Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Comedy Anime Television Episode Review: Dropkick on My Devil!! - Season 1, Episode 1

I first found out about Dropkick on My Devil!!, also known as Jashin-chan Dropkick, while I was idly watching Hatsune Miku videos on YouTube. I watched all of Dropkick on my Devil!! X, or season three, as Miku appeared in each episode. I didn't like it at first, as the combination of comic gore and cute aesthetics is a bit off-putting. About three episodes into season three, I really started liking the show. Once I reached the end, I went back to season one and watched it from the beginning. Episode one takes place on Halloween, so it's the perfect time to review it. 

The episode opens with an exposition about the main premise of the show, in a similar fashion to the first page of the manga. If a human casts a spell to bring a demon to the human realm, the demon can not return to hell until the human casts the return spell or dies. A human witch named Yurine summoned a lamia, or a demon with the top half of a woman and the bottom half of a serpent, named Jashin-chan. The latter wants to return to hell, so she spends her time in the human realm trying to kill the former.

Yurine is extremely quick and strong for a human, so Jashin-chan never succeeds in killing her. Unfortunately for Jashin-chan, Yurine is also a sadist and takes pleasure in enacting brutal punishments with deadly weapons. Jashin-chan has a healing ability that restores her no matter if she is sliced, stabbed, or squished. Jashin-chan also isn't very intelligent, so she never learns her lesson.

After the opening with music alternating between sweet J-pop and heavy metal, which perfectly reflects its contrasting nature of the comic gore and cuteness, the episode throws the viewer right into an adaptation of chapter fifty-nine of the manga. It's weird that the first episode adapts a chapter from the fifth volume of the manga, but it is a scene that has all the main characters. All in all, it's a good introduction to everyone, as, by the end of the opening scene all of the characters are given their characterizations and main motivations.

Yurine has relatives who send her prime cuts of wagyu beef on rare occasions, and Jashin-chan has a real skill at cooking. Other devils join them in eating the meal Jashin-chan prepared. Medusa, a kind ancient Greek gorgon woman. Minos is a minotaur, in that she is part woman and part cow, but she has no problem with eating beef as long as her parents don't know she is doing so. 

Jashin-chan also invited Pekora, a fallen angel who lost her halo preventing her from going back to heaven resulting in her becoming destitute and homeless. She feels she is disrespecting her Lord by eating a meal with demons, but she does so anyway because she is so hungry. However, Jashin-chan forgets she invited Pekora and is angry at her for being an angel eating with devils. Yurine threatens Jashin-chan, telling her to be nice. Jashin-chan then makes a big show of being friendly to the fallen angel, however, she gives her no beef in her sukiyaki. This angers the group, leading Jashin-chan to eat all the beef, followed by a brutal slicing punishment on Jashin-chan from Yurine.

That's the whole premise of the show. The rest of the episode expands on that, with an adaptation of the fifth and sixth chapters of the manga, showing that Medusa wears a bag over her head to prevent turning people to stone by looking at them, but doesn't affect Yurine due to a bracelet she wears that prevents petrification. Medusa also spends a lot of money on Jashin-chan, further angering Yurine due to Jashin-chan's selfishness. The episode ends with an adaptation of chapter twelve of the manga, which showcases another failed murder attempt by Jashin-chan followed by a gory punishment by Yurine. 

The comedy is pretty funny, and they break the fourth wall in that they know they are in an anime. Even though it adapts the stories from the manga, the anime has fun with the animated medium, even going so far as playing around with mosaic blur over Jashin-chan's injuries. There are also funny interludes with exposition by a busty male demon and a dog-like hell beast.

One of the best parts of this anime is the voice acting. This is especially true of Aina Suzuki, who really gets to have fun with the over-the-top antics of Jashin-chan. She has a cute anime-style voice, complete with ending some sentences with desu-no. This can be compared to Valley girls ending their sentences with "right?". But she also turns on a dime to angriness, and her cutesy veneer is dropped.

Dropkick on My Devil!! definitely is a show that is not for anyone. If you are put off by violence and gore, it's best to give this one a pass. If you're willing to look past that, you just might enjoy the show. The characters are interesting, the voice acting is great, the art style is cute when it's not gory, and the translation into English through subtitles is top-notch. This episode's plot is pretty thin, but as the first episode, it gives a great look into this strange world of angels, demons, and humans.

Final Verdict:
3½ out of 5

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