Ghastly Prince Enma follows the madcap adventures of Prince Enma, head of the Demon Patrol, a group dedicated to capturing evil spirits. Other members include Kappavier, a turtle-like demon, and Princess Yukikio, an ice witch. The group makes their base in the Helliday Inn, an anime version of Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, which also serves as a sort of hotel for a host of other demons.
Not to say I didn’t laugh at some of Prince Enma’s antics and adventures, but when given the option, the show always goes for easy, sophomoric laughs over anything else. There are a few smart jokes, such as the Mug Mugger, a monster that literally licks the faces off of his victims. Puns, it seems, are the show’s go-to weapon since nearly every demon the Demon Patrol comes across has some sort of punny name. There’s the multi-armed Centuriarm; Catnapper, a feline who can put anyone to sleep; Fall Down Boy, who can make anything fall down; and the simple-minded Duhracula.
Puns are one thing, but they’re a minor element compared to the show’s reliance on crude, sometimes overly sexual jokes. One of the show’s running gags is Prince Enma and Kappavier’s endless quest to see Yukikio naked. This, however, pales next to the Mug Mugger’s…. well, let’s call it a "low-hanging tusk."
Most of the humor, such as the puns, seems aimed at a much younger crowd. However, the addition of sexual situations excludes this group, instead skewing towards an older audience. However, the show is just too madcap for the adult crowd NIS’s anime collections usually appeal to. Ultimately, Ghastly Prince Enma is meant for the Adult Swim audience stuck between their early teens and late twenties.
As always, NIS has put together a fantastic hard cover book. I probably should have picked up on this a couple Premium Editions ago, but it wasn’t until Ghastly Prince Enma that I really took the time to appreciate just how well the book reflects the show’s mood and style. Maybe it is because the show is such a departure from the norm, but the book is just a bit different from other artbooks. Similar to the show, it jumps all over the place – presenting short character bios, full color artwork and screens from the show and a set of lengthy interviews with the show’s creators and voice actors. The layout is kinetic and a bit slapdash, but still makes coherent sense.
The package also ships with both DVD and Blu-ray versions of the show, as well as clean openings and closings. If you have the means, go with the Blu-ray version. The DVD looks and sounds great, but the Blu-ray version’s colors really pop.
Ghastly Prince Enma Burning Up is an acquired taste. If sophomoric humor and frantic pacing is your thing, then you’re in for a treat. Otherwise, you may want to stick with NIS’s other offerings.