Dropkick On My Devil!
The serpent demon Jashin is trapped in the human world until her summoner, Yurine Hanazono, dies. To make that day come sooner, Jashin gleefully tries to put an end to her master’s life. Too bad for her, Yurine is far smarter and far crueler than anything Hell can devise.
Dropkick on My Devil (Dropkick) wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t that great either. I didn’t have any real expectations about this series. In that sense, I finished this show satisfied enough. However, throughout my entire viewing, I was acutely aware of how uninvested I was.
This was one of those instances where I could see talent, effort, and quality behind everything, and yet, nothing seemed to click. This show did make me laugh, and I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy myself. Regardless, Dropkick will most likely become one of those series that isn’t going to stick with me.
Be that as it may, labeling this show as middle-of-the-road would be undermining the number of high points there were. If nothing else, this series did manage to impress me several times.
First, Dropkick’s animation was solid; this was a good-looking anime. That was critical since this was a visually reliant show. The comedy depended on reactions, movements, and the creative diversity of Yurine’s punishments towards Jashin.
Dropkick wasn’t sluggish when moving between cute, energetic, and brutal. This series had a decent balance with its humor, and it knew how to make a joke work under many different circumstances.
For example, Dropkick often used over-the-top, cartoonish violence. There were broken bones, shattered backs, severed limbs, impalements, and mutilations with a chainsaw. The exaggerated nature of this series helped dampen what would have otherwise been rather intense injuries. Plus, Jashin’s ability to regenerate her body was a key tension releaser.
Second, Dropkick was terrific with keeping its fanservice in check. Although this show did occasionally play up a character’s boob physics, the fanservice was never overblown, in-your-face, or the focus. It stayed on the sidelines and only came out in force intermittently. What was most surprising, though, whenever fanservice did happen, the most ridiculous character was never Jashin, the person who was always shirtless.
Dropkick was in a prime position to go as ham as possible. Instead, this series chose to let its characters’ personalities drive everything. It did this so well that there were long periods when I stopped realizing that Jashin’s breasts were always technically exposed.
Third, this series gave us a large group of characters to follow immediately. The opening bit of episode one involved Yurine and Jashin, as well as their friends Medusa, Pekola, and Minos. In almost any other show like Dropkick, those last three characters would have had an entire episode dedicated to their introduction. By the time there was any semblance of a full cast, the series would have been half over (assuming everyone received their respective episodes early on).
Dropkick skipped all that.
Granted, there were some later additions to the cast, but there was plenty to work with right at the beginning. This series never bothered with detailed backstories or motivations. You could pick up much of that information by merely watching events as they unfolded.
Fourth, the voice cast of Dropkick was great. Everyone did a commendable job, but I want to specifically mention Ms. Aina Suzuki and Ms. Nichika Omori, the voices of Jashin and Yurine, respectively. These two performances helped deliver some of this show’s funniest moments. And speaking of Jashin and Yurine:
The idea was: When a summoner called up a demon from Hell, the demon could only return upon the death of the summoner. With Jashin being egotistical and selfish, and Yurine quick to anger, perhaps you can already piece together these two’s relationship.
The Jashin-Yurine pairing was the best aspect of Dropkick.
Jashin was a handful (which I’m going to bring up again later in this review). I’m trying to remember the last time I came across a character who was this self-centered and mean-spirited. I’m not coming up with many names, but with the few there are, Dropkick had one crucial distinction. I don’t believe I have ever liked a character as bratty as Jashin.
Jashin always blamed others. She never took responsibility. She lied, cheated, and manipulated everything to her favor – results varied. Her personality was holier-than-thou, and she looked down on those she felt were lower than her. She openly saw her closest friend, Medusa, as her personal ATM. Jashin went out of her way to bully poor Pekola, who was always struggling to get by. She could never bring herself to say anything nice.
In a word: Jashin was a brat. However, she remained likable for two reasons.
- In her own way, Jashin had a side to her that cared about others. She may have been awful at showing it, but Jashin did look out for her friends when they were in desperate trouble.
- Yurine never let Jashin get away with anything.
Whenever Jashin acted out – so basically all the time – Yurine was right there to smack her back down – violently. If I were to discuss the details of Yurine’s methods of discipline, you might think she was a complete sadist. The truth is, she was.
Nevertheless, Yurine never crossed a line because Jashin always had it coming. These two kept each other in check. Jashin could be downright despicable, but Yurine had her pay up. Conversely, Yurine could be cruelty incarnate, and yet, the punishments fit Jashin’s crimes.
These two had an extremely antagonistic, but no less strong, bond that kept things together. They were what allowed Dropkick to be as good as it was.
Unfortunately, this series had too many self-imposed obstacles standing in its way from becoming something special.
This series had a bunch of self-referential, fourth-wall-breaking humor. That wasn’t the problem. When done right, meta-jokes can be some of the best sources of comedy out there. However, when they are forced or fail to land as they did in Dropkick, they can be some of the cringiest, too.
Luckily, this show didn’t acknowledge it was an anime all the time. That said, near the end, the amount of parodies Dropkick threw in started to get ridiculous. These moments weren’t clever, and they didn’t make sense for what was going on. It was a free-for-all, and there was no consistency.
Next, there were segments when Dropkick focused on other characters. Although not a bad idea, in theory, many of this show’s characters were only at their most interesting whenever they were with Yurine and Jashin.
For instance, Pekola seemed to be trying to star in a series of her own. She had a set of troubles that could have been separate from what was going on with everything else. Pekola, Yurine, and Jashin’s paths only crossed because this happened to be – or, least, it was supposed to be – the latter two’s story.
Then again, I can’t go blaming Pekola for this – not entirely.
Pekola and every other character (minus Yurine and Jashin) had a massive dilemma to contend with, and this became a huge issue.
None of them knew how to handle Jashin.
If we were to take Yurine out of Dropkick, Jashin would have single-handedly ruined this show. Earlier I said it was Yurine AND Jashin who made this series fun. These two together were a match, and they canceled out the other’s extremeness.
For Yurine, she was friendly and kind to everyone she met. Jashin, on the other hand, without Yurine to reign her in, was an unstoppable monster. Jashin’s brattiness, when unchecked, was insufferable.
To be fair, when Jashin acted alone and didn’t involve others, she was a destructively isolated, and therefore harmless explosion. Sadly, when someone other than Yurine got involved, this series became too lopsided.
Pekola didn’t have the spine to stand up to Jashin’s bullying. Medusa enabled Jashin’s lecherous behavior. Minos was just around, and I have no idea why she was in this show at all.
Jashin would pour gasoline onto an out of control fire deliberately, and most of the other characters would have let her get away with it. That was why Yurine was so important. She was the one person who could force Jashin to stop.
The biggest problem with Dropkick was that it couldn’t survive without Yurine looking after Jashin. For some reason, this show took Yurine away a few too many times.
The makings of something good were here, and occasionally, everything fell into place. This show had solid animation, character-driven humor, and two enjoyable main characters. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t enough to make everything work one-hundred percent of the time.
Rather than recommending Dropkick on my Devil, I won’t discourage you from checking it out.
Dropkick On My Devil! Series Review: Dropkick VS Chainsaw
Writing - 6/106/10
Plot - 6/106/10
Character Development - 7/107/10
Production - 7/107/10
Music - 6/106/10
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