Akira and Ryo are arguably the original Anime duo character characterized by their intense emotional bond and adventurous hijinks, with plenty of homoerotic subtext mixed in for good measure. As a fandom with nearly 50 years behind it, Devilman came before and likely inspired the likes of Guts and Griffith, Shinji and Kaworu and Madoka and Homura.
Note: This page pertains only to subtext that occurs in the Devilman manga, its spinoffs, and the following animated adaptations: The Birth and Demon Bird, Amon: The Apocalypse of Devilman, and Cyborg 009 VS Devilman. Any subtext specific to the adaptation DEVILMAN crybaby has a page of its own.
- Generally, Akira and Ryo have plenty of subtext to their relationship. At first you can write it off as a typical bromance, with them being blood brothers/best friends who rely on each other; replete with macho speeches and constant brushes with death for each other's sake. However, some of their moments can feel a little too obsessive/flirty to be entirely platonic, especially on Ryo's part. If you ever watch the OVAs, then you'll be amazed how much of Ryo and Akira's stares come off as "having sex with their eyes".
- In the manga the big plot twist of the series is Ryo made Akira a Devilman, possessed by the spirit of Amon, so he could survive the oncoming apocalypse. Said apocalypse is orchestrated by Ryo's true persona: Satan. This act is actually mocked by Zennon who says that the loss of Amon was a detrimental loss to the power of their demon army, but Satan's affection for Akira is strong enough that he doesn't care about this.
- Ryo shows a great deal of jealousy towards Miki, Akira's canonical love interest, far in advance of what a "best friend" should care about. There's even a bonus chapter in the manga dedicated to Ryo staying behind on the beach as he stares at Miki and Akira swimming off shore with obvious jealousy.
- In the last arc of Amon the Darkside of Devilman the main villains Cadney and Dr. Rainuma have a moment that indicates they have a physical relationship, possibly a Lover and Beloved kind of thing.
- In the anime: after meeting Miki for the second time Lala says shes flattered that Miki remembers her but that shes not interested in girls Mikis reaction comes off as a little too defensive afterwards.