- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: 19 May 2006-18 August 2006
- Studio: View Works
- Where to Watch: Crunchyroll
One day I was scouring Crunchyroll for something to watch. Upon scrolling I randomly stumbled upon Demonbane. My response was “eh, why the f**k not?” What could possibly go wrong. This was a completely blind watch. The only thing I knew about Demonbane is that its based on an eroge. Hentai games. Oh hell yes. Give me more of that. Demonbane is a mecha series with elements of magic and fantasy. Cute girls, harems, magic, and giant mechs. Basically, books transform into cute girls and help co-pilot giant mechs called Deus Machina. It doesn’t get any more anime than that.
Oh boy, where to begin with this one? What a mess. Demonbane is textbook pretentious. The series tries to make itself out as being smarter than it really is. Using Cthulhu mythos to hide the fact it’s a generic harem/mecha series. Sorry but just because you reference literary classic doesn’t mean your anime isn’t grade A trash. Demonbane follows the story of down on his luck detective Kuro Daijuuji. He is hired by the Hadou Foundation to track down a Grimoire, a book with untold powers. While on his mission he has a run in with a girl being chased by a scientist who keeps shredding on his guitar. The girl is one of the legendary Grimoire he was in search of. She is Al-Azif. Al is searching for a new and settles on Kuro. They form a contract by kissing and take control of titular mech Demonbane and escape peril. This mech is the Deus Machina the Hadou Foundation had been searching for. The princess of the organization Ruri Hadou allows Kuro and Al to pilot the Demonbane. In comes Black Lodge, an evil organization that is evil. They don’t seem to have any real motivation other than thirst for battle and destruction. Demonbane changes antagonists every few episodes until everything comes full circle.
The characters are incredibly one dimensional. Kuro is your typical generic harem/shonen protagonist, for some inexplicable reason almost every female wants to bang him. Al-Azif is the tsundere loli book turned girlfriend. Ruri is a princess archetype with one hell of a butler. Almost every named female is part of Kuro’s harem. His harem includes books, nun, robot, and a princess. Black Lodge has a collection of some of the most uncompelling antagonists. They are led by Grandmaster Therion. He has the power to destroy Kuro in battle but chooses not to satiate his amusement. Just a generic stoic villain. Black Lodge is filled to the brim with betrayals. I swear there’s a betrayal every 3 episodes. How does this organization function?
Demonbane tries really hard to pull at your heart strings and fails spectacularly. This anime is a fan of the fake out deaths. Master Therion is betrayed and thought dead until his not so shocking return. One character is introduced and killed off immediately. We hardly got to know her, yet we are expected to feel pain for Kuro’s loss. Spoiler alert; it didn’t work. They bring her back later in a shocking turn of events. Now she is trying to kill Kuro for Black Lodge. Kuro is able to talk her out of it through the power of love. But then suddenly, Therion, who is presumed dead, explodes out the girl. I burst out laughing. It was one of the funniest scenes in any anime. Gintama wishes it could be that funny. I had to pause the episode to get my bearings after such a laughing fit. How could they expect anyone to take that seriously? Even main characters aren’t immune from the fake out death.
Deus Machina is the perfect name for mechas used in Demonbane, as the series is jammed packed with convenient coincides and BS. Through the power of love, you can accomplish anything, even bring people back from the dead. Believe in the heart of the cards and all your dreams will come true.
A lowest common denominator anime like Demonbane wouldn’t be complete without gratuitous fanservice. You can’t have gratuitous fanservice without a beach episode. We interrupt the plot to bring you “plot.”
Demonebane came out in 2006 so the animation won’t be up to today’s standards. But even for 2006, Demonbane is underwhelming. Looking at anime like Code Geass, Black Lagoon, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, proving age is not an excuse for lackluster animation. The art direction is so forgettable. It followed many of the trends of the early and mid-2000s. Female characters have absurdly huge eyes and plenty of ridiculous anime hair. The original visual novel had far better art style. The anime adaptation looks so mediocre in comparison. Demonbane incorporates CGI with its 2D animation. The mediocre CGI reminiscent of many Gonzo series released during this decade, clashed horribly with the art style. The OP was total garbage, using only scenes from the show and obnoxious music. Speaking of the music, I can’t remember any of the OST.
Demonbane is a waste of time. The Cthulhu mythos only exists to cover up the cliched harem/mecha schlock. The plot is an abject disaster filled to the brim with plot holes and Deus ex Machina bullshit. The attempts to be taken seriously is laughable. Plenty of unintentional comedy to go around. There isn’t much reason to watch it. It isn’t close to the worst anime I’ve seen but commits the graver sin of being forgettable. If you can’t be the best you might as well be the worst. At least you’ll be remembered. And where’s my harem of books?