Dance with Devils Review - Reverse Harem Anime with a Musical Twist

  • Episodes : 12
  • Genre : Demons, Harem, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural
  • Airing Date : October 2015 - December 2015
  • Producers : Brains Base

Dance with Devils Plot (No Spoilers)

Ritsuka Tachibana is an ordinary school girl, enjoying her everyday life - or at least, she was. One day, Ritsuka is suddenly called on by the student council, who accuse her of breaking the school rules. Affronted by the claim, she swears to herself to have nothing more to do with them, especially pompous council president Rem Kaginuki.

Later that day, Ritsuka returns home to find her house broken into and her mother injured - or so it seems. Upon calling the police, she discovers that her family home has returned to normal - except her mother is missing. Soon after, Ritsuka herself is attacked by the same people, and interrogated about the location of a "forbidden grimoire". Luckily, Rem happens to come across this scene, and quickly jumps in to save Ritsuka.

Dance with Devils follows Ritsuka's journey to find her mother and discover the truth behind the forbidden grimoire. But not all that glitters is gold, and not all those around her are human. Who can Ritsuka turn to? Who can she trust?

Who does Dance with Devils cater to?

If you're a fan of anime adaptations of otome games, Dance with Devils is sure to appeal to you - although the opposite is actually the case. Dance with Devils is an original animation, with a game adaptation set for release in March 2016.

This series has well-paced romance of the reverse harem variety, and is ram-packed with drama and elements of the supernatural. If you enjoyed Diabolik Lovers, Dance with Devils is a must-see. Made by the same original creator, Rejet, Dance with Devils shares Diabolik Lover's ominous ambience and sense of mystery without the arrant abuse of the female lead.

With its musical vibe, Dance with Devils is also a perfect pick for those who enjoy anime with original songs. Not only does each main character have their own solo, there are also duets and group songs which intertwine with the plot as it develops. The anime ending song is also an original piece sang by the characters.

What's so appealing about this work?

Dance with Devils is a rather refreshing take on the reverse harem anime. Its gothic feel, supernatural battles, and characters make it worth watching even if you've seen multiple other series of the same genre. Saying that, arguably the most appealing thing about this anime is the songs.

Unlike some anime with singing characters, in which the songs can sometimes feel abrupt or awkwardly timed, Dance with Devils cleverly leads up to and incorporates each piece into the episodes, making you feel like you really are watching an animated musical. Each piece also acts as a device to drive the plot forward and add to character depth.

Musical Anime "Dance with Devils" PV2

Dance with Devils Main Characters List

Ritsuka Tachibana

Voice Actor :Himika Akaneya

Ritsuka is your average high school girl, attending Shikou Academy. Ritsuka cares deeply about her family - her mother, Maria, and her older brother who is studying abroad in England, Lindo. Ritsuka's big heart extends to everyone she meets, making her just a little too trusting and forgiving for her own good.

Although she might seem like a goody-two-shoes, Ritsuka is in fact strong-willed and loath to be left in the dark, leaving her with a habit of getting into trouble in order to satisfy her need to know the truth.

Rem Kaginuki

Voice Actor :Soma Saito

Rem is the school council president and so-called "Prince" of Shikou Academy. Although he's fawned over by almost all of the girls at school, Rem's personality is cool and collected, and he ignores all of their advances.

Rem is determined and a hard worker, willing to do whatever it takes in order to accomplish the tasks assigned to him. However, underneath this cold exterior Rem is passionate in his own way - although he would never admit it.

Contains Spoilers

Dance with Devils Review

It's easy to have a love-hate relationship with anime such as Dance with Devils. The reverse harem romance genre is as rife with tropes as its male-centred counterpart, and although it may try, Dance with Devils is no exception to this rule. However, this doesn't stop it from being an incredibly entertaining series, and its efforts to move away from certain stereotypes makes it a joy to watch for even the most seasoned reverse harem fan.

One thing that makes Dance with Devils stand out from other romance anime of this type is the plot - and that there is a plot at all. Unlike some series which focus on the protagonist and her relationships with the guys around her, Dance with Devils focuses more on Ritsuka's family secrets and the relationship each character has with the grimoire. The plot development itself is well-paced, with the first half of the series building a sense of mystery as it introduces the characters, and the second half upping the tempo with fast-paced action and drama.

The supernatural elements and darker feel to Dance with Devils also sets it apart from other, more light-hearted anime of the shojo romance genre. Unlike many otome game-style anime, wherein the female lead must choose one guy to pursue, Ritsuka finds herself being deceived by and eventually having to run away from each of the handsome devils. What's more, even though each guy in her harem either asks or demands that Ritsuka becomes his, she seemingly ignores all of them.

