Conceptually brilliant but subtle as Tarantino

To say Devilman is not a manga for the faint of heart is putting things lightly.

Between the extreme violence, the graphic imagery or the subject matter(demons AND war), Devilman is a very disturbing series. Wether for the right or wrong reasons can be debated, but it certainly achieved the intent of opening discussion of the themes it touches.

The story is an excellent example of how things go south in Nagai's manga. It starts as an action packed(if gory)shonen-like series about fighting demons to protect mankind yet gets progressively more twisted in how humans interact with demons, and how destructive and even self-harming they become through the fear of fighting the unknown. The cruelty in the conflict goes off the charts. Kids, women, adult men, all get slaughtered in particularly cruel ways, specially if they're relevant to the story. At the end of the series though, the violence actually gains meaning. Still unsettling, but it's far from pointless gore(somehow).

The other aspects of the story can be equally fascinating under the proper light. Without spoilers, Ryo Asuka is possibly one of the most interesting parts of the manga, and his resolution as a character is quite heartbreaking.

Now, the weak parts of this series? Subtlety and artwork. While the themes touched on the series are indeed worth discussion, Devilman isn't subtle about them. How speech driven the series is borders on Christopher Nolan exposition and it can be quite hammy. Again, the concepts are brilliant but a more subtle approach would have helped(it's not even the violence, it's the...dialogue. Written in the 70's indeed, they don't hold the "melodrama").

The artwork...oh boy. The panel distribution? On spot. The image composition? Clever and helps to set the mood big time(Some of the panels are BRILLIANT). The actual lineart? I don't care if I offend hard die manga fans but despite being a MASSIVE figure on the medium, Go Nagai draws pretty oddly. The proportions look funny half of the time and it DOES hurt the experience.

So...should you read it? I leave that to your own discretion. Again, it's NOT for the faint of heart and wether the story is well told or not is a subject of debate. If you are interested in the story of the medium it's certainly a must, otherwise, approach it carefully and bearing in mind the time it was released.