Dance with Devils
“Dance with Devils” was an anime I was dreading, because it looked like fujioshi (girls into BL) fodder. After episode one I’m confident that my assessment was correct, though the the show is not without its points of interest. The opening scene is dark, but its song feels like it’s ripped straight from the emo poetry of a high school girl. The whole show for that matter feels like it could have been written by the main character of “WataMote”. There were two surprising musical numbers, and the second one had me on the floor laughing due to it’s ridiculous nature. It’s clearly not aimed at me, so I’ll give this anime a few more episodes to wow me before I drop it. Still I can see there is definitely a crowd that will find this sort of thing appealing.
As I stated before the opening is incredibly dark and occult feeling. The main character is in a blue dress and approaches a group of men, one of whom speaks in English about a “forbidden grimoire” that can be used to “control the world”. After this scene we are introduced to that girl as she prepares breakfast for herself and her mother. The girl is Ritsuka, a diligent high school girl who lives with her mother. We learn through phone dialogue that her brother Lindo lives in London. On her way out the door, Ritsuka’s mother changes out a bag of herbs in a locket around her neck. Ritsuka teases her mother’s superstition and leaves for school, passing a strange mark on her gate as she leaves. This is when we are treated to the first musical number, where in Disney fashion Ritsuka sings about her desire to find a man I guess.
Once at school Ritsuka meets up with her friend Azuna, and learns that she has been summoned by the student council president (Rem Kaginuki) to the third library. Here we get the second musical number, wherein the members of the student council sing about seducing women and “marking” them. After Ritsuka comes into the library and Rem informs her that another student has accused her of breaking school rules. Ritsuka tries to defend herself, but the accusations were a front to begin with. Rem hypnotizes her and begins to try to get her to answer questions, when her locket repels him and awakens her from her hypnosis. Unaware of the foul play, Ritsuka chastises the student council and returns to class. On her way home from school Ritsuka sees that her house is being ransacked by burglars, and her mom is in danger inside!
Ritsuka runs to the police for help, but when the police arrive the house is back to normal. Equally alarming is the fact that her mother is missing, but the police think pay no mind to her, thinking she’s either a liar of crazy. When she calls her brother in London he informs Ritsuka that he is coming home immediately, and that she is not to lose her pendant. Ritsuka makes for Azuna’s house to avoid the burglars, but she is accosted on the way by the burglars she hoped to avoid! They ask here where the “forbidden grimoire” is, but Ritsuka has no idea what they’re talking about. Rem shows up with typical television show timing, and saves Ritsuka from her attackers. One of the attackers escapes, and Rem takes Ritsuka to his house. At his house he coldly tells her that he will inform the police about the situation to maintain order at the school, but it’s clear that he has a hidden agenda. The show ends with Ritsuka meeting Rem’s dog, and wondering what happened to her mother.
The show was actually not that bad, if you factor out the ridiculously unnecessary musical numbers. There is a decent amount of backstory to be explained, and Ritsuka seems to be a fairly strong willed, if a little weak bodied, heroine. The student council throws me off though, as they are clearly catered to supposed differing female tastes in men. There’s the cold leader guy, the tough guy, the Casanova-esk guy, the creepy stalker guy, and next episode I’m sure we’ll meet the big brother guy. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing for a show to cater to a specific audience. Anime gods know I love harem anime, and those are rife with female archetypes aimed at men. This particular brand of gender based marketing just isn’t my cup of tea if you will. I’m sure there are loads of otaku that find this appealing, and I’m sure there will be loads of BL doujinshi that comes from this title.
I did enjoy the ending song, and most of the animation in the show was well executed. There were a couple scenes where they used stills, but I guess that’s what happens when you blow your budget on two musical numbers in the first act. Speaking of those two musical anomalies, I didn’t feel that they served much of a purpose. Niether of theme really introduced or explained much of anything at all. The first is Ritsuka wanting to be a Disney princess, and the second is the student council gloating about their conquest of women. None of the student council members besides Rem is introduced, and one of Ritsuka’s friends isn’t introduced in this episode as well. It’s as if the writers are saying, “Yeah yeah there are some other characters here, but did you see that musical number?!?”
I can almost guarantee I wont be following this show to it’s conclusion, but if this is your type of show then I’m happy to have introduced you to it. There really isn’t much wrong with the show, so give it a try even if just to laugh at the musical parts. Funimation has this one, and there’s a link below if you’re willing to take the dive. Why should I suffer… I mean watch this alone? If you don’t want to watch it you can keep up with my social media for commentary on this show, right up till the moment I drop it. I’m sure this will be someone’s guilty pleasure anime this season.
Arigatō my fellow BrOtaku!