Devilman: Crybaby

devilman 1

The Devilman manga series was initially published in the early 70s. It’s been adapted to anime a few times since then—the latest of which is Devilman: Crybaby. Boy, this one was a trip.

The only way I can think to describe Devilman: Crybaby is as a more modern mix of Berserk and Claymore that’s kind of like Parasyte, but not really. Simply put, demons exist but must take over another organism in order to fully manifest. Once they do this, they can pretty much wreak whatever havoc they want. However, if an individual’s willpower is strong enough, they can keep the demon at bay, and harness its power as their own. The series follows an ensemble cast of sorts, but the primary focus is on Akira Fudo—a so-called “Devilman” who has the power of a demon, yet still maintains the heart and will of a human.

If you’re an avid anime viewer, one of the first thing’s you’ll notice is that the show looks very different from your typical series of today; that’s by design. Director Masaaki Yuasa (Kaiba, Ping Pong the Animation) has made a bit of a name for himself by daring to be different. There aren’t a whole lot of studios willing to gamble on that kind of vision, but this wasn’t an issue for Yuasa, as the series is animated by his own relatively new studio, Science SARU. The only major newcomer to the crew is writer Ichiro Okouchi (script and series composition for Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion). Aside from him, art director Ryou Kouno (Kaiba, Mob Psycho 100), sound director Eriko Kimura (Ping Pong, Kekkaishi, Lu over the wall) and music producer Kensuke Ushio (Ping Pong, A Silent Voice) have all previously worked with Yuasa.

Speaking of Kimura, Ushio, and Yuasa, the most outstanding feature of Devilman: Crybaby is its overall scene and sound composition. The original soundtrack is very good, even if a little redundant, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better blending of sound effects, music, and imagery in any series across any medium—at least not recently.

While its underlying theme is more subtly spelled out than in something like Death Parade, Devilman: Crybaby ultimately tries to determine what humanity is, and under what circumstances people tend to lose it. It’s an interesting premise, and it packs a couple of unexpected twists and turns. The problem is that, at just 10 episodes, things go from very ridiculous to very serious very quickly. One of the ways Yuasa and Okouchi attempt to tell such a large-scale story in such a short amount of time by simply explaining certain plot components through character conversation. Doing so leads to some occasionally awkward and/or confusing moments. I can’t help but feel that 12 or even 11 episodes would have been perfect. Stretching the story out for even just one more episode might have allowed viewers the opportunity to actually see some of the things hastily explained through dialogue, as well as provide further development for some the supporting characters.

Devilman: Crybaby doesn’t hit with the full force that it could have, in large part due to the hasty conflict introduction, escalation, and resolution. Still, it shook me a bit and left a lasting impression. Definitely give this one a try if you’re looking for a series with a dark, surreal feel, and don’t mind violence, sex, and drugs as reoccurring themes. It might even be worth watching based on sound and image arrangement alone.

Story/Character: 8

Art: 7

Music/Sound Design: 9.5

Enjoyment: 8.5

Averaged Score: 8.25

I don’t like giving shows a final rating with a .25 or a .75. In such instances, I’ll either round up or down to the nearest .5 based on overall enjoyment. In this case, the Final Score on Weeabros will be 8.5, and the MAL rating will be an 8 because I have to instead round to the nearest whole number.

Check out the podcast to hear more of my thoughts on the series in addition to WeeaBroShawn’s. *Spoiler Alert* He didn’t like it.

Devilman: Crybaby is legally available on Netflix.

The Weeabros don’t own the image used in this review, bro. It belongs to Aniplex, Dynamic Planning, and Science SARU.

 

14 thoughts on “Devilman: Crybaby

    1. Lolzzz. Maybe it’d be better to say “less specifically” spelled out.

      Yeah, Ryou says people are weak and will turn on each other, Akria then screams “No! People are still good” and so on, but there’s a little more to be inferred from that than in Death Parade where Decim or Onna is literally saying “I don’t think putting people in high pressure, competitive life-and-death situations is a good method for testing their character because A, B, and C.

      There’s nothing subtle about Devilman’s imagery or points of conflict, but I think the background questions of what humanity is, and when people gain/lose it is more so just showed or implied through character action than it is literally explained by it.

