Kurou Daijuuji is a poor detective living in Arkham City. One day, he was requested by Ruri Hado of Hado Financial Group, to search for a magic book. While he initially refused, Ruri offered him a large sum of money upon completion of her request, in which bribed Kuro to accept. As Kurou searches for the book, he unexpectedly runs into Al, a pretty girl that is actually a powerful grimoire.
They forge a contract with each other, bestowing Kuro with powerful magic. Soon afterwards, Al also activates Demonbane, a deus machina owned by the Hado Financial Group, to combat the mechanical menace from the Black Lodge. With this, the war between the Hado Financial Group and the Black Lodge begins....
This anime is a bit too complicated for me. I don't know if it's just because I'm slow or what, but it had so many complicated terms and side stories I can barely catch up.
I did like the concept behind it. It was interesting, talking about grimoires and sorcery and combat, etc. but as I've said it tends to become complicated. The story is good, the execution, not so much. For one thing, there were way too many characters, and some of them popped up out of nowhere, in the middle of the story, making things more complicated. I ended the series without knowing
what the woman-with-the-big-jugs' name was.
The relationship between Kurou and Al was kind of bothersome. I know that Al is probably a 1000 year old person, but she looks so young. If I hadn't known her age I would think that she was around 13-15. I'd guess Kurou would be about 20 (since he went to "college"). It's just weird for me to see them so intimate with each other. Oh well.. I guess anything can happen in anime world.
The graphics are great, specially the grimoires. They were all so nicely drawn. The guys weren't bad either, but Kurou's muscle tone kind of bothered me. He doesn't have a large frame, and yet you see muscles bulging out.
The music wasn't bad. Most of the music were very upbeat and had high energy, like the opening song. I think it was something about God and machines. The ending song was a bit depressing, but I like it. I seem to like depressing and nostalgic songs, which makes me want to rethink seeing a therapist, but it's a wonderful song. Sad, but wonderful.
I can't say it's one of my favorites, but it wasn't that bad either. I did finish it, and at the end of the series I kinda understood what it's about (but then again, I'm still not sure).
Original Review (December 2008, see below for later edit):
"Hey, let's buy some guy who can animate a few robot battles with some 3D software. We'll make up some dialogues as fillers and spice them up by throwing in a few old jokes and a crapload of terms from some successful fantasy-universe or something like that to make it look like some intelligent and thoroughly thought through show ... what do you think about this Lovecraft guy?"
I guess that's what a planning-session for Demonbane could have been like.
The battles themselves didn't look that bad, but then again: The ridiculous mecha design gets boring and the fights
aren't much better in that regard. Most of the time I got the impression they didn't even bother thinking about details, but rather made a new 3D model and threw it at the main characters robot including some flashy sfx. Between the fights the viewer has to face a redicilous amount of Lovecraft-references that (apparently) don't add anything to the show but pure confusion of the viewer. I can't say whether this show may offer something for a person having read all the lovecraft stuff, but my guess would be, that even that is rather unlikely.
EDIT (May 2012):
It has been almost 4 years since I wrote this review. Looking back at the show as I remember it and at my somewhat updated policy for rating shows on my list I chose to update the scores slightly. Also I ultimately did not end up writing reviews here on this site, but I don't just want to 'delete' this one. I wrote it as my oppinion on the show and by and large it still shows how I think about this show. As such the changes will be the following:
category: old score --> new score (reason)
Story: 2 --> 4 (Having watched many other animes I acknowledge, that the quality of this shows story is not as vastly below something that can make an enjoyable experience as my former score depicted, though I still consider it to be significantly below average for the reasons stated in my original review.)
Sound: 3 --> 4 (This change basically is made because I have seen enjoyable animes in the meantime that did almost equally as 'bad' as this one. So maybe it was just because the stuff I watched before this show was somewhat above-average for it's time ... be it in soundtrack or voice acting or sfx.)
Enjoyment: 2 --> 3 (2, which for "overall scores" is outside the range I decided to use for stuff that I at least managed to watch till the end, gets updated to 3. I did not enjoy it, but I at least managed to watch the end because I expected it to get better after the first four or five episodes and then the end was already close enough to pull through.)
