How Good was DN Angel?

Story – 8

Daisuke Niwa, a clumsy, shy, and kind-hearted boy realises that he is not a normal 14-year-old when his love for Risa Harada turns him into the legendary phantom thief, Dark Mousy (what a cute name for our hero). Daisuke’s grandfather explains to him that the Niwa family bloodline carries in it a unique DNA that causes Dark to emerge from a Niwa (male) family member when he sees or thinks of the one he loves.

At first glance, D.N. Angel may look like the classic Lois Lane and Clark Kent kind of story (with Daisuke loving Risa who in turn loves Dark). But when Risa’s sister Riku enters into the picture, the relationship between the main characters becomes a complex love triangle (it’s a rectangle if you count Dark as a legitimate individual).

What I really like about D.N. Angel (and also the reason for me giving good ratings for its story) is the originality of its storyline. The idea that artworks embody the emotions and feelings of their creators and those who behold them is very compelling. For instance, how the painting of an artist’s daughter (with a unicorn) came to life because of loneliness and neglect.

The one thing that pulls down the story rating for D.N. Angel is its storytelling pace. D.N. Angel builds up good anticipation and suspense in the beginning of the story but loses steam on and off throughout the series. I feel that some of the episodes (like the one with both Daisuke and Riku shredding cabbages) should either be combined with another episode or be removed completely from the series.

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Animation – 9

Xebec Inc. did an excellent job on the graphic animations in D.N. Angel. The European-looking town environment in the series with western style buildings and cobblestone pavements is very lovely to behold. The level of detail is above average at best with the presence of infrastructures essential to a real functional town.

D.N. Angel utilizes bright and vibrant colours for characters and infrastructures (like the colour of Daisuke’s school). However, what really catches my eyes is the good blending of colours that I feel greatly enhances the flavour and vividness of the characters. I literally fell in love at first sight with the colour of Risa’s hair in the very first episode!

Another aspect that justifies the high points given to D.N. Angel is the appropriate use of computer animation in the show. A good (bad) example of failure in using computer animation is seen in the anime Dragonauts where the dragons in the show really fail to blend in with their surroundings. In D.N. Angel, computer generated graphics seem to be a part of its immediate environment with nothing awkwardly out of place.

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Sound – 8

D.N. Angel boasts a good and solid soundtrack that meet the demands of the various situations and scenarios the characters are facing. The opening theme song is White Night – True Light performed by Shunichi Miyamoto while the ending theme songs are Gentle Afternoon (Minawo), The Day It Begins (Minawo), Caged Bird (Shunichi Miyamoto), and Guidepost (Shunichi Miyamoto).

In terms of voice acting, the English dubbed version is acceptable in my point of view. This is very surprising as English dubbed anime normally performs below my expectations with horrid, over-pitched, and glass breaking kind of voices. Luckily, the dubbed version of D.N. Angel didn’t follow the common norm.

Also present throughout the series are good and compatible musical pieces (especially those involving the piano) that music lovers would adore. I highly recommend getting the soundtrack of D.N. Angel. Music in the anime is a mixture of melancholic, slow rhythm, and heart breaking tunes with some happier, and more carefree ones.

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Characters – 6

Character development is the real and critical shortcoming of D.N. Angel. Set aside Daisuke, Risa, Riku, and Emiko (all with good character development), other characters (which include Dark) lack proper revelations on their backgrounds and experiences. Look at how Emiko’s husband, Kosuke that comes home mysteriously after 12 years and suddenly manages to integrate back into the Niwa family with apparently no effort at all.

Making matters worse is the complete absence of character development for the main antagonists namely, Satoshi and Krad (it is really Dark spelt backwards). The antagonist is a very VERY important character in any show. Most good stories normally follow the challenges that the protagonist is facing when up against an antagonists with deep hidden motives. Obviously, Satoshi and Krad fail to provide a strong counterweight against the protagonists in D.N. Angel.

Hopefully, directors will remember the next time around that having good, likeable, and interesting characters like in D.N. Angel is not enough. These characters must come hand in hand with at least a moderate level of character development and background revelations.

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Overall – 7.5

Overall, I really liked the general impression that D.N. Angel gave me. The entire storyline was perfectly balanced between being a romantic comedy and an adventure series. Coupled together with an excellent animation and good audio, the anime has made its way into my favourite anime list. Character development remains the only true downside to D.N. Angel.

As an endnote, I would like to state that D.N. Angel is really a story about sacrifice. The sacrifices made by the girl bound by the Agate links, Mio, Freedert, and finally Dark himself would touch any normal human being to the core.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Comments
2 Responses to “How Good was DN Angel?”
  1. ria says:

    I haven’t gotten through the whole series yet, but so far I like what I see. Dark is awesome, but I’m really fond of Daisuke who is as meek and cute as he can be. Thanx for the heads up on the lack of character development with Krad, now I know not to expect any additional info on him. That’s really too bad, ’cause I really wanted to know his story. I don’t even know why they put him in the series, since one alter ego is all we really need.

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