I’ve been telling myself where I should begin with Devils Line because no matter where I start I reach the same conclusion. I cannot think of a single thing in Devils Line I could give some kind of praise towards. Just about everything in Devils Line is either not to my liking, or mediocre to the point of being forgettable. Making a collection of scattershot thoughts even harder to make into a coherent post.
I guess the first episode is a good place to start. It did itself no favors, and left me with a negative impression. The animation, the writing, the sound design, just about everything about it felt sub par, or worse. It also committed the grave sin of doing exactly what I expected of it. If something falls into my expectation in terms of writing I’ll accept it so long the execution is good, but that didn’t happen here either. So trying to figure out what exactly Devils Line is about simple, and dumbfounded at the same time. Being a romance story about the human Tsukasa, and the half human, half vampire, half edgelord Anzai trying to make their relationship work in the backdrop of Japan to tackle social issues with vampires potentially playing a larger role in society…I mean devils.
Before I continue I have to stress it got on my nerve that within Devils Line that the terminology for vampires is changed to devils. Something I would accept if within the first two episodes they didn’t refer to devils as vampires. If there’s already an existing word to describe these vampires that gets straight to the point why not just stick to calling them vampires. I don’t know, maybe the mangaka was too lazy to write out vampire so he instead called them devils to save time. That’s something I want to know, but likely going to be left hanging like with everything else in this anime.
Continuing on, in the first episode Tsukasa gets the shocking revelation that a good friend of her, Shouta Akimura, turned to be a vampire who murdered three women. You want to know how Akimura got caught? It’s because his semen was left on each of the dead women bodies which apparently was a match with Akimura DNA. I would come up with a joke for that, but my creative juices are dry right now.
Akimura is quickly forgotten about two episodes into the season. Tsukasa quickly gets over him so the first episode setting up Tsukasa, and Shouta Akimura being good friends felt pointless. One way the writing could have worked around this pointless character is mentioning Tsukasa incident with Akimura being the motivator for why Tsukasa wants to help Anzai to control his blood lust later on in the season. I would have found that more believable than what anime went with.
Another way I would have fixed this is simply have Tsukasa get attacked by a random vampire so the meeting with Anzai would still happen. Making the writing less eye rolling, and not drawing attention that Tsukasa was quick to forget someone close to her so easily. If the anime didn’t have the pretense that Akimura was important I wouldn’t even have batted an eye at this. I knew this was going to happen in the first episode when our woe is me edgelord Anzai kisses Tsukasa by the end of episode one. When the credits finally rolled up I notice the ending song had an effect on me. It was attempting to put me to sleep, and it almost worked once. Just the first episode of Devils Line is enough to convince your average viewer to drop the series. I ain’t one of those viewers as I’m here today sharing my thoughts on it.
My issues with the story can be easily generalize; awkwardly written romance, an attempt to tackle social issues get push to the background, a messy story structure that goes for too much too quickly, and throwing in some other evil organization to give the appearance the story is more complex than it actually is. Another issue is setting plot points, and subplots that aren’t resolved in this season. So you’re left with dozens of unanswered questions, and unresolved storylines. Studio Platinum Vision couldn’t conceive of a way to take the manga, and find a way to work 12 episodes worth of material to adapt in a self contain manner. Believing it would get around to eventually resolving all its loose ends with a second season. Dozen of animes adapting ongoing manga know have done this. Two example that come to mind are Noragami to even My Hero Academia which I hate a lot. Both anime first seasons told a self contain story within their first season where a continuation is possible, but if not guaranteed than made sure to leave as little loose ends as possible.
Giving details about the world like the many times characters mention a bill/law being pass approving sex between devils, and human. Exploring something like that would be interesting, but unfortunately it means exploring the topic of sex has to be done with a horny college girl who immediately fell in love with the first guy who kissed who she knew nothing about, and a edgelord devil who fell love with that same woman when he also knew nothing about her. Tsukasa in particular dreams about having some steaming hot sex in blood with Anzai the first day after they meet. She obviously has some carnal desires she needs to get pounded out of her. Getting me to think about the first two episodes having Tsukasa almost being rape/killed by the only other human males she talks too. Implying to the viewer that Tsukasa think all men she know for possibly years are all bad, but an edgelord who’ll sneak into her apartment, sniff her hair while she’s sleeping is okay to consider starting a relationship with. This gives me a headache thinking about it.
The only aspect I felt could have worked are Anzai parents. I forgive the fact that I find it laughable that Anzai in his current age only now thinks about how shocking his existence is being a mixture of half devil, and human. Anzai parents were characters I wanted to learn more about. Seeing Anzai father cuffed up behind a glass wall got my attention. I wanted to know how both of Anzai parents got to the situation they did, how they met, and why they aren’t raising their son together. Questions that intrigued which sadly didn’t get answered. Just like in episode one how I expected Anzai, and Tsukasa to have an romance I also sadly expected for Anzai parents to not be explored.
