published in Empire No.71, Sydney
Only in Japan could DNA become a central ingredient in a series of comedic teen love anime. Loosely reworking an original manga/anime DNA2 back in the mid-90s, D.N.Angel fuses its premise with the post-Evangelion trend in angels. It’s a wild mix here, yet fuelled by naïve charm, it works well. Typical teen Daisuke – unknowingly bearing the genetic heritage of sorcery and transformative powers – starts flipping into a dashing alter ego, simply called Dark. The gag recurs in Daisuke’s inability to control those hormonal transformations (this is a teen comedy after all) and he becomes Dark whenever he thinks of his infatuation, the pert Risa. She of course falls in love with Dark, who of course is Daisuke. Sort of.
Add fellow classmate Satoshi who is similarly conflicted with genetic instability, and D.N.Angel becomes a molecular explosion of the Jekyll/Hyde tale and a hundred-and-one teen sitcoms. From a western viewpoint, there is something truly strange in this anime’s idealised childhood settings, which only adds to the surreal quality of the spiralling schizophrenic story. Maybe best suited to very young teenagers, it’s still a trip for those beyond the series’ demographic.