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Franchise / Devilman

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If you think that this image is frightening, turn around because you have seen NOTHING.

Devilman is a manga and anime franchise enormously popular and influential in Japan for combining superhero tropes with supernatural and religious horror, with elements inspired by the Abrahamic religions exotic to Japanese eyes. It was created by the (in)famous Go Nagai in 1972 as a reworking of his earlier Demon Lord Dante. The manga was originally made to promote the concurrent anime by Toei Animation, which Nagai worked on along with veteran scenario writer and novelist Masaki Tsuji and which was Lighter and Softer than Dante, but it soon revealed its own much, much Darker and Edgier direction. It has spawned several spin-offs over the decades and was later adapted into two OVAs in 1987 and 1990 covering the first two volumes, a CD Drama covering the planned final battle for the cancelled OVA series, and a live action movie in 2004.

A teenage boy named Akira Fudo, living with his female friend Miki Makimura and her family due to absent parents, discovers the Earth is being invaded by demons. His other friend, an unusual boy named Ryo Asuka, convinces him that the only way to stop the demons is to merge with one of them. Akira gains the ability to transform into a superpowerful, batlike demon. As Devilman, he fights bizarre demons, most notably the harpy-like Siren, the turtle-like Jinmen, and the leader of the demons himself, Demon Lord Zenon, while still trying to lead a normal life. Eventually, his struggles lead him into a battle against Satan himself for the fate of the entire world.

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

The events of Devilman lead into Nagai's later sequel series Violence Jack and Devilman Lady, which were similarly violent and controversial. Its characters have also appeared in other manga and anime shows and movies, meeting Nagai's other famous creations like Mazinger Z and Cutey Honey.

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, and the other is where Nagai teamed up with Yuu Kinutani to create a 6-volume manga simply called AMON, which is centered around and expands the events between humanity's persecution of demon/human hybrids and the final battle between Devilman and Satan. Go Nagai scripts and Yuu Kinutani provides pencils with highly-detailed art. In 2005, the two teamed up again to create Strange Days, a single manga volume centered around a duo 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.

A new Devilman manga, Devilman Grimoire, ran in Champion Red magazine from March 19, 2012 to December 19, 2013. It was written by Go Nagai and illustrated by Rui Takato. A Continuity Reboot of the original manga, it starred Akira Fudo and Miki Makimura, who believed herself to be a witch. It featured many characters from the original Devilman.

On 25 December 2014 Devilman Saga was released in Shogakukan. It is written and drawn by Go Nagai, and its main character is Yuki Fudo, a Japanese roboticist who is called in to study a strange and ancient mural from Antarctica. According to promotional material, it is the final chapter in the original Devilman storyline of Devilman and Devilman Lady.

Devilman appears in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine: Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen. A crossover OVA trilogy with Cyborg 009 called Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman came out in October 2015, celebrating the franchise's 50th Anniversary. It received a worldwide release streaming on Netflix in April 2016, complete with an all-new English dub. Devilman himself will also feature in Super Robot Wars DD, fighting alongside and against giant robots.

An animated adaptation of the manga, called DEVILMAN crybaby was created under director Masaaki Yuasa and was released by Netflix on January 5th 2018. The teaser trailer can be viewed here.

Trope examples:

