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Anime / Dance with Devils

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Daß ich erkenne, was die Welt im Innersten zusammenhält, schau' alle Wirkenskraft und Samen, und thu' nicht mehr in Worten kramen.
That I realize what keeps the world together at heart, look at all effectualness and seeds and don't rummage in words anymore.

Ritsuka Tachibana becomes entangled in a conflict between devils and vampires at her school. Both sides believe she is the last remaining key to discovering the location of the "Forbidden Grimoire", a powerful book of magic that will give whoever obtains it mastery over the world.

The series is unusual for the fact that it is essentially an animated musical, featuring at least one song per episode, sung by the characters in the show.

Dance with Devils is a multimedia project conceived by Rejet and Elements Garden, which started as an anime series that premiered in October 2015.

The multimedia project also counts with a manga (Dance with Devils -Blight-, written and illustrated by Samako Natsu, which focuses on Ritsuka and Shiki's relationship), 3 stage plays, a PlayStation Vita otome game (released on March 25, 2016, later announced for a Nintendo Switch port to be released on April 28, 2022), and some drama CD series (EverSweet, Charming Book, and Twinlead).

In June 2017, a movie based on the anime series, Dance with Devils -Fortuna- was announced, with the movie itself premiering on November 4 the same year. The movie's premise is an alternative retelling of the anime series with a number of key differences such as new songs, different epilogues depending on the cinema that shows it and a new character; Marius, voiced by Toshiyuki Toyonaga, who serves as the movie's narrator and has an implied connection to Ritsuka and Roen.

