Apparently the Disgaea anime adaptation came out in 2006, but I only recently found out about it. Plus, since I only recently played the game less than a year ago, I give myself the benefit of doubt for writing a 3-year late impressions post. Pffft, not that I need to in the first place.
Things I liked:
- Laharl, Etna and Flonne looked ok… most of the time.
- The show was generally amusing
- The "Red Moon" episode was actually pretty touching (it was in the game as well, I just didn’t expect the anime to do it justice… and for a while I thought they weren’t even going to get to it).
Things I disliked:
- Unnecessary anime filler was unnecessary
- Character designs didn’t convert very well. Or more accurately, the designs and animation looked cheap and subpar. The characters actually looked better on the DS. And much better on the DS cover art.
- Voice acting was just ok. In a surprising turn of events, I think I liked most of the English VO’s much better. Laharl and Flonne sounded pretty good. Everyone else ranged from just ok (Etna, Gordon) to bad (Thursday, Jennifer). Was the English VO better, or did I just get used to it because I spent over 80 hours listening to it? Probably a little bit of both.
- WTF did they do to the Gordon, Jennifer, Thursday storyline!? The funniest subplot in the game was Gordon scheming to break free from his servitude to Laharl, after losing the battle to him. That was the episode I was anticipating most. But it never came. Instead they turned the three of them into Team Rocket, showing up for a minute at a time, before getting blown away into space. They also really neutered Thursday’s personality. I loved the shots that Thursday took at Gordon in the game. But in the anime, they were almost nonexistent.
- Not that surprising, but no Plenair 🙁
Random other thoughts:
Disgaea (DS version) is one of my favorite games. It’s a game with a shallow story, but gameplay mechanics that make it really addicting to play. But despite its shallow story, I thought maybe the anime could’ve been good in a cult hit sort of way, because the game has a really sarcastic, self-referential brand of humor that’s as charming and addicting as the gameplay. Instead it turned out to be another bad video game adaptation – and one with an apparently small budget at that – because the show looked awful. Even the last episode (which typically is one of the better looking episodes during a season) looked terrible.
The anime isn’t epically bad though. At no point did I face palm or feel the urge to gouge my eyes out or anything like that. The show was generally pretty funny. Flonne was pretty much on the money, the "development" of Laharl was nice to see, and Etna and the Prinnies were pretty amusing. But unless you’re a real die-hard Disgaea fan, there’s much better ways to waste your time.