  • Actor Allusion: In The Birth, it isn't the first time the voice actor for Professor Asuka, Mikio Terashima, voiced a character who commits suicide.
  • Adaptational Distillation: The Famicom game is based directly from the manga, but certain events are rearranged, such as Miki's parents being captured by Demon Hunters as soon as Akira gains his powers, and covers boss battles with Sirene, Aguel, and Zenon.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The AMON OVA made the title character much more Obviously Evil, when in the manga he is just a tad more bitter than Akira turned out to be after the Devilman transformation.
  • Alternate Continuity: The series has been remade several times over the years.
  • All for Nothing: At the end of the original manga, everyone loses in the war between the humans and the demons. The humans slaughter each other out of paranoia. The devilmen and the demons wipe each other out in one last battle, and the last page of the manga shows God's angels coming down to Earth to slaughter the survivors. When all is said and done, the war between humans and demons was nothing more than pointless slaughter that cost both sides everything.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Actually averted with the demons. While Ryo at the start of the manga makes the demons out to be mindless beasts of destruction, their actual behavior shows them to be a lot more complex. Like humans, demons are capable of both empathy and evil. Moreover, the demons repeatedly show that they're capable of forming complex social structures just like humans, even being willing to sacrifice themselves for the goals of the wider group.
  • An Aesop: War Is Hell. In addition, just because you're strong does not mean you have the right to trample over other beings- only through mutual respect can humanity really grow, as it has done many times in the past. Demonkind's failure to learn this is ultimately what dooms them and humanity, as Satan states at the end of the series.
  • 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.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Agira from Neo-Devilman. His Devilmen power is to absorb and assimilate anything into his body from weapons to demons and Devilmen. He eventually absorbs legions of demons. In this version, Agira is the unnamed giant beast from the original manga that Devilman rides into the final battle against Satan with his multi-headed dragon.
  • 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 the Devilman vs. Satan final battle. The focus is Kira and Ryuu, and their band THE FLYERS.
  • Anyone Can Die: Even the main character and his sweetheart.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0 or class 3 at the end of the manga.
  • 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 and is given a personality and form in the manga with his name. In it, Amon actually takes over Akira's entire body, both in demon and human form, thus being promoted to protagonist.
  • Big Bad: Demon Lord Zenon is the leader of the demonic forces out to conquer Earth and the main enemy of the titular hero, though he is doing it on behalf of the Greater-Scope Villain, Demon King Satan. However, once Ryo Asuka recovers his memories as Satan, he takes over as main villain for the rest of the series.
  • Big "NO!": Akira after he discovers the anti-demon corps killed Miki's parents.
  • Big Red Devil: Generally averted as the demons are a Cast of Snowflakes, Amon being the only one who plays it straight.
  • Body Horror: The way demons merge with humans and make them undergo horrific transformations is not that different from how the titular alien from The Thing (1982) assimilates its victims.
  • Breaking Speech: Jinmen gives Akira one about how the demons are justified by Blue-and-Orange Morality, and how Akira is clearly the bad guy for killing demons. Akira tells him to go fuck himself.
  • Broad Strokes: The prequel manga Demon Knight explains a few things, like why Satan is a hermaphrodite (he/she is a forced fusion of the male Sufficiently Advanced Alien Lucifer and human girl Yuria) and the origins of demons (they are humans or aliens forcefully hybridized with animals by God, who is an Ancient Astronaut). However, it does directly contradict stuff found in Amon: Darkside of Devilman, Devilman Lady or even the original manga, and does not explain other stuff, like the hermaphroditism of other angels than Satan, and ignores the existence of Michael. But this is quite possibly justified by the fact it's stated to be memories of an Alternate Universe, which allows the events of the past to occur in numerous, different variations.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": The AMON manga has Akira in the iconic yellow shirt from the anime even though it follows the original manga.
  • Cain and Abel: Ryo and Akira. Satan and Amon in the Amon manga
  • Canon Welding:
    • Almost all incarnations of Devilman (and Violence Jack) can be considered linked together thanks to The Reveal in the Amon manga that God himself put the entire universe in a time loop to punish Satan by making him constantly relive the death of the one he loves. This means that technically, the inconsistencies in various works can be excused due to them taking place in different iterations of the repeatedly-reset timeline.
