Name: Devilman: Crybaby
MAL Score: 7.96/10
Genres: Action, Dementia, Demons, Horror, Supernatural
There will be minor spoilers for Devilman Crybaby ahead
The anime that took the world by storm in early 2018, Netflix’s Devilman Crybaby. Reception of this series ranges from being called utter garbage to an absolute masterpiece depending on who you ask, but where does it really fall? How successful was director Masaaki Yuasa in trying to give people another classic?
Akira Fudou is a kind-hearted and gentle boy. He and his friend Miki Makimura both run on the track team in addition to living together while Akira’s parents are overseas. One day, while walking home with Miki, Akira comes across an old friend, being Ryou Asuka. Ryou takes Akira in his car to tell him of a discovery he’s made: devils.
While studying in South America, Ryou had witnessed one of his colleagues transform into a devil. To further look into these devils, the two boys go a Sabbath, which is an immoral party where devils commonly form. Like anticipated, devils begin possessing the guests of this party, until one eventually possesses Akira. Just when it looks like Akira is done for, he is able to overcome the devil, becoming what he dubs “Devilman”. The once gentle and kind-hearted Akira is now vulgar, rude, and tough. However the one trait he keeps is the sympathy he keeps for other people, crying whenever other people feel sad.
If it wasn’t clear already, Devilman Crybaby isn’t a show for everyone. Its heavy gore and sexual nature can be a big turn-off for many. However, looking at aspects like plot and character, I believe Devilman Crybaby does a great job. The plot, while not being super complex, is great. There were some necessary updates to the original script, like Akira crying and the track and field aspect. These were pretty hit or miss for the most part but it worked in making a 46 year old manga feel fresh.
As characters, Akira and Ryou play off of each other nicely because of their difference in morality. Akira still cares for other people, even after his transformation into Devilman. However, Miki felt like a relatively awkward character in the show. She doesn’t really do much until the later episodes, and even then her character wasn’t the best. I can’t say much more without spoiling though.
Now to get into the shows strong point: the directing. Masaaki Yuasa (Ping Pong the Animation and The Tatami Galaxy) is an extremely well renowned director, and he didn’t disappoint. He brought his unconventional animation style in order to portray devils truly as otherworldly creatures. Unfortunately, Devilman Crybaby isn’t as polished as his other works, having the animation look off at times. In terms of the soundtrack, there’s one very good and memorable song, but there isn’t much past that.
Overall, Devilman Crybaby is a very high quality show. It gives us crazily animated devil fights along with an interesting conflict of morals between Ryou and Akira. Like I said previously, some of the modernization attempts fall flat, especially towards the end, and the animation isn’t always consistent, but that doesn’t take away the good of the show. I would consider Devilman Crybaby to be a very strong 8/10, mostly because of the strength of the main characters and directing.