This anime provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The main male cast (sans Lindo) are part of Shikō Academy's Student Council and are greatly respected by the students. They even have their own room in the school's third library!
  • All There in the Manual: Additional information (and backstory) about the main characters is available in the original character singles' monologues (such as their motives to obtain the Forbidden Grimoire and their feelings towards Ritsuka), the otome game, and the duet singles' monologue tracks.
  • Almost Kiss: In Episode 9, after confessing to Ritsuka that he is in love with her, Lindo leans in to kiss her but is interrupted when Rem arrives at the temple.
  • Amazon Chaser: The Student Council members took an instant interest in Ritsuka after she stood up for herself in the first episode.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Rem — Ram.
    • Urie — Spiders.
    • Mage — Snake.
    • Shiki — Crow.
    • Urie's followers — Butterflies, which is what Urie himself refers to them as.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Lord Maksis, the devil king, and Lord Nesta, the vampire king. They're both at war with each other, and they're both fighting to see who will take the grimoire first. Once the Exorcist Society's true colors are exposed, they end up becoming this as well.
  • Big "NO!": Ritsuka, after Azuna gets stabbed.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Lindo is not actually Ritsuka's brother, but her cousin, and also the son of the Vampire Monarch Nesta, making him a Dhampyr. Ritsuka, meanwhile, is actually the daughter of former Devil King Maksis.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The anime — Lord Nesta is dead. Ritsuka is reunited with her mother. And while she parts with the her devil friends, they do so on good terms, with her and Rem's love remaining strong.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Rem/Mage (blonde), Ritsuka/Urie/Shiki (brunette), and Lindo (redhead).
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Due to the series being an otome anime, the main male cast (the student council, Lindo, and Roen) are designed to be attractive not only for Ritsuka, but also for the female viewers. Even Jek, whose real appearance wasn't revealed until later in the anime, looks as handsome as them.
  • Character Development:
    • Ritsuka learns to make her own destiny istead of choosing the one she doesn't want or running away from her problems.
    • The student council go from manipulative jerkasses to jerks with hearts of gold, thanks to Ritsuka's influence.
    • Lindo sees that the devils aren't as cruel or inhumane as he once thought.
  • Circus of Fear: In Episode 3, Ritsuka gets chased through an ominous fairground by Urie's "butterflies", which turns out to be supernatural in nature as it disappears when Ritsuka escapes with Lindo.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • A couple of girls in Episode 2 become angry that Ritsuka appears to be getting close to the Student Council.
    • Urie's "butterflies" in Episode 3, who are extremely possessive of him and are otherworldly in nature.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • In promotional material, the male cast are represented with different colors: Lindo - Red, Rem - Blue, Urie - Pink, Shiki - Purple, Mage - Yellow, Roen - Gray.
    • If she's promoted as well, Ritsuka was represented with green before permanently switching to white starting from the "Are You and I Devils?" fan event, with Azuna taking green in her place.
    • From Fortuna and Fermata onwards, Orange is associated with Jek while Marius is represented with Emerald Green.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The sequences for Temptation❤︎Amour and Pitiful Lullaby are the biggest offenders for the anime, though they get justification for being side effects of Urie and Shiki's powers respectively.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune:
    • The anime's opening, "Kakusei no Air" is sung by Lindo's voice actor. The anime's ending, "Mademo★iselle" is sung by Pentacle★, a vocal unit composed of all the main male voice actors.
    • The game's opening song "Unmei no Coda" is sung by Wataru Hatano, while the ending theme "BL(U)CK BASIS" is sung by Pentacle★★ (the same Pentacle★ vocal unit, plus Roen's voice actor.
  • Enemy Mine: In Episode 11, Lindo and Rem reluctantly team up to rescue Ritsuka, as she is kidnapped by Jek.
  • Establishing Character Moment: An interesting example — the characters of the student council are explored in a song.
  • Fantastic Racism: The devils and vampires hate each other with a passion, due to a long and heated war for great power in the underworld.
  • Festival Episode: The essential plot of Episode 8 involves a School Festival at Shikō Academy, featuring the usual food stands and activities organized by each class, including the academy's traditional ball where a king and queen are chosen (by random).
  • Frame-Up: What the vampires tried to do to Ritsuka in the first episode.
  • Holy Burns Evil: The devils get hurt when they get hit with holy water.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The anime's episode titles are styled by using the names of dances, which is fitting for a musical anime. For example: "Jitterbug of Doubts and Secrets".
  • Image Song: Due to the series itself being a musical-inspired anime, no one has to wonder that the male characters have image songs that have been released in separate CD singles. All of them are actually alternate versions of their insert songs in the anime.
  • Lucky Charms Title: The main male voice actors' unit, Pentacle, is referred as "Pentacle★", the ending song is even named "Mademo★iselle".
  • MacGuffin: The vampires are searching for the Forbidden Grimoire (a book of magic). It is in Episode 4 that the reason behind it is because the devils' once overwhelming power is dwindling and the vampires are seizing their opportunity to gain power over them as whoever holds the grimoire can control the world. The student council is also searching for it albeit, for unknown reasons.
  • Missing Mom: What kicks off the plot of the anime series is the disappearance of Ritsuka's mother, as she is kidnapped by vampires.
  • Multiple Endings: The movie Fortuna has 6 different epilogues, one each for the love interests depending on the date and location where the viewer watches it in cinemas. The home release features all of them at once.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: Each one of the Student Council's members uses variations of the Shikō Academy's male uniforms. All of them are fit according to their traits (e.g. Rem uses an elegant jacket, while Mage's jacket doesn't fit because he is taller than the average student).
  • Once per Episode: As a musical anime, there is a song in each episode, usually sung by the character that becomes the focus of the episode. The first episode becomes an exception, though, since it features 2 full-length songs.
  • One Head Taller: The main male cast are a head taller than Ritsuka.
  • Please Wake Up: After Azuna dies, Ritsuka tries this with repeating Azuna's name and shaking her.
  • Posthumous Character: In Episode 2, it's revealed that Ritsuka's maternal grandfather and maternal aunt are dead. In Episode 4, Lindo reveals that devils and vampires killed their grandfather with a deadly curse (that turned him into something that was no longer human) because they were searching for the grimoire.
  • The Reveal:
    • Ritsuka is the Forbidden Grimoire all along. Her family wasn't going to tell her so until a day before her 17th birthday, when the powers of the grimoire were fully activated. The potpourri her mom always gave her? It was to hide the essence/odor of the grimoire that came from her, as well. Eventually, it was also revealed that Ritsuka is also Maksis' daughter, making her also half-demon.
    • Her brother, Lindo isn't her "brother", but her cousin, who is revealed to be a dhamphir, which is the result of Ritsuka's deceased aunt Marta having had a relationship with no one other than Lord Nesta, the king of the vampires.
    • Roen, the Pomeranian dog that was under the Arlond family's services, is also the mysterious blue-haired guy who tricked Ritsuka in Episode 4. But, he is also Cerberus, and he betrayed Rem's father, now serving his former master, a fiend that goes by the name of Maksis.
  • Sequel Hook: The post-credits scene in episode 12 (before getting into the normal ED sequence).
    Roen: Welcome back, Lord Maksis.
  • Series Mascot: Roen, the pomeranian dog, has been featured in many pieces of merchandise and promos although it stopped once it was revealed that he also has a human appearance. For example, during the pre-release promotional campaign in April Fools' Day 2015, he cosplayed as each one of the main male cast's members.
  • Spoiler Opening: Since the opening was played at the end of the first episode, you could tell from the start that Lindo has a thing for Ritsuka and that Roen, Rem's dog, is also the blue-haired young man.
  • Standing Between the Enemies: Ritsuka does this in Episode 5 when Lindo and Mage are about to kill each other. They both cancel their attacks before she can get seriously hurt or killed.
  • Tarot Motifs: In the ending theme, the boys are represented as the following tarot cards (which are surprisingly well fitting):
    • Rem — The Emperor.
    • Lindo — The Chariot.
    • Urie — The Lovers.
    • Mage — Strength.
    • Shiki — The Hanged Man.
  • Watching the Sunset: In episode 5, Mage ultimately takes Ritsuka to a beach as a way to "watch the sunset", because he thinks it is a "pretty" thing that human couples do when they are on a date.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Exorcist Society may be right about their mission of stopping the war between devils and vampires, although they were planning to sacrifice Ritsuka for the sake of humanity, as she is the forbidden grimoire they are looking for.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 8. Rem and Ritsuka have a duet that suggests their feelings for each other are mutual. At the end of the episode, Azuna saves Ritsuka from being taken by slashing Jek in the face but he fatally wounds her, and she dies from them.
  • Yandere: The Student Council, who are devils, each give off strong whiffs of this in regards to Ritsuka.