    • In Devilman Grimoire, Jun Fudo (renamed Jun Lan) and Aoi Kurosaki from Devilman Lady appear as teachers in Akira and Miki's school, with the former being their homeroom teacher while the latter is a P.E. teacher. They are also lesbian lovers who seemingly have no problem getting it on during the middle of the school day.
  • Composite Character:
    • In Devilman vs Getter Robo Akira has the story and personality of his manga incarnation but the powers of the anime incarnation. Silene in that manga has the look of her manga version, the powers and personality of the anime version and little bits of later incarnations, including her love for Amon.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • Violence Jack is a sequel to Devilman, but so is Devilman Lady, making it a complicated matter. Fans have been discussing it for years, noting that Lady has much more solid connections to the original than Jack, but without having an official answer to which is supposed to be the true sequel. At the end, Nagai stated that Violence Jack should be treated as its own universe, which implies Lady is meant to be Devilman's true continuation. However, considering that the franchise's s world is on a constant loop thanks to God's continuous punishment against Satan, it is also possible to believe that both Jack and Lady are simply separate iterations of the cycle.
    • It seemed to be the case in the AMON manga. Despite it was billed as an Interquel set during the war, at its ending Amon had taken over Akira's body completely with no chance to revert back, which 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. However, Strange Days came and showed 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.
  • 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.
    • Akira shows up in New Cutey Honey, helping Honey out against one of her villains. He never transforms, but multiple Devilman allusions make it very clear who he is.
    • 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 Akira 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 the titular characters, since Jack is a reincarnation of Akira, after all.
    • Devilman vs Hades manga has Akira pick a fight with the Big Bad of Great Mazinger after he murdered Hades' wife trying to bring Miki back to life.
    • Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman is a rare crossover with a series not created by Go Nagai or Ken Ishikawa.
  • 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 curbstomping.
    • It's implied that the Final Battle of the series is one of these with Satan doing the curb-stomping against Akira and his Devilman Army. Despite Akira being torn in half, Satan is completely unharmed. Considering they're a literal deity, this is only to be expected, but it's no less tragic.
    • Doubles as Fridge Brilliance, according to Abrahamic Lore, Angels ARE stronger than demons, and considering Satan was the closest to God.... It'd be a miracle that Akira wins.
  • Darker and Edgier: The entire franchise is one to its more famous sister series Mazinger Z, the two having been created at essentially the same time.
  • 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.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the original Devilman, Dosu Roku, Masa and the fat guy with big teeth from Dosu Roku's gang went from being Akira's enemies to his friends and allies, essentially becoming human members of the Devilman Army. While the fat guy's ultimate fate is unknown, Masa was killed trying to save Miki and Tare from the lynch mob while Dosu Roku played a major part in the AMON manga. In Devilman Grimoire, Dosu Roku and the fat guy are unceremoniously eaten alive by a demon in the first chapter, while Masa lasts until the second chapter, where his head is bitten off by Silene. This establishes the fact that Grimoire is not just a retelling of the original story but is a whole new continuity, with the ultimate fates of the main characters up in the air.
  • Death of a Child:
    • 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 named 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.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Miki's severed head is put in a pike and paraded by the blood-thirsty mob.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Amon: The Darkside Of Devilman arguably takes original series and deconstructs a few things. The original manga itself seems to deconstruct or unbuild many common shonen/sentai tropes.
