- Titles: Dance with Devils
- Genre: Comedy, supernatural, romance, otome, reverse harem
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Brain’s Base
Ritsuka is an ordinary reverse harem main character. She’s very nice to everyone, to a fault really. She manages to be adorable helpless in most situations. She’s completely irresistible for reasons beyond the comprehension of us mere mortals. She’s unwaveringly optimistic and she wears very short skirts. Just like you are me! But Ritsuka also has a secret. A secret I can’t revel in a synopsis without creating a major spoiler so just take my word for it. She’s special but also ordinary. It’s a gift. And that has not gone unnoticed by the wickedly attractive young men of the student council or her uncomfortably attractive brother. Will Ritsuka’s innocence prevail? Did this summary make any sense? Cerberus is a cute pomeranian in this. I don’t think I need to say anything else.
This show was recommended to me and I’m glad I watched it. However, it was better than I expected in many ways and I’m not sure that’s a good thing…
One of the ways in which Dance with Devils really exceeded my expectations is in the production department. It didn’t go all-in on the animation and the fight scenes were a bit lazy but otherwise, it’s a good-looking show. Kind of boring as far as these things go. I mean the character designs could have been way more eccentric than they were. But they were illustrated beautifully.
I remember on more than one occasion thinking, wow, this show looks way too good for what it is. That sounds mean. I’ve watched a lot of these otome adaptations and they just don’t usually look this good is all I’m saying. I saw just now that it was made by Brain’s Base which explains the quality up to a certain point but not entirely.
It was a pleasant surprise but I do think that a strong production subconsciously raises the bar for the narrative. That may not play entirely in Dance with Devils’ favour.
Story & Characters
Like I said, Dance with Devils is one of those anime that tie into an otome. For those not familiar, an otome is basically a darting simulator aimed at girls, or at least at people who want to pretend to date pretty boys. A lot of those games are hilarious but I wouldn’t necessarily call them deep or insightful.
Dance with Devils isn’t deep or insightful. The character arcs are laughable in fact and development is difficult to find. But they aren’t unpleasant in a really silly sort of way. And there is a story here. In fact, I would argue that Dance with Devils is a deeply plot-driven reverse harem with surprisingly involved lore. No, I’m not kidding.
And this is sort of a problem.
You see, as far as it goes, the storyline of Dance with Devils is a pretty decent mystery/suspense story with horror/goth elements. There is enough material here to put together a rather compelling story. Even with the cheesy delivery and lack of character development. But the execution is too uneven.
Sometimes, Dance with Devils really leans into its goofy side. It exaggerates and gives characters nonsense motivations. At those moments, the audience is clear that even within the concept of the series, you’re not supposed to take the events seriously. It’s a spoof.
But I think that because there was a surprisingly solid bit of fantasy at the core of the story, Dance with Devils sometimes can’t resist the urge to actually play it straight and try to develop that story a bit more seriously. And unfortunately, I think the clash between the two presentations simply doesn’t work. There’s also not enough time to do both things well, so it ends up sort of doing both halfway.
Had it been a dumber story or even just a more underdeveloped plot, I believe the show would have stuck to being dumb cheesy fun and that would have worked out better. At least in my opinion. This said I wouldn’t call it awful. I still had a lot of fun with it but not as much as I could have.
I’m going to talk about an issue now that only comes up if you watch this dub. I did. I decided this was the perfect show to watch while I was cooking or doing something that didn’t require too much attention but didn’t allow me to read subtitles.
The English voice cast is o.k. Not great, and you can sort of tell they weren’t into it from time to time but not horrible either. However, Dance with Devils is a musical. Oh, did I forget to mention that? There are random out-of-the-blue musical numbers in just about every episode. Often when a fight breaks out so it ends up being a dance fight, which I absolutely loved!
Anyways… First, about half the musical numbers are translated to English. Why only half? I don’t know. It’s absolutely baffling. So if you are watching along with the dub. Once in a while, it will just switch to Japanese and to a completely different voice. And because the imagery for the musical numbers tends to be surreal, you also casn’t necessarily tell who is supposed to be singing through visuals alone so it can be a rather confusing experience as you are not familiar with that voice at all.
However, much worse are the songs that are translated. Now the translations are awesome. It’s the clunky really literal singing narration type of thing where the characters just basically sing out everything that is happening. That part I enjoyed a lot. But, and I’m trying to find a nice way to say this, these voice actors are NOT singers. Like not at all. And I found it difficult to sit through.
Of course, this is going to be subjective. A lot of people didn’t mind Moulin Rouge and I thought none of them could sing but this is worse. If you have a delicate ear, I would really opt for watching this subbed. From the little I did hear, I have a feeling the performances, in general, are much more devoted and theatrical in Japanese as well, which is likely to make for an overall more enjoyable experience. So this is my fault for picking the dub this time.
All in all, Dance with Devils is a sort of silly fun show that just wasn’t quite silly enough for me. I did think Lindo had a super nice character design though and that’s good enough as far as I’m concerned. Also, I,m not gonna lie, I did look up to see if the game would be available for me to play. Seems it’s only on Vita like a ton of otome. But the show did make me interested enough that I would have bought it if it was available on a platform I own. So it did its job!
You might like this anime if:
You enjoy supernatural stories and reverse harems. You’re liking what you see in the screenshots
My favourite character:
I might have to go for Lindo but I also ended up liking Azuna a lot…
- Every time we see the doggie – cheer!
- Every time anyone says “grimmoire” – take a very small sip
- Every time anyone mentions Ritsuka’s grandpa – be suspicious
- Every time there’s a pop song battle – take a sip
- Every time we focus on Ritsuka’s pendant – take a sip
- Every time Rem is troubled – poor Rem
- Every time Cereberus is in human form – take a sip
- Every time anyone mention’s Ritsuka’s smell – freshen up
- Every time Azune is protective – raise your glass
- Every time vampires show up – gasp!
- Every time Lindo loses it – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.
5 thoughts on “Dance with Devils – Black Magic”
You know, I really only remember the silly stuff. Especially the choir of evil pomeranians.
You know? I never did like the Reverse Uno designation for talking about the opposite side of the same genre coin. In this case the Harem series (put on the map by series like Tenchi Muyo). There doesn’t need to be a Reverse Uno card played here, as the genre is pretty open ended. A single character (male or female) is surrounded by a cast of characters from which x amount of characters may be vying for the leads affections (female or male… Or Reverse Uno card where you can have LGBTQ+ Harems).
I understand the need to play the Reverse Uno card, because the genre was put on the map with series with one male lead and lots of female characters, but harem as a genre is still open ended enough to allow any combination, even mixed combos, and never one touch the Reverse Uno card. But that’s just the opinion of a mad Darke Raven who needs to go back to sleep. What’s your opinion?
Looking forward to talk about the… Ugh… Isikai genre, which is the sent to a world different from ones own… Seriously? Being sent to a world not like your world is a long going staple of Anime & Manga! Why name the genre Isikai?!? Like the strange series Isekai Quartet?? Sigh.
Reverse Harem is a standard genre that tends to be used on anime sites. It’s a very common expression, comes from otome translations I think. You’re not wrong but since everyone already knows it why change it?
LOL, I love the english dub versions of the songs precisely because they are bad. I haven’t listened to the Japanese versions, but I imagine that they are better, and therefore less funny.
I agree that it would have made for a more entertaining show if the plot had leaned into the silliness more, though. There are a couple of places where things got pretty dark and it seemed out of place.
This could have been a cheesy epic!