Monday, 8 June 2015

Review: Mao Dante

I read this directly after reading Devilman Lady, FYI, and it was actually pretty good. It works more of a prototype for the original Devilman than an original story on its own, as there are a lot of elements that carry on to the former. Demons locked in ice in the Himalayas, the dilemma between human and devil, a happy go lucky female sidekick, Zenon, Amon, God, Angels, demons attempting to reclaim the earth, the fact that the main leads human size transformed state resembles an early design version of Devilman, and much much more. It begins with our lead being called in his dreams by an unknown entity, which brings him to the Himalayas, where Demon Lord Dante is imprisoned. That parts actually kinda funny because it turns out he's Judas. Yes, that Judas. You know, the apostle. Well, I didn't expect that and laughed. Silly Nagai pulling random names from the Bible. Anyway, when he tells our lead who he is, he's just like, "You're that guy who betrayed Jesus", to which Judas replies, "Shut up! I didn't betray him, I fought him!" Yeah, make sense of that what you will because it's not explained. Anyhow, our lead frees Dante from his techno prison and it turns out he's evil. "Ha ha, stupid human. Num num num num!!" Yeah, he eats our lead after he's freed and very bloodily consumes him, both physically and mentally, as he replaces Judas's head on Dante. Also, just FYI, Dantes design also appears in Devilman Lady, so it's nice to see its origin.
And what did we learn, kids? Never trust a demon.
Then later it appears that Satanists want to resurrect Dante and so they capture a young woman, where we bear witness to the worst quality Mao Dante has to offer. I mean, just look at it. Furthermore, Mao Dante isn't as well drawn as other Nagai works as there is a lot of quality through its entirety. People with Popeye faces and bug-eyed rapist bikers. You'll see what I mean by the later in the second volume. Anyhow, the satanists capture that woman and plan to use her as a sacrifice. However, it appears that a sort of Christian military complex (because they exist) has took notice of this, and so they assault the satanist base with an army to stop them. But to no avail, the satanists succeed in summoning Dante and he destroys the attacking army with his powers. However, he flies off toward the nearest city and starts demolishing it like a Godzilla flick. The army then come in and retaliate, but like any monster movie, their weapons appear to be ineffective against the monster. That is until debris falls on top of him, which leads to our lead, Ryou (familiar name, isn't it?), gaining conscious over the beast. A new beast soon arrives called Zenon, ring any bells? And he then explains this and that, bla bla bla, something about God and shit. I can't remember.
Hug Attack!
The first volume is really silly and I didn't enjoy it for the most part. However, the second volume hits home for me as that's where it gets more close to the original Devilman. Ryou gets home, he meets and greets and starts attending school again. But there is where he begins to notice a few things. People die in gruesome ways, and it was done by none other than demons. He goes home afterwards, and jumps out the window. He finds a demon and kills him. Now, this is the part where he transforms into what resembles a prototype Devilman. I like that, as it's something we can take away from Mao Dante. Anyhow, our lead gets invited to the kendo club by a friend who knows about demons. Because high school students are always involved in world changing events, demons, hollows, and all that jazz. Stupid Japan. Also, in between all this, it cuts to a bunch of butt ugly bikers goofing around. They spot a woman walking alone, and instantly jump to rape, because no one is around. Just an average day in Japan. However, it turns out she is a demon and she then kills them when they try to rape her. Anyhow, our lead goes to the dojo and sees them beat a demon to death with sticks, but our lead feels only pain. Now, I like this part because it shows that humans themselves can sometimes be more cruel than demons, like what the original Devilman and Lady tried to get across. Afterwards, our lead then meets Medusa, a demon who knew Dante from before and the same chick who was almost raped by those bikers. She explains how God is an alien who invaded the earth 2000 years ago (I remember that from history.) and shows our lead the past where the original human civilization was destroyed (because God is evil). Granted, that it shows dinosaurs in the flashback and from my knowledge, they weren't around 2000 years ago. What were you thinking, Nagai? That said, we also see how Dante gained his form and it is quite hilarious. He gets attacked by one of God's soldiers but he was beside a laser jet, and two dinosaurs, so they all combine into one and thus Dante was born. That's completely ridiculous but this is the 70's, after all. Anyhow, the reason for him and the many others merging (into what are now demons) was due to the fact that they wanted to get revenge against God. In brief, it was their determination and resolve that allowed them to absorb God's power and transform. Biology. Go figure. Also, the scene in which God appears and attacks the earth is kinda creepy. "I need your flesh", ugh. Gives me the shivers.
Quality bikers on the left, and generic God is evil on the right.
Anyway, the story ends abruptly soon after she explains the situation to our lead, which strengthens his resolve to finish what they started. So he then summons all the world's demons to the Himalayas and amasses his army to take back the earth. End. Yes, just like every Nagai story, ending without a conclusion. Ha ha, fuck you, Nagai. Overall, Mao Dante is interesting and fun in itself, but it comes off more like developing ideas that Nagai had at the time. Even more so since there are many things in it that lead straight into the original Devilman, which is something that we can take away. However, the scanlation itself was questionable as it feels as if there are a lot of wrongly translated lines and paragraphs, like "retard" for example. Still, I guess it's better than nothing. All said and done, it's stupid, it's silly, it's classic 70's Nagai, go read it.

No comments:

Post a Comment