Devilman Crybaby

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Are There Lesbians? No

What Happens?
Crybaby Akira is turned into a demon with a human heart – a Devilman. With newfound confidence and powers he uses his abilities as Devilman to protect the weak from demons. But a greater threat is on the way…

The Verdict:
Devilman Crybaby is one of the reasons I never trust an anime with under 50 episodes. They reel you in by being mostly light-hearted (if violent and/or sexual) and then in the last quarter or so they FUCK. YOU. UP.  Seriously, this started as a fun, monster-of-the-week show and then turned into an in-depth analysis of the crimes of humanity with just a little bit of Neon Genesis Evangelion thrown in for good measure.

tw: Body Horror, Sexualized Violence, Spoilers

Devilman Crybaby treats its teenagers like adults and often portrays them in a way that makes it hard to remember that they are actually still kids. Once a character has become a “devilman” this becomes even harder to remember as they look taller, leaner and generally more adult – this is the same for both male and female characters. What I found most disturbing however is that even Miki, who never undergoes the transformation into a Devilman is still treated as a sexual object through her modelling and the worship she affords as being a trackstar. There is a prominent focus on her body through its dismemberment as an object of desire – her legs and boobs are strongly desired by men and women alike – and also the way she is treated by the general population after they decide she is a “witch” and is physically dismembered. There is a lot of violence and sex in the show, and something I noticed pretty much in the first episode is that the majority of violence is towards women who are also hyper sexualized. When Akira and Ryo go to the Sabbath, all the people who were being grotesquely transformed into devils were scantily clad women, and their devil form was hyper-sexualised – either through drooping breasts or the presence of vagina dentata.

This sort of sexualised violence is becoming more common in western shows *cough* Game of Thrones *cough,* but is indicative of a much wider and on-going trend within anime which really needs to stop. I don’t need this many panty-shots in my slice-of-life.

What Devilman Crybaby does do extremely well is its portrayal of male gay sex. While it is often the case that queer sex in anime is looked at from the gaze of the opposite gender (Yaoi and Shonen-Ai predominantly being aimed at women and vice versa), Devilman Crybaby eschews this traditional salacious treatment of gay sex. For once, Devilman shows sex as a way of attempting to achieve emotional connection with someone who isn’t there, a semi-destructive coping mechanism that is as emotionally arresting as so much of the violence the anime typically leans on. It is actually one of the more emotional, and least exploitative moments in the whole show.

Devilman Crybaby is hyper-violent and hyper-sexualised in a way only anime can be, and it’s impossible to look away. At it’s heart however, the anime shows the lives of people who arent-so-perfect with a sense of raw emotion. I found a lot of the interactions between the human characters the most thoughtful, though this was offset by battles between Devilman and devils. This anime explores humanity at it’s darkest, but also at it’s most giving and caring, and it’s truly interesting to see such a stark comparison between the two. Salaciousness is balanced with heart, and if you love all the insanity that anime does so well, then you’ll love Devilman Crybaby, because it is certifiably insane.

 

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