Top to bottom, right to left: Satoshi, Daisuke, Dark, Risa, and Riku.
You've heard the stories of the legendary phantom thief Dark...whose real identity is unknown. Well, now it's your turn to inherit that identity, Daisuke...I mean,
Daisuke Niwa was just your average middle schooler
pining away after his unrequited love. Well, average except for the odd training his mother put him through, planting traps for him when he returned from school to test his agility and problem solving. But that all changed on his 14th birthday, when, after being rejected by his crush Risa, he suddenly transformed—appearing much older, and his hair color changing to purple
. His mother happily informs him that this is normal—for hundreds of years, every generation of males in his family undergoes a transformation into the "legendary phantom thief, Dark" when they experience the feeling of love
, thanks to a unique "genetic condition". Until the girl he loves returns his feelings wholeheartedly, Daisuke must transform into Dark and steal cursed pieces of art to cleanse them
To Daisuke, it seems like the end of the world—he has to avoid getting overly excited when he sees his crush so he won't turn into Dark, and Dark himself just happens to have a Handsome Lech
personality and happily hits on ANY female that crosses his path. Then Risa Harada, his crush, announces that her ideal man is just like Dark
—which means he has to compete with himself
for her affection! To complicate matters even more, Daisuke's mysterious classmate Satoshi Hiwatari starts to suspect Daisuke's secret identity—and just happens to be the commander of the police
working on the Dark case.
series that seems determined to prove to you that your own
teenage years weren't nearly as bad, D.N.Angel
would probably never be called a masterpiece of its mediums, but it's still an entertaining romp through shojo
tropes. Sometimes called a "magical boy
" series, it generally has a lighthearted, romantic comedy
feel, although occasionally there's hints of darker mysteries and backstories lurking in the shadows.
The manga was started late in 1997 by Yukiru Sugisaki
, and went on for 11 volumes before being put on a two-year-long hiatus. Sugisaki wrote new chapters for the series again in 2008, much to the delight of fans, particularly since the stopping point was a cliffhanger. Then, after a one-year hiatus, Sugisaki picked up the series again
for the January 2010 issue of Asuka
. As of "Stage 4 Volume 14", Part 1 of the manga has ended and it appears that Sugisaki is once again going on hiatus to do a 6-month serialization of a new series titled School Girls Pin-Up
. Hopes are that it will resume after these 6 months, as the ending to Part 1 was, again, quite the cliffhanger. Most of the manga has been brought over by Tokyopop
, though nothing yet has been announced about bringing over the already-released Volume 14 and the recently-announced Volume 15. The anime aired in Japan in 2003, and was released in the US by ADV Films
. The anime and manga differ on some details, particularly which Harada twin Dark happens to have a thing for in the beginning. The anime also ended with a Gecko Ending
(although with the way Sugisaki has been going on and off hiatus with the series for a while now, it seems like the anime ending might be the only
If you're a fan of fantasy shojo (or bishounen
!), both are worth a look—if only to spot the many tropes the series makes use of.
D.N.Angel provides examples of:
- Action-Hogging Opening: The opening shows far more action than most episodes, due to the romantic nature of the show rather than its focus on action all the time.
- Action Prologue: The first episode of the anime opens on a fight between Krad and Dark that is actually the final climactic action sequence of the last episode.
- Allergic to Love: All right, so Daisuke doesn't get ill, per se, but he certainly has a genetic condition that makes loving someone a pain in the neck.
- All Up To You: One plot involves Daisuke having to save Dark after Satoshi traps him inside of a dream world.
- Flipped with Dark having to save Daisuke in the "Ice and Snow" arc.
- Anime Theme Song: Written for the show and sung by a teenage boy (probably in reference to Daisuke). Vic Mignogna has also recorded a version in English (although he did it independently and it wasn't included in the official DVDs).
- Art Evolution: The series has been drawn off and on since the '90s, and the change in the artist's style is pretty obvious if you compare an earlier volume with one of the more recent ones.
- Art Initiates Life: The cursed artworks that Dark steals were given life by their creators' emotions.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Riku and Risa, when they get past their differences and sibling rivalry, are actually really close to one another.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Kyle wishes for the Second Hand of Time to Murder the Hypotenuse. His actions result in both Elliot's and Freedert's death and the guilt drives him mad.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Krad. Subverted (eventually) with Argentine.