Overall: 3 --> 4 (The overall rating gets boosted to a 4, as such acknowledging the possibility that someone who can process the Lovecraft references and likes the style of this show might overall find it enjoyable to a certain extent, though still hard to believe for me.)
My recomendation would be simple - dont watch this anime !
Dont watch it becouse ..... you might actualy like it in the end ...... not knowing how big a crime was commited by its creators.
I must say i hate this Anime - I hate it becouse it is one of the worst Adaptations of The Visual Novels i have ever seen making into anime. It is like a disgrace and profanity of one of the best Action Visual Novels ever released.
Evrything great about the game was wasted in this sorry excuse of an adaptation, flatening the story, cutting
mayor characters, even the jokes and art from the anime are just a clumsy imitation of its original form. (especialy Master Terion and West look awfull in comparision to VN). Only the music thames are cut directly from it making this series a little bit better, still they arent used that skillfull as in the VN where thay perfecty created a mood. It might sound silly - but even animations in VN were better !!
Despite all of this it is still ... quite enjoyable to watch...
Suprisingly - but I guess, should I never see a VN before, I would probably enjoy this series without regret, but instead after watching this series I am totally cruished in sorrow, that splendit idea and story was wasted that much.
Demonbane had the potencial to become one of the greatest fighting anime ever ... And instead it is a B category show that some ppl bash the story (and they are - in case of the anime at least) for beeing just an excuse to show a bit of Mech fighting.
Zan'nen desu ! Dakara Dai kirai
If you are reading this review - I humbly ask of you - do not watch it - find the game - it is even released in USA fully franslated and compatibie with Western unicode.
Then You will see this original, litle bit silly at first, but ultimately really captivating and masterfully executed work at its best. I can totatly and without hesitation recomned that game to all fans of Acion anime, cute girls, mechs, Cthulhu and to thouse who just like to lough a lot. When I plaied this game first time - I felt like- OMG what I am doing. Is this game for elementary kids or what? But then the story the characters and action showed me, how much wrong I have been.
Then, after trying the Visual Novel for yourself, you can see this anime just to see how much they screwed up.
If you wont listen to me and just go with thee anime you will probably like it a little anyway. Just know that you are only seen a badly executed copy that is far inferior to its original form.
So, the raw numbers for this dreadfull anime in comparition to Visual Novel ( in parentheses)
In last words I must of course say - do not treat this review to serius - if you want to see this aniem as it is it's fine with me, whenever you take on my advise is your choice.
If you liked this anime anyway - I am sure you will love the game all the more, and there is even untranslated sequel so I have heard.
Whatever you do - have fun !
Sorry for any misspelling or badly constructed sentences.
The main attraction for me of Demonbane is certainly conceptual, though the execution was enjoyable, it was the setting that it presented that really appealed to me. It was an excellent and intriguing intermingling of the Cthulhu mythos and giant robot action - the timing of my viewing was also probably quite fortunate in that on Sunday I watched the end of Tenpu Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi (which had some interesting material about wearing gods) and then spent yesterday morning reading all extant material on Hellboy and B.P.R.D. (which is also heavily influenced by the Cthulhu mythos). Really Demonbane appealed to the main reason I consume
entertainment media - to acquire fuel and inspiration for my own imagination. Demonbane served excellently in that regard and spawned a lot of interesting ideas and alternate takes on its core precepts. The only possible negative might be in the delivery and design of the mecha. Some people don’t like the recent trend of intermingled 3d and traditional animation, though its handled quite well in the show. And the mecha designs are certainly unique, and while they may not be instantly appealing they do fit the source material well. The particular fansub I watched was also very well done with notes on all of the mythos stuff mentioned in the episode presented after the ending song, which would be of great use to the more casual viewer.
Sometimes butlers are depicted as graying old men named Jeeves. Other times, they're the kind of butler we can only dream about. These anime butlers will make you wish you had your very own impeccably-dressed servant.