Dance With Devils is a mishmash of a supernatural vampire reverse harem musical anime based on a 2015 manga that wasn’t finished when the anime aired. If that doesn’t scream catastrophe for you, the following article will. The only way this show should be consumed is through a hate-watch, with a group of friends to make fun of it with. Honestly, it might not even be worth that, but whether you watch Dance With Devils is your business. Surprisingly, the musical elements aren’t what causes this media to be a trainwreck, even if the songs usually erase any tension felt in a scene.
Dance with Devils is a supernatural romance reverse harem musical staring a female human protagonist named Ritsuka, who has found herself thrust into a world of devils and vampires. While she is having her first encounters with these supernatural beings, her mother is kidnaped, and her brother comes home to support her. However, it’s evident even her brother is hiding information from her, leaving her with nobody left to trust, while slowly falling in love with her supernatural schoolmates.
Characters Fall Flat
The characters, especially the protagonist, have no personality. The only personality the harem members have is being seductive, dangerous devils and vampires… but that’s it. The characters are all one-dimensional and only display personality traits when the plot needs to move forward, but only if it’s needed for the plot; the characters are incredibly inconsistent otherwise. The plot itself isn’t bad, it’s pretty basic and could stand to have interesting characters to carry it.
The entire point of Ritsuka is that she is a completely normal girl; her character description on MyAnimeList is “An ordinary girl who lives with her mother. She is part of the Art Club”. Although this could be so the protagonist is easier to project onto, similar to Link in Legend of Zelda, but since the other characters are poorly developed as well we can only assume it’s a quality issue.
The previous quote is the only two sentences in her character description, and although the other characters are one dimensional at best, they at least had a little more description given and some semblance of personality and reasoning for how they act in the story. Even if most of the pretty boys feel the same.
The very few personality traits that some of the characters have aside from being a seductive non-humans are typically problematic too. Shiki, for example, is a sadist who likes putting other people in pain without their consent. That’s his entire personality. Lindo is an entire trainwreck in himself and will get his own section below this, so we’ll get to him later. Urie is an incubus, and yes that means he uses his powers to seduce Ritsuka to manipulate information out of her in one episode, only stopped because someone walked in on them. Keep in mind these are the characters we are supposed to pick a favorite from to root for in their quest to win Ritsuka’s love. At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen in a harem.
The “But Wait, He’s Not Actually Her Brother”
This is by far the worst character in the series. His main personality trait is that he’s overprotective of his sister. This is a common trope in anime, where the ‘overprotective’ sibling is actually obsessed with their sibling’s innocence and image more than their sibling themselves, coming from a place of familial pride instead of fondness toward their siblings. And yes, on top of this overdone trope he is technically part of the harem. But rejoice, the red-headed pretty vampire boy isn’t her brother! But it really isn’t better.
Not only does he confess his feelings for Ritsuka, he justifies this by saying she’s his cousin, not his brother, so he says it’s okay. Both of these revelations are revealed one right after the other. Now we should keep in mind that in Japan, first-cousin marriages are legal. However, it is by-far the norm with only 1.6% and 3.9% of marriages as of this year in Japan being consanguineous marriages, meaning marriages between close family. This statistic does include more than first cousins however, but culturally it isn’t the norm either way. However, this isn’t the point I necessarily want to touch on for why Lindo despite the scientific proof of birth defects as a result of incestuous relationships such as first-cousin relationships, as I wasn’t raised in a pro-consanguineous marriages culture as Japan has.
The issue I take with this character is how little they see themselves as Ritsuka’s sibling. Lindo was raised for most of his life as Ritsuka’s sibling, and vice versa. Even considering consanguineous marriage culture in Japan, being able to not only have feelings but openly confess them to their sibling denounces their sibling relationship; he doesn’t see her as his sister. This same concept is found in the sexualized step-sibling stereotype as well. Stereotypes like these imply that step-siblings, or similarly adopted siblings, are not real siblings. These stereotypes are harmful to blended families as well as families who adopt or foster; it continues to perpetuate the idea that non-blood-related siblings are not really family. These types of thoughts make blended or other unique family situations even harder than they already are, and unfortunately media isn’t slowing down on the step-sibling or fake sibling trope any time soon.
In the end, Dances With Devils is more than a terrible piece of media. All the most memorable moments are shockingly disgusting, predatory, or a poorly-placed song. If you want to watch this terrible anime yourself, you can watch it on Funimation, but we don’t recommend it.
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