Based off of action video games, it begins in Dante's unnamed shop as a mysterious man named Arkham appears to offer an invitation from Dante's brother, Vergil. An immense tower erupts from the ground a short distance away from the shop and Dante takes the situation as a challenge. Following numerous battles Dante arrives at the tower's summit and battles Vergil. Vergil defeats Dante and departs. He eventually catches up in the control room located in the tower's basement. The brothers battle again until they are interrupted by Lady, then Arkham, who has been manipulating them all to reactivate the tower. Arkham intends to steal the Force Edge, Sparda's sword.
Dante crosses over to the demon world, catches up with Arkham, and he and Vergil work together to bring him down. Dante and Vergil battle, and Dante is victorious. Returning to the human world, Dante meets Lady outside the tower where she coins the phrase "devil may cry" while trying to comfort Dante over the loss of his brother. They form a friendship and the beginnings of a partnership in demon-slaying, and he names his shop "Devil May Cry".
The anime Devil May Cry is based on but different to the action game described above. Dante is a half demon, Sparda's son, who owns a shop named Devil May Cry. He is constantly in debt and earns a living by hunting devils. His agent is called Morrison and he saves an orphan called Patty who stays with him and they get closer throughout the episodes. At one point Patty 'decorates' his shop by turning it pink and filling it with toys. His jobs leave him with little money because he usually gets a bill instead of money due to the destruction fees. Lady and Trish don't help and also leave him bills as well. He often loses money due to the fact he bets with Lady a lot.
Dante is a lazy half demon but when he has a job he always finishes it. He is physically strong and is able to defeat an army of demons with his hands. You discover his love of strawberry icecreams and pizzas. He has very bad luck and often carrys Ebony, Ivory and Rebellion with him. (Two twin guns and a sword.)
Trish is a demon who became Dante's partner but left solo. She doesn't hunt demons like Dante but just follows rumors. Dante said that she can come back whenever she wants.
Lady is a human who hunts demons. She sometimes gives Dante jobs now and again but leaves him in debt. She is Patty's role model.
Patty is a human girl who meets Dante after he saved her in the first episode. She spends a lot of time with Dante and is a girly girl who loves cute toys.
Morisson is Dante's manager who gets Dante jobs and helps with repairs.
Sid is an annoying weak demon who shows up alot, despite seeming like an insect who isn't dangerous his ambitions end up far more dangerous than expected.