Another interesting idea that doesn’t get explored is the existence of devils becoming know to the public. I can only speculate what the anime was going for because it was seriously messy in this regard. First thing that comes to is devils simply seeing the sight of blood on television is enough to make them blood lust. Something I can’t phantom because A.) Does it mean even the sight of fake blood gets them excited, B.) Do non liquid representation of blood like drawings, or pixelated blood also cause their blood lust, C.) Does reading the description of blood turns on their blood lust, D.) Is there a requirement to how realistic, or fake looking the blood has to appear to start this blood lust………Z.) If there’s a devil emo, when he cuts himself, and sees his own blood does that also trigger the blood lust?
Usually how it works with vampires is if they see blood, or smell it directly in front, or around them than it could trigger a carnal blood desire. However, in this story devil’s simply seeing blood regardless of how close, fuzzy the image is, or the lack of smell can also trigger them. Given the terminology was needlessly change to refer to these vampires as devils I ain’t doubting more about them were needlessly change by the mangaka.
Back on topic, seeing the how the society would react to devils, and see if they would try to integrate together in a public sense could have made up for everything else. However, you get the point. It’s hardly focus on. As soon as devil’s existence become public knowledge the story shifts focus to Anzai attempting to control his blood lust, and uncovering the members of a organization attempting to eradicate all devils. Both plotlines are left unresolved making me feel like it was a complete waste of time to even allude to any social issues since it just swept them under the rug. Maybe it wanted to be metaphorical, and proclaim the acceptance of different people, but everyone simply jumped to conclusion immediately disliking the devils. There is a good argument in favor of their existence since the public is shocked Devils existed at all, though if the anime isn’t going bother making a good argument for Devils I won’t either.
Let’s get to easily the worst scene of the series for me. In episode 8, after Anzai, and Tsukasa try some blood lust control training. Basically meaning Anzai, and Tsukasa get as close as possible to performing sex. Seeing this scene was cringe worthy because the couple don’t have much chemistry with each other. Making the almost sex scene very awkward to watch, and painful to view because it comes off as a badly written sexual fantasy of whoever wrote this series. When the exercise is over Anzai goes outside the exercise room, and thinks about how he was turned on. He tells the audience how he got excited almost banging Tsukasa. How getting her wet made him very excited. Spelling it out to the viewer he wanted to move in her all the while he masturbates. Thankfully it is not explicit, but this is the easily one of the worst moment in any anime I’ve seen.
I will give the English dub of Devils Line one credit though, it’s only the second anime I’ve watched an anime that made me laugh at the mention of rape. It was during episode 4 when Nanako Tenjo, whose English voice is provided by Kira Vincent-Davis, yells about how a devil drank her dead mom blood. There’s brief pause before Kira Vincent-Davis continues shouting AS HE RAPED HER! Her delivery of that line had me laughing because Tenjo shouting about her mother being deceived, and see a devil suck her blood was already enough to get the point across on why she hates devils so much. So the inclusion of the “AS HE RAPED HER!” line felt so tacky. I don’t blame Kira Vincent-Davis shouting the line as seriously as she did, but the writing, and her delivery made me laugh unintentionally at rape. The things anime does to me sometimes.
I don’t know how, but I can’t believe I almost forgot to write about Miwako Toda. It wasn’t until I was drawing over a still of her that it slipped my mind to write about she would not blink. Firstly, what the fuck is wrong with her eyes! She looks like a crack addict who needs a dose right now. I thought her eyes were going to pop out at one point in the series. I have no clue how, she managed to look like the most terrifying thing in a about about vampires. Her face, and her eyes unwillingness to want to blink made me think the anime would reveal she’s a devil. That doesn’t happen as far the anime is concern. Her odd character design made fascinating to me. She looked other worldly. Oddly enough, she was the most sensible character in the anime. Questioning Tsukasa on her moving way to fast relationship. Out all of the characters, this freak of nature was one I didn’t mind. As you would guess, she’s not in the anime that much either! You know, Devils Line has a talent for making things disappear.
I wasn’t expecting much out of Devils Line after I finished the first episode, and when I got to the end it became a drag to watch. It had the occasional moments of doing something eye rolling that would make me laugh, but after a while the overly serious edgelord tone killed that fun. There was so much it wanted to do, and it all felt disconnected moving from one uninteresting plot point to the other. I didn’t even bother going into the animation especially the lighting in scenes either being too dark or too bright, and the poor sound design that made natural action like hearing footsteps be muffled. The last two episode just took whatever enthusiasm I had for watching anime, and crushed it. Unfortunately for it, I’m good anime at the moment so its effort went to vain. Almost forgot, the post credit sequence doesn’t fix anything at all because I don’t give a flying Van Damme about about Anzai, or Tsukasa as a couple.
Oh yeah the maybe rating thing I do at the end. If I were to rate Devils Line I would give it a 1 out of 10. I can’t think anything of thing I liked in this anime, or felt was competently done. If you want a vampire anime, go watch Vampire Princess Miyu. It doesn’t matter if it’s the OVA, or anime series, both will provide you a much better experience than Devils Line.