Anime Review: D.N.Angel (2003)
Director: Nobuyoshi Habara
Studio: Eastern Star, formerly ADV Films
Runtime: 650 minutes
Release Date: Aug 12, 2008
Availability: on DVD, buy on Amazon, technically out of print, but easy to find
D.N. Angel tells the story of a young teen named Daisuke Niwa. His ancestors and current family are phantom thieves, the males of the family are fused with the DNA of phantom thief Dark Mousy. Until Daisuke can admit his true feelings to the woman he loves, he will continue to turn into Dark whenever he’s around her.
He must get the woman he loves to return his affections without turning into Dark Mousy when he’s around her while keeping his activities as a phantom thief a secret while stealing magical artifacts to seal them away and evading the police and Satoshi Hiwatari, a young man tasked with catching Dark.
The Plot is very interesting:
I enjoyed the plot of D.N. Angel. The plot is very good and the characters are interesting and you want to see what’s going to happen to them. The story is unlike a lot of anime I’ve watched and that’s what makes it so neat.
I like how Daisuke Niwa has to juggle the different aspects of his life as a phantom thief, being a normal student, and trying to get Risa Harada to fall in love with him when she’s fallen in love with Dark Mousy, who she can’t see unless Daisuke turns into Dark, and he can only do that when his “love gene” acts up when he’s around her.
All these different aspects of the story make it very entertaining as Daisuke’s attempts to hide his activities as Dark usually lead to something comedic occurring and all the other characters just think he’s a really weird teenager.
I like the Relationships Between the Characters:
I really like the relationship dynamics of the different characters. The relationship between Daisuke and Dark is an interesting one, because when the anime starts they don’t like each other at all, but as they work together throughout the story, their relationship changes and grows, along with Daisuke’s character.
Krad’s relationship with Satoshi Hiwatari is completely different than Dark and Daisuke’s relationship, and because it’s the opposite of the main character’s it’s interesting to see how people in a similar situation react differently to it.
Daisuke’s relationship with Satoshi is one of the most interesting relationships in the anime because they are friends at school, they fight each other at night as Dark and Krad, and it’s interesting for Daisuke to be concerned about Satoshi even while they’re fighting. I like that Daisuke continues to be friends with Satoshi when they’re “normal” around each other.
D.N. Angel English trailer:
I Love how this isn’t a “Normal” Love Story:
D.N. Angel doesn’t have a “typical” love story, sure, it’s got a lot of shojou anime tropes, but I love the story because it’s so sweet and has a few surprises.
There’s also the relationship that Daisuke has with the twins, Risa and Riku Hirada and I like watching those relationships grown and change during the anime.
I also like that it tackles something I don’t see in too many shojou anime, “Am I really in love with the girl I have a crush on?” Most shoujou anime is mainly about trying to get the main character’s crush to fall in love with them, but this anime takes the story in a different direction, even compared to the manga which hasn’t been finished yet, much to my surprise.
The Animation is Decent, but not Amazing:
The animation is pretty good, but I can see where they cut corners because of the budget. It still looks nice but it’s not the best animation I’ve seen, but considering the demographic for this show, it’s nice enough to look at.
The animation looks nice for not being an action-oriented anime that has to have flashy animation. I like the character designs and the art style, while it has aged and some of the CGI is really obvious when I rewatched it, I still enjoyed the anime a lot.
Will you watch D.N. Angel
The English Dubbing is Good:
Kevin Corn is good as Daisuke Niwa. He does tend to have a character that complains and cries a lot, but he did a good job with what he had. I always feel a little sad that he retired from voice acting after doing Full Metal Panic right after DN Angel, but his voice always stuck out to me because he sounds very distinctive compared to a lot of other voice actors in anime these days, but voice acting doesn’t pay a lot and you have to get a lot of acting gigs to earn a living so I understand why he quit voice acting to do other work instead.
Vic Mignogna is excellent as Dark Mousy. I loved his work in this anime, although this wasn’t his best. This was hot on the heels of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) so everyone wanted him to be cast as the main character. It might not be my favorite role from my favorite English dub voice actor, but I really enjoy his work in the anime, and he was the reason I bought D.N. Angel because he always talks about it at anime conventions.
Greg Ayres does a good job as Satoshi Hiwatari. I enjoyed his voice acting and he’s a lot of fun to listen to. I really enjoyed Greg Ayres as Satoshi Hiwatari, he did a good job portraying all the different aspects of his character and all the things he goes through and he did a great job in this role even if a lot of anime fans haven’t seen him in the anime.
Hilary Haag is really good as Riku Harada. I enjoyed her acting on this too and she’s a really great voice actress. I really enjoy her work and while D.N. Angel didn’t make me cry like I cried because her excellent performance in Angel Beats, I still love her in this role as Riku Harada. She’s given Riku a fun, upbeat personality that I really enjoyed in the anime.
Luci Christian is good as Risa Harada, although she does whine throughout the anime. However, her character does get a lot of development, and I ended up liking her later as the anime progressed. I think what makes the performance a little more grating is that the character whines a lot early on in the story, and it got on my nerves and I think it’s why I like Riku more than Risa.
I like the soundtrack:
The music is good, but it tends to repeat itself a lot. The composers are Takahito Eguchi and Tomoki Hasegawa. The opening theme is "Byakuya ~True Light~" by Shunichi Miyamoto and the ending themes are "Yasashii gogo" and "Hajimari no hi" by Minawo.
I love the pleasant feeling the soundtrack brings to the anime. It has some very lovely music, but it tends to be reused, a lot, I’ll be hearing the same songs about every episode, even if they do space out some of them you’re going to be hearing the same tracks a lot.
As a note to parents, there is a little bit of profanity, some violence and some adult themes. It’s recommended for ages 13 and up. On the back of the DVD box it said this was rated TV-PG.
It’s an Enjoyable Series:
I love D.N. Angel, it’s not an anime that received critical acclaim when it came out, it’s not one that you can say the title and everyone says, “I love that anime!” but it has a special place in my heart as being one of the first anime I ever bought, because it was before the big craze of “Anime YouTubers” who reviewed all the hot new anime, before anime became social because of everyone posts in the Anime Reddit thread hyping up every new anime that comes out.
I bought this because a voice actor named Vic Mignogna talked about a role he loved, and that was a decision that I’m very happy that I made.
What Doesn't Work:
Good story and plot
Risa can be annoying
Decent English dub
Repetitive soundtrack usage
My Grade: B:
D.N. Angel is a sweet love story with an interesting setting and good characters that I really enjoyed. The story was light-hearted and fun and kept me interested throughout the entire anime.
It’s a very special little shojo anime that holds a special place in my heart because not only is it the second anime I ever bought, it’s also the first shoujo anime I ever watched and it’s why I enjoy the genre even if I don’t watch it a lot.
I recommend D.N. Angel to anyone who enjoys anime. It’s fun and interesting and everything about it is unique and it’s on my favorites list but it’s not the best I’ve seen, but it’s worth watching.
It is not legally available for streaming, but you can find an inexpensive set on eBay, NOT on Amazon, but finding the original ADV Films individual box set with all the special features and commentaries is harder because most fans bought the ADV Films rerelease that took out all the voice actor audio commentaries. I went out of my way to find the set because I wanted all the special features.
It’s worth your time and money if you can find the original ADV Films release, while the rereleases might be cheaper, they don’t have any of the special features.
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