2018 comes out blasting with Masaaki’s Devilman Crybaby. The most ultra-violent, sexual, and demonic thing to ever touch Netflix. Devilman Crybaby is also the first of Netflix’s new anime push. Which is pretty insane given the content in the show. I thought I knew how crazy anime could get thanks to series like Berserk, but Devilman takes it to a whole new level. Before I even begin my review I have to say, please do not let your children watch this show. I repeat: do not let your children, let alone anyone religious, watch this.
The anime is so intense and fast-paced that I am afraid of what it would do to those easily influenced.
First, let’s talk about the crazy animation. Often times it feels rushed as if some of the scenes weren’t all the way finished. The anime is made by professionals but because of the style, looks more amateurish. Maybe that was the intended effect for the show… It is ok though because when the action gets going, and the scenes get trippy, it is pure bliss. Pure, unfiltered violence synced with one of the best OST to ever grace a modern anime. There are quite a few fights, without going into spoilers, that will keep shounen fans happy. Some of the best fights happen before the show even climaxes. Second, the characters are downright memorable, even minor characters that may not seem like much come back in the most shocking ways.
What elevates this show but also brings it down is the plot. Like a double-edged sword, it cuts but at what cost. The show is about a teen using the powers of the devil to prevent demons from taking over the world. The plot is simple, but the themes are so complex that you could write a thesis paper on it. If I would have to say which theme hits home the most it would have to be religious themes. After all, if you are going to have a show about demons walking the Earth of course God and a person’s faith would play a part.
Furthermore, everything about the plot is fast-paced and saying “0 to a 100 real quick” could actually sum up the show nicely. Episodes hit hard on emotional and plot levels, but before we can process it we are pushed to the next extreme scene. This is what comes down to the show’s biggest problem: pacing. The scenes need room to breathe, and to make the audience feel the full effect, but that doesn’t happen. There are scenes in this show that will be talked about for years, but there should be more time to think about them.
Overall, Netflix finally has a title that can hang with the best, while still being unique only to their streaming site. Devilman Crybaby will easily grace the top of most animation lists this year. I just can’t help but think what it could have been with better pacing and tighter animation.