Devilman

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Devilman was a Manga and Anime series that combined superhero tropes with supernatural horror. It was made by the famous Japanese author Go Nagai in the 1970s. It became enormously popular and influential in Japan; it was later adapted in the form of a OVA and Live Action Movie. There was even an animated Crossover movie where Devilman met another of Nagai's famous creations, Mazinger Z.

The story involves a boy named Akira, who discoverers the Earth is being invaded by demons. His friend Ryo convinces him that the only way to stop the demons is to have him merge with one of them. Their plan succeeds, and Akira gains the ability to transform into a superpowerful, batlike demon. As Devilman, he fights various bizarre demons, most notably the harpy-like Siren, and the turtle-like Jinmen, while still trying to lead a normal life.

While the TV series was dark by Shonen anime standards, the manga and most other versions are pure horror, filled with things like graphic violence and dismemberments.

Ultimately, it is revealed that Ryo is actually Satan (And a hermaphrodite who's in love with Akira) and the two friends have a final battle that ends in the world being overrun by demons. Nagai's later series, Violence Jack, is set in the resulting postapocalyptic world.

To promote the final OVA Apocalypse of Devilman in 1999, Go Nagai resurrected the manga in two forms, one is a collection of short stories entitled Neo-Devilman where he and many other writers/artists (17 to be precise) contribute to the Devilman mythos with their own spin-offs and visions for the original tale, the other is where Nagai teamed up with Yuu Kinutani to create a 6 Volume manga simply called AMON, which is centered around and expanding the events between humanity's persecution of demon/human hybrids and the anticipation for Devilman vs. Satan's final battle; Go Nagai writes the tale while Yuu Kinutani pencils with his high detailed art. In 2005 these two teamed up again to create Strange Days, a single manga volume centered around a group of devilmen, Kira and Ryuu, clashing at Devilman vs. Satan's final battle, it tells their story of how their rivalry came to be during the persecution against devilmen.

Another Nagai series, Devilman Lady, was a reinterpretation of the original series except with the characters' genders switched, and a pseudo-scientific explanation for the "demons". It was similarly violent and controversial.

A new Devilman manga, Devilman Grimoire, began running in Champion Red magazine on 19 April 2012. It is written by Go Nagai and illustrated by Rui Takato. A remake of the original manga, it is set in the present day and stars Akira Fudo and Miki Makimura, who believes herself to be a witch. It features many characters from the original Devilman, but in different situations. It remains to be seen whether this series is connected to previous series of the Devilman universe (Devilman, Violence Jack, Devilman Lady and Shin Violence Jack), or whether it is an alternate universe.

Devilman appears in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen.