- Book Ends: The series opens with a scene that's later repeated in the last episode.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In a jibe at the series' own eyecatch, episode five uses the feather-and-logo eyecatch not only before and after commercials but also between every major scene change. This results in at least half a dozen appearances of the eyecatch in one episode alone, prompting Risa and Riku to yell, "Enough already!"
- Cannot Spit It Out: Daisuke can't seem to tell Riku that he turns into Dark—but unless she knows and loves every part of him, he'll continue to transform into Dark.
- At first, Riku is unable to tell Daisuke that she's starting to suspect that Daisuke and Dark might be the same person. When she finally confronts him about it, he convinces her that he's not Dark.
- Dark can't admit to his growing feelings for Risa, knowing full well that he'll someday disappear and can't be with her.
- Class Trip: There's a major arc that takes place during a class trip, where Daisuke tries to steal a piece of art on a lighthouse while there. Things don't go as planned since Satoshi has attended the class trip as well. In the manga, this is also when Krad makes his first appearance.
- Cliff Hanger: The two big breaks—the one after Volume 11 and this most recent one (which will probably be the end of Volume 15)—come to mind.
- CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Averted both times. In the first, it cuts away just as Satoshi is about to perform the actual act, and only cuts back when "Daisuke" is turned back into With. The second time, Satoshi is about to give CPR to an unconscious Daisuke, but then Dark takes over his body, wakes up hacking and coughing, and proceeds to wonder what would happen if he had woken up one panel later. Damn you, Sugisaki.
- Creepy Cool Crosses: Satoshi often wears clothing with cross motifs, and Krad also wears a cross accessory hanging from his ponytail.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Used in the anime during one of Satoshi's transformation scenes.
- Curtains Match the Window
- Dark Is Not Evil: Literally. It's the angelic-looking one you have to watch out for.
- Decoy Damsel: Risa pulls one off to distract a policeman so that Riku can sneak in
- Disappeared Dad: Subverted: Kosuke, Daisuke's father, is rarely mentioned in the beginning of the series, to the point where it seems he must be either dead or deadbeat. He isn't—he was just off on a trip related to the Niwa's "family curse", and happens to be a very devoted and loving father and husband.
- Kei Hiwatari is Satoshi's adopted father. There has been no word on his real father.
- Disguised in Drag: Satoshi crossdresses to distract Dark during a heist. He's very convincing, and Dark nearly kisses him before he realizes who he's talking to. (Ho Yay/Foe Yay?)
- Disneyfication: An In-Universe example. During the Cultural Revolution, the tragedy "Ice and Dark" was found to be too dark and changed into the much more bittersweet "Ice and Snow".
- Disturbed Doves: Occurs when The Second Hand of Time/Freedert tells Daisuke that his paintings might have the ability to prolong their life.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The "pendants of eternal friendship" that Mio gave Riku to use with Daisuke. Especially with such lines as "This is the first time I've done this..." when putting them together.
- Dragged into Drag: Daisuke arrived to school late because he had a cold, and learned that he was voted to play the female lead in the school play. Not only that, but Satoshi plays his love interest, leading to much Ho Yay. It didn't help that even his own girlfriend thought that he was cuter than her.
- Dramatic Irony: This is responsible for an enormous chunk of the suspense in the story, as the two-person love triangle causes a great deal of problems for Daisuke.
- Dojikko: Daisuke is the rare male example. Especially odd, seeing as he's had his reflexes conditioned since birth to be a successful thief. The end result is that he often trips, immediately performs an complex, acrobatic save...and then flubs the landing.
- Subverted in that this is deliberate. Daisuke has to pretend to be clumsy in order to avoid giving away the fact that he is training to be a thief.
- Doting Parent: Daisuke's mother, Emiko...for some definitions of "doting".
- Dropped Glasses: There are several moments where Satoshi drops his glasses in the series. Since he doesn't need them to see, this isn't so bad. Except that the glasses are somehow keeping Krad at bay, and Satoshi often gets sick, faints, or succumbs to Krad when he doesn't have them on.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In the anime, Krad fights Dark in the opening scene, but isn't properly introduced until several episodes later.
