Devilman Volume 3 (Manga) Review

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Rating: 8/10

Plot: The demon threat is getting worse by the day. More and more people are being attacked by demonic beings, and Devilman is trying his hardest to keep up. With a new worldwide attack launched by the demon king, Xenon, the demons aim to make humans crazy and play off of their fears, hopefully allowing them to form a window which will ultimately allow the devils to wipe out humanity and take the planet back. Devilman realizes that their newest plan has resulted in the creation of several other devilmen in the world, and he plans on making a devilman army to stop the demons before they wipe out humanity, or before humanity wipes themselves out.

Breakdown: This volume is more broken up than the previous ones as it actually involves several stories instead of just one long story.

The first story involves a spider demon called General Demon Zan possessing, but not merging with, everyone at Akira’s school, forcing the students to attack him. He’s forced to hold himself back and try his best to kill the spiders instead of the people. After saving their lives and earning their gratitude, Akira enlists the help of the thugs that have been appearing time and again in the series. They manage to help him beat the spiders, but Zan ends up escaping.

This story is a bit on the boring side, other than some creepy and cool visuals. Miki is at her worst so far, as she’s almost entirely relegated to being Akira’s fangirl…No, no, I’ll do you one better; she’s his lap dog. He barks orders at her and treats her like crap, she backs down and obeys and even apologizes for being a very mild nuisance. She gushes over being told to grab his back when they’re attacked by possessed thugs with spiders on their heads all the while thinking that Akira smells good as it’s ‘the smell of manliness’, doesn’t try to fight the possessed people at all and only starts batting them away with her book bag in a panic while screaming for Akira, and later she gets jealous of a five year old girl who is Akira’s friend because she seriously believes something romantic is between them. She even calls her a brat just because Akira was nice to her.

Oh and she finds the thugs who tries numerous times to rape her and possibly kill her ‘sooo cool!’ after they decide to help Akira with the possessed people. *huff*

This story did get us an interesting view on the demon situation, likening it to predators and prey, and we get more hints that something is seriously off with Ryo (in a demon sense. He was always kinda crazy even before the Black Sabbath). However, it’s definitely the weakest arc so far.

The next story, however, is probably the strongest and most emotionally impacting story thusfar. The kid I mentioned before is named Sachiko, and she used to be Akira’s neighbor back when he lived with his parents (he lives with Miki’s family now as his parents are away, I believe). She doesn’t stick around with Akira and Miki for long before she’s set off on a train back home. However, the train enters into a pitch black cave that is revealed to be the stomach of a turtle demon, Jinmen, one of Zan’s henchmen.

Jinmen possesses the ability to consume human beings and replaces sections of his shell with their faces. While he claims the people are actually still alive within his shell, dialogue suggests that the people truly are dead; if not, they’re very close to death and will die soon with no way of saving them.

Devilman shows his first signs of true emotion since his merging, even crying several times when he’s realized what’s happened to Sachiko. He’s horrified that his attacks hit the faces of the shell, ‘killing’ the person that they hit, and this leads him to the terrible realization that the only way to kill Jinmen and free Sachiko and the others is to punch a hole right through the shell, and subsequently Sachiko’s face, weakening him enough to finish him off.

I really like this story. Despite Sachiko having an incredibly minor part before her death, she seems like a very sweet kid who loved Akira dearly. Her sad monologue after Akira finds her only adds more weight to the situation. While her final death was very sad and impacting, I felt the most for her when she saw the face next to her get destroyed. She understands and accepts that she’s dead, yet she still has to witness something that horrible.

They did a great job with writing Sachiko to fit right in for an emotional impact for Akira without feeling shoehorned in. I especially like how the second to last page shows a split of Devilman’s face and Akira’s face with Akira’s crying in his section. Plus, they broke the taboo of killing a kid, meaning there’s even more tension since now we know that no one is truly safe.

The next story kinda compounds that sentiment, and while the story is also very sad, I felt it should’ve been placed somewhere other than directly after Sachiko’s story.

