Note: Due to the series being a mere few days old, this review is SPOILER FREE.
I wasn’t actually interested in Devilman when it was initially announced. The only thing I knew of Netflix’s ventures into anime prior is their Death Note adaptation (lolz) and Knights of Sidonia, which I hated. Asides from the fact Netflix was producing it, I also knew nothing of the original Devilman, so wrote off the initial hype as nostalgia bubbles. However, upon its release, the reactions it got? Oh boy. I’ve never seen anything so divisive, at least not for a long, long time. Looks like I’m picking up Devilman after all…and what a great decision that was.
“Akira Fudo is informed by his best friend Ryou Asuka that the demons will revive and reclaim the world from the humans. As the humans do not stand a chance against the supernatural power of the demons, Ryou suggests fusing with a demon. Akira becomes Devilman, with the power of a demon and the heart of a human.” (Synopsis by MyAnimeList)
Devilman: Crybaby is the newest adaptation of the original 1972 manga, and possibly the most faithful adaptation yet, keeping all the obscenities, gore and nudity that characterised the original. There was a lot of hype in the anime community, not only due to the popularity of Devilman, but also because this is the newest offering of director Masaaki Yuasa, known for his wacky and out-there stylistic choices, to which Crybaby is no exception. These choices are, of course, has got people so divided on Devilman…
For the sake of not adding NSFW warnings to my posts, I have to be careful.
Obviously, this is not a series to watch with kids, or even if you yourself are a little faint hearted. There is a lot of very graphic violence (think cannibalism, decapitation), very graphic sex scenes (both consensual and not), and a lot of generally very dark themes.
Possibly one of the darkest themes in Devilman, and the most prominent: What is it that makes someone human? Akira is technically a demon, despite the fact he has a human heart. So what does that make him? What about the humans that kill mercilessly when the war between demon and human is ongoing? Can we call them more human than Akira due to his form? The series explores this, and focuses on the moral grayness that is present throughout humanity, making Devilman a pretty bleak view of our own society. This doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch, of course. But it is definitely a lot to digest.
Another part of Devilman I really enjoyed, and what I thought was quite enjoyable was the rap gang they added for a touch of modernisation. Mostly because the raps were actually pretty good, and they didn’t seem out of place at all, despite what was happening around them. Actually, they seemed pretty fitting. I can only find the English Dub version of the episode 4 rap on Youtube, but I recommend the sub. Truly a highlight.
Whilst it’s pretty difficult to recommend Devilman: Crybaby, that’s what I’m finding myself doing. At least to those who are horror fans, such as myself. Crybaby is the closest to an actual horror anime I’ve seen in a while, in both graphicness and instilling actual feelings of fear. Of course, I do not recommend this to the faint hearted. But if you want a change of pace from the current trends in anime, and have a pay-off that actually delivers, do NOT skip out on Devilman: Crybaby.
My rating: 9/10.