Unlike many shoujo protagonists, Ritsuka has more important things on her mind than love, like finding her mother and getting her head around the fact that the fate of the world is in her hands. Only once these mysteries are solved does she consider her relationship with Rem, and even then she decides to continue living as a human instead of following him to the devil world. All of these elements make Ritsuka far more bearable to watch than some other female leads in this genre.

However, whilst Ritsuka's headstrong personality might make her more likeable than your typical reverse harem protagonist, that doesn't mean she can't be incredibly annoying. As she's unfortunately bound by her role to introduce each of the devils' "routes", Ritsuka ends up following them into all sorts of dangerous situations despite them being super shady and definitely not human.

Almost every episode you find yourself shouting at the screen for her to not follow that guy, don't go in there, stop looking in his eyes he's clearly hypnotising you! and so on. What makes her all the more irritating is that she is so quick to forgive. You kidnapped me and set your groupies on me? Ah well, I'm sure you're not really a bad guy. Oh, you tried to kill my brother? No biggie, he'll be fine, probably.

Speaking of the brother, Dance with Devils plays into the incest-but-not-really trope often found in harem-style romances. I'm sure I'm not the only one who upon watching Lindo's arrival in Japan immediately knew that he wasn't her real brother and was definitely in love with her. Whilst many viewers may enjoy this style of storyline, others may find in overdone and, well, squicky to say the least.
Another plot device that seemily slipped through the trope sieve is the whole "innocent animal is actually a guy who joins the harem part way through the series" thing. Ten points to anyone who, upon seeing adorable pup Roen trot up to Ritsuka, realised that he was a bishounen in pomeranian's clothing.

In fact, at first glance, most of the guys have a slightly clich├ęd feel to them, with the flirtatious womaniser, the sadist, the tsundere, and the aloof school "Prince" making up the main four of the harem. However, to say these boys are nothing but stereotypes would be a mistake. Although a bit more character development wouldn't go amiss, each of the devils has his own individuality that makes him memorable. What's more, their personalities are so strong that they often clash with each other, making their relationship and interactions with one other one of the highlights of the series.

And it's not just their personalities that make the Dance with Devils' boys different - their voices also play a big part in this. Their voices are distinctive, with each having different singing style that perfectly fits their personality. Shiki's tone is clear and haunting, Urie's timbre seductive, Rem's voice smooth and perfectly controlled. Arguably the most impressive is Mage's rapping, the first of which I, at least, have seen in anime, which also translates flawlessly into singing.

Each of the guy's voices not only work well alone, but also in duets and group songs, harmonising whilst retaining individuality. The background music in the anime, too, compliments the singing perfectly. All in all, the songs give each episode a boost of energy, increasing the tension and making you want more. If there's one criticism to be said about the musical interludes, it's that there just aren't enough of them.

1. Waltz of Transience

One of the highlights in Dance with Devils is the scene in the eighth episode, where Ritsuka and Rem become the Queen and King of the culture festival ball. Although this may have been an obvious turn of events for viewers, it's nonetheless an important point in the series. It's the moment when Ritsuka and Rem realise they have feelings for each other, which is expressed through a heartfelt duet. What's more, the crowns that they each receive become an important metaphor for their relationship, which only becomes more complex from this moment on.

2. Crazy About You

One of the best moments in the climax of the anime is the song found in episode eleven, Crazy About You. This is the first and only song which every guy in the harem participates in, declaring their love for Ritsuka in their own individual way. It's the perfect display of each of their personalities and voices, and the lyrics and melody are as passionate as the flames that surround them as they sing, preparing for the final battle against Lord Nesta and Jek. The energy in this song is incredible - you can really feel that each voice actor put his all into this particular performance.

Although it doesn't manage to completely shake off those pesky tropes, Dance with Devils' unique attempts to twist the reverse harem genre and its great soundtrack make it a thoroughly enjoyable series.

If you enjoyed the anime make sure to check out the musical collection 'Dance with Destinies' and each character's single album, all of which are available on iTunes. There is also a manga adaptation with its own original plot currently being serialised in Japan, and the upcoming otome game - although there has been no mention as of yet as to whether either will be translated. Here's hoping!

That's it for our review of Dance with Devils. Have you watched it yet? What were your thoughts? Let us know down below in the comments!

dwd_1_600-300x426 Dance with Devils Review - Reverse Harem Anime with a Musical Twist


Author: Ellyn Barnes

Gudetama goods collector with a soft spot for seiyuu and an undying love for Matsuoka Rin. When I'm not smashing out the latest news in the office, you'll find me holed up at home watching anime, playing rhythm games, and sobbing because Miyano Mamoru exists. Other interests include reading far too much bad BL and occasionally trying to create stuff.

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