Ok, I am going to be truthful with you guys. I had no idea what I was getting into when I first started watching this series. I barely had an idea of who Go Nagai was and my expectations of what Devilman was came from watching the Cyborg 009 vs Devilman ova on Netflix. I didn’t even bother reading about the series online first, so when I saw comments of how ultraviolent it is from comments on twitter, I was kind of shocked. So yes, Devilman Crybaby is an Ultraviolent series in a bloody and sexual way. Still, despite my mixed expectations and first impression, I enjoyed it. The ultraviolence was fun in that “you shouldn’t tell your parents” kind of way and there was a lot of deeper meaning from it all. At least from my perspective at least.
The following is not a review of Devilman Crybaby, just a bunch of scattered thoughts that I had after finishing it.
About the series:
I think you guys know that I’m not a stranger to hard violence in anime, right? I mean, I watched the vast majority of Fist in the North Star, I’ve seen various different version of Berserk’s eclipse scene and what happens after it, Evangelion doesn’t shy away from this from its second half on, a lot of older anime do the same thing, and some newer anime have some massive violence in them too. Still, there is something different about Devilman Crybaby compared to those. For one thing, this show is directed by Masaaki Yuasa. That means every single bit of the violence is stylized in a way only Yuasa does it, which means it’ something special. The way Yuasa frames with the clean cuts of animation and the strange way it’s frame is just unique. The second thing is Devilman Crybaby is violent all the time. There are some episodes that aren’t as violent as others so the audience doesn’t get desensitized from it all, but this is still the case. While series like Evangelion and Ushio and Tora develop their characters first before unleashing the chaos, so it had more impact in those series over all. Crybaby is completely unapologetic with all of it and didn’t care and I was honestly stunned by all of this. Somehow, it still works. Maybe it’s because Crybaby is only ten minutes long.
The violence may seem senseless, but I feel like there is a point to it all. By showing you the violence and hatred up front, Devilman Crybaby is more human then most anime series these days. With some exceptions, most anime these days shy away from so many things in hopes of being a product sold to a wider audience. I think you should all know by know how Devilman Crybaby is. It doesn’t hide from showing you the ugliness of humanity and how we live. From the bad and hateful internet comments to the violence itself, humanity at its worst is being shown on your screen. If you feel like you have a strong enough stomach, watch this, embrace it, and learn from it. Do not be like a lot of the people and demons that you see on screen. Devilman Crybaby is an examination of humanity at its worst and it can be way too accurate from time to time.
Still, there is some hope here. Devilman Crybaby also shows humanity at its best. Despite the hard times that the some of the characters face during the series, some never lose hope. These strong characaters are never fully taken in by despair, but use this experience to love more. They don’t hate or just focus on what is on people’s surfaces, but who other people truly are. The horrid violence and hatred spread through out the show do nothing by high light this fact.
Some thoughts about how Devilman Influenced Anime:
Watching this show made me wonder about a few things. Especially on the influence front. Devilman is an older manga from 1972. How many anime creators were influenced by Go Nagai and his work? How many people have written about evil blonde-haired villains lead almost pure, brunette haired characters down the path of destruction? Let me name a few anime examples: Berserk, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Mobile Suit Gundam, First of the North Star, and this list can go on. How many times have gay or none gay villains, this is controversial but whatever, taken main characters down the path of pain and death? Did all of this start with Devilman? Was there something before Devilman that influenced Go Nagai? I want to know. This is something that is incredibly interesting to me. I wish there was a big anime history course around where I live that can give me all the answers.
Watching this and Go Shogun made me question what is commonly known as the “Gainax Ending” too. For those of you who are not in the know, a Gainax ending is a term coined after a large variety of shows from studio Gainax had seemingly non-sensical endings. (I don’t think they are, but that is just me). Devilman Crybaby kind of has one, though there are some small hints about it, and Go Shogun (1982) had one too, which. Where did this concept start? Everything is influenced by something, was the Gainax ending influenced by Studio Gainax as well? Some things I want to know more about. I mean, Devilman Crybaby is seemingly apart of the 50 years of Go Nagai celebration, right? Anything could be possible.
That’s about it, really. I didn’t want to review Devilman Crybaby, because I didn’t feel like doing it. On the other hand, I had to write some thoughts on it. There is so much to talk about when it comes to this series, but I feel like other have covered it better. I am going to talk more about it a week from now, so maybe I just want to hold back things until then. Despite all the content that may be in this series, I recommend that everybody watch this one. Not in public, oh no. Not even I would recommend that. Watch it at your place in someway that people wouldn’t be able to see you watch it. You know, the old fashion way. That’s it, have fun everyone.
I need to at least see the Go Nagai influenced work that are coming out this year. Especially the Mazinger Z movie and Cutie Honey Universe.