Demons exist and their power is beyond what humans can fathom. In fact they are so strong that humans do not stand a chance against them in a fight. The only thing strong enough to defeat a demon is another demon and it is through this logic that Ryo Asuka hatches the plan to have his good-hearted friend Akira Fudo possessed by a demon. If a person is of pure of heart then he might be able to control the demon that possesses him and thereby acquire power equal to a demon. After raising some hell in a club the plan works and Akira is possessed by the powerful demon known as Amon. Now Akira is mankind's sole champion of justice against the hidden demon menace that has plagued humanity since the dawn of time.
The story is epic! Demons lived on Earth many years ago, before being chased out by cavemen, God and the Angels, before Satan betrays them and saves several demons! Akira and Ryu two best friends decide to prevent the apocalypse to be caused by the demons! In that moment...both their lives change forever as Akira turns into DEVILMAN!!!
The series is filled with violence, gore, nudity, destruction and some disturbing images. The series is filled with great characters, awesome story lines, and some pretty incredible stuff!
What are ya waiting for? Go read DEVILMAN!!!!
Then check out its sequel...Jack...VIOLENCE JACK!!!
Considered to be author's most iconic work, Devilman has created certain standards for works to come after it and could be considered a pioneer in that respect. However, it is questionable how well can it cope with tastes of today and not be cast aside as a mere superheroic work with horror elements.
One of weakest and probably most prominent aspects is its artwork; which could repel readers immediately on the basis of its visuals. However, there is more than it meets the eye in this clunky and out-of-place cartoonish style. Emotional overtones simply ooze out of panels, while anatomical accuracy is sacrificed for the sake of distorted depictions which pertain to violence and chaos as one of the themes. Nagai's expressionistic style subtly flirts with reality, thus never makes violence seem to be there for the sake of violence, but instead experiments with abstraction of it.
Main focus, as far as characters are concerned, is on Akira. What matters about him, is how he reflects the main theme of Devilman. Because, in a paradoxical way, Akira, in order to defeat evil, has to accept his inner evil. He also serves as a contrast to humankind, whom in their inability for acceptance of aforementioned turns into a mindless monsters - or better put, succumb to their demons. Truth be told, you can't even consider Akira to be your traditional hero -- especially if you tackle Devilman under scrutiny -- because his individuality is tossed aside and he's instead used to portray things on a grand scale.
The world of Devilman is multi-layered and it is very difficult to analyze its elements individually and in a typical way, because they are all juxtaposed into a coherent unity. Especially its story, which can appear simplistic, but in truth is so complex that with each re-read you discover more about it. Not to mention it tackles philosophies from Buddhism, Zen and even Christianity. I would say that it focuses mostly on duality, or rather the absurdity of belief that there are two separate extremes. The opposites must be conciliated and balance each other so to achieve a dynamic equilibrium, which is -- in Devilman -- manifested in the acceptance of ones inner demons.
Colors of Devilman are not black and white; there is no strict dualism which helps us create moral separations. It ventures so far to question God himself and makes us wonder what truly is evil. read more
Devilman, well-known for its gory death scenes, actually has a pretty interesting concept behind it. Unfortunately, its execution doesn't live up to it. Considering the few amount of reviews about this, and none very detailed, I'm leaving this one here.
STORY (score: 6/10)
Divided into 5 volumes, with 4 chapters each, its plot can actually be seen in four different stages for better reviewing this trainwreck. Yes, in a series where the parts actually build up and pay off this is a wrong method, but that's not the case of a bipolar series like this. So the stages are: chapters 1-3, then 4-11, 12-19 and 20 alone.
Chapters 1-3 (score: 6/10)
It starts with a scene from ages past about demons roaming the land and a mystical being appearing and condensing them into a... something. Then it cuts off from that and goes to Akira.
Right at the start, you can see how characterization is dreadful, it shows just a stupid scene apparently trying to tell how Akira and Miki are extremelly cliché, then goes right into the story with Ryo. It presents what the story is gonna be all about, which is actually a fantastic idea. Demons are coming back after thousands of year buried in ice, even referencing Dante's Divine Comedy. Its all well explained in these first chapters what happened to them, how they are, what they're capable of, and what they intend.
Then Ryo tells Akira to merge with a demon to be able to fight them. Decent start, what could go wrong?
Chapters 4-11 (score: 1/10)
Trainwreck. After Akira becomes Devilman, it becomes episodic demon fighting, with lots of asspulled ridiculous powers that were never presented before (I mean, fighting with eyebrows? firing lightinings with them? are you kidding me?). Devilman will be fighting random demons that appear out of nowhere, with failed attempts at drama by introducing a new character and killing her off in the next pages, showing the flat love interest going through peril, and all that serves no purpose AT ALL to the story that's coming in the next stage, it's all pointless, absolutely. Why waste so much time with this? It does not provide any characterization, nor any plot development in the slightest.
Chapters 12-19 (score: 7/10)
THIS is where something finally happens. Remember how the synopsis is about saving humanity from demons? So, this is where they actually do something besides a few of them appearing out of nowhere to fight Devilman. I have to say, without spoiling, that this part has great strategizing and twists, it's really the best part of the story, but it still suffers from a few things:
1 - Pacing. It's all rushed, has timeskips and a few plot devices to try making things faster. Maybe if it hadn't wasted 8 chapters on nothing, the pacing could've been much better on this stage.
2 - Pointlessness. It introduces big demons and a sphere of light (it's possible to deduce what it is, could've been used greatly) that are forgotten later on.
