‘Devilman Crybaby’ proves wild ride with riveting plot

Cheyanne Kramer, Managing Editor

Warning: This review contains minor spoilers of the first episode of “Devilman Crybaby.”

The 1970s were a very different time for anime. Works like “Mobile Suit Gundam” and “Lupin The Third” were dominating the market. These were a far cry from today’s hits like “My Hero Academia” and “Madoka Magica.”

One work from the ’70s stands out as revolutionary, cutting edge and rife with controversy— Go Nagai’s “Devilman.” In January 2017, “Devilman” got its first anime to follow the entirety of Nagai’s manga series, stylized as “Devilman Crybaby.”

In “Crybaby’s” first episode, we follow Akira, a high school boy living in Japan, who rescues his friend Miki from a dock where she’s being harassed by a group of freestyle rappers. His childhood friend Ryo shows up with a machine gun and runs off with Akira, telling him about the existence of demons.

Ryo tells Akira they have to prove that a recent string of crimes are related to this increase in demonic activity. Akira agrees and finds himself in a nightclub filled with young people engaging in what all young people do: Taking drugs from strangers and having sex.

That is until Ryo says demons need blood to appear, breaks a bottle and murders innocent club goers. Suddenly demons are appearing inside of humans, tearing them to pieces and nearly killing Akira. But instead of dying, Akira becomes possessed by the demon “champion” Amon and becomes a man with the body of a demon and the heart of a human.

This summary seems all over the place, and it is. The plot doesn’t stay still for all 10 episodes, taking you through a variety of interesting side characters and plots, building up the world of “Crybaby” into something nearly unmatched in any anime of its length.

The show is heartbreaking, as well as absolutely disgusting. There’s some intense gore, violence and scenes that made me cringe from how absolutely disgusting they were, so this show isn’t for the faint of heart. But what it does well it does very well. It has some of the most amazing music I’ve seen in an anime in years, while making frequent callbacks and references to the original “Devilman” of the ’70s.

The art style is a weird blend of realism and absurdism. The scenes timed near perfectly with animation cuts and movements, making you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action.

“Crybaby” excels with its characters. Many side characters get enough time to shine on their own, and their character arcs are well developed and interesting.

The downsides of the show have to be the aforementioned sex and violence. This isn’t a show for everyone. It’s one of the few anime free from any and all censorship. There’s many scenes that make you question your morals, and make you feel disgusting for even watching. If you’re sensitive to a shows content, I highly recommend seeking out a list of potential triggers before viewing.

But when all is said and done, “Crybaby” is filled with believable and well-executed characters and storylines. The music is phenomenal, and though the animation can be off-putting, it’s refreshing compared to the usual anime style we see.