    • One of the most prominent things the series tears apart is the predisposition that shonen series have towards Violence is the Only Option. While Akira ripping apart his demon foes is initially framed as heroic, it soon becomes clear that it's slowly corrupting him morally. The war between demons and humans also begins as Gray-and-Gray Morality; demons view humans as legitimate intruders to their ancestral homeworld and want them gone, especially considering how much humanity has polluted the planet. While some demons like Jinmen are definitely evil, others like Silene and Kaim are genuinely Noble Demons. On the other hand, demons are slaughtering humans en-masse in horrifically violent ways, which perhaps justifies why humanity is so violent towards them in return. In the end, the cycle of violence is so all-consuming that humans become no better than demons at their absolute worst, turning the series into Evil Versus Evil. Ultimately, the demon's ploy to take back their homeworld through violence ends up wiping them out instead, having dragged the remainder of humanity to their level. As a result, everyone suffers- Akira dies after losing his only family, and Ryo/Satan murders their only loved one.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: Lord Zenon, leader of the demons and second only to Satan himself.
  • Demonic Possession: It only works properly on humans who've "lost their reason" (such as from madness, panic, rage, and the altered state you get into when participating in a drug-and-booze-fuelled party/orgy). Doing it on a person in a regular state of mind causes the death of both the demon and the human.
  • Depending on the Artist: Satan. 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 (though not all) he seems to imply that Satan's lower parts are those of a woman. Other artists on the other hand, like Yu Kinutani from AMON/Strange Days and many others from Neo-Devilman, maintain Ryo's male psyche even in Satan form, and 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 it for human- and demon-kind's well-being (in his eyes), aside from for Akira, of course. In others, he is doing it just for Akira and no one else.
    • In AMON all of those motivations are, to some extent, true - Satan wants to create a 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 jealousy towards Miki because he thinks he is the only one who can save Akira.
  • Dismembering the Body: Occurs to every instance of Miki in the series. After demons were exposed to the public, a mob comes after Miki for her connection to the titular character. Despite her fighting them off, they manage to surround her, and chop her up. Devilman arrives to see the crazed mob parading her body parts in front of her burning house, with much focus on her severed head in a pike. This caused him to butcher the mob for what they've done to his love. This also sometimes happens to her little brother Taro.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Devilman Lady. Also Mikimura from Strange Days, whose Devilmen form is the exact female version of Akira's own Devilman, even closer for being less fanservicey than the original distaff Devilman Lady.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The Devilmen lose the war against the demons, but the demons are apparently wiped out too in the process, not to mention mankind. Akira dies for nothing, and Satan will be imminently killed by God's angels. It is also revealed in sequels and spinoffs that God will create a Time Loop to punish Satan eternally.
    • 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 OVA.
    • Also averted in Violence Jack, though it's still not without tragedy as many members of the cast end up dying. Jack regains his original form as Akira and Devilman, and resumes his battle with Satan, but this time, he ends up winning the fight.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Ryo Asuka. In Nagai's hands he is very lady-like, to the point that, 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 downplay Nagai's original design and maintain Ryo just in lady-like territory.
  • Eldritch Abomination: God himself. A huge ball of light that instantly incinerates all nearby demons and turns humans who see it into pillars of salt just by being there. Even Satan has a nervous breakdown just from seeing him on TV.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Amon in his dedicated manga, where he is clearly selfish and evil, but has his own set of standards and Silene seems to work as his Morality Pet. Averted in the OVA adaptation.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: The original manga ends with every character dying—human and demon. Miki and Tare are horribly torn apart at the hands of an angry mob. Their parents are tortured to death by the Devil Hunters. Akira is killed offscreen in a long battle against the demons. Ryo, seemingly in denial Akira's death, expresses regret for everything he's done as God's angels appear in the background to massacre him and whatever demons remain.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Amon vs other demons in the Amon: The Apocalypse of Devilman.
  • Expy:
    • The story and main character come officially from Demon Lord Dante, Go Nagai's earlier work.
    • Ashura from the Amon manga is clearly an expy of Baron Ashura from Mazinger Z.
  • Fake Memories: Nagai himself goes this way in his chapter for Neo-Devilman: at the climax of the Devilman vs. Satan battle, there's a flashback of Akira meeting Ryo for the first time at school, but 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.
