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Doodtastic – Disgaea Collection

Anime Review


Doodtastic - Disgaea Collection 1Title: Disgaea
Alternative Title: Makai Senki Disgaea (魔界戦記ディスガイア)
Published by: Madman Entertainment (Australia),  Funimation Entertainment (US), MVM Entertainment (UK)
Based on: Disgaea 1 game released by Nippon Ichi Software (Differing Storyline)
Audio: English and Japanese dubs
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)
Runtime: 300 minutes over three dual-layered DVD’s
Cost: Don’t have the price I bought it for on me, but expect to pay approximately $AUD 40 for it.
Trailer: Click Here – One of the most creative trailers for an anime series.
Copyright Information: © 2003 NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE INC. / DARK ASSEMBLY

I may have stated my history in terms of the Disgaea series, especially this game in particular before on this website. Originally I found out about Disgaea through an accidental viewing of this trailer on youtube. I spent at the very least, two years before managing to track down this specific game, however by that time I had managed to accumulate a number of the other game series such as Makai Kingdom, Disgaea 2 and Phantom Brave. By now, I would have to say that I own every game that has to do with the Disgaea series.

This is currently the only anime adaptation of any game in the series, and was advertised to fans of the series quite extensively, including a trailer in Disgaea 2 from the main menu. With source material from the game to go with, I was expecting a series that is full of comedy, randomness and over the top violence, all of which were present in the game. This anime, whilst using certain aspects such as the characters and certain environments and storyline components, so it is different from the original material. Is this a good different or a bad different? Read on to see my opinion of Disgaea, the Anime.

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The king of the Netherworld has died and various demons are now building their own empires in an effort to take control. However, the late King’s son has arrived and is out to reclaim his rightful place as ruler of the Netherworld! Along to help him is his vassal, Etna, with her Prinny squad, and Flonne, an angel-in-training, originally sent to assassinate the king, only to find out he has already died. Join our three intrepid – and somewhat eccentric heroes as they initiate their plan to conquer the Netherworld, Heaven and Earth!

For those who have played the game before, you might recognise that the storyline blurb from the back of the DVD is overall, similar to the storyline of the game series, however they are vastly different. Whilst the end point remains the same in both the anime and the game, everything before that is different. For starters, the one who wakes Laharl up at the beginning of the anime is Flonne, and she remains his first companion, with Etna coming along at a later time. Some storyline elements remain the same, however are placed in a different sequential order and take into account changes in previous storylines, such as Captain Gordon alongside his assistant Jennifer and Thursday appear in the first episode, whilst in the other storyline they appear much later in the sequence. This is actually better as they play the “Team Rocket” role in the storyline, quite often alternating between antagonistic and neutral roles, and spend the most of their time trying to earn money to repair their ship, which is destroyed by Laharl.

Doodtastic - Disgaea Collection 3

Most of the storylines remain to the overall plot, such as Etna’s secret (Which is much funnier then the games version) and many more, however there is a slight issue with a number of filler storylines, that played no benefit to the storyline and generally, whilst they were a lot of fun to watch, might not suit every viewers tastes. Thankfully, there were only a few of them in total, and the majority of the episodes do follow the main storyline. In terms of the genre of the storyline, it does tick a number of unrelated boxes such as over the top violence (Check), comedy aspects (Check), Big Boobs (Check) and Prinny Exploitation and Violence (Check, Check). The characters supporting these also retain their original personalities so Etna still remains as devious, Flonne is still the love-freak otaku and Jennifer is still out to give Laharl those much needed sexual education lessons.

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Overall, the storyline is adequate. I would not say that it is a perfect storyline by any means, however it is a watch that is supposed to make you laugh and once again appreciate the Disgaea experience, especially based off the most memorable characters from the entire series. This is a series you will most probably get addicted to and watch all in one sitting (or at least I did) and whilst it does try a number of genres and character personalities, it is one of those series that to fully appreciate it, you have to ignore all this and just watch it for the anime it is…. one that is supposed to make you laugh, or at least provide non-storyline based entertainment.

