Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 24th, 2004
Theatrical Release dates: Japan 1998-99
Director: Toshitaka Hirano
Writers: Masanao Akahoshi, Kei’ichi Hasegawa, Chiaki Konaka, Kenshi Konuta, Takeshi Konuta, Sadayuki Murai
Created By: Go Nagai
Cast: Shawn Sides, Junko Iwao, Sian Rees, Kazusa Murai
DVD Released: July 6th, 2004
Approximate Running Time: 650 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4.3 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: A. D. Vision
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $49.98
Go Nagai was influenced by the Manga Osamu Tezuka a pioneer in the in the world of Manga who created such classic as Astro Boy and Jangaru Taitei (Kimba The White Lion). The latter series Walt Disney borrowed heavily from Tezuka ‘s creation without ever given him money or credit for their film the Lion King. Two of Go Nagai’s most popular characters are Devil-Man and Cutey Honey the latter of which has been recently made into a live action film. His series Mazinger Z helped spawn the Super Robot craze inspiring series like Hyakujû ô Go-Lion (Voltron). Go Nagai’s are known for pushing the limits when it comes to sexuality and nudity.
Jun Fudou is a famous fashion model who is hiding a terrible secret that may present dire consequences if she embraces it for mankind. The Devil Lady series revolves around the character of Jun Fudou who life transforms from a normal existence to much darker side that she embraces as the series progresses. Lan Asuka works for a government agency and she knows Jun’s secret. She will blackmail Jun into working for her to help ride the world of Devil Beasts. Kazumi Takiura is an aspiring model who idolizes Jun Fudou and after a series of personal tragedies in her life she moves in with Jun who she forms a close bond with.
Beast: In this episode we are introduced to the three main characters Jun Fudou, Lan Asuka and Kazumi Takiura. Early on we are given a glimpse through Jun’s nightmare visions of the future that she is her destiny. This episode is main purpose is to lay the ground work for what lays ahead. Blood: Jun continues to fight the Devil Beast from the end of the last episode as Jun disposes of the beast after an initial struggle. The next morning Jun wakes up confused and terrified about the previous night’s events. Jun runs into Kazumi who she decides to spend some time with to calm her nerves. The night is soon cut short as Lan Asuka shows up to take Jun away to kill another Devil Beast. Wings: The Devil Beasts are angered by Jun helping the humans to destroy them so they attack Kazumi’s home killing her parents. Jun tries to prevent the devil beats from killing Kazumi and her parents. Kazumi with no place to go moves in with Jun. Seed: This episode focuses mainly on Jun’s childhood. Jun also finds out what her role in this battle between beast and man from one of the members of the Human Alliance. Shark: Jun is reunited with a girl she once had a romantic link to in her youth and now she is forced to kill her once she discovers this girl is now a Devil Beast. Cat: Jun meets a model who looks a lot like her and as their friendship evolves Kazumi becomes increasingly jealous. Jun is soon in danger as this women wants to be more then just friends with her. She wants to be her.
Fog: Strange things start to unfold as a thick fog covers Tokyo. Jun remembers days gone by while her enemies gather in numbers. Enemy: A tape is circulating to news agencies showing the transformation of man into a Devil Beast. The Human Alliance does everything they can to suppress from the public the truth about the danger that lurks in the shadows. Eyes: A series of grisly murders puts the spotlight on Tokyo and the Human Alliance wanting to keep everything under wraps call in Jun to take care of business. Flames: A young girl is the lone survivor after a fire claims the lives of her parents. The girl once in the custody of the Human Alliance is healing herself at a rapid rate and she also displays the ability to control fire. Box: After a series of disappearances at a department store Jun is called into action to take care of another beast. An undercover reporter approaches Kazumi about Jun and what he tells her starts to plant doubt in her mind. Faces: Jun is once again plagued by bad dreams about the end of humanity. She holds on to her humanity by a thread as she tries to hold the best with in her at bay. Jun this time is matched up this time against a beast who likes to mutilate his victim’s faces. Rope: After a young girl on her death bed tells officials she was held captive by a beast. Jun soon finds this beast who being held captive by his sister. Jun puts the beast out of its misery.
