Demons and devil hunters. For the likes of Van Helsing and Blade, we tend to expect the most serious of people with killer weapons or powers, while also carrying a dark history them, making their presence known to all that if you step in their way, you are going to get cut in half while they walk away wearing their shades. Broody, dark, violent even, it’s expected of both the hunter and the devil. Demons are often seen as menacing, sneaky, deceptive, and otherwise the strongest beings when compared with humans, able to destroy towns and cities with either sheer force, or the minions that lay in the palm of their hands/tentacles/whatever.
Dante…is not one on of them, the typical cliché I mean. And yes, I refer to the Dante of the past, the devil slayer that still had his own series before Ninja Theory and Capcom turned it into a $60 bad fanfic, plus extra for DLC. If you kept up with my blog, you know all I have done is pick apart the Dante of the current and the game before it has even released. Some may claim it to be unfair. But I still maintain that Capcom and Ninja Theory’s decision was quite honestly both a waste of time and effort, and the biggest betrayal I have ever been a part of, aside from Mega Man Legends. I hope the game crashes and burns, but that seems guaranteed, or people may enjoy the new Dante. Yet why do we like the old Dante better? Let’s take a quick look, and by quick I mean several pages long so hold onto your soda, this is Characters with Character: Dante!
A special note before we begin: I did in fact use paragraphs from my previous articles when writing this. Due to my idiocy and forgetting about the deadline, I had to rush this, and using the articles at my disposal have helped me form new thoughts too, or helped condense/solidify them. So I apologize in advance if you already read those articles.
One of the most noticeable things out of all the counter-arguments I have seen, is that people say that the new Dante is exactly like the one from Devil May Cry 3. True, the two do share some similarities in terms of personality. However, they differ greatly still, and that comes from where they have grown up. The Dante of old was raised by his mother alongside Vergil, as the two do seem to share some fond memories and attachment to their pendants, which apparently belonged to their mom. True, Vergil was more for power, but let’s focus on the red devil for a second. One of the key defining factors isn’t just the half-demon blood in Dante, but his human side, the one he embraced at first. And as a child, he had to deal with the most likely scarring sight of his mother dying, leaving him in that attitude that would probably leave a few people away, coming across as a jerk. This is something we can at least relate to, as Dante is forced to adapt by human rules and eventually decides to become a mercenary. While I haven’t read the manga, Devil May Cry 3 seemed to hint that Dante wasn’t too fond of his dad, most likely because he is the one who led to his mother’s death, and the corruption of Vergil. This makes sense as to why his attitude is like this, but even then, he was willing to save humans and use his skills against demons, hunting them down. Not everything was that black and white though, as Devil May Cry 3 demonstrated.
How? Similar to the Shin Megami Tensei series, the game showed that not all demons were these forces that desired the death of humanity. In fact, other games showed that had reasons for what they did. The anime and games really hammered this with several plots, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll keep our focus only on the games. Trish is one example, originating from the first Devil May Cry. She was created to counter Dante, to trick and destroy him. Admittedly, she was all for doing that, but Dante showing compassion towards her when she was close to death helped put a bit of humanity inside of her, whereas Mundus would have killed her, and he tried to. Sure, the first game was silly and cheesy, but it could be serious at times, ignoring voice-acting. It even touches a few emotions, like Dante finally killing Vergil.
Every protagonist has faced some sort of difficulty in their lives that really showed their emotions. For Dante, it was dealing with this woman that looked like his mom and having to kill his brother to avoid him from destroying everything. For Vergil, he was fueled by pure vengeance, showing that he was willing to make any sacrifice to gain enough power to kill Mundus for good. For Nero, he wanted to save Kyrie and avoid killing Credo, both of whom were like family to him, but at the same time, also struggled to keep the secret hidden of having a demon arm. Those ties to humanity really show. The anime, while making Dante less humorless, was also not a bad example of showing how humans and being half-human can relate to his life. He’s forced to live by their rules, live they way they live, while keeping them safe. Heck, he has to be connected considering he is willing to lower his prices enough to make sure the poor can afford his services, even with the massive debt he owes Lady. He’s developed because he has lived with humans like Lady, and seen the world through the eyes of his other fellow devil hunters.
My point is that the half-human made him more relatable and showed him weaker, thus forcing him to utilize every trick in the book to take down demons. It was the strength of heart, will, compassion or whatever you call it that was their real strength. In simpler terms: their reason to fight. Vergil had vengeance, Dante wanted to save people, and Nero wanted the same and to protect Kyrie at any cost. It showed that even with such a weakness, they could prevail. And even then, it showed that not all demons or those that lusted for power were evil. Agni and Rudra, Cerberus, and even Nevan weren’t what you would call evil. They were guardians to prevent someone from taking over the tower. And when they saw Dante as someone more noble than other demons, recognizing him as someone relating to Sparda, a demon that defied all odds, they joined him. They had the capacity to care and fight for their justice, not be blinded by chaos and destruction. Naturally, more devils were kinda forced into it, like Beowulf, but he was killed by Vergil first. And Dante, no matter what, still cared for people like his brother. He even said himself that sometimes humans can be even worse than demons, yet never goes out of his way to kill them.
