I Need You
One Hand Is Enough
Neither Demon Nor Human
Weak Humans, Wise Demons
I Must Know Myself
Go To Hell, You Mortals
Devilman: Crybaby could be one of the most controversial, interesting animes to be released this year. The unique blend of violence, sexually charged imagery and breathtaking, hedonistic art makes it a fascinating but largely divisive animated title. Devilman won’t be for everyone but for those who can look past some of the deliberately shocking stylistic choices, there’s an action packed, mature anime waiting to be discovered. It’s not perfect, and with the series ending the way it does it leaves Devilman stewing in an air of anticlimactic restlessness.
The story begins much like other animes. An ordinary boy, Akira (Griffin Burns), is changed forever when he attends a strange party with his friend Ryo (Kyle McCarley) and merges with a devil to fight the forces of evil. Acting as a hybrid devil/human, Akira spends his time outside school hunting demons to protect humanity from their scourge that threatens to destroy the world. Whilst the story itself is pretty formulaic, especially by anime standards, the presentation and mood of this mature show certainly isn’t and largely contributes to what makes Devilman such a strange, endearing watch.
The aesthetic here is simply stunning. Sadistic bursts of phosphorescent blood splash in the air during action scenes, raining down on the shadowy demons below. This harsh contrast in colour typifies the unique art style used with a mix of animation, violence and sexually charged imagery. Devilman is the anime equivalent of marmite; you’ll either love this or hate it. Those squeamish to blood or turned off from nudity and sexual imagery will find this anime awfully uncomfortable to watch. There is a lot of this in the episodes but for those who look a little deeper than the surface level, will find a deeper meaning for this with themes of greed, sexuality, religion and our own internal struggles playing prominently throughout the narrative. Those with a strong stomach and are open to trying something completely different to what’s out there right now, will find Devilman a fascinating and engrossing watch.
This wild blend of fast paced action, quick fire animation and violence works really well in the context of this anime but its also one that’s sure to divide opinion. Having never seen the original Manga it’s hard to comment on how well this anime stacks up in comparison but from what’s here, Devilman is as controversial as it is uniquely showcased. There’s a distinct rebellious feel to this anime that runs parallel to Akira’s character development and aesthetically, Devilman is gorgeous. Along with an engrossing plot line, deep thematic questions and an action packed 10 episodes, this anime is well worth checking out… if you have the stomach for it.