D.N.Angel – Anime Review

Japanese Title: D.N.Angel

 

Similar: Divine Wind Thief Jeanne

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

Cardcaptor Sakura

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Comedy Romance

Length: 26 episodes

 

Positives:

  • A sense of fun.
  • Good humour.

Negatives:

  • Not much to it.
  • Shallow love interest.

Niwa Daisuke has an unusual curse. Every Daisuke male transforms into the infamous phantom thief Dark, an angel that makes all the ladies swoon. He steals cursed artefacts and paintings from museums under the guise of mere profit. He sends warnings to the target ahead of time to generate attention and feed his ego – the police chief is obsessed with catching him after his forty-year return.

The transformation is controlled by thoughts of Niwa’s crush, Risa, a girl in his class, which leads to many close calls with his secret identity. To complicate matters, on his first night as Dark, he flies past Risa’s mansion and his feelings for her trigger a revert in transformation. He lands on her balcony, but tomboy sister, Riku, spots him and he kisses her to silence. For reasons she can’t explain, Riku starts having thoughts about Niwa. So now, we have a love quadrangle of Riku to Niwa to Risa to Dark. The enchantment only lifts with Niwa’s requited true love. Shame he gets friendzoned by Risa just as he means to give her a love letter. Poor guy.

Then there is the boy “genius” (one of those with nothing genius about him) Hiwatari from school with a mystery of his own, who I swear is gay for Niwa. So much innuendo and suggestive dialogue from him, especially when they play lovers in the school performance of The Frost Queen. Had me chuckling often. He aids with Dark’s capture.

This relationship mess is the heart of D.N.Angel. It’s rather funny to see Niwa tripping over himself when talking to Risa while Dark merely has to look at her and she faints. She believes the hotter you are, the more moral you are as a person. While this is a humorous notion, the narrative doesn’t play with it enough. In fact, Risa is the dullest character. She is an airhead with no discernible skills or useful qualities. She dreams all day of falling in love with Dark. This would be fine if they played it for laughs, but alas, it is her “serious” contribution to the plot.

The rest is solid work. The characters are fun and the thefts bring a good deal of excitement to the brisk pace – Dark messing with Niwa’s love life during heists never gets old. Niwa’s mother and grandfather are funny as well, training him up to be the phantom thief by setting traps and obstacle courses in the house. I also like the setting, which recalls Budapest, a beautiful city.

Overall, D.N.Angel is a fun experience aimed at a younger audience. If you have older sensibilities, however, you will probably require more drama and conflict.

Art – Medium

D.N.Angel sports a CLAMP inspired art style – very much Cardcaptors in tone and visuals – and has a surprising amount of animation for a middle school show. Looks fine, but nothing special.

Sound – High

Acting is good in both languages, though I preferred Japanese’s heightened energy. Several great music tracks – the piano version of the OP has been on my playlist for a decade now. ED is rubbish though – so mopey and out of tune.

Story – Medium

Teen student by day, handsome thief by night. A fun tale with good heart and humour, even if lacking in depth.

Overall Quality – Medium

Recommendation: For those interested in something light-hearted. D.N.Angel is unlikely to appeal to adults; however, if you want something fun that doesn’t need much thought, then give it a try.

(Request reviews here. Find out more about the rating system here.)

 

Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive:

CharmGreat Music

Negative: None

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