By making half-angel, you kind of ruin it. Angels are seen as benevolent beings, ranked far higher than any human. Or if we are going into other game routes, they are these supposed superior beings, classy and think they are above human needs, or want humanity to do things themselves. You kinda ruined the entire concept since humanity is under the heel of demons, and we don’t see the angels anywhere in this game. He doesn’t relate to humans that much anymore, and seems to embrace more of those angry demonic forces. And this ruins Vergil’s character as well. A part of him despised humans, as it made him weaker. Being part angel would probably make them stronger. Or at least it should with a capable writer, which Ninja Theory seems to lack. Since demons are in control, and undoubtedly all evil, the name Devil May Cry is now wasted. There is no point, and I am taking this from simple observation.
Dante has been shown as also someone who doesn’t seem to take things seriously, always making light-hearted comments, which is probably why you never see him swear like the new Dante. Nero did this as well, and the only time he really cursed was out of pure rage. In my opinion, I see Dante as a Michelangelo of this demon family when compared to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or even as a Spider-Man in a sense. Why? Because that humorous attitude is a pretty effective combat style when facing the demons. When it comes to brute strength, just Dante and the demon like say Beowulf, using nothing but fists and they cannot dodge, Beowulf is more likely to win in that scenario. People like Spider-Man and Michelangelo seem cocky, yes, but what they forget is that the tactic works, often tripping up the opponent, making them angry and more likely to slip up in battle. This worked well in all of Dante’s fights, and combined with above, it made that much more of a deadly combination and resourceful. I would compare Deadpool as well, but…he seems naturally insane. I can’t comment since I have only seen him in games. And yes, I can’t wait for his game to come out. I also use the Mikey reference because of Dante’s fondness for pizza.
The most important thing however? He goes over the top into sheer ridiculousness, adding a level of comedy to an otherwise serious situation. Showing a light side to a character is one thing, but it definitely shows something I once heard of in a review regarding a Wonder Woman pilot (and no, it isn’t the recent one where she is in charge of a company. It’s that he’s having fun with it, enjoying himself, a rare trait shared by quite a lot of people. I can get the sense he is having fun, and wants to make fun happen too. I don’t feel any of that once I strip the new Dante down like I do with the old one.
And while I am shining his ego with his relation to humans, I haven’t really touched much on the devil side. Naturally, it does give way to a form of aggression, such as his enjoyment in fighting, not killing. He has on occasion spared weaker demons or demons of good will, unless they did want to fight to the death. Admittedly, this has backfired twice, once leading to Jester getting the upper hand, and another leaving him almost at the mercy of his foe in the anime; I didn’t say he was the smartest. He doesn’t cheat in his fights, preferring one-on-one, but never saying no to a brawl, even saying that a fight every now and then does make life more interesting. And given this line of work, it makes sense as to why he does. While he does joke as stated above, going over the top, it’s kind stupid to say he can’t be taken seriously, when he has helped save the world a few times, and defeated demons that could be considered near gods. At the end of the day, this is not only guy who can kick your ass, but he can do it in style, showing off everything he has while smack-talking you. Moreover, there’s also the devil trigger to consider, something Dante has control over and let’s that demonic side take over into a wicked form. This was another missed opportunity by Ninja Theory, instead giving us the middle finger with just a palette swap. It’s what it is!
Now what’s the point I am trying to make? That by Capcom saying that Dante cannot be taken seriously, just that alone, they have no idea what they are doing with the series anymore. The series has a large fan base if Capcom is willing to rerelease all three games in a HD bundle. Dante has been seen as a character many have not seen in a while. Some can call him a dork, but at the end of the day, he’s an entertaining kind of dork, and can still do things not a whole lot of other hunters can do. Fact is, in games, there’s always the joking or cocky character. Dante has the right to be with his achievements. He equally demonstrates his human and devil traits, and him being less cliché than the angsty hero is a plus. And even if he is over the top, he still shows he has what it takes to do the job. The change in character to me simply makes no sense when you add all of these facts. Maybe someone else can help shine some light on this, because I have not heard a single counterargument strong enough to say that this reboot is necessary.
That said, it’s gonna happen. I just hope the reboot fails, and we can finally see this Dante again. The makers of Project X Zone clearly wanted the old Dante as opposed to the new Dante, so maybe there’s some hope, despite the game doing poorly in Japan for some reason. Because if the new DmC game is successful, we may never see this Dante ever again. The Devil May Cry series is about 11 years old, and it means a lot to me and it shows given what I said. I’m not gonna lie in that I rushed the crap out of this article just to show you what the character and series means to me, and who the character really is compared to the new Dante. And I hope one day, we can see him, Mega Man, and all of our favorites back in action in the states, or rather, in the entire world.
Even if this doesn’t win the contest, I hope all of you at least share my thoughts. And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading the ramblings of a college madman, and not just this article, but all my articles. Merry Christmas to all, and if you excuse me, I’m gonna get myself one last pizza.
To you, Dante!