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King Of The Witches

Devil Man 2 Film DVD Set

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Go Nagai’s Devil Man: Genesis and Devil Man 2: Siren, The Demon Bird. If you’re familiar with Go Nagai, you know what he’s capable of. 

Devil Man:

“ ‘Smoking is bad for your health, especially when it’s your own flesh you’re smoking.’

The granddaddy of ultra violent anime! Devilman is a neon-drenched bloodbath full of enough gore and demon action you could easily ignore the rushed plot trying to fit an entire volume into 50 minutes.

The first volume of Go Nagai’s manga epic (which this is an adaptation of) was pretty bare-bones, simply trying to get the story started. Meaning this OVA is quite faithful to the source material. And while Go Nagai would explore heavier themes later on in the series, we still get a daunting question here. Would you give up your humanity if it meant saving mankind?

Our 3 main characters are: Miki Makimura, Akira’s love interest who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Ryo Asuka, Akira’s childhood friend who REALLY doesn’t take shit from anyone and might know more than he lets on. And Akira Fudo, a sweet and pure boy who after becoming Devilman ABSOLUTELY doesn’t take shit from anyone. Don’t fuck with these 3, that’s for sure.

The story, like I said, is rather basic. Demons used to rule the earth until frozen during the ice age. Now they’re thawing out and Ryo has discovered a way to fight back. With a pure heart, meld with a demon and possess ITS body, becoming a human/demon hybrid. Or a Devilman, if you will. 

The first 40 minutes are spent world-building and expositing plot, with just enough lovecraftian oddities to keep your attention. Then those final (and perfect) 10 minutes hit, and it’s nothing but an orgy of blood and entrails as Devilman rips his way through demon after demon. It’s such a beautiful scene, Devilman looks the best he’s ever looked, the demons are so unique in their design, and the gore is spectacular! 

The animation is perfect, as a huge fan of the Devilman manga, this and Demon Bird are the closest to come to his style. They employ Go Nagai’s heavy inking throughout, giving the people and background weight. The characters look like they were pulled right out of the manga. I even recognized moments were they recreated shots from the source material. The dedication here shows in every wonderful frame. 

I really think the 80’s/90’s OVA era was the best thing to happen to Go Nagai. Sure in the 70’s his most popular works (Mazinger Z, Cutey Honey, Devilman) were all adapted into anime. And while those series are all classics in their own rights, they were mere shadows compared to their more heavy and explicit mangas. Then the OVAs were invented and we finally got Go Nagai how he was meant to be. New Cutey Honey, Devilman: The Birth/ Devilman: Demon Bird, Violence Jack, Shuten Doji, Go Nagai World (my favorite), The Abashiri Family, Kekko Kamen, Hanappe Bazooka, Iron Virgin Jun, Getter Robo: Armageddon, oh man it was so good! Now THAT is a legacy hard to beat! They were also some of the first violent anime available here in the states, due to vhs. And lucky for me, my dad picked up a few of them back in the day, meaning things like Devilman, New Cutey Honey, and Violence Jack were the first Go Nagai anime I ever saw! Watching them was life-changing to say the least, I was blown away! 

This and Demon Bird (which covered volume 2 of the manga) are all that were made, leaving the story unfinished. It’s unfortunate because the only Devilman anime that has fully covered the manga is Devilman: Crybaby. I don’t know how to feel about it and I’m almost scared to watch it. The animation looks flat and cartoony, the character designs are.... different (where the hell are Ryo’s trademark sideburns!?), and it looks like it added new subplots and characters. I don’t know, I’m sure it’s fine, I just want THIS to be the anime that covered it completely. Sorry ‘bout that, rants over.

This is mandatory viewing for any anime fan. Not just iconic, but a bloody treat from the poetic opening to the savage end. Highly recommended.“ - Kaijuman on Letterboxd

Devil Man 2

”Anime is an underrated resource for horror movies. 

“If you ever say that again I’ll rip off your fucking head and shit down your neck!”

Keeping in tone with explosive violence, memorable demon designs, great animation, and even some Go Nagai philosical questions, Devilman: Demon Bird is a perfect follow up to the original.

As Devilman stands as the only thing standing between demons and total human extinction, more and more demons are seeking to slay the demon-fused human. 

Now that the origin story’s been covered, this OVA lets loose and gives us some recognizable Go Nagai demons. 

First off is Jinmen: a sadistic turtle demon who, after eating a human, has his victims faces grow onto his shell. He keeps their consciousness alive both to gleefully torture them and to use as a living shield against Devilman. Especially since one of his victims was Devilmans’ own mother! It’s too bad the dubbing decided to give him the voice of a southern plantation owner with a throat full of phlegm. Sounds hilarious btw.

Agwel: an indescribable mass with three eyes that fuses with a house and absorbs its inhabitants into the walls. 

Ghelmer: a mixture of sea slug and crab/dragon that can become water and uses this to attack Devilmans’ crush while she’s bathing. He’s also got a goofy voice, this time sounding like an obnoxious Saturday morning cartoon character gargling water.

And finally Sirene: one of Devilmans most popular foes. The body of a beautiful nude woman with angel wings for hair. She sports some nasty looking talons for hands and feet and can even launch her talons at her enemies.

This OVA is one fight after another, each more hardcore than the last. It all culminates with a honest to god 20 minute fight with Sirene! The battle is graphic as hell and has the animation to back it up. It’s a thrilling conclusion to the OVA.

Even within all the bloodshed there’s some good character development. Akira becomes more confident and violent as he comes settled into being Devilman, Ryo begins to question if they should have created Devilman at all (and hints towards his true nature), Miki opens up more about her feelings toward Akira, hell even Sirene is given some character development! Through her we discover that demons aren’t all pure evil, and can even feel love towards each other. Good ole’ Go Nagai muddying the waters.

We also are given some great quiet moments (something that was lacking in the first one). Two in particular stick out. When Devilman defeats Jinmen and allows himself to cry over his mother’s death and right before the final battle begins as both parties silently wait as their heartbeats grow louder and louder. It’s moments like these that give weight to an otherwise heavily graphic horror anime. (Not saying Devilman would be worse if these scenes weren’t there, but they are appreciated).

The two Devilman OVAs serve as reminders as to what an OVA should be. Fun, fast-paced, mature, well animated, and never lacking in story. It’s a damn shame they never finished the series and left us with only two. It would have been amazing to see what they could have done with the final three volumes of the manga. Regardless, we’ll always have the first two. And they are definitely worth the watch. Highly recommended.“ - kaijuman on Letterboxd again