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In terms of design quality, it is good, however in comparison to other anime I have been reviewing as of late, it does not compare to the standard of them. The quality is what I would consider to be the same as the games. Whilst remaining motionless, the character details remain relatively detailed however after the characters move or appear from a distance, the quality seems to drop significantly. In terms of character designs themselves, they appear identical to their respective game characters with little to no alteration. As shown in the image above for example, they do try and use the character designs in a way that portray comedy when necessary, such as Gordon and Jennifer as waitresses in a Salon, with extra emphasis on Jennifer’s bust in her part and well, the overall outcome to Gordon which results in Laharl gagging. Environment designs are vibrant and colourful and generally suit the theme of the anime. At the very least, if nothing appeals to you, at least you have the absolutely adorable Prinny’s present. In terms of the lip-syncing, there were a couple of minor discrepancies that I noticed, however on the most part, very few were noticeable and unless you were looking for them, you might not notice them at all.

Opening Theme: Aishitageru by Loverin Tamburin
The opening theme for this song is well suited to the music and vocals of both the anime and the game. It is not a fast-paced song, however at the same time, it isnt a slow paced one. The animation does not reuse any content from other episodes and the animation used goes well with the song nicely.

Ending Theme: “Kusari” by Akiko Kawakami
In comparison to the opening theme, this one is inferior and prior conducting this review, I hadn’t actually watched it all the way through. The tune of this song is suitable for the game however the vocals are plain and boring. The animation utilizes still images of all the characters in the anime…. I do remember around this timeframe that a number of  animes displayed images of the characters in the series. Personally through…. “Yawn~”.

The actual music in the anime primarily consist of music from the actual game, which is for the most part, enjoyable however it would have been nice to see some more unique tracks in this anime. That is not to say that there are not some unique tunes for this series however, and they are, whilst not as enjoyable as the game music, still suitable to the situations they are used in. A few of the lyrical songs made it into the episodes (Some involve spoilers so I shall not mention them here), however these are only the ones that have a specific requirement for the episode. Voice acting utilizes the original voice actors for the game, with the exception of Etna who is voiced by Disgaea 2 onwards voice actor for Etna, Michelle Ruff. I like the original voice actors so it was good that they were willing to voice this anime.

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For those that like special features with their anime disks (Come on, I know you do!), then this set does have a few bonus features that you may enjoy *Beckons a Prinny forward with a list of special features*. The extras included in the disk include:

  • The english trailer of the anime – which can also be seen in the link at the top of this review.
  • Textless Opening – Staple in all good anime sets.
  • Textless Ending – Staple in all good anime sets.
  • Interview with the staff behind Disgaea. In Japanese with english subtitles.
  • Japanese promotional movie of the anime.
  • Trailers – Yea, almost all extras menu’s come with them.

Doodtastic - Disgaea Collection 7

This anime is a worthwhile watch, however to be honest, it does not live up to the expectations I had of this game after playing Disgaea 1. Whilst the core storyline is in it, they messed around with components of it which ruined some of the scenes which were more serious, up to the point where you could call this anime one aimed at a more younger audience, with certain jokes added in it for more adult audiences. I can understand why this was done, as after all, the game was primarily fighting with cutscenes inbetween, but whilst the main storyline episodes were done relatively well, the anime-unique storylines were rather average. Despite these comments, if you are a fan of the game series, you might consider watching this anyway, since you will most probably not be disappointed.

One last comment, which I am not sure if it is covered in any other category for this review, the episode previews were enjoyable and voiced by Etna, as for those who have played the games may know, she often did comedic next episode previews (Preview Here). Whilst they were not off-topic as in the game, this is how more animes should do their next episode previews… with a bit of creativity.

Final Score

Storyline: C (5)
Characters: B- (7)
Visuals: C+ (6)
Music/Voice Acting: B (7)
Personal Opinion: C+ (6)

Total Score: C+

Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fifteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.



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