Akira is just another normal kid in modern-day Tokyo, until an old friend of his, Ryo, shows up and turns his world upside down. Akira learns that there is an upcoming war of demons on humanity and he has just been enlisted for a major tour of duty. But the only way to fight a demon is with their power, so Akira and Ryo risk a dangerous ceremony in an attempt to create humanity's only hope: the powerful Devilman.
For a more visual version of this review, check out this Youtube video: /watch?v=zwiD1Eyk5kk
Back when the original TV series was airing, there wasn't any real adaptation of Devilman. Sure the original TV series existed, but it went on a different path than the manga. However in 1987, we finally saw an OVA that promised us to follow more closely to the manga.
Was it any good? Well, it depends on how you watch it. If you watch it with knowing what Devilman is about, then you have an interesting and entertaining adaptation. But if you watch it as an introduction to Devilman, it might just
be an introduction and nothing that special.
Unlike Fist of the North Star the movie and Macross: Do you remember Love which not only introduces itself but also retold the story, Devilman directly following what was shown in the first chapters with no real finally. Then again, those two where movies who had to summarize several episodes under two hours, while this was just one OVA in less than an hour. Hell this OVA is called “The Birth”, so you can’t expect much than an origin story.
But I digress.
This OVA dumps allot of exposition. Which would be good if there WAS more than just two OVAs created. Yes, this is one of those OVAs where it’s only two episodes. So you should probably see this as long episode rather than anything else.
Because of this, the OVA sets up a decent atmosphere of both Horror and Suspense as demons can pop up at any moment. It helps as Akira has to man up and fight back. The story might be not as good as it could had been, it still presents what we should know and it does it well. Some people might say that this is played way too fast as this takes place during one afternoon. But considering the extremes Akira faces and how they are pushing him to a corner, you can’t really blame it.
As you might expected, this movie has a good enough of gore. It’s that type of 80’s gore that everyone likes. Uncensored, but not polished.
If I had to compare this to the source material, this isn't as crazy or humours and makes the situation look darker than what it was originally portrayed. But I think it’s decent as this tries much to contrast to the TV-series.
And you can tell by its design. The design is spot on. When I think of Devilman, this is the version I think off. Not that the TV-series was bad, but since this adaptation demanded a menacing look, this is the closest version to match the manga. The characters themselves are fun to watch, with Akira trying to be reasonable and Ryo who is an extremist. Too bad they won’t leave much of an impression unless you know who these characters are. The voice casting is good, exactly what I would think when I hear these characters. Akira is voiced by Zarbon, which actually is fitting when you think about it.
But for the LOVE OF GOD, don’t expect the same quality for the English dub. Let me just say that they might missed the point that these characters aren't delinquents with foal mouths.
So if you ever wanted to get into Devilman but can’t find the first chapters, this is the way to start. If you feel like that this one didn't hooked you up, then the next one will defiantly help you out.
This is one of the first animes i ever saw and considering it’s themes it’s clear to me now that when I began my anime journey this anime in particular probably had a profound effect on my young mind for both good and bad reasons.
Akira Fudou is your typical kind hearted high school student. He looks after cute little bunny rabbits while at school and has a nice girl friend (not dating) that he lives with since his parents are away on an excavation in the South Pole.
One day while walking home from school Ryo, an old friend from Akira’s childhood turns up out of
the blue and demands that Akira follow him as he has something very important to discuss with him.
After Akira agrees to hear him out Ryo starts to explain the horrifying details of what had recently become of his father who was a scientist.
Ryo’s father seemed to have gone mad after investigating the existence of demons.
At this point I should mention this first movie is somewot slow placed while the foundation of the story is being laid down. It’s a bit of a drag but stick with it as things start to spice up soon enough.
Ryo takes Akira back to his father’s study where a lot of his research is being kept. Here Akira gets to actually SEE some of the crazy revelations Ryo’s father discovered.
After that, all hell breaks loose…..why…because due to their snooping around with demon research / artefact’s, they get the attention of actual demons who start to chase them down.
So after some more entertaining chase / demon encounters Ryo & Akira come to the realisation that the world will soon become exposed to the threat of a global demon outbreak…..so the question is what can they do to stop it…
Well that’s the best part which I am not going to spoil for you…let’s just say it involves performing a certain ritual that involves alcohol, debauchery and violence.
Since the name of this anime is Devilman it should be obvious at some point someone or something will become the Devilman….and no surprise to anyone who has seen the cover art who it’s going to be.
So after DEVILMAN IS BORN true insanity ensues and Holy Shit the last 10 minutes of this anime is hardcore violence at its best.