  • Fan Disservice:
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • The demon Jinmen devours humans and absorbs their living souls onto his shell.
    • Satan's fate as revealed in AMON is to eternally lose the one s/he loves for all eternity as punishment for rebelling against God. The horrific treatments he's subjected to as Ryo in Violence Jack (which is also part of the time loop, meaning it's also going to happen) may also figure into it.
  • Fanservice Pack: Fusing with Amon not only grants you superpowers and a demonic Super Form, but evidently a killer human body (and less compunction to cover it up) as well. Miki even lampshades this in Devilman Grimoire, jokingly wishing she had been possessed after seeing the improvements Amon made to Akira's build.
    Miki: He really screwed me over. If only he had possessed me instead, I could have gotten the best body in class.
  • From Bad to Worse: It starts with a demonic invasion of earth and ends with the extinction of humanity.
  • Ghibli Hills: The late '80s OVA series was animated by Oh! Production, which provided animation assistance for many Ghibli films. Kazuo Komatsubara, character designer for both the '70s TV anime and the '80s OVA, worked in that same capacity on Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and thus his designs for the OVA have a very "Ghibli" look at times.
  • God: Creator of the Earth along with angels, humans and sometimes demons. His characterization varies between adaptations from being merely remote and alien to being God Is Evil. The only thing common is God doesn't like demons and sees them as an abomination.
  • God Is Evil: In Amon, where it's revealed God has everything happen in an endless loop that makes everyone suffer and die just to make Satan watch Akira die by his/her own hands for eternity. This means that he is condemning two whole sapient species to suffer and die horribly and pointlessly over and over for eternity just to punish a single rebel (Satan, of course). However, this detail is not consistent with all adaptations.
  • 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 like the idea of dying. This is eventually deconstructed as both humans and demons become increasingly horrible to the point where humans become just as bad as demons at their worst.
  • Have We Met Yet?: In Nagai's own chapter for Neo-Devilman, centered on the final moments of the Devilman vs. Satan battle, there's a flashback to 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. This seems to be the case in the first OVA as well, in which Akira's confusion when he sees Ryo for the first time lingers for a long moment, before he immediately acts as if he's known him all along.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Played with when it comes to Kaim and Sirene in the second OVA. With Sirene bleeding to death, she begs Xenon to give her some help, which he does in the form of a set of demons, Kaim included. Kaim refuses to fight, insisting that he give his life to provide Sirene his body to help her fight Devilman. After detonating his own head, Sirene is so devastated by Kaim's death that she manages to fuse with his body and uses the new powers it provides to defeat Devilman, before she finally dies.
  • Heroic Willpower: How someone can turn the tables on possessing demons and become a human/demon hybrid with the human mind still in command, i.e. a devilman.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: In the manga, Ryo and Akira accidentally create Hitler by going back in time to stop a demon.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Go Nagai took full advantage of Yuu Kinutani's incredibly detailed art style while making the AMON manga. While there's no explicit sex, many of the girls including Miki herself were given more curvaceous body proportions, and humanoid female demons like Siren who are mostly in the nude were often given many panels focusing on their breasts and buttocks. Still, Go Nagai averted the series taking the Fanservice route by simply making these "improvements" only a visual extra.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Averted unlike most superhero works. Akira knows a good amount of Amon's movelist the instant he's merged with him inside the Sabbath. Sort of like a demonic form of Brain Uploading, since they've come to share the same body.
  • 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 it from them. After demons and devilmen became public knowledge, Akira and other devilmen started to think like this too, as most of humanity went on 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 with the character of Cadney, who serves as the living embodiment of human evil- a Serial Killer, Serial Rapist, torturer, and cannibal who is the one that starts the anti-devilman Witch Hunt in the first place. Akira simply reaches the conclusion that humans are the real demons and that he will help anyone that values life, regardless of whether it's a demon, devilman, or even human.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Demons tend to love to eat humans as well as each other.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The manga is rife with violent ways to maim or kill, impalement is one such way.