3 - It fails to pass the message. It tries telling about the malice of humanity, but it lacks the drama necessary for it to be meaningful. Akira will be shedding a tear, but the reader won't feel a thing, because the characters are flat and don't feel human at all.
When you reach chapter 19, you'll probably be wondering "how the hell is this gonna end in 1 chapter?" There you go.
Chapter 20 (score: 2/10)
Were you expecting an epic final fight? A mindblowing conclusion? Well, think again. Not only it's extremelly rushed, it fails to explain some stuff that is going on. A sphere of light appears doing something that doesn't make sense, is it the same one that was presented earlier? And what is that in the background of the last page? Is it that same light? What is going on there? No answers.
And the last dialogue, that actually presents some relevant information (which is why I gave it a 2 instead of 1), also adds a new one that makes you wonder if the demons are retarded, because something they did thousands of years ago doesn't follow any logic.
Remember the beginning of the first chapter that showed that scene from ages past? What happened there is never explained too.
ART (score: 5/10)
The artwork is very inconsistent. You see, in the first chapter you'll be seeing the scene from ages past about the demons, and that's very well drawn.
But when it gets to Akira story, you see how shitty it gets. Character designs are all cartoonish, not fitting at all for a story about demons and gore, there's a lot of lazyness such as drawing floating heads to avoid drawing backgrounds and bodies.
Then why did I give it a score 5? Because sometimes it's awesome. In the 3rd stage of the story there are cities, explosions and stuff, and it's all detailed. So by balancing the shit parts with the good ones, it comes out a 5.
CHARACTER (score: 2/10)
Ryou turned out to be well written by the end, truly a good character, with past, goals, morals and development. Not a single one of the other characters is like that.
Akira is one-dimensional and inconsistent right at the start. Ryou says he's a good person with a kind heart - never given a second dimension to back that up - but then Akira will be going all "fuck yeah, I'll become Devilman and go on a rampage on those demons". Then he becomes violent because of the demon inside him, but later on he becomes reasonable again for no reason. Poorly developed, with no second dimension and inconsistent first dimension.
Miki is a cliché zero-dimensional character that doesn't do anything besides trying to be a love interest and make drama.
And the side characters? There's Miki's parents and brother, which are as flat as possible, and... Well, anybody else? The demons? Most get no characterization at all, and the ones who get are only hazy pasts and exist only as devices to fight Akira in the second stage of the story.
ENJOYMENT (score: 5/10)
I really, really wanted to like this manga. It had a fantastic concept, but as soon as I reached the second volume, it started to be a pain to continue reading. Thankfully chapters 12-19 saved this, or the enjoyment value would be around 2.read more
This manga is an experience. Go Nagai experiments with genres, style and tone ultimately creating a story that is incoherent, full of nonsensical plot twists that culminate in a truly bizarre anti-climax ending. Amidst all the chaos, you may find elements you enjoy, but they are likely to be scarce as the manga has no focus whatsoever.
Devilman starts as an origin story for the eponymous character, only far more disturbing than your typical western comic book. This is typical of Go Nagai's work. There's plenty of violence, gore and rape from the beginning. This is in stark contrast to the art style, depicting the human characters as if they're in a newspaper comic strip like Peanuts or Archie Comics. At the beginning, Devilman even has a minor conflict against some school bullies, in the same volume where demons murder a room of people for no reason.
The first arc largely focuses on Devilman keeping his secret identity and saving his would-be love interest from the demons, making use of one time powers such as eyebrow razors that are never seen again in any media. The early part of the manga has some promise, but the tone is completely inconsistent. Most of the time it's fairly lighthearted and Devilman is a normal high school student, but there's always a sense that the plot will go off the rails.
Eventually it does, rather spectacularly. This is what brings us to the next arc of Devilman and the best one in my opinion, the one shot villains, comprising only a few chapters of the entire manga. This is where possibly the best Devilman character, Jinmen, appears and has an amazingly dark, disgusting segment and is definitely worth a look. He would go on to become one of the most featured characters in the franchise and his entire section is excellent, barring maybe the finale of the fight which inserts a moral choice in place of a logical conclusion.
The fights in this manga tend to not be satisfying as Go Nagai will pull a new power for Devilman out of nowhere for him to win. The villains, besides Jinmen and Sirene, tend to be as undeveloped. The same goes for the main characters who largely exist as plot devices or symbols to be subverted, in place of good writing. It's a shame that Jinmen did not become the basis for a slew of one shots, as this whole arc comes to an abrupt stop to make way for build up into the ultimate anti-climax. The story veers off in so many directions it leaves no room for characterization.
Up until this point, Devilman has largely not faced any conflict he can't overcome by brute force and sheer dumb luck. It is now that the writer decides that he wants to make a political story like X-Men where the demons are a symbol for downtrodden people, or something. This is the point of no return where nothing begins to make sense. The story is effectively crumpled up and thrown in the garbage to make way for a massive plot twist. Everything that happened is completely meaningless and the final chapter in particular comes out of nowhere. It gets so abstract I had to read online to understand what the last pages are showing, as it's never explained.
Overall, this manga might be worth a read to form your own opinion. I read it in a day, and I can't say it wasn't captivating, but left me feeling very disappointed. Go Nagai would go on to make other mangas that while not as experimental and acclaimed, were far more coherent and focused properly on either the violence (Violence Jack) or experimental plot (Devilman Lady). To properly enjoy them it's a requirement to at least know the Devilman story. However if you're coming in to the original Devilman expecting a deep plot, good characters and art that isn't stuck in the 70s, I doubt you'll feel satisfied. read more