Mio may be gone, but Daisuke’s troubles are proven to be far from over after Satoshi’s father arranges for him to fall under the spell of a mysterious artefact known as the Second Hand of Time. When the Second Hand’s power draws Daisuke into a different world, it is up to Dark, Riku and Risa to form an impromptu rescue party, but just what exactly is the truth behind this strange reality- and what connection does it have to Daisuke’s school play?
It is around this point in a series that you might expect some kind of main plot to become apparent, but in the case of DNAngel, the only thing this volume proves is that it doesn’t seem to know what its main plot should really be about. Many of the storylines introduced in previous volumes seemed as if they were set to amount to something more, but here they are abandoned in favour of an entirely new arc.
Taken on their own, these episodes are at least reasonably entertaining, but as part of the series as a whole, they do not fail to disappoint. The ever unsuccessful “humorous’ moments have largely been excised, but unfortunately DNAngel proves to be just as inept when tackling more serious material, either relying on lengthy and tiresome exposition scenes, or just introducing the relevant story elements in an arbitrary fashion, without sufficient explanation or development to properly link them to what we’ve seen before.
The one saving grace of this volume is the character development, as it finally becomes clear how much the cast has grown and matured since the beginning of the series. The romantic tangles that dominated earlier volumes have, for the most part, been worked out by now, leaving our protagonists as a somewhat calmer and more confident group. Unfortunately, it cannot be said that every character has received the attention they deserve- Towa remains a somewhat pointless addition to the regular cast, whilst Satoshi and Krad have had too little time onscreen for us to particularly care about their situation at this stage.
Visually, the character designs remain aesthetically pleasing, but unfortunately the series’ consistently poor CG reaches a new low in this volume, featuring some horribly simplistic and out-of-place items and effects.
Throughout its earlier episodes, DNAngel always seemed filled with the promise that it was building up to greater things, but at this stage in the game it becomes clear that it won’t have the chance to achieve them. These episodes may be an interesting diversion, but it is obvious now that the series cannot amount to anything more than that.