Like many a violent and graphic anime, while Devilman Crybaby starts off strong, it loses steam quickly and avoids the more interesting avenues it could have taken.
Akira, your usual kind and gentle protagonist, naturally has quite a few friends. There is Miko, someone who is on the track team with him, and then Miki who is kind of like a sister to him? It’s complicated. You see, Akira’s parents are world renowned doctors so his parents left him with Miki’s parents. So while they are brother and sister like, there are times when Akira’s mind wanders. This is especially true after his childhood friend Ryo, who strangely is an American professor despite his age, pops up, takes him to a sex club, and Akira becomes a Devilman.
With that, Akira goes from looking like a middle school kid to a college hunk. But this is the change that many who seemingly got possessed by demons go through. They get enhanced in ways which make them physical specimens and many, like Akira, take advantage of it. But, with these new powers, Akira doesn’t just get to become a track star. Nope, Ryo has plans for Akira and his newfound powers. All of which cumulate to the exposure of demons and what seemingly will become the end of the world.
Nice and adorable characters are a dime a dozen. Nearly every season is dominated by nice guys who gain magical abilities, find themselves in a harem, or are transported into a magical world. So, Akira’s journey from this nice kid to this hunk of a dude, who they even accentuate the bulge of, was interesting. Especially because, despite these changes, you can see at his heart he was still Akira.
Yes, he was now this fast runner, could transform into a Devilman, and so much more, but he was still this kid who rarely saw his parents and got excited about seeing them. Someone who liked to mess with this kid Taro about this food he liked to eat, and was very much a sweetheart. It is like, surface level Akira changed drastically but he didn’t become a douche about it. Nor did he go from some underdog persona to a big-time hero. Did he take advantage of the newfound powers, yeah, but… I guess what I’m trying to say is he gradually changed but over the course of a few months he doesn’t become a whole different person.
Had So Many Ways It Could Have Been Awesome
Which is where the show could have really made things interesting and prosper, if it wanted to. For really, there were so many avenues this could have went down. The demon which Akira shared his body with was Amon, one of the top demons known to demonkind. So there could have been this battle for the body, similar to what we see in Mr. Robot. One which became more and more difficult as Akira relied on Amon’s powers to be a better track racer and also defeat demons.
Then, of course, there was Silene and Kaim who were major players in the Demon League. With Silene being Amon’s former lover, and Akira’s sexual urges becoming what they were, that could have led to a very complicated relationship. Especially since Kaim was in love with Silene but continuously blown off.
Lastly, there could have just been Akira trying to hide all the things which changed with him. For, as noted below, it isn’t like these changes were small or gradual. They all happened overnight. So him trying to hide them or shy away from life, if not be seen as a new person, surprisingly didn’t happen and become part of the story.
Like any program which relies on violence, there comes a point where you get used to the blood, guts, disembowelments and etc. Which, thankfully, and I say this in retrospect, gets made up for by Ryo quickly compensating for what could be seen as possible failures which happen one episode after another. That is, the killing of all the aforementioned storylines to where Ryo has to pick up the slack. Which he does in such a way which doesn’t bring the series back to its former heights, but at least a good enough baseline to make you look fondly back on the show.
Showing Kids Only Become Prejudice Adults If Their Community Fosters Them To Be
It was a very interesting thing to watch these kids, as Akira took rocks and more from the adults, walk up to him and embrace him. Especially as Miki wrote this long social media post talking how Akira is still the same crybaby she has always known. In that, we get reminded how the way you show yourself to a child, how you treat them, is so important to their development and what they accept as right and wrong.
Take for example Akira teasing Taro when it came to that noodle food. Because Taro’s father did that to him, Akira, he thought it was appropriate to do to Taro. The same goes when it comes to what the adults were doing. They were throwing rocks at what they were told were bad people and despite the cuts and bruises, they kept doing as their examples did.
Yet, there comes a point for most people, child or otherwise, where seeing someone hurt, and not defending themselves, clicks something in you. It’s why Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. used the tactics they did for civil rights. Though their presence incited violence, them being beaten, dragged, maimed, and sometimes worse, inspired more allies than enemies. Especially those who could see through blind rage and hatred.
Thus giving Devilman Crybaby a bit more depth than I was expecting.
So, No One Takes Notice of These Changes As they Happen?
Only in passing is it ever noted how a handful of characters have drastically changed in appearance. Which, considering all the rumors going around about people doping, alongside being possessed by demons, it is hilarious how no one any real notice of Akira and the others changing till the end of the show. Making you wonder if they thought puberty really could, basically overnight, lead to someone like Akira at least shooting up 1 ½ feet, gaining abs, and his other physical attributes?
The Violence and Sexual Content Lose Their Luster Eventually
It seems every season now, there is a show like Juni Taisen which starts off so good and the violence just pops in such a way that you feel hooked. However, and this is after years of watching ultra-violent Asian and Eastern European movies, you get adjusted to it. Heck, if you are a Quentin Tarintino fan, the violence you see in a lot of anime, including this one, by episode 3 or 5, becomes nothing to you. And that also includes the sexual content as well.
And when that happens, you are left with but the characters, their story, and potential and once that luster wears off with Devilman Crybaby, you really are left with a few episodes that are just dull. I’m talking about the kind where, because it is a Netflix program and you made it that far, you figure you minas well just watch the last few episodes. It isn’t like you got to wait weeks and weeks to know how it ends.
On The Fence
I personally liked the raps in the show and the flow of the voice actors. Granted, sometimes they were a bit annoying, but for the most part, I was bopping my head a bit.
Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)
I’m pulled toward labeling this positive but am held back primarily because there are a few episodes where the show is just dead. They took out some of the more compelling storylines to ultimately make sure this show could be a one season program. Which is what sort of pulls me to the positive label. Not enough shows get to the point and with the way characters are handled, life or death, the shows doesn’t drag too many things out. The problem is though, in not dragging things out, it leaves us sometimes underwhelmed and wanting more character development and background. If not more interaction with Akira and us getting to see him explore his relationship with these people more.
Which is ultimately why this was labeled as Mixed. While better than most shows which front load itself with graphic sexual content and violence, it still ultimately meets the same fate as many. It brings us a strong pilot and ends with the kind of finish which doesn’t leave you wanting to scream how awesome the show was, but more so say it’s good enough to finish despite some of its issues.
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: Not yet, according to Bustle.com
|Similar to Castlevania, Devilman Crybaby is brilliantly violent but unlike the former, this has a story which sells you episode 1.|
|As we see Akira have a brand new body, that takes getting used to for everybody, we are introduced to the upper echelon of demons.|
|The pseudo-saint that is Miki is dragged into Akira’s mess and seemingly, he isn’t the only one which presents a threat to her life.|
| We finally get to meet Akira’s parents but, unfortunately, the reunion is brief.|
|As Devilman Crybaby finally has Silene meet Akira, we are reminded that with Akira’s body changing, he has certain urges.|
|As Ryo’s plan gets put into action, the still unnamed demon league scrambles to handle the exposure.|
| Ryo has brought hell on Earth and with Akira trying to fix what he started, he is forced to watch the world burn alone.|
| Devilman Crybaby is trying to pull out everything but the kitchen sink to throw at us but, is it too little too late?|
| If you had any sort of emotional investment in the characters, you might wanna grab a tissue.|
| And so Devilman Crybaby ends on a surprisingly high note. One which, strangely, may make you feel sorry for the last demon Akira faces.|
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