Lucifer’s going on hiatus and a new ruler of Hell must be selected in his absence. What to do? Only wait until a hapless young realist mistakenly summons a demon named Dantalion, then tell him he’s got the vote on who’s to be Satan’s substitute. A decision may be reached or maybe not, but the fun is in throwing science-loving private schoolboy William Twining to the hounds of Hades and seeing what happens.
The cases of envy, power struggle, lost love and delving into one’s past life archives are entertaining enough to keep you hanging on Devils and Realist’s coattails. However, as we all well know, the devil is in the detail and it’s a shame this show is lacking that on almost every level. The animation is pretty but doesn’t evoke the awe of its Victorian settings, and the plot repeats itself so dependably you could set your pocketwatch by it. Ultimately it fails to dig itself out of that devilish harem pitfall of the story revolving around building William’s harem of demon-boys. And to do that it regularly sidles away from the main drive of the story to race boats and assist downtrodden faeries. Hey, I’m all about helping the wee folk, but when that makes you the viewer forget there’s a big seat empty in Hell, then something’s clearly a bit iffy.
The characters we meet, though sometimes questionable in their character, each have their own charms and casually seduce their way into your heart. The subtleties of motive they display, that is, between bouts of bribing William to choose them as the underworld’s interim ruler, are pretty irresistible and you want to stay with them to see their internal mysteries unlocked. Who is Kevin to William really, and why all the sneaking around after his young master’s dallying with demons?
Reading into the backing mythology of any of Hell’s denizens lends a certain fascination to the story. Take Astaroth, Queen Hatshepsut reincarnated after death by cavities, or Baphomet the great goat god apparently demoted to butling for Dantalion. It’s a bit of fun for people who know their Bible lore or demonology, and anyone with a touch of gothic sensibility will find something to enjoy in this melange of angels, devils, mystery and debauchery. But they will also soon discover Black Butler did it better years ago.
Extras: Clean opening & closing animation; also available from Sentai Filmworks