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    BLU-RAY REVIEW: Dante's Inferno - An Animated Epic

    Dante hits hell to kicks demon *** and find his beloved...













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    WARNING: Do NOT watch Dante's Inferno: The Animated Epic unless you want to know the plot to the new EA Dante's Inferno video game. Watching the anime before playing the game will spoil a number of major plot twists. You have been warned!

    Now, with the above out of the way, it's important I make it known this is a SPOILER FREE review. While there are some plot points that have been made clear by the marketing and trailers for the game and this anime, there are a number of very specific points that have yet to be revealed and that shape the story. I will not be mentioning these here.

    Dante's Inferno: The Animated Epic is essentially an animated retelling of the new EA video game, which hits stores tomorrow. While this has both its good points and bad, it's important to realize that the two essentially compliment one another. For those who want to know more about the (modified) story first (including some major spoilers!), watching the anime before playing the game might be good; likewise, for those who want to play the game and get the opportunity to fight their way through hell as Dante, playing the game first may take priority.

    No matter if you decide to play the game first or watch the anime first, know both include a unique vision of hell and some very unique looks. For those who enjoy the game's storyline, the anime is a must watch as it not only entertains, but demonstrates the ability of Starz Media, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and Film Roman to deliver an exciting extension of what is a very inventive re-imagining of a classic work of literature.

    For those who've read Dante's Inferno, there are two essential truths: Dante has found himself touring the 9 levels of hell with a guide, Virgil. On this tour, the pair run into a number of monsters, demons, damned souls, and historical characters. That's pretty much where the similarities between the original poem and this anime end.

    In this new "animated epic," Dante is a (sinful) Christian warrior returning from the Crusades, his heart desiring nothing but to spend the rest of his days peacefully enjoying life with his beloved fiance Beatrice. Unfortunately, the warrior finds his love dead, her soul bound for hell. Riding hellbent (literally!) for the gates of the underworld, the warrior makes his one and only goal, desire and objective in life to be reunited with Beatrice...and he'll fight and kill anything and everything that stands in his way!

    Brought to life through the amazing work of a variety of anime directors and animation studios - including Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell), the Korean company Dong Woo (Batman: Gotham Knight), JM Animation (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Manglobe (Samurai Champloo) and others - the film reveals six different styles of anime as well as six unique Dante character designs (seen below on the six variant disc covers).


    Because of the different studios handling production on this, Dante's Inferno: The Animated Epic has visual styles that's at once are both fluid and rough, tight and loose, sharp and soft. Depending on which specific level of hell is being explored, the animation changes; something that may annoy some fans but that I personally found both amusing and interesting.

    The fact Dante was in one part of the anime a slim bishonen (pretty boy) and in the next, a muscle-bound meathead-looking warrior was a bit odd at first, but I love the fact EA and Visceral Studios allowed the anime creators the opportunity to take creative liberties with some of the design features of Dante while still keeping the essence of the character the same.

    Thoughout the story, blades are crossed, blood flows, sins are committed, souls are saves, more blood flows, old friends are reunited (for better or worse!), monsters die, and even more blood flows. Hell isn't a nice place and, while what the underworld really looks like is anyone's guess (I personally think hell is a Wal-mart full of slow moving people!), the designs were directly inspired by the works of many medieval artists.

    The anime reveals a number of major plot twists, including why Beatrice is in hell, what sins Dante has committed, and what the Devil has in store for both of them. The story is both inventive and fresh and provides a great guide for players and viewers as they become entwined with Dante's decent into the lowest reaches of hell. Dante makes for a very interesting antihero; a character eternally doomed, yet always fights for good with a faith still firmly planted in God's eternal power to see justice done.

    Special features on the disc are sparse and include simply a trailer for the video game as well as a few animation storyboards for a number of the film's scenes.

    Overall, Dante's Inferno: The Animated Epic is a solid venture into hell. Fun, fresh, and bloody, fans of the game will no doubt enjoy watching the movie. While the game's ability to stand up to the likes of other hack-n-slash fan-favorites is still pending, this is one anime that should impress gamers and anime fans alike.

    Dante's Inferno: The Animated Epic is available tomorrow, February 9 wherever fine home video is sold.

    Sign up for our Go to Hell Giveaway for your chance to take home Dante's Inferno: The Animated Epic on DVD!

    - Jess C. Horsley
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BLU-RAY REVIEW: Dante's Inferno - An Animated Epic-dante_giveaway.jpg   BLU-RAY REVIEW: Dante's Inferno - An Animated Epic-dante.jpg  
    "Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"

    Jess C. Horsley

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