    • When Kaim appears to assist Silene he deploys a group of minions to attack Akira. Akira dispatches the last of them by hopping into the air and impaling its body on a tree trunk.
    • Silene impales Akira with one of Kaim's horns; a wound which incapacitates him.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: A heartbreaking example in the Amon: The Apocalypse of Devilman OVA. Upon finding Miki's severed head on a pike held by a mob, Akira kills those responsible. He then clutches her head to his chest and begins to cry. Akira then falls to his knees, anguishedly sobbing and screaming as Satan and Psychogenie watch from a distance.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: In the live action movie, the the only survivor characters are Susumu and Miko after Satan destroys the world.
  • Irony:
    • As the demon-human war progresses, it becomes increasingly obvious that there is very little moral distinction left between demons and humans. Ryo comes to the ironic conclusion that Akira, a demon, has a human heart filled with more righteousness than what remains of humanity. Even if saving humanity is a lost cause, their good nature can live on through Akira who embodies what the current humanity has now lost. Akira is caught off guard by this argument, and reacts to it with disgust, but Ryo is closer to the truth than Akira would like to admit.
    • Ryo is a very human individual, struggling with the duality of a human heart's goodness and its darkness. Ryo is a person full of layered emotions, that even the most human among the demons would struggle to grasp. Even his dismissal of human morality shows that he's aware humans possess moral standards they ought to live up to; revealing how infected by humanity he is. Even after reawakening as Satan, he is unable to cast off Ryo's humanity, a fact that Xenon mocks him for. Most damning of all is that when Xenon claims Satan is in love with Akira, Satan doesn't even bother to deny it. Despite siding with the demons, Ryo's human heart (and by proxy Akira who fostered it) had already won the war against Satan philosophically.
    • By contrast, the once loving, kind and heroic Akira becomes more like a demon as the story advances. It starts out subtly with him enjoying the battles he fights, and engaging in utter brutality, but he always held on to some semblance of his humanity. Akira loses what little connection he had left to his humanity after witnessing the death of Miki's parents and Miki herself. Afterward, a grief stricken Akira declares his indifference to humanity — no longer caring if they live or die — stating that it's no longer his job to save them, and subsequently declares war against Satan. Akira is no more, and Devilman is all that remains. Satan later confesses to the dying Akira that he harbored no more ill will towards humanity, and was filled with sorrow over the extinction of both the demons and the humans. The twist of fate is that the man who set out to save humanity, became a demon who no longer cared about anyone, while the angel who desired humanity's destruction became human enough to feel remorse for his actions. Worst of all, Satan's moral realization comes too late to salvage his relationship with Akira, or to save humanity.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: While nobody except maybe God is actually out-and-out evil, pretty much everyone is quick to leap to the bloodiest and goriest option possible. By the end, Akira gives up trying to care about or save anyone. If Violence Jack is Akira, it's a wonder he isn't even more callous.
  • 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.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Any story that features Devilman's birth through the Sabbath will usually feature Akira running face first into a topless woman on the dance floor. Whether he accidentally makes a wrong turn or gets Punched Across the Room as retribution for associating with Ryo (who had been initiating a bar brawl to speed the Sabbath up) depends on the installment.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: Exploited. At one point, the demons attempt to use Mutually Assured Destruction against humanity by infiltrating the command structure of the Soviet Union and firing its nuclear arsenal at the United States, hoping to prompt a nuclear counter-attack which would take out a large chunk of humanity. It nearly works, but God steps in and disintegrates the nuclear war-heads mid-flight, leaving both sides of the conflict completely baffled.
  • Ms. Fanservice: It is a Go Nagai manga, after all.
    • There are quite a few moments in which Miki is put into Fanservice-y situations, such as her taking a bath in volume 2 of the original manga or being assaulted by a demon while swimming on the beach with Akira in a side story. Completely averted in the case of her horrific death in which she's stripped before torn apart by an angry mob.
    • Several demons, most notably Sirene, closely resemble human women and are invariably drawn completely naked.
