Demon Lord Dante: A Manga and Anime Series by Go Nagai
Demon Lord Dante is a manga and anime series created by Go Nagai, a renowned Japanese manga artist and writer. The series tells the story of Ryo Utsugi, a student who finds himself in the body of an ancient demon known as Dante and sees himself in the middle of a conflict between God and the devils.
The series was first published as a manga in 1971 in Kodansha’s Bokura Magazine, but it ended prematurely because of the magazine discontinuation. In 2002, Nagai revived the manga and published it in Kodansha’s Magazine Z. During the same year, a 13-episode anime adaptation was produced by Magic Bus and broadcast in Japan by AT-X. The anime was released in North America by Geneon Entertainment in 2004 and re-released by Discotek Media in 2016.
The series is considered to be a precursor of Devilman, another famous work by Nagai that features a similar premise of a human merging with a demon. Nagai was inspired by Gustave DorÃ©’s illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy to create Demon Lord Dante, and he also challenged the traditional view of God as good and Devil as bad.
The series follows Ryo Utsugi, who suffers from nightmares of demons and is kidnapped by a cult of Satanists who want to use him to revive Dante, the king of devils who was sealed by God for 2000 years. Ryo manages to free Dante from his ice prison, but he is devoured by him. However, Ryo’s consciousness takes over Dante’s body and he becomes a powerful demon with Ryo’s face on his forehead. Ryo/Dante then faces God’s Association, a secret religious group led by Ryo’s father, Kosuke, who wants to destroy all demons. Ryo/Dante also encounters other demons such as Zenon, Medusa, and Satan, who have their own agendas and motives.
Demon Lord Dante is a horror and supernatural series that explores themes such as identity, morality, religion, and free will. The series is also known for its graphic violence, mature content, and controversial depiction of God and Devil.
Reception and Legacy
Demon Lord Dante received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Some praised the series for its originality, dark atmosphere, and provocative themes, while others criticized it for its poor animation, outdated art style, and nonsensical plot. The series has a score of 5.99 out of 10 on MyAnimeList.net and a rating of 2.94 out of 5 on Anime-Planet.com.
Despite its flaws, Demon Lord Dante is considered to be an influential work in the history of manga and anime, as it was the precursor of Devilman, one of Nagai’s most popular and acclaimed creations. Devilman shares many elements with Demon Lord Dante, such as the concept of a human merging with a demon, the conflict between God and Devil, and the apocalyptic scenario. However, Devilman also introduces new characters, such as Akira Fudo and Miki Makimura, and develops a more complex and tragic story. Devilman spawned several sequels, spin-offs, adaptations, and crossovers over the years, becoming a cultural phenomenon in Japan and abroad.
Demon Lord Dante also inspired other works by Nagai and other authors, such as Violence Jack, Devil Lady, Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z Hen, Berserk, Evangelion, and Hellsing. The series also has references to other works by Nagai, such as Mazinger Z and Cutie Honey. Demon Lord Dante is regarded as one of Nagai’s most daring and controversial works, as it challenges the conventional views of religion, morality, and humanity.