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The first Anime Adaptation of Go Nagai's Devilman.

Devilman and two other demons are sent to Earth to possess humans and cause chaos. Finding two Japanese families nearby when they awake from their long slumber in the Himalayas, Devilman chooses to possess Akira Fudo (his first choice, Akira's father, having died from fright), and the bedeviled boy is adopted by the kindly Makimura family. Falling in love with his stepsister Miki, Akira forgets his original mission. His former demon overlord, Zenon, sends a succession of creatures to kill him, and Akira must call on his ill-gotten powers.

When a Japanese TV network wanted to adapt Go Nagai's Demon Lord Dante for TV in 1972, the artist instead offered them his new Devilman project, already running in Shonen Magazine. An uneasy combination of superhero serial and macabre horror, it featured a schoolboy forced to become an agent of good by using the powers of evil. Following his TV series, Devilman would appear in Tomoharu Katsumata's theatrical short Mazinger Z vs. Devilman (1973), in which Dr. Hell tries to recruit him to defeat the robot warrior of the title.

In 1987, Devilman was revived for a two-part video adventure directed by Tsutomu Iida, which altered much of the designs and origins while keeping a retro 1970s look. In the video Akira is a shy boy who lives with his simpering childhood friend Maki while his parents are away on a business trip. His tough friend, Ryo (the hermaphroditic son of Satan) tells him of the existence of demons, and that Earth was once occupied by this evil race. The only way to defeat a demon is to fuse with one, and Ryo convinces Akira to allow this to happen. Ryo slaughters human beings at a nightclub to summon a demon, lucking into Amon, the Lord of Darkness. Because Akira is pure of heart, he is able to control the demon within him, turning his evil powers to good use. The second episode (as in the original TV series) features a battle with Amon's former lover, Sirene, though no further episodes were made. Devilman's best moments are the flashback scenes of a prehistoric, demon-infested dreamtime that owed nothing to East or West, but it was the messy confluence of Japanese and European mythology that brought Devilman down (not helped by the U.K. dubbers Manga Entertainment's inability to get some of the classical references right, though they did find the time to write new lines like, "I'm gonna rip off your head and shit down your neck!"). The same director would make the three-part Chibi Character Go Nagai World (1990) featuring squashed-down versions of several Nagai characters fighting at Armageddon. Akira Fudo also put in a cameo appearance in Nagai's later Cutey Honey.

Nagai returned to the franchise in 1997 with Devilman Lady, retelling the story for the more adult Comic Morning magazine by altering the sex of his protagonist and introducing evolutionary angles. Vampire Princess Miyu-director Toshihiro Hirano and Armitage III-writer Chiaki Konaka adapted it into a 26-episode TV series in 1998. Though characters from the earlier versions make cameo appearances, the remake centers on Jun Fudo, a shy fashion model (a schoolteacher in the manga) who begins to develop mystic powers. As part of Mother Nature's answer to overpopulation, a "Devil Beast Syndrome" is afflicting the world's poor, transforming them into rapacious cannibal demons. Jun, however, has been genetically engineered by her scientist father to retain her former memories after infection and uses her power to fight off further incursions. The series was released in America under the less confusing title, Devil Lady.

Devilman was revived again for Amon: The Apocalypse of Devilman (2000), a 50-minute video released to cash in on the millennium, supervised by Fist of the North Star's Toyoo Ashida and directed by Kenichi Takeshita. Featuring creatures designed by Yasushi Nirasawa, this chapter tied up many loose ends from the earlier versions, spooling forward in the original story to the final Armageddon. Akira now leads the demon-hunting Devilman Army, while a traumatized Miki wanders through a Tokyo in the grip of apocalyptic violence and rapine. Exploiting Akira's somewhat schizophrenic position as a force of good possessed by the ultimate evil, Amon is a vicious, sadistic anime in the spirit of Urotsukidoji, and even features a one-on-one fight between Devilman and Satan.

The epilogue to all the Devilman stories was written in 1973 (only a year after the original manga) in Nagai's Violence Jack, which begins with a remorseful Satan's decision to remake the world, to reincarnate as a cripple, and to create the Slum King to punish himself, though this relationship is not apparent in the 1986 anime version. In 2000, an issue of the Demon Lord Dante manga that inspired Devilman was released as a "manga video." LNV
Series Credits
Person Name Episode Count
Tomoharu Katsumata
Shingo Araki
Go Nagai

To edit the cast, go to an episode page.

Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Devilman
Name: デビルマン
Romaji: Debiruman
Publisher Toei Animation
Start Year 1972
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