    • Decidedly averted in the case of Miko. While she's oftentimes drawn naked, her deformed chest is far more Fan Disservice than anything else.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In chapter 10 of Devilman Grimoire, Akira fights an ice demon who bears a resemblance to Ryo Asuka. The end of the chapter is very similar to the end of the original manga, except Akira and his foe's positions are reversed, with Akira revealed to be talking to the upper half of the demon's corpse. He gets better, though. Also doubles as a continuity nod.
    • In chapter 13 of Grimoire, after Akira and Miki have made love for the first time, Akira is shown hugging Miki against himself in a panel that is identical to the one in the original Devilman where he hugs her severed head to his chest after slaughtering the lynch mob that murdered and dismembered her.
    • In the Sirene The Demon Bird OVA, while Akira transforms, he has a very Violence Jack-esque features. Someone working on the OVA must've done their homework as Akira was reincarnated as the titular Violence Jack.
  • No Fourth Wall: Akira telling the readers that the story is going to be much darker...
  • Not Good with Rejection: God. Satan/Ryo rebelling against him once and refusing to follow him has effectively derailed all of creation, any notion of a "grand plan", and doomed the lives of everyone within it. The wrathful deity rips from the fallen angel, Akira - the only person Lucifer ever did love, over and over again in a vicious time-loop.
  • Off with His Head!: Miki's kid brother is possibly the best example in the manga.
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: Akira's friend Ryo tell him that demons once roamed the Earth before being frozen in the arctic while humans dominated the planet. He also mentions that some demons got free, and could be the true causes of monster myths like wolfmen, Dracula, and ogres.
  • Order Versus Chaos: In AMON manga Satan and God are representing two different orders - one that involves demons and one that doesn't. Which is why Amon, who is clearly chaotic, refuses to ally himself with Satan, as he sees no difference between Satan and God.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The demons are ancient organisms who can fuse with other living things and inanimate objects to gain many abilities and powers from what they've fused with, taking them over completely. Thus they look like the chimerical creatures from ancient texts. They have psychic powers normally of varying strengths. However, human consciousness is lethal to them. But a person who's scared or otherwise loses control of their higher mental functions can be taken over. Should that person have a pure heart, however...they will posses the demon's flesh and gain their superpowers! And thus was born Devilman!. They also showed up in a Crossover movie featuring Devilman and Mazinger Z.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: This happens a few times in different adaptations.
    • In the original manga, Akira tries to convince himself and the Makimuras that he is still human despite also being a devil. A vision then appears of Akira, naked, running from himself as a giant Devilman whose hands have closed around him.
    • Akira has two more experiences in the Devilman: the Demon Bird OVA. Once as he is fighting the turtle devil Jinmen, who has his mother's soul trapped on his shell after eating her. He is almost defeated and his mother calls out to him. Akira then appears naked in his human form in a vision of an icy cave and witnesses how his mother died. The vision allows him to gain the resolve to defeat Jinmen and save his mother's trapped soul. Later, Akira has a dream where he starts clothed in a swimsuit, but becomes naked when the dream quickly shifts into a nightmare that climaxes with Miki impaled on a demon's teeth.
  • R-Rated Opening: The manga starts thusly: Angels descends to interact with Earth, and then they get brutally slaughtered and Eaten Alive by demons, and then a war erupts between God and his angels and Satan siding with demons.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Devilman uses this to defeat Amon in the third OVA, just before he delivers the killing blow.
  • 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.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A lot of Devilman's enemies manage to garner one from our hero.
  • Satan: AKA: Ryo. The Big Bad of every series that has connections to Akira.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Averted. Ryo explains that when he 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.
  • Spell My Name With An S:
    • Shirenu has been spelled Silen, Sirene, Silene, Siren,... The list goes on and on.
    • Psycho Genie? Psycho Jenny?
    • The name of the Hell General serving Satan is either Zenon or Xenon.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Nagai's previous series, Demon Lord Dante. Justified, given that the series was originally created when Toei requested that Nagai create a more marketable version of Dante.
