Devilman Volume 1 (Manga) Review

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Rating: 8/10

Plot: Akira Fudou is rather cowardly yet kindhearted person who suddenly gets dragged away by his best friend, Ryo Asuka who claims his father recently committed suicide and he wants to talk with him about his inheritance. He explains that demons used to rule the earth yet vanished long ago. Now they’re steadily coming back, and they are the only ones who have any hope of saving the world from their reign. In particular, Akira is needed to merge with a demon due his kind nature and will to fight the demons hopefully allowing him to overcome the influence of the devil within him to become Devilman!

Breakdown: Well I certainly am glad I went back to read this series, because it explains a hell of a lot that I was missing in the first volume of Amon. I also got to understand the weight of a particular line from the first volume of Amon. In Amon, people keep calling him Akira and there’s a big buildup to him saying that his name is Amon, showing that Akira is either dead or sleeping within him and now the demon has full control. In Devilman, the devils around him keep trying to call out to Amon, but Akira proclaims that he is not Amon and that he is a being made of Akira and a demon, making him Devilman. I thought was pretty cool.

This first volume does have a pretty big problem, though, and that’s that most of it is a gigantic exposition dump. It was just page after page after page after page of Ryo telling us what happened prior to him picking up Akira. It’s a pretty good story, but it kinda drags due to the fact that a character is merely telling us about it instead of allowing us to see it as it went on. Even when the devils first start attacking it didn’t seem horribly exciting.

It’s not until the Black Sabbath scene where things really get crazy, intense and just awesome. It is an insane scene that makes up for all of the waiting though the previous chapters.

A problem I had in going through the first chapter of Amon was that I really didn’t know much about Akira throughout the entire thing. I knew his backstory, that he was in love with Miki and he was a nice guy with good friends, but that was about it. Now that I’ve gotten to know Akira more as a character, I feel like he’s very believable but also slightly confusing. Akira is a pretty big wuss and he seems like a pacifist to the point where he won’t try to fight thugs who are trying to sexually assault Miki. She’s the one who has to tell them off and Asuka is the one who has to make them leave. Even when the demons start attacking, he has no real courage to fight them.

However, he is very noble in that he willingly accepts this deal with Ryo to merge with devils both to help save the world and to prevent Ryo from suffering alone.

It’s not until he finally has merged with Amon before he starts kicking some ass, but it’s a good buildup and pretty believable given his personality.

Ryo as a character is also pretty confusing. I’m not even really sure why someone like him is friends with someone like Akira. Ryo seems like a very intelligent and tough person, but he also has his moments where he seems like a stoic punk and even a few where he seems like a complete psychopath. It’s hard to get a real read on him.

Dosuroku is sadly nothing but an asshole thug here, and I don’t know how long it takes him to become a good guy.

Another character we finally learn of is Miki who (spoiler alert) is seen dead at the very beginning of Amon, leaving us with no clue as to her character. (End spoiler) Here, she seems to be a fairly nice girl who can stick up for herself when needed. However, she didn’t have much screentime (or…pagetime?) so she’s also a bit up in the air.

The art, done by author Go Nagai of Mazinger and Cutie Honey fame, is somewhat mixed. The scenes that are meant to be detailed look fantastic, but the miscellaneous scenes with them talking and the regular character models look weird sometimes. I actually laughed when Ryo first appears because his facial expression and manner of dress made me think he was either a drug dealer, ungodly bored or somehow future-channeling Johnny Bravo. And the various scenes of him tearing up look terrible. It looks like his eyes are melting.

All in all, I really liked this volume and I definitely look forward to more.

Recommended Audience: For 1972, this is some pretty graphic stuff. Hell, even for today. There are numerous instances of nudity, though the genitals are always never drawn or hidden in shadowed groins. There is also quite a bit of gore and blood, alcohol and drug use and implied threats of sexual assault. There are no sex scenes, however, and also very minimal swearing. 15+

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