      Let’s consider the endings of each, too. In Decim’s basement/warehouse scene with Onna, he again says I brought you here and did A because I needed to B and now we’re at C. His moment of humanity is shown just prior to that, then everything is explained for us. Let’s compare it to Ryou’s realization at the end of Devilman. In that case, we are shown that Ryou is also capable of human emotion, but we don’t get the A,B, and C explanation of why. It isn’t really necessary to have that because you can pretty easily figure it out, but again, it’s not spelled out as overtly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d normally say that its ending is open, rather than subtle.
        It seems like you’re arguing “Show vs Tell”.
        Besides that, Crybaby isn’t really that deft with its themes throughout its run either- Akira basically does the same thing where he monologues the message of the show to a crowd. It was totally in character for him, sure, but it was still “explaining” rather than showing- pretty similar to Death Parade.
        It’s really pretty overt- and that’s why I don’t agree with that specific praise.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Subtle might not be the right word for it, but I don’t think “open” is, either; it seemed pretty definitive to me.

        I can buy slightly into the argument about Akira explaining the message if only for the one scene near the end where, like you said, he more literally tries to push the message by asking a crowd what they’re doing, and why they hate each other.

        Still the message didn’t come off as as blatantly obviously to me, though, or Shawn (from what I could tell when we talked about it).

        I think the key difference is that in Death Parade the theme or question is explored repeatedly through multiple instances that all start and end with more or less the same message. In Crybaby, that same idea isn’t explored with the same level of redundancy. It doesn’t hammer it into your head the same way up until the final act of the series, that is.

        And have I mentioned before that I applaud your debative spirit and contributions to the discussions? One of these days, I will convince you to come onto the show to talk with me.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will admit that I’m more partial to stories that commit fully to exploring as much of their themes in as much depth as possible-
        But that is not Devilman Crybaby. And that’s perfectly fine for me too. It paints with very broad strokes, whereas Death Parade focuses a little more on the minutiae.
        I actually kinda think of Devilman Crybaby as a sort of modern day parable. Then again, that might sound a little weird…
        But yeah, I love debates and discussions. Doubly so if it’s about anime!

        But yeah, I’m a busy student. I haven’t even had time to post this week!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope. I have a yuuuugeee gap in knowledge when it comes to a lot of the more old skool series from the 70’s-90’s. I was a 90’s kid growing up stateside, and learned of anime a little too late in life. That is to say, most of the stuff I’ve seen from before the late 90’s is, like, Thundercats, Voltron, etc. Fist of the North Star has been on my list of a while now, though.

      I actually read your update post a little earlier this morning. I know I’m new to all of this, but I had no idea I was following someone who’s been at it for 9 years. THAT is dedication to the game, bruh.

      “I don’t have all the answers, but feel free to ask.”
      I’ll remember this haha. I’m actually kicking around some ideas right now to try to more sustainably grow this blog/podcast. Weeb life ain’t cheap to begin with, and putting content out there in a way that’s easy for people to access seemingly comes at a cost.

      On a loosely related note, once I get around to Super, maybe we can try for a discussion on the rises and falls of Dragonball in general…possibly everything from DB to DB Super.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rocco B

        Don’t worry bruh :D, I’m also a nineties kids too. I loved thunder cats. In the UK, we got bits and bats of the first season, but never got a second season.

        I do understand that upkeeping a weeb life style isn’t easy. And it can be expensive. All I can say is keeping writing and experimenting. See what your comfortable with and then ask yourself, if I was reading this post, will it be appealing to me. For meta tags and such, I do have a blogger in mind that can explain things in a simple way. I tend to yabber and bore everyone with it xDD.
        There is collaboration, with other bloggers. Take the plunge. I highly recommend the otaku judge, just ask to see if he will do a collab with you. Can’t hurt to ask right. Keep blogging bruh :D.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, man. I don’t know a darn thing about html, really, so maybe a crash course in the whole meta data thing would be a good idea.

        Yeah it’s awesome to be able to talk with other enthusiasts! I’ve a got a few people I’m hoping to get onto the podcast for joint discussions. More people seem interested in written collaboration (which I guess stands to reason cuz these are blogs) but I think engaging is spoken conversation about it is even more exciting, and can appeal to people who don’t read a whole lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Rocco B

        I know you asked if I could do a DB talk. TBH, I pretty much spent most of my blogging career either not asking or being asked to do a collab. So when ppl ask me now, I find it weird. It’s pretty much ingrained in to my psyche. It’s no ones fault. It’s an issue that I just can’t seem to move past. Which is why I tell others, to ensure that they don’t make the same mistakes I did. Or hope they don’t at least.

        Pod casts is a tough gig, whether it is on your blog or pod. I hope they come on board. And hope to look forward to it :D.

        Liked by 1 person

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