‘Devilman Crybaby’ is an Anime For Those Who Recognize 2020 as a Bleak and Grotesque Apocalyptic Hellscape
Posted on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 by Rafael Motamayor
(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)
It isn’t controversial to say 2020 has been a hellish year, and you don’t need us to explain why. But given all the awful things that have and continue to happen this year, it finally felt like the right time to explore Netflix’s first anime masterpiece on this column. This is the show that put the streaming giant on the anime community’s map as not only an acquirer of great shows, but as a powerhouse producer that allows for some of the boldest and most innovative anime shows around: Masaaki Yuasa’s Devilman Crybaby.
Based on the popular Devilman franchise from the ’70s created by Go Nagai, the father of the super robot genre, the show follows Akida Fudo’s journey from brooding teenage boy, to brooding half-demon. After his best friend Ryo shows up one day talking about how demons exist and want to destroy mankind, he takes Akira to a rave where he stabs a number of people in order to attract a demon to possess Akira and lend him its powers. But since Akira still has the heart of a sensitive and empathetic human, but the body of a demon, a “Devilman” is born.
What starts as a monster-of-the-week show –where Akira finds and kills a new demon that’s wreaking havoc – quickly evolves into a bleak exploration of bigotry, hate, humanity, and love, as the fear of the “other” causes the whole world to go insanely violent to the point of near extinction due to panic and bigotry. You know, complete fantasy. This show is bleak, and also very much NSFW, so be warned. Though Devilman Crybaby won’t be for everyone, if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best works of animation of the past decade.