Tropes used in Devilman include:
  • Action Girl: Miki but only in the original manga, where she borders on being a Sukeban. She's downgraded to more of a neutral female. In contrast Miko becomes a bit of a demon hunter in the third OVA and is something of a right-hand-lady to Akira.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: After Miki is dismembered and Akira kills everyone involved, he hugs her head to his chest and sobs in an incredibly tear-jerking scene.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Miki takes a greater liking to Akira when he becomes a buffed-up badass.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Agira from Neo-Devilman, his devilmen powers is to absorb and assimilate anything to his body from weapons to demons and devilmen, he eventually absorbs legions of demons, in this vision Agira is the unnamed giant beast from the original manga that Devilman rides in the final battle against Satan with his multi-headed dragon.
  • Always Save the Girl: In contrast with the original manga where Miki dies and Devilman Akira loses faith in humanity to fight only for his devilmen army, the Lighter and Softer anime has Akira solely focused in protecting Miki and not much else, needless to say she survives in this adaptation.
  • And I Must Scream: Victims of the turtle-like demon Jinmen are doomed to live an eternity as a tile in his shell.
    • He does it again in chapter 0 of Devilman Grimoire where he mocks a Harpy by revealing he ate her boyfriend and then eats her next.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The short sequel for the AMON manga, Strange Days features a whole new cast of characters, whom some will become devilmen and clash at Devilman vs. Satan final battle, the focus is Kira and Ryuu, and their band THE FLYERS.
  • Anti-Hero: Akira (Devilman), Ryo before his Face Heel Turn.
  • Anyone Can Die: Even the main character and his sweetheart.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0 or class 3 at the end of the manga
  • Ars Goetia: The inspiration for the Mix and Match Critter Demon Designs and for the names of the demon Akira takes over (Amon), and the demon Caim.
    • In Devilman Grimoire Miki loved playing as a witch as a child because of the stories she read about Solomon who could control the Goetia Demons.
  • Ascended Extra: Amon, the original demon whom Akira's Devilman form take its powers from, stops being merely a past legacy mentioned in the original manga, to being given a personality and form in the final OVA and even more in the manga with his name; Amon actually takes over Akira entire body in it, both in demon and human form thus being promoted to protagonist.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In the anime series, instead of just horrendous demons clashing against Devilman in dark scenarios as seen in the manga, the animated adaptation often had giant monsters randomly attacking a nearby building, for this reason Akira was given extra powers for this adaptation, not only he could transform into Devilman but he also could transform into a Giant Devilman to fend off these monsters.
  • Badass Biker: Akira in the anime series, taking account the Lighter and Softer adaptation couldn't have Akira dismembering and mauling demons in a gruesome manner to cement his badass status, they just gave him a nice bike to ride in between the fights.
  • Big No: Akira after he discovers the anti-demon corps killed Miki's parents.
  • Blood Knight: Akira/Devilman.
  • Bloodstained-Glass Windows
  • Brought to You by The Letter "S": In the Lighter and Softer anime series Akira wears a t-shirt with an A insignia; the AMON manga also has him in the iconic yellow shirt even though it follows the original manga more closely than the anime did.
  • Cain and Abel: Ryo and Akira. Satan and Amon in Amon manga
  • Came Back Wrong: A softer version: Akira is a VERY shy and gentle boy when he starts the manga, but once he gets Amon's powers and becomes Devilman, he becomes WAY more callous and cocky, to the point some people are actually jarred by the change.
  • Chickification: Miki in just about everywhere else outside the original manga and the first OVAs, originally she pushed Akira into becoming more active and insisting that he fought back against people who bullied him, eventually she liked Akira even more when he became more aggressive in his Devilman days; other adaptations like the Anime and the final OVA, likes to portray Miki in a more pure light, she is not shown to be amused by Akira being aggressive and certainly does not encourage him to fight anyone, even in AMON where she retains her original personality, the aggressive part is still gone.
  • Composite Character: In Devilman vs Getter Robo Akira has story and personality of his manga incarnation but powers of anime incarnation. Silene in that manga has look of manga version, powers and personality of anime version and little bits of later incarnations, including her love for Amon.
    • Amon himself in his manga, he is not a Obviously Evil as in the OVA nor as good and gentle as Akira, Amon is just a tad more bitter than Akira turned out to be after the Devilman transformation.
  • Continuity Snarl: Averted, the AMON manga makes painfully clear that Amon took over Akira's body completely with no chance to revert back, this would negate the original story in which Akira was himself till the final clash with Satan by stating that Amon is the one in control now; Strange Days comes and has Akira in control of his body just in time for the final battle, implying that Akira was back in control sometime between AMON and Strange Days, the war went on for 20 years after all.
  • Crapsack World
  • Crossover: With Mazinger Z in The Movie, Mazinger Z vs Devilman.
    • And with Getter Robo in Devilman vs Getter Robo manga. Which features Devilman and Getter COMBINING
    • There's also the appearance of the Cartoon version of Devilman in the manga Mazinger Angels. Once again, he holds his own against giant robots. Later in that series, Enma-kun passes Akria by at a festival, and they give each other a knowing, angry glance.
    • Chibi Chara Go Nagai World is a chibi crossover between Devilman, Mazinger Z, Getter Robo and Violence Jack which actually weirds out titular characters, as Violence Jack is reincarnated Akira
