Entry #28: Devilman: Crybaby (SoM/A 2018)

devilman

I won’t say much about this one, as I believe it’s another experience that’s especially heightened when people go in blind. All that may potentially spoil is the following proclamation: I’m going to have to watch something sickly sweet now because FUCK was this depressing.

I was honestly shocked by how dark this anime really is. Sex and gore I was expecting, but one has to understand that what they’re getting into is outright tragic. Steel your heart (or don’t!), Devilman: Crybaby may have you following suit with its title.

On a more objective means of critique that shies away from spoiler territory, there’s a lot to like about this series. However, there’s also major drawbacks that prevent it from being a thoroughly enjoyable show. One thing is animation, which I also heard going in was a bit on the rough side. It gets better as it goes along, with the final episode an absolute marvel to behold, but approaching that finale it is really rough. Characters are super-thin or super-thick; very little in-between. Animation quality is near bottom of the barrel, with basic movement appearing more akin to animation from many decades ago. In some respect, the liberal use of realistic motion helps in creating the fantastical images and situations that occur onscreen, but make it that much harder to take the more natural and menial seriously. This studio shines with flamboyant fight scenes, but I’ll be damned if I look forward to a slice-of-life by them.

Along with the animation is the other aspect of anime I don’t typically get into: sound. Here, I’m critical specifically of the voice acting, because anytime these characters speak in English, it’s atrocious. No emotion, no weight, and sometimes they even get the pronunciation wrong. Some of the most dramatic sequences are voiced entirely in English, which definitely hampers the impact they could’ve had if characters just spoke their native language. They likely did it to appeal to the Western audiences on Netflix, but for me, it backfired hard.

A few other things felt a little rushed or odd as well, but any further explanation would be saying too much. The rest are things that are particularly positive. I thought the characters were easy to cheer for, the plot felt big enough to be a rare example of THE POWER OF EMOTIONS!!! done well, and I really enjoyed the emphasis on looking at things from a different perspective. This script feels smart in a “Bigger picture” sort of way, even if all the loose ends don’t quite feel tight. I also adore how it subverts typical anime tropes of deus ex machinas and overcoming obstacles through sheer willpower with its own version of progressing the plot.

It’s a risky move to leave a show I think is really good so in-the-dark, but I really do believe the show is more interesting if people’s impressions aren’t ingrained into the subconscious of the unknowing viewer. Just know from me personally that the show is definitely worth the time to watch, even if one may not come out of it as enticed by it as I.

Final Score: 7.5/10

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

To see the ratings for all entries in this Summer and all others, check out the Summer of Anime Archive!

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