Devilman Crybaby is a hell of a show. With insane visuals, a myriad of ultra-violence, and more sex than the entire Game of Thrones series, Devilman Crybaby is unlike anything else currently on Netflix. Would we recommend it? That depends on the kind of person you are. If you are ready for the things described above with a different animation style and dark wave music then yes. If you are expecting a more traditional anime, then no. God no.
For those who weren’t already fans of the series, Devilman Crybaby is the latest addition and adaptation to the original Devilman manga series that originally came out in 1972. By this we mean that the ending was unadulterated (unlike the 70’s anime). Devilman Crybaby is a visceral, violent, and a visual trip (and treat).
Before we get into this, this review comes with a warning. There are spoilers ahead, do not read or scroll further. Additionally, this review is written from the perspective of someone experiencing Devilman fresh with no comparison to the original manga or anime (also we watched the English dub).
I’ve witnessed a lot of criticisms on two particular items that I do not think are quite fair criticisms. One being that several people didn’t appreciate the soundtrack nor the animation style. Citing the animation as lazy or the soundtrack as too dark and electronic focused. While these criticisms are valid from a certain perspective, I think it’s safe to say that given the theme of the show itself it seemed to be the best direction to take. Plus, the director Masaaki Yuasa is known for taking some interesting steps and risks with animation. Now this isn’t to claim that it is his best work, just another case of him pushing the envelope a little.
The soundtrack is incredibly dark and relies heavily on dark wave, new retro wave, dance music, and the occasional hip hop scenes. A big critique I have seen is that this is used too much in the series. However, I’m here to argue that it is the best choice given that the show’s theme is devils and demons. With a genre like dark wave and synthwave being used, all the music always revolves around themes of dark dance halls, death, devils, satanic symbols, and futuristic landscapes. This seemed like the best choice considering the show embodies almost all of these themes to the “t”. And to be a bit biased for a moment, I love listening to dark wave and synthwave anyway, so getting a crazy bloody adventure set to the dark tones and beats (I think personally) was a great marriage. Although I will agree with one musical critique. Despite the opening song being in keeping with the other tracks, it didn’t feel like an OP. This track seemed like it would have fit better elsewhere within the series.
Now let’s touch on the animation. I understand why people are upset by it. Compared to other anime it takes a lot of liberties and blends hand drawn and CGI pretty frequently. And I’m sure the constant lush colors and Kill la Kill style scratch drawing could get old, but this seemed to be the style choice that Masaaki Yuasa chose for this show. Personally I enjoyed it a lot, it isn’t quite like other current animation that makes something distinctly anime. Aspects of it did look like it was heavily influenced by western animation style. However, I would argue that is the series taking things in a new direction.
My biggest issue with the series are not the events that occurred, nor the bleak ending, it revolved around the pacing. The story of the world was interesting enough but the series became a little hectic as soon as the show hit episode five. From that point forward everything moved by so fast there was hardly time to stop and absorb what was happening. The death of Miki’s entire family and the grieving period seemed far too fast. The death of the entire cast came too quickly (I do realize this was meant to come as a shock), however, this happened before some of the characters could have been expanded upon. For instance, I would have liked to get to know the gangster characters a bit more. Another aspect that moved too quickly was the transition of Miko’s personality. All of this could have been avoided had more episodes been made to flush the characters out more. Out of all the other critiques I have read online, this one is the most valid (at least to me).
That being said, I still really enjoyed Devilman Crybaby. The art and style sets it apart from all the other Netflix “original” anime that is currently available. The soundtrack was great, and the visuals were stunning. I will reiterate that this show is definitely not for everyone. The gratuitous amounts of pulp violence and sex can be a real turn off for some. However, for those who are looking for something dark and Berserk or Guilty Crown bleak, then look no further. It isn’t often we get a decent series where the “bad guys” win. Now that I have hit the tip of the iceberg with the Netflix Devilman series, it looks as though I’ll have to dive into all the Devilman adaptations now.Tweet