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Satan vs Amon in first volume of Amon: The Darkside of Devilman. And if Satan's memories are true, his fight with Archangel Michael was even more one-sided and involved literal curbstomp.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Mikiko's (Miko) chapter in Neo-Devilman, her first pages in the story has her touching herself while in deep thought as for why she doesn't see herself as a good girl. In this vision that's even how she became a devilmen in the first place, apparently demons like to possess girls at their moments.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Neo-Devilman is basically this, given that it was made by 17 different writers/artists, everyone with a pencil and ink had a chance to share their view of the characters and portray some side-characters in a more protagonist light.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Amon: The Darkside Of Devilman arguably takes original series and deconstructs few things. Original manga itself seems to deconstruct or unbuilt many common shonen tropes.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Akira in the AMON manga, he only stars for about half the first volume and later only appears during flashbacks, his body is completely taken over by Amon who stars the series from start to finish but with a slight twist that in this version he isn't that different from Akira's Devilman persona itself.
  • Depending on the Artist: Satan Ryo, in Nagai's hands s/he is not only a hermaphrodite, but Nagai draws him/her with female-like facial features and body curves, also in some designs he seems to imply that Satan's lower parts is that of a woman; other artists in the other hand, like Yu Kinutani from Amon/Strange Days and many others from Neo-Devilman, maintains Ryo male psyche even in Satan form, in some extremes they might draw Satan with a male lower part too; and yet the breasts are present in all renditions of Satan.
  • Depending on the Writer: Satan's motivations for trying to bring his "order" upon earth, in some versions he is doing for human and demon kin well being (in his eyes) and for Akira of course, in others he is doing just for Akira and no one else.
    • In Amon all of those motivations are, to some extend, true - Satan wants to create better world for demons, but also wants to bring his own vision of order, which is why Amon opposes him. He reveals Akira's secret out of jealously towards Mikki because he thinks he is the only one who can save Akira.
  • Devil but No God: Played in the live-action movie
  • Died Standing Up: Siren
  • Disposable Woman: Miki, Sachiko, little Yumi...
  • Distaff Counterpart: Devilman Lady, and Mikimura from Strange Days, her devilmen form is the exact female version of Akira's own Devilman, even closer for being less fanservicey than the original distaff Devilman Lady Jun.
  • Downer Ending: Everyone died except for Satan. LITERALLY. Averted in the NES game, however, as beating Satan in the final battle wins you a happy ending, while losing to him gets you the same ending as the manga and OAV.
  • The Dragon: Hell General Zenon to Satan
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Ryo Asuka, in Nagai's hands he is very lady-like, when he is seen in Satan form Ryo becomes a woman, Nagai draws his face with unmistakable female facial features and body curves; only other artists downplays Nagai's original design and maintains Ryo just in lady-like territory.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Main difference between Amon in his manga and OVA - former is clearly selfish and evil, but has his own set of standards and Silene seems to work as his Morality Pet. When you remove that, you get the latter.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave
  • Evil Versus Evil: Amon vs other demons in the "Amon: The Apocalypse of Devilman"
  • Expy: of Demon Lord Dante, Go Nagai's earlier work.
  • Fake Memories: Nagai himself goes this way in his chapter for Neo-Devilman, at the climax of Devilman vs. Satan battle, there's a flashback of Akira meeting Ryo for the first time at school, here Ryo seems to manipulate Akira's memories to make it so they already knew each other, implying that a few traces of Satan were there since the very beginning.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The demon Jinmen devours humans and absorbs their living souls onto his shell.
    • Satans fate as revealed in Amon is to eternally lose the one s/he loves for all eternity as punishment for rebelling against God.
  • God Is Evil: Not so much "evil" as doesn't like demons and sees them as an abomination.
    • In Amon God has everything happen in a endless loop that makes everyone suffer and die just to make Satan watch Akira die by his/her own hands for eternity.
  • Gorn: not as bad as some others, but still incredibly horrific, particularly in the OVAs
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Oddly enough, no one's really evil, but no one's really good either. The demons only want humans gone because they're seen as intruders; the humans want the demons gone because they don't particularly like the idea of dying. God is just a dick.
  • Have We Met Yet?: In Nagai's own chapter for Neo-Devilman, centered in the final moments of Devilman vs. Satan battle, there's a flashback when Ryo and Akira first met in school, in this vision it seems that Ryo implanted fake memories of Akira and him being childhood friends, Akira even wonders if they ever met before but gets familiar with Ryo shortly after.
  • Heel Realization: Satan--but after it's far to late to do anything about it. Really.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The demon Kaim sacrifices his body & life to his beloved Silen so she can have the honor of killing Devilman.
  • Heroic Willpower
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Ryo and Akira accidentally create Hitler by going back in time to stop a demon.)
  • Horrifying Hero: Devilman.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Go Nagai took full advantage of Yuu Kinutani's incredibly detailed artstyle while making the AMON manga, while there's no explicit sex, many of the girls including Miki herself were given more curvalicious body proportions, and humanoid female demons like Siren who are mostly in the nude, were often given many panels in focus of their breasts and buttocks; still Go Nagai averted the series from taking the Fan Service route by simply making these "improvements"' only a visual extra.
  • How We Got Here: The last volumes of AMON are spent building up the events that will happen in the first volumes, basically the first part is protagonized by Amon and the second part is protagonized by Akira.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Initially only the demons shared this idea since earth belonged to them first, and they say humanity stole from them while they weren't any better, after demons and devilmen became public knowledge, Akira and devilmen started to think like this too, as most of humanity went in a senseless rampage against demons, devilmen or any living being that they thought was aiding the "monsters", this aspect is expanded further in the AMON manga, Akira simply reaches the conclusion that humans are the real demons and that he will help any people that values life, not taking account if it is a demon, devilmen or even human.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Demons tend to love to eat humans as well as each other.