- False Start: Daisuke tries to tell Risa his feelings in the first episode of the anime, but loses his nerve at the last minute. (The manga version has him successfully give her a love letter, but she rejects him because he's "not her type".)
- Feather Flechettes: Used mostly in the anime, by Krad.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Subverted in the anime. Risa is the girly twin, but she can't cook well at all. Riku is the tomboy, but she's a much better cook.
- Not JUST the anime, in the manga, too, she's a very bad cook. She has to stay after school once to make up a Home Ec grade—and makes Riku help her.
- Fictional Document: The fictional fairytale "Ice and Snow"—which is a Bowdlerized version of the original, "Ice and Dark".
- Forceful Kiss: Dark kisses Riku to stop her from screaming when he accidentally makes a pit stop in her room. Of course, this makes Riku think of Dark as a pervert (and, to be fair, she's not exactly wrong).
- Foreign Language Title
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: What Satoshi appears to be at first, until the reason why he's so cold is revealed.
- Gecko Ending
- Gentleman Thief: This is Dark to the very core, if you look at it. He only goes after the hardest-to-get targets, which are very rare themselves, AND he alerts the police, all core elements of the trope.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Risa isn't attracted to Satoshi at all, even though the other girls all adore him. Then she realizes that he's cute without his glasses.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Riku and Risa. Though they really do love each other, Risa still considers her sister her Arch-Enemy, and is glad that she was born "the cute one". They're identical twins.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Inverted, just like most of the dark/light tropes, with Dark and Krad.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Dark's goal (and the Niwas') is to steal the pieces of art created by the Hikaris.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Later in the series, Riku starts to be jealous of Risa, because she starts to love Daisuke and she knows that he had a crush on Risa. Even after they get together, she has doubts.
- Happily Married: Daisuke's parents.
- Hereditary Curse: The Niwa and Hikari families each have a hereditary curse created by what essentially amounts to an magical accident. The Hikaris seem to have gotten the worst of it, as their curse creates a Superpowered Evil Side who tends to act without much regard to his "host", causing cursed members of the Hikari family to all die young.
- Hooked Up Afterwards: Heavily hinted at in the anime. In the climax, Daisuke tells Satoshi that he can't kill himself to destroy Krad because he still has to find the person he'll fall in love with. At the end, Satoshi and the losing Harada sister then exchange glances and quiet smiles with each other.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Early chapters in the manga have titles that read "A Warning of _____", referencing Dark's warning letters. (This practice was dropped later in the series.)
- Inner Monologue: Daisuke and Dark sometimes take advantage of their shared body and use this to communicate to each other.
- Inspector Javert: Inspector Saehara. Dark is a thief, but he has a very good reason to steal.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Satoshi has other reasons for being distant from others, but his intelligence (he's already graduated from college) certainly doesn't help matters.
- Just Friends: What Risa asserts they are to Daisuke's face, just moments before he decided on confessing to her.
- ISO-Standard Urban Groceries
- Kiss of Life: Daisuke (or, if you're reading the manga, Wiz/With disguised as Daisuke) nearly drowns in the school pool...which means Satoshi has to step up to the plate and give Daisuke mouth-to-mouth. The yaoi fangirls were pleased.
- Light Is Not Good: Krad, Satoshi's alter-ego and the villain, looks like a blond angel, complete with Creepy Cool Crosses.
- Living Crashpad: Daisuke turns into one for Riku when they both fall off a cliff during a school trip.
- Locked in a Freezer: At one point in the anime, Daisuke and Satoshi get trapped in the school's freezer when Satoshi deliberately sabotages it, in an attempt to force Daisuke to reveal himself as Dark. He does, but this also sets off Satoshi's transformation into his alter-ego, Krad.
- This also provides an excuse to have Daisuke and Satoshi huddling together for warmth to up the Ho Yay quotient even more.
- Love Dodecahedron: A pair of twins combined with Loves My Alter Ego just for a starter.
- Love Hurts: When being near your crush causes you to transform into somebody else...
- Love Letter: In the very first chapter, Daisuke gives Risa a love letter, but she turns him down.