Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: Devils' Line (2018)

Devils' Line (2018) is a Japanese dark fantasy anime series. The first season contains 12 episodes.

Humans lives in a world populated by vampires, also known as devils. Few people know about the existence of bloodsuckers. Tsukasa Taira, a college student, is rescued from an attack by a devil, one of many vampires that can blend in among the human population. Yuuki Anzai, her savior, is a half-devil who exploits his supernatural gifts as a member of a shadowy police task force that specializes in devil-related crime in Tokyo. As Yuuki continues to keep guard over Tsukasa, the two quickly forge a tentative romantic bond—one that Anzai fears will test his iron-clad rule of never drinking human blood.

This is your classic forbidden love plot. Humans and vampires (called devils in the anime) are not supposed to be together. But I love how both Tsuakasa and Yuki developed their feelings for each other throughout the series. Awkward at first not forcing their feelings. Most importantly, it had the right amount of romance -- the circumstances that led to their meeting, the times they start more spending time together -- to make their relationship seem natural. I liked Tsukasa's adorable and honest personality -- she speaks her mind which amuses Yuki. But then a sexual assault eventually forces him to acknowledge his true feelings for Tsukasa. The audience also see how Yuki struggles with the vampirism in his body by distancing himself (so he assumes) to protect the girl he has fallen for.

Furthermore, I love how this vampire romance theme was executed in a way that you could empathize with the ordeals of the main characters. They were not simply monsters; they all had a backstory and human feelings. Despite their supernatural strength, agility, and bloodlust, the vampires in the anime lived like humans and endured everyday human situations. They are not allergic to sunlight; they try to co-exist with society.

Overall, Devils' Line was gory, romantic, and hot. Not to mention that the anime was aimed towards an adult audience (the protagonist, Tsukasa, is a college student). It was so refreshing to find an anime series targeted at young adults (age 21+ crowd). Another unique aspect about this show is the episodes were called lines. My major critique is the pacing -- the anime tries to introduce too many characters so fast that I could barely remember half of the people's names by the last episode (this is especially true in the dubbed version if your familiarity with Japanese is rudimentary).

Besides Attack on Titan and Code: Realize, most current anime shows have not been mystifying enough to captivate me. Devil's Line caught my attention during a web search, and I was glad to watch it. If you are a fan of action-oriented shows like Darker than Black and films like Blade, then you would like this dark take on vampires in human society. There is a 13th episode released as an original anime DVD ("Devil's Line: Anytime, ANywhere") that was released back in August 2018. The OAD's continues after the 12th and final episode in the TV series. It featured Anzai and Tsukasa and deal with the relationship between Anzai's parents Tamaki and Midori. It is so worth watching to get the full backstory on Yuki's parents.

Overall, I highly recommend this anime for adults over the age of 18 (mature content is advised). In fact, I enjoyed the show so much that I have started reading the manga -- something that is very rare for me. The show had that kind of effect on me -- I hope that there are more OADs about Tsukasa and Yuki. In the meantime, I will continue to follow the series in the manga.

Check out the trailer below:

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