  • Infant Immortality: Horrifically subverted, as Miki's younger brother is beheaded before her very eyes. We even get to see his head and its crying face. Also earlier on when one of her brother's friends is eaten by his demon-possessed parents, while his pleas go unrecognized. Also, when a young friend of Akira's name Sachiko is eaten and absorbed by the demon Jinmen, her sorrowful face now a part of its turtle-like shell, forcing Akira to end her pseudo-life to kill the demon, with her smashed face still visible after the shell dries. Did I mention that she also tells him from the shell the exact manner of her horrific death? During the demon invasion, a mother watches her family torn apart by a tentacled demon, including her infant, before she herself is split in two from crotch to head.
    • However, this trope is played straight in the live action movie, wereThe only survivor characters are Susumu and Miko after Satan destroys the world.
  • It Got Worse: Big time.
  • Kill'Em All
  • Lighter and Softer: The 1972 anime series in comparison with the manga. Lots of changes to the story were made, the violence and nudity were considerably toned down, lots of comic relief was included, and the most of the character who died at the end of the manga are still alive in the last chapter of the first anime series, which also has a Bittersweet Ending instead of the tragic conclusion of the manga.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Ryo/Satan sacrifices many of his strongest demons to ensure Akira becomes Devilman.
    • S/he admits to being crazy at the end of the final volume of Amon.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Sirene loved Amon that resides in Akira, she also shows some interest in Akira's more aggressive personality as Devilman which resembles a Lighter and Softer Amon, in Neo-Devilman she becomes more interested in Akira himself, not for his demon heritage but for his devilmen determination.
  • Love Triangle: Akira/Miki/Ryo. Developed further in Violence Jack.
  • Made of Plasticine
  • Manly Tears: Akira upon being kissed by Miki for the first and only time and then seeing her disappear in the air, forever... Amon is Stupid Evil enough to laugh at him for this. As could be expected, this just doesn't end well for him.
  • Meaningful Echo: Compare this scene of Miki from Devilman Grimoire with this one from Devilman. Also compare these two.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Miki. Also Lala in the 70's TV anime.
  • Mutual Kill: Silen tries this on Akira after he mortally wounds her. It doesn't quite work out for her.
  • Noble Demon: Prime example would have to be Kaim, who's more than willing to tear off his own head and offer to merge with the dying Siren for one last desperation attack against Devilman.
  • No Fourth Wall: Akira telling the readers that the story is going to be much darker....
  • Order Versus Chaos: In Amon manga Satan and God are representing two different orders - one that involves demons and one that don't. Which is why Amon, who is clearly chaotic, refuses to ally himself with Satan, as he sees no difference between Satan and God.
  • Plucky Girl: Miki Makimura, to the point that you can play as her in the NES game, and even have to defeat a mini-boss while using her. Which makes her horrendous death by stabbing and dismembering even more tear jerking
  • The Reveal: Ryo, is in fact, the hermaphrodite Satan, who took the body of a human to learn mankind's weaknesses and plot their demise.
  • Satan: Ryo Asuka
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Averted. Ryo explains that when moved the heavily burned, demon-possessed corpse of his "father" Dr. Asuka, the body's mass was twice as what it should be.
  • Shrinking Violet: Akira before merging with Amon, though he reverts back to this whenever Miki flirts with him.
  • Slasher Smile: Though it's a given with Devilman, Akira will occasionally do this as well.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: An interesting case. The manga is gut-wrenchingly cynical but, Nagai (who wrote Devilman as a cautionary tale) is firmly idealistic and believes that humanity is heading for a bright future. The writing process took such a heavy toll on him that he had to write the much Lighter and Softer Mazinger Z on the side to blow off steam.
  • Something Person
  • Spared By Adaptation:Miki in the first anime series,Susumu in the Live Action movie.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Shirenu has been spelled Silen, Sirene, Silene, Siren,... The list goes on and on.
    • Name of Hell General serving Satan is either Zenon or Xenon.
  • Stupid Evil: Amon at one point in Apocalypse of Devilman OVA, but the prize goes to demon sent to kill Mikki and Michiru in Devilman vs Getter Robo - Akira saves Mikki and demon escapes with Michiru, but, instead of outright killing her, he wastes time wondering if he should eat or rape her and concludes to do both right before Akira finds them and kills him.
  • Summoning Ritual: Used by Miki in Devilman Grimoire to summon demons. Unfortunately actual demons show up and they weren't summoned by the ritual.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: Amon was originally this, but he transcended to Complete Monster after Miki Makamura got killed.
    • Might be an Unbuilt Trope as it's probably one of the first if not first use of it in manga and one of the rare instances that shows how haing one corrupts and changes once cowardly boy into a Blood Knight.
  • Thematic Rogues Gallery: Demons
  • Took a Level in Badass: At the start of the manga, Akira Fudo is so weak and timid, Miki has to stand up to bullies for him. After he merges with Amon, not only does Miki take notice of his swagger, Akira literally beats his bullies one handed.
    • While Miki became a non action girl, and Ryu got to show off his shooting skills later, in the OVA Akira shows some bravery, as well as that missing purness not seen in the manga. He stands up to three goons who killed nearly all the rabbits in a pen, all except one, he takes a bike chain to the head and several punches but refuses to let them have the rabbit. They back off when their leader is impressed.
  • War Is Hell: This is THE real, core theme of the series, according Word of God.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Amon