Demons, once trapped in the glacial ice of the Earth, have been unleashed on mankind after centuries of non-intervention. Only two men have the ability to stop them, the cool-headed Ryo and the fearless Akira who, as Devilman, possesses the body and strength of a demon but with the heart and soul of a human. Normal life in modern day Tokyo is unexpectedly disrupted for a young high school kid named Akira. First his parents go missing, then his pet rabbit is viciously slaughtered and finally his best friend, Ryo Asuka, reveals a terrifying secret - something that guarantees that Akira's life can never be the same again. Ryo's late archaeologist father left him a dark and sinister legacy, knowledge of which may only condemn Ryo in the same way it condemned his father - to an eternal sentence of suffering and torment. However, Ryo understands that his legacy also has the power to salvage the human race from torturous damnation at the hands of demons. But, whoever kills a demon must become a demon - and only one who is pure of heart can possess the body of a demon...only one like Akira!
Some people wonder why, when I'm told a certain anime is by Go Nagai, I wince and approach it with scepticism. Devilman is a perfect example of why. I must admit I didn't have particularly high hopes for this one, but even so I was surprised by how bad this show could get. Now, I'm pretty good at being able to suspend my disbelief when watching anime (hours upon hours of Mecha shows will do that to you) but what Devilman asks of the viewers is just too much. We're expected to believe that after having never seen Ryo for several years, Akira is just gonna take his mad ramblings at face value, and ignore the fact that this guy both sounds and looks totally off his rocker. "I want you to become a demon." "Okay!" O_o Ano...sorry guys, but that just doesn't cut it. If you want us to believe this kid is gonna become some kind of monster at the behest of a guy he hasn't seen for years, there'd better be a DAMNED good reason. The characters themselves have no real depth to them (ooh, he's willing to die for a bunny rabbit, he MUST be an innocent!) especially Ryo, who seems more like a villain than the hero's best friend. While I'm sure the manga has more story to it, the OVA is nothing more than a pathetic attempt at a plot used as an excuse for tons of really bloody fight scenes. Totally forgettable music, cheesy 80's sound effects, uninteresting animation, and I've already explained the story and characters. All in all a worthless package, and one to be avoided by just about everybody. If you want to see something by Go Nagai that's actually worth your time, go watch Kekko Kamen or Cutey Honey, and leave Devilman on the shelf.
Available subbed or dubbed through Manga Entertainment. Avoid the dub.