It has been two years since the death of King Krichevskoy, the ruler of the Netherworld. His son, Laharl, has been in slumber during those two years, thus he knows nothing about the death at first.
While Laharl remains asleep, the angel trainee Flonne tries to find Krichevskoy herself for the purpose of killing him, but accidentally finds Laharl. Now that Laharl is awake, he sets off on a journey to conquer the Netherworld with his vassal Etna.
About a month prior to me watching the first episode of this anime, I found the game it's based off of at an EB games store, ending a year-long search. I managed to go through the game fairly quickly while enjoying its carefree plot and multiple characters. I watch this anime and it almost feels like instead of the mouse in my hand, it's my PS2 controller.
The anime has a rather steadfast loyalty to its precursor game, despite going off on its own sometimes, but I'm surprised at how it's able to keep to the game closely. While HoD had some 20 characters (including minor characters), this anime reprises many of these roles in a rather unorthodox move. Laharl remains the bratty, greedy demon he was before. Etna remains the vassal with a secret agenda. Flonne remains the angel of the group (much to Laharl's displeasure since he has to put up with consistant talk about love and hope). The only characters that change somewhat are Gordon, Jennifer, and Thursday, who move from being the "vassals" of Laharl to being the Team Rocket of the Netherworld as they get blown out of a variety of scenes in similar ways. Even not-so-big characters such as Vyers/Mid-Boss, Krichevskoy's butler, and even the Demon Slayer also reprise their personalities in the anime.
I also like to note the voices. Oddly enough, in a rather nice move, the seiyuu for Mid-Boss, Flonne, Jennifer, Laharl, and Etna are the same seiyuu who did the Japanese voices for the game -- one of the seiyuu, Mizuhashi Kaori (Laharl), has voiced over for a fair bunch of Nippon Ichi's PS2 lineup including La Pucelle Tactics, Phantom Brave, and Makai Kingdom as well as providing the Japanese voice of Navi in the classic video game The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time. Other characters don't have the original voices, but I can't tell differences because I have yet to hear the Japanese voiceovers for the game.
Plotwise, this anime follows the lead of its precursor game, but sometimes goes to a place or involves an event not found in the game. The general plot of the anime and game remains similar as Laharl tries to conquer the Netherworld in order to become Overlord with his vassal Etna and his servant Flonne (along with Etna's Prinny Squad). The unusual thing is that it employs its plot in ways not found in the game (which serves as something new), but still retains its odd carefree style of going about it. While I do like its loyalty to the game and its carefree style, it leaves a little bit to be desired.
A person who has played Nippon Ichi games knows that they usually have very vibrant colors and artwork that, while not being very lifelike, gives the games a sort of trademark imagery. This anime adaption remembers that and tries valiantly to replicate the style the game utilized and, for the most part, comes away looking clean. A good bit of the artwork remains similar to the game (this especially holds true for the character designs), which did give me a nostalgic feeling (my PS2 broke down shortly after I turned it off from the game). However, the animation could use a good bit of work since it doesn't flow naturally and sometimes slows down in pace, hampering the scenes a little.
Finally, the music. I did enjoy the opening and ending themes, which had rather nice background music. As for the music during the anime, it is also adapted from the game in rather clean condition (very little changed during the transition). Overall, it isn't the most original soundtrack, but it did keep me listening.
All in all, there is much that I appreciate of this anime, but there are some places that need a little work on, such as the plot and animation. I did find this somewhat enjoyable, but for the hardened veteran of the game series, it may be a bit under par.
While I did enjoy this anime a lot, it wasn't exactly optimum when it came to quality, but for the most part it's worth a look. — Jake L Godek
Recommended Audience: Jennifer usually contributes a few moments of fanservice during the first few episodes and there is animated violence similar to the game. Other than that, there is little that I could call inappropriate. I say this is for young teens and up.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Partial (5/12)
Disgaea © 2006 Nippon Ichi Software Inc. / Dark Assembly
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