Home: A man stalks Jun as he tries to expose her for what she really is. His daughter was killed by a Devil Beast. Crows: A series of killing leads the Human Alliance to believe there might be a serial killer on the loose. To makes things more complicated Jun’s roommate Kazumi has been kidnapped by a Devil Beast that looks like a child in hopes she will join her kind in the destruction of mankind. Voice: The Devil Beasts are now targeting those close to Jun and the Human Alliance feels it is only a matter of time before she joins forces with her own kind. Hunger: Jun teeters on the edge as the Devil beast with in her tries to emerge eradicating all of her humanity for good. Body: Jun is now being held in a medical laboratory by the Human Alliance. She learns of the experiments they are conducting and the beasts before she finally escapes. Fetters: Jun’s agent for her modeling career Satoru reveals his love for Jun. Kazumi since being separated from Jun is now hanging out with group of teenage beasts. Corpses: Jun now on her own is being attacked by all the other beasts who despise her. Maeda Kiyoshi Asuka’s former assistant has uncovered the truth behind her sinister plot against humanity. Signs: The final stages of Asuka’s plan are into motion as she has the government pass of her beast transforming medication as a vaccine. Wish: The beasts grow in numbers increasing their strength. Jun struggles to retain her humanity as she tries to rescue Kazumi from the Devil Beast’s.
Life: Jun reflects the loose of her Kasumi and the U.S. military has come in stabilized everything for now. Heart: Jun leaves the big city in hope of finding anonymity in a small village. She soon realizes that she must face her problems head on. God: Asuka believes that she is a respective sent by god and she quickly disposes of Jun. Sending her to hell like place via a bottom less pit. Man: Asuka now in the form of an angel passes herself off as the second coming of Christ. Jun finally accepts what she is and she escapes her eternal hell to face off against Asuka in a final showdown.
The Devil Lady series like any series has its peaks and valleys. The series as a whole has a good arc to it as the plots remain fresh and the characters evolve through out the series. The mythology of the Devil Beasts and Lan Asuka back story are well crafted with each new revelation giving just as much information as it was holding back for later in the story. The Japanese voice actors are the superior of the two as the English dialog is significantly different then the Japanese in overall tone. Just like in other Go Nagai’s works The Devil Lady if filled with erotic innuendos’ like pedophilia, incest and lesbianism just to name a few.
Even with these naughty bits the series suggest more then it’s ever shows never crossing over into a full blown pornographic piece. Jun is a wonderful character she is not just beautiful she is also smart and sexy in the way she carries herself. Manga voice actress Yukari Tamura composed simple yet an effect score that adds depth to the series. Director Toshitaka Hirano direction at times is not as distinctive as other Manga directors, still his laid back approach adds to the series charm. I found this series engrossing and as each episode ended I couldn’t wait to see what was going too happened next.
The Devil Lady like a lot of Manga mixes mythology with religion giving the story more weight. One aspect of the series that impressed me the most was how we are shown how quickly we turn on others when they are different from us. Prejudice is one trait that has plagued humanity since the dawn of time. The Devil Lady is more then your average horror show or monster of the week by the numbers series. The series relies heavily on the characters as it deals with lose of loved ones and the fragile mental state of the lead character Jun. The Devil Lady tries to reach a wider audience then Go Nagai’s previous works and it maintains his style through out without ever compromising his original vision.
The Devil Lady is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. Overall the material used for these DVD’s is in exceptional shape as details in the shadows and nighttime scenes which most of the series takes place in looks amazing. Some minor grain in notable through out, still it never interferes with the viewing of this series. The color palette is vivid as wide variety of colors and textures are embraced during through out the series as it evolves.
Two audio options have been included for this DVD release the series original Japanese audio presented in Dolby Digital stereo and an English dubbed Dolby Digital stereo track. Both audio tracks are free of any hiss or distortion and they provide a dynamic sound field especially during the battle scenes. English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras include a trailer for the series as well as clean opening and closing credits. Each of the six DVD’s in this set comes with four original sketches from the series. The preview trailers included in this collection are Dai-Guard, Wild Arms, Excel Saga, Getter Robo, Cutey Honey, Steel Angel Kurumi, Black Lion, Crying Freeman, Colorful, Go Nagai Collection, Samurai X Reflection, Ushio & Tora, Noir, Rune Soldier, Rahxephon, Eden’s Bowy, Variable Geo, Southern Cross, Full Metal Panic!, Doomed Megalopolis, Mazinkaiser and Neo Ranga. A DVD insert has been included which lists all the episodes and their titles. Unfortunately like most Anime series this release suffers from a lack of extras and the extras included offer no incite into the series or its creator Go Nagai. When compared to other Anime releases the price for the set is unbelievably low considering that amount of episodes contained in this set. If you are a fan of bloody carnage mixed in with just the right amount of nudity and sex then I highly recommend you check The Devil Lady out