Tare, Miki’s little brother, is out late at a park with his friend, Susumu. He wants to go home, but Susumu says he’ll stay at the park tonight since he doesn’t want to go home. When asked why, he says his mother beats him all the time, and apparently there’s been a trend of mothers killing their children. She not only beats him, but she frequently sics her dog on him, even trapping him alone in a room with the dog. He’s covered in scars because of the incidents and only feels safe when his dad’s home, despite the fact that his dad doesn’t believe him about his mom. However, his dad is usually very late so it’s not worth it to go home.

When Tare offers to have him sleep over at his house, Susumu’s mother arrives while acting pretty normal. She claims that Susumu makes up crazy stories since he’s alone so much, and even proves that the dog loves Susumu by letting the dog loose and walk up to him. After hearing his father’s home early for a change, Susumu agrees that he was lying, and he and Tare part ways.

When he arrives home, he finds his father is not there and his mother is mad at him for revealing her secret, also revealing that she and the dog are demons. When his dad arrives home, he shows that he’s also a demon and Susumu’s disembodied head is seen in a pool of blood in the final panel.

Again, Go Nagai does a great job of making Susumu a real character to us while also not having any other scenes before this. Susumu seems like a realistic enough abused kid. He seems somewhat numb about what’s happening to him and gets really excited when even minor positive things happen. His expression changes to that of defeat when his mother reveals that his dad isn’t home and he turns into a simple frightened child when the demons reveal themselves.

While I feel this would have more impact either further before or further after the Sachiko story due to the fact that it’s two child death stories back to back, this is a good, albeit short, story. Rest in peace, Sachiko and Susumu.

The final story arc is the big scene of the volume to lead into volume four. The demons have set out their biggest attack yet, which is to not really attack at all. They’re purposely merging with people who still have reason, something that needs to be gone in order for a proper merge to occur, hence the Black Sabbath. When this happens, the demons and the humans they’re trying to inhabit quickly die. The sudden rash of people turning into monsters before dying sparks public panic all across the world. It’s so bad that a hydrogen bomb is launched to Russia in an effort to tamper the threat. With the various governments of the world and everyone else panicking, the world is on a fast track to destruction.

This is solidified when the gargantuan demon king, Xenon, emerges, blocking a majority of the view of the sky over earth, claiming that in five minutes the first wave of attacks from the demons will truly begin. Those who survive the first wave will be sure to die in the second, and if any stragglers remain after the second, they’ll continue until every last human is wiped out.

Realizing that the string of failed merges has resulted in the formation of some devilmen, Akira plans to create an army of devilmen to help him combat the demons, but Ryo stops him as time runs out as there’s nothing they can do at the moment, even with Devilman’s power. The only thing they can do is sit and watch the war between the humans and devils unravel, forcing them to watch what Ryo calls the greatest show of history.

This is also the debut of Miko, who is an ex-thief who has recently changed her ways after a demon tried to merge with her. I guess the merge was a success because despite the fact that her body changed, her consciousness is still very much her own. She believes this malformed body is a punishment from God in response to her bad behavior.

Also, we learn that she can shoot acid from holes in her chest that can melt people into puddles in seconds.

Awe. Some.

This entire story is a big buildup, but on it’s own, it’s pretty awesome. The aspect of wanting to attack humans psychologically is very interesting and definitely a believable thing for devils to do. Xenon’s introduction was just fantastic. Showing him as such a huge being that he casts over a large part of the sky and can be seen from every country at once is just amazing. His design isn’t terribly great, but meh.

Plus, the end of the volume really leaves you on edge for what might happen, especially considering that it seems like Devilman may actually sit this war out, at least until they have a game plan. The humans have no chance against the demons, so I’m expecting an all-out massacre until Devilman and Ryo get their shit together.

Recommended Audience: All of the previous warnings remain except maybe nudity. The gore and creepy factor seem amped up in this volume, though. 14+

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2 thoughts on “Devilman Volume 3 (Manga) Review

    • It really was. That was one of the most heartbreaking manga chapters I’ve ever read. I kinda wish they had spent more time with Sachiko to add a little more overall plot significance to her story, but they did a really good job of making you connect with her merely in the one chapter she was in.

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