Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Devils' Line (2018-)

Streaming Service: HIDIVE
Series Name/Year: Devils’ Line (2018-)
Genre: Animation, Action, Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Average Episode Length:  24 min (12 episodes, 1 Season)
Rating: TV-MA
Production: Platinum Vision
Director: Hideaki Nakano
Writers: Hanada Ryou, Hisao Ayumu, Konuta Kenji
Japanese Cast-
Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yui Ishikawa, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Satoshi Hino, Miyuki Sawashiro, Nao Touyama, Ryouhei Kimura, Takahiro Sakurai, Shouta Aoi, Nakaya Kazuhiro, Hiroshi Kamiya, Yumi Uchiyama, Daisuke Hirakawa, Akira Ishida, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Mamoru Miyano, Mayumi Asano
English Cast-
Adam Gibbs, Luci Christian, Justin Doran, John Ramirez, Carli Mosier, Kira Vincent-Davis, Scott Gibbs, Adam Noble, Bryson Baugus, Jovan Jackson, Gabriel Regojo, Juliet Simmons, Antonio Lasanta, Clint Bickham, Joe Daniels, David Matranga, Patricia Duran

IMDb Blurb: Vampires seem to be living among humans. Of course the government does not know of their existence, because their appearance does not differ from humans. They also do not need to drink blood, but when they get a craving or get angry, they can become uncontrollable monsters.

Cat’s Point of View:
We’ve finally hit October and the official Spooky Season! While it’s unfortunate that the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike prevents us from bringing you our normal Thrills and Chills type review series this month, that doesn’t mean that we can’t dive into the spine-tingling corners of entertainment. Thankfully, with the forward steps to settle the WGA portion of the strike, there seems to be some hope that things won’t drag out too much longer. I digress…

I was perusing HIDIVE for anime titles that struck my fancy when I ran across a series I hadn’t heard of before – Devils’ Line. The blurb and trailer seemed to pitch a story somewhere along the lines of the far more well-known Tokyo Ghoul (2014-2018) – but with a bit more romance involved. It seemed this would be a great beginning to the scary fun of October, so I dove right in.

Devils’ Line wasn’t exactly what I was expecting on a few different levels. While it had some of the same themes I anticipated from its seeming similarities to Tokyo Ghoul, it was wildly different. It was a conglomeration of so many genres.

Let’s break that down. The story was told from the perspective of the two primary characters. Sometimes the audience was treated to hearing their inner monologues. There were few scenes that stepped away from this, but it did happen a bit. Devils’ Line felt like it desperately wanted to be a slice of life dramatic romance full of supernatural elements, but it kept getting hijacked by crime procedural action. Then throw in conspiracy, social agendas, and human rights topics into the mix.

Devils’ Line had so much going for it but I feel like it might have gotten bogged down by its own ambition a little bit. The beginning started really strong, but somewhere in the middle of the 12 episodes, things lost momentum. Yet, at the same time storylines seemed to be rushed to fruition.

I have to say I really wasn’t particularly a fan of the ending. Of course, a cliffhanger is rarely where an audience wants to be left teetering. There are still multiple subplots that were left unresolved in addition to the elephant in the room that was the status of the primary characters as the credits rolled. It was frustrating, to say the least.

This could probably be easily explained by the fact that the production studio was leaving room for an additional season to take place. Unfortunately, the series doesn’t seem to have performed to their expectations as further episodes have not materialized, nor have there been any official announcements as to whether or not – or when – a second season would be in the works. The only glimmer of hope anyone wanting to see closure manifest on the screen has is that Platinum Vision hasn’t officially cancelled the series as of the time I’m writing.

For anyone really desperate to find out what happened next, though, you could always go look up the manga that the series was adapted from. There are about 69 chapters within the manga series and the anime adaptation is said to cover about 40, give or take. While I haven’t read the manga to know how closely the screenplay followed the story, it seems to have a decent following.

Where did the horror elements fit into this anime, you might wonder? Well, contrary to the name of the series, this isn’t a story about devils or demons. It’s a tale about vampires – and specifically their relationships with humans. Devils’ Line explores the complications that arise from interactions between the species and concentrated on the danger aspect of the will they/won’t they tension between the main protagonists.

There’s quite a bit of blood flying about and lots of blood-red eyes and brandished fangs, but there wasn’t as much gore as I was anticipating. There was, however, a borderline sexually explicit undercurrent because of how the vampires (or Devils, as the series calls them) react to their bloodlust. Mostly sexual situations were merely discussed rather than witnessed. In fact, the nudity – where present- was very tame. Nothing had the blatantly censored pixelations so it appears that it was purposefully rendered in such a manner that naked figures had the nondescript features of “Barbie dolls” for the most part. It was the typical gender representation where you saw male nipples but female characters mysteriously didn’t have any.

My point, however, is that Devils’ Line is decidedly not appropriate for young viewers through a combination of explicit language, some sexual situations, and violence. It’s not all that hard-core, though, so anyone adverse to watching hentai shouldn’t be put off by the content in Devils’ Line.

While I enjoyed this series, and hope to eventually get a chance to learn what happened next without adding something else to my ever-expanding reading list; it was a bit on the underwhelming side. Thankfully, the episodes are short enough that it’s easy to get through them quickly so it’s not too much of a time investment to try it out.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.8/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5

 Series Trailer: