"Digital Devil is the name given to a menacing force created with computers, born from the mind of a teenage genius; a force so evil that it demands human sacrifice. Yet this story is more than a science - fiction horror tale. For it also carries the timeless messages of forgiveness and reconciliation, along with the charm of a love story."
"Handsome high school student Akemi is a computer genius. One day a new girl, Yumiko, transfers to his class from another school. She quickly falls in love with Akemi but, absorbed in his computers, he pays her no attention at all."
"The reason for his absorbtion is the monster he has created with those same computers. Digital Devil has become his own evil genie, and Akemi summons this devil after school and sets it to work wreaking revenge on his enemies. First to be sacrificed to the hunger of the devil ROKI is Akemi's home - room teacher; soon to follow are other teachers and leaders of the high school gangs. But first, Akemi intends to unleash ROKI on poor Yumiko."
"The tables quickly turn as ROKI runs wild, slipping from the teenager's control to begin attacking all the students, including even Akemi himself..."
Creator: Aya Nishitani Director: Mizuhi Nishikubo Screenplay: Mizuhi Nishikubo Copyright: Aya Nishitani/TOKUMA SHOTEN PUBLISHING CO LTD/MOVIC/SHIPS, INC Language Format: Japanese Language, English Subtitles Label: Kiseki Films Running time: 50 mins Certificate: 15 Catalogue no: KIS 94049 Price: £7.99 Release Date: 24th June 1996 DVD version (double feature with 'The Cockpit': Language Format: Japanese Language, English Subtitles Label: Kiseki Films Running time: 117 mins Certificate: 15 Catalogue no: PAR 61105 Price: £19.99 Release Date: 19th Febuary 2001
I approached Digital Devil with a certain amount of scepticism. I'm not a great fan of the Urotsukidoji/Adventure Kid type of anime, but I thought I'd give it a fair chance...
Tanami Nakajima is a computer whiz-kid, with something of a stand-offish nature. The story starts with him waking from a nightmare, but soon switches to a school setting. There is a new girl in the class - Yumiko Sharagasi, who takes an immediate shine to Nakajima, seeing to remember him from somewhere else. Nakajima ignores her.
Later, we see Nakajima in the computer labs. His project is the summoning of a Devil, called Rocky, who exists in the 'electronic world'. For this he uses his teacher, who enters into 'ecstatic communion' with the devil. Rocky calls for a sacrifice, and Nakajima agrees to settle an old grudge.
However, the teacher Ohta is 'possessed' and ultimately betrays Nakajima to her Demon Lover. There's lots of gore (or rather pink blobs), as Nakajima's revenge is exacted. Rocky attacks Nakajima and Yumiko, but the secret of Yumikos past is revealed....
The story of Digital Devil is somewhat confused, cutting back and forth between actual events, illusions and memories, and it takes more than one viewing to get the sequence of events straight. I gather the story was originally a novel, and the anime story feels as if a much longer story has been compressed into a short OVA. The result is an almost incomprehensible mish-mash, at first viewing at least.
The character designs and animation are competent, but I expected better from an OVA - they strike me as being better suited to a TV series. Still, I've seen worse.
The main question is 'is this another Ovafiend?'. Well, it has its share of gore and sex, but isn't in the same league as other Manky Video and Kiseki releases. Anyone expecting a repeat will be sorely disappointed, along with terminal brain-ache from attempting to work out what is going on.
Digital devil *could* have been an interesting horror/fantasy story if presented in a different manner. The actual result, in my opinion, is really only suitable for those die-hard collectors who have to have every piece of anime released.
Note: I've just heard that the BBFC granted Digital Devil a 15 certificate - uncut. Kiseki are flabergasted, having expected an 18. Presumably under the impression that this unduely lenient certificate will adversely influence sales they have issued a press release, and may ask for re-certification....
Score: 3 out of 10 [Chris Hartford]