  • Stealth Sequel: Violence Jack to the original series. Devilman Lady is this to pretty much every installment in the franchise.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Someone in Toei must be a Godzilla fan, because an episode has the demon Godo sending a Tyrannosaurs rex in modern day Japan sounding just like said monster.
  • Stupid Evil: Amon at one point in the Apocalypse of Devilman OVA, but the prize goes to the demon sent to kill Miki and Michiru in Devilman vs Getter Robo - Akira saves Miki and the demon escapes with Michiru, but, instead of outright killing her, he wastes time wondering if he should eat or rape her and decides to do both right before Akira finds them and kills him.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: What God, and by extension Satan, Amon and Sirene are revealed to originally have been in Demon Knight, the official prequel manga to Devilman. Seems to outright contradict some important story elements from both the original manga and Amon: Darkside of Devilman, but look up Broad Strokes above.
  • Summoning Ritual: Used by Miki in Devilman Grimoire to summon demons. Unfortunately actual demons show up and they weren't summoned by the ritual.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Amon was originally this, but he transcended to pure evil after Miki Makamura got killed. Might be an Unbuilt Trope as it's probably one of the first if not the first use of it in manga and one of the rare instances that shows how having one corrupts and changes a once cowardly boy into a Blood Knight.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When one of the mob calls Miki a witch, in the heat of the moment, she's gloats that she is certainly a witch and warns them not to underestimate her. But as the mob begins to surround her, she says she's not a witch.
  • Thematic Rogues Gallery: Demons, duh.
  • Time Travel: In the Shin Devilman, Akira and Ryo go to different periods in the past to stop demons, which would have changed history if they hadn't intervened.
  • 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 toughness 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.
    • Also in Devilman Grimoire, after losing one of his feet, Akira decides to stay behind and let the demons devour him in order to buy time for Miki to escape.
    • After ending up Stuffed into the Fridge in the original manga and a mute, quadruple-amputee sex slave in Violence Jack, Miki has become this in the 2010s. She becomes a Getter pilot in Devilman vs Getter Robo, and in Devilman Grimoire she's a witch who later becomes a Devilman.
    • Also in 1972 it's one of the reasons Devilman (not Amon: in this continuity a Demon called Devilman does a kill-and-replace on Akira Fudo) becomes the hero and starts fighting of humanity behalf. Miki is the only human fed up with Devilman-as-Akira being an unsufferable bully and calls him out. From that point Devilman starts seeing how there can be good in humanity.
  • Torn Apart by the Mob: This is the fate of Miki Makimura and her little brother in pretty much every version of Devilman once the existence of demons is revealed to the world at large. When Akira arrives too late to save them, the mob's parading around of their heads and limbs is the final straw that causes him to snap out and kill the whole mob.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Devilman Saga takes place in the year 2025.
  • Villainous Underdog: Surprisingly enough, the demons. While they're undoubtedly physically superior to humans, it's highlighted that they're completely outmatched by human weaponry, especially in regards to mankind's nuclear arsenal. The demons' true advantage over the humans isn't their physical might, but rather that they know about the humans but the humans don't know about them, and so they're able to undermine human institutions by learning about the weaknesses of the human heart. Tellingly, demons infiltrate the leadership of the USSR and attempt to use nuclear weapons to wipe out humanity via nuclear warfare. It doesn't work, as God intercepts the nuclear weapons and disintegrates them mid-flight. In response, the demon at the USSR freaks out and admits that the demons can't beat the humans without the help of nuclear weapons. He's decidedly proven correct, as in the end the humans wipe themselves out rather than being directly defeated by the demons.
  • War Is Hell: The core message of the series is that war benefits no one. The war between the humans and the demons concludes with the humans slaughtering each other out of sheer paranoia, the devilmen and demons wiping each other out, and the few survivors that remain being massacred at the hands of God's angels.
  • Waterfall Shower: Silene takes a shower under a melting glacier in the 2nd OVA.
  • What If??: The Amon manga and OVA's explore what'd happen if say, Akira was completely possessed after Miki dies. The result? Not pretty.


Video Example(s):


"Will This Be On The Test?"

KaiserBeamz recognizes that Ryo's lecture on demons is important, but that doesn't stop him from complaining about its length.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / Infodump

Media sources: