the student council, seems like he’s trying to help Ritsuka locate her mother. But after Ritsuka’s brother, Lindo, returns from London, she learns that the members of the student council are devils and that she holds the key to a forbidden grimoire that they want to get their hands on.

The other members of the student council try to woo Ritsuka with the hope of obtaining the grimoire. As the series progresses, Ritsuka learns truths about Lindo, her friend Azuna Kuzuha, and the grimoire. By the end, Ritsuka finds herself in the middle of a supernatural battle between the devils and the vampires. And if that wasn’t frightening enough, Ritsuka also finds herself falling for Rem.

As I watched the first episode of Dance With Devils, it became abundantly clear that it would have a similar setup to anime based on light novels that feature a female protagonist surrounded by a group of potential male love interests. While the series does follow a lot of that formula, I at least give it credit for the fact that Ritsuka has more of a backbone to her than many of the female protagonists that are featured in these kinds of stories.

For the most part, though, Dance With Devils seems to rely a lot on the storytelling tropes that have become associated with this particular genre of anime. The main thing that makes Dance With Devils stand out is the musical numbers that appear in each episode. In some respects, having these musical numbers appear in the middle of the episode kind of made me think of the 1980s cartoon show, Jem. But the musical numbers in Dance With Devils could be “hit and miss,” although the good tended to outweigh the bad.

I admit that I never found myself becoming completely emotionally invested in this story or the characters. There was just something about this series that made the characters seem distant. That may have been due, in part, to the fact that many of the characters appear to have a “vacant” look to them. This “vacant” look seems to come from the character designs and art style being utilized for Dance With Devils.

All in all, I can’t say that Dance With Devils was a bad anime; however, I can’t say that it was a good anime, either. It’s not a series I necessarily looked forward to watching every week, but I can’t say I feel like I wasted the past 12 weeks of my life by watching it. I don’t regret seeing Dance With Devils, but it’s not a title I’m going to be in a rush to watch again anytime in the future.

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