So yeah, in summary the first half of this anime is mostly explanation and build up for the last 15 minutes of pure awesomeness…..It was kinda worth the wait but sadly just after it starts getting really interesting its over……and at the time I watched this there was no way for me to know there was a part II so I was like Goddamn it I wanna know what happens next!
Then luckily for me 2 weeks later (at the time 1993) on Channel 4 part two was broadcast….which I have also reviewed
Keeping in mind this is late 80’s animation it is pretty decent…I mean the character designs look a bit cutesy at first but when the demons get involved things change quite dramatically.
The standout thing for me in this movie is the strange opening sequence, the return to the strange opening sequence in the middle of the movie and the super gory action sequence at the end.
Compared to today’s standards it’s not top notch but I feel it has still aged pretty well and is still very watchable.
I like the music in Devilman…its got a melancholy feel to it. The English dub is really quite comical to me but not in a bad way…I mean, re-watching this now I can understand why some people may find it korny but overall I think it works out very well. Devilman in particular say’s some really funny shite when he’s killing demons…certainly not the sweet boy Akira he was before.
Overall sound is pretty decent…compared to the original Jap language it’s a bit spicier which worked out well enough in my opinion
Devilman has an extremely small cast, which works in its favour. There’s pretty much Akira / Devilman, Ryo, Miki (barely) and the various demons Akira and Ryo have to face.
For such a short anime I think the characters are developed well enough…In particular you get good foundation for Akira’s character which is the most important thing.
I enjoy this anime on two levels, the first being nostalgia. I remember how confused and weird I felt about rooting for a demon to suceed…..this was way before the more recently accepted anti-hero boom we are surrounded by today.
The second level is the action in this anime is pretty hardcore, animated decently, barebone and VERY enjoyable to watch.
It’s a short fun crazy ride… I have enjoyed this title for many years and overall still find it of a high standard even after all these years.
Value / Final Thoughts
Over time Demon protagonist’s have become more common place in movies (Hellboy) and especially in anime, to name a few: Hellsing, Vampire hunter D, Inu Yasha, the cast of Saiyuki, Chrono from Chrono Crusade etc. So Devilman kinda loses the anti-hero shock value it had around the original time it was made.
But like I said before being very young and coming from a Christian upbringing in particular made this anime quite the shell-shocker.
I was hesitant to write this review at first as I did feel a lot of my praise for it would come from nostalgia but after re-watching it I am now reassured it is actually a quality title that still holds up to this very day
It’s short and sweet, thought provoking and many do hail it as a cult classic.
Surprisingly though I found more reviews for this anime on IMDB that on various anime sites….however the manga is vastly more popular than the anime incarnations.
well....i´ll guess it was COMPLETLY my mistake that i took this anime quite ´lightly´ back in 1999,as a 13 year old to find this kind of anime in a bargain bin on vhs and at first it din´t look that scared, till i watched it afterwards, in those days it was like `anime´s forbidden fruit´ to younger kids .
The ´anime master of horror´ Go Nagai ( with respect ofc)
seemed already made a t.v series of devilman in the 1970´s and a movie called Devilman v.s Mazinger Z wich both i never saw aired and over the decades made short horrorstorie´s or ova´s like
Violence Jack that was some sort of culthits among older animefans like this one . The story itself to me was quite interesting ( although the 1st 5 min or so with the demonic slaughter intro made me a bit wondering), it was´nt too complex luckely, though it really started to be very dark for me .Animationwise it´s sooo 80´s u can´t miss it with some faults here and there as usual but at parts well made, i like handmade anime its just how u look at it today.Furtheron in the story after some gruesome scene´s some Makai ( demons) turn up to silence the two protagonists and at that point the late 80´s tracks start to kick off, but only for moment, moving on to the last 15 min of the ova. After seeing some good action scene´s and saw the explenation of the story, i remember the bit in the rockdisco where a socalled´ ritual supposed to be held , and that one of the two protagonists wanted to start to kicking it off by slashing everybody for a certain reason ( no i´m not gonna spoil THAT much) and well.... the violence was soo damn filty, soo much red and soo much brutal demonslaughter i almost choked out for a minute and was totally scared afterwards, i hardly slept . i had had first some sort of filthy disgust against akira ( the main person) because WHY had he killed those demons so brutal and inhumane, but seeing the 2nd ova part even how sickminded and terrified i was i understood part of why he turned into a sickening demon, together with the ova series and short movie wich came years later, that are overall softer somewhat. but man oh man did i had a harsh time with ths one, thumbs up