Posted by psgels on 22 April 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Series that promise to be better in their second half are always tricky. You never know whether they can actually live up to their claims or not; it went well for series as El Cazador, Chevalier, NHK ni Youkoso and Full Moon wo Sagashite, but on the other hand, things went disastrously wrong for series as Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Utawarerumono, Mai Otome and Romeo x Juliet. Thankfully, D.N.Angel lies on the good side of this spectrum.

It starts out as a very strange series: a boy with a very bad haircut suddenly finds out that on his 14th birthday that he can change into a winged phantom-thief bishie called “Dark”. Not that promising, though thankfully this series turned out to have a similar story flow as El Cazador and Suteki Tantei Labyrinth: entertain your viewers with random cases (in this case random artworks that have to be stolen, or background on various main- and side-characters), and abandon these cases as soon as the second half hits, so that the characters can develop themselves.

Such a formula works surprisingly well, and indeed: once this series passes its halfway-mark the characters really start shining. Especially the teenagers turn into well-rounded characters that will make the journey through the first 13 episodes a rewarding one. Unfortunately, the other characters do feel a bit incomplete. Especially the major bad guys could have gotten more attention, there’s one particular side-character who feels out of place and doesn’t seem to serve any purpose whatsoever and Dark himself too feels like he could have been more if given more screen-time.

While I can’t say that D.N.Angel is a must-watch, I am at least glad that it managed to make use of its potential, and didn’t get itself caught in endless fillers. Even the random cases serve to flesh out and provide background for the different characters. If I recall correctly, then the creators completely rewrote the original manga for this anime, and I must say that they did a pretty decent job on it. Do note that the graphics can be a bit of a turn-off. Don’t get me wrong, they look great at times, but there are also quite a few lower-quality shots and the characters do take a bit of getting used to if you’re not a fan of bishies.

16 Responses

  1. Avatar Lika says:

    I don’t think they rewrote that much (exactly how much is lost on me as I watched this ages ago), but the American girl was definitely an addition (was that the side character you were talking about?).

  2. Avatar Archer says:

    i watched 10 episodes of this some time ago but i stopped since there were very few motives to continue and i just got bored
    i see the 2nd half is better so maybe i will continue it to see if it will turn into something more interesting (82 is a good rating in my opinion so i do expect a lot from the second half :D )

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Lika: Interesting. I read somewere that the manga and anime were completely different from each other. Oh, and with the side-character, I meant the artwork that turned human and suddenly started living with Daisuke. I’m still not sure what the creators wanted to do with her…

  4. Avatar smrph172 says:

    I’m not a fan of D.N. Angel. I watched like 10 episodes ad realized it was going no where. I usually like it when characters come into their powers, not just appearing with them.

  5. Avatar Hypertoast says:

    At one time I was in love with the manga, so when I heard that they rewrote the plotline, I gave up all attempts to watch it (that and the fact that I was around 12 then and didn’t know about youtube, torrents, or the method to buy things like this). Hopefully the authur will finish this series soon, she’s been delaying this for too long.

  6. Avatar timi says:

    The anime and manga are very different. Although I watched the anime first, the only thing I liked about it (except the occasional stories from the manga) was the opening. As far as I know, Sugisaki-sensei started to continue the manga, so I’m patiently waiting for someone to translate it.

  7. Avatar Chris says:

    I didn’t like thios series at first, but the romance that develops in the 2nd half is well done and realistic, I also like how it actually has some “geeky” characters not getting the girl of their dreams at first. Some of the action is well done but a lot of it could have been done better, I liked the school scenes and the character development, your review is spot on, Dark was actually my least favorite character in the show.

  8. Avatar Windspirit says:

    So this was the 26-episodes you were watching ?…
    I’m kind of disappointed, not that I hate this series, but I thought it was… something… else…

  9. Avatar asdf says:

    Ah… I still remember Mio-chan (name?) – the doll who “died” to save Daisuke. It was pretty intense.

  10. Avatar saris says:

    Yeah, the manga and anime are very different. I’m so in love with the manga where that silver-haired guy (I forgot his name right now) is very damn cool and wise, even Dark who I don’t like much acted in a reasonable way. But in the anime everyone acted like a jerk ,especially the second half that Dark kiss that girl Rika? whatever and the story completely drift apart from the manga to the point that I almost can’t stand it. The only thing I remembered liking in the anime is the opening so yeah it’s the thing I will never watch again. But the manga, on the contrary, still be one of my favourites til now.

  11. Avatar bghre says:

    apparently there’s news that the DN Angel manga would continue…since the mangaka seems to have finished up her other work. some of the relationships in the anime were different or from the manga…and that rushed ending sort of made it feel incomplete. but i found it an enjoyable series nonetheless.

  12. Avatar BlueYoshi says:

    I remember putting this On-Hold after 8 episodes last year. Looks like I might need to restart this when I have the chance.

  13. Avatar FireChick says:

    I’ve only seen four episodes of this dubbed in english (episode four is now my favorite) and I’m liking it so far. But you have to admit, the opening RULES! Go Miyamoto Shunichi!

  14. Avatar Zyon_Chan says:

    The Anime sucked, it didn’t have Argentine in it, and it completly killed the end, the plot was far to scarttered and half of the important things from the manga were missing. The manga is my favorite series, the TV show….nghhh, sucked

  15. Avatar Firechick says:

    I watched most of this and liked it…until that annoying-as-heck girl named Mio Hio showed up. She made me drop the show. I still like the OP theme though!

  16. Avatar 13 says:

    D.N.Angel is probably one of my favorite anime shows of all-time. I did another run on the series a few days ago, since I wasn’t old enough to understand what was happening in the show a few years ago. I must say, even if I haven’t watched tons of anime shows, this one falls in a unique category.

    A lot of people say that the real show starts during/after the thirteenth episode. I do not disagree. However, the first half of the series isn’t as horrendous as others claim it to be, especially the sixth episode.

    I think they did a good job with the first half of the anime. Simply because they spurred a variety of ideas(albeit irrelevant to the main storyline). Watching it made me feel like playing a game with a lot of side-missions on it(e.g. Final Fantasy X-2).

    Not only that, but the entire series also taught me to become a human being. I admire Daisuke’s attitude towards his peers. He is selfless, helpful and very mature for a fourteen year-old. What amazed me the most was the fact that he never complained. I am a big whiner, so let’s just say that watching D.N.Angel made me adjust a number of perceptions in my life.

    It’s a great show, not just for kids, but for adults as well. This anime will remind you a lot of proper life lessons.

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