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ADV Films presents
The Devil Lady #2: The Becoming (1998)

"The more beautiful a woman looks, the less you can see of her true nature. Maybe even to herself."
- Lan Asuka (Kaoru Shimamura)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: February 17, 2003

Stars: Junko Iwao, Kaoru Shimanu, Kazusa Murei, Shawn Sides, Siān Rees-Cleland, Camilla Chen
Other Stars: Takumi Yamazaki, Megumi Ogata, Britton Baker, Laura Bussinger
Director: Toshiki Hirano

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (17+ for nudity, horror violence, mature themes)
Run Time: 01h:36m:25s
Release Date: February 18, 2003
UPC: 702727024221
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A B+A-A- C-

DVD Review

ADV serves up four more episodes in Go Nagai's The Devil Lady saga with its second outing. Gorgeous Jun Fudo, a high class fashion model, discovers she carries the Beast gene, and is now being used as a tool by an organization known as the Human Alliance to combat the growing number of humans transforming in the Beast Progression into hideous and powerful monsters. She is called into servitude by the Human Alliance's Ran Asuka, whose demeaning attitude towards Jun creates an uneasy tension, but she is powerless to Ran's beckoning in the fight against the rising threat.

In the first episode, Jun learns she has a rival in the modeling game, a young woman with looks strikingly similar to hers, who has been vying for the same jobs. When Jun discovers the girl deeply idolizes her, she decides to accept an invitation to dinner, soon becoming good friends with the girl. While Kazumi fights with her jealousy, Ran is suspicious of strangers, knowing how strongly those with the Beast gene are attracted to each other, and that beauty is only skin deep.

Jun recalls her past when a thick fog settles over the city, creating an eerie atmosphere where sinister goings-on are shrouded by the mist. Legends are recalled as the true nature of the dark shadows is revealed.

Ran's criticism of Jun's weakness grows when American Jason Bates arrives on the scene. An imposing figure, his interest lies in seeing Jun's darker side, one that he feels rivals her human beauty. Empowered with keeping the Beast Progression secret, when one of the beasts distributes a video tape of himself transforming to the media, the Human Alliance team has to quell its broadcast. However, there is one journalist who is determined to expose this new reality, a move which could incite more people with the latent gene to evolve into their Beast state.

A series of grisly murders has police baffled, but the Human Alliance suspects there is something more sinister going on. The eyes of the world are watching as Jun begins to sense that she is under surveillance. While Ran dismisses her condition as one of paranoia, Jun's instincts prove correct, as their latest adversary proves beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

While essentially a beast-of-the-week format, the series does an excellent job of keeping things interesting, following the requirements of such a format, but in a loose and creative manner. The design work and styling add to the feel, there is a great atmosphere created throughout, dark, moody and dangerous, that plays effectively. The story is evolving at an even, measured pace, filling in Jun's thoughts with background information as needed, in a natural progression. Tension and suspense are maintained as the stories unfold, utilizing exposition and well-timed revelations for ultimate effect. Jun's character development is also handled very well, and she is brilliantly portrayed. The monsters have interesting designs, and aren't as goofy as some show's end up being. The sexual undercurrent between the women works into their personalities as well, and coupled with its graphic horror violence and nudity, The Devil Lady is definitely intended for mature audiences. I'm quite enjoying the series, which is shaping up nicely.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image quality is consistent with the first disc. The look of the show is quite dark and soft, with muted colors, and these translate fairly well. There is a fair amount o f grain in the production, which does not look unnatural, and video noise isn't a problem as it can be in darker presentations. There are a few minor source defects, but nothing much to complain about. Aliasing is virtually nonexistent. This seems pretty close to the source.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is available in Japanese or English dub. The tense feel of this series is greatly enhanced by its well chosen score, which is presented well here. The sound design uses directionality appropriately, without getting gimmicky. Dialogue is clean, with no signs of distortion.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Black Lion, Wild Arms, Colorful, Crying Freeman, Go Nagai Collection, Samurai X: Reflection
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Art gallery
  2. Clean credit sequences
Extras Review: Again, extras are pretty standard; the show's trailer, clean opening and closing credits, and a four-image art gallery, though this contains some nice color drawings. Menus are the same as the first disc with their thematically correct bloodstain as the selection indicator, but this does obscure the current selection.

The trailers section contains Black Lion, Wild Arms, Colorful, Crying Freeman, Go Nagai Collection andSamurai X: Reflection.

Once again our review copy didn't include them, but there are four monster trading cards that come with the disc, though I can't comment on what these entail.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

The Devil Lady is a very enjoyable horror series, with a superbly ominous atmosphere, a slow, but evolving story, great characters and solid design. It does contain mature content and some fairly graphic violence, so this isn't for young kids. While not as flashy as more modern shows, it has a great feel that makes it very involving. Recommended for fans looking for something with a darker texture.

 


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