Plot: As humans continue to be pitted against each other and the anti-demon forces mowing down any and all suspicious people in their path, it seems like Akira’s biggest threat isn’t the demons but a majority of humanity. When Satan finally shows his face, and hope for humanity seems at it’s dimmest, can the devilman army rise up and save what’s left?
Breakdown: Well, just…wow. That was incredible…and massively depressing.
In this volume, our finale, Akira’s devil identity has been revealed on live television by Ryo, who has recently come to realize that he’s been Satan all along. Miki’s family eventually understands his plight, but tells him to leave in order to help protect the family from the anti-demon forces who may attack them for harboring a demon.
Despite him immediately leaving, the anti-demon forces storm the Makimura house and take Miki’s parents. They eventually torture, dismember and kill both of them before Devilman has a chance to save them.
Back at the Makimura household, a huge group of people are enraged that the anti-demon forces left Miki and Tare alone when they’re probably demons as well. They attack the household and despite a great effort by Miki and one of the thugs who has allied with Akira, all three of them end up getting horribly murdered by them. Miki in particular is made out to be an example, and her corpse is dismembered and placed outside the house on pikes.
Devilman is horrified by how far humanity has fallen and completely loses his drive to save any of them since they’re all lost in his eyes. However, there’s one person he still wishes to protect – Miki. When he returns to the Makimura house and finds his beloved murdered outside, he loses all hope and only wishes to take down the one who started it all.
20 years later, humankind reaches extinction. The earth is in ruin, and only devilmen and demons remain. After a long and hard battle…..
Akira fails. He dies in the aftermath of the final battle, and Ryo sadly recants his tale to Akira’s body without realizing he is dead. Once he realizes that the man who was his best friend, the man he fell in love with, is dead, he mourns his loss as an army of angels comes to exterminate the last of the demons from the earth.
See what I mean? In the end…it was all for naught. Humanity went to hell before going extinct, the devilmen lost, Akira died, Satan and his army took over and it wasn’t even a victory for them because in the end Ryo/Satan feels like he made a big mistake and lost the only person he really cared about in the process, and the demons still end up losing in the very end.
One could say it’s a bit of a happy ending because if the angels arrived to take out the demons, there might be some plan to revitalize the earth and humanity, but in the end it’s a very dim finale.
I will say that Ryo’s reveal as Satan was really not what I expected at all. I always assumed he was taken over by Satan during the Black Sabbath, but he was actually Satan for his entire life. He assumed the identity of Ryo Asuka, who was the technical first victim of the demon apocalypse, and had his memories erased by one of his henchmen in order to truly immerse himself in humanity and understand them in order to fully defeat them. His falling in love with Akira is also what prevented him from getting killed by the demons on one occasion.
If there are a few things I feel this finale did wrong, though some of this is because I read the first volume of Amon before this.
Miko amounted to nothing. She doesn’t appear in this volume at all. Some weird-haired devilman speaks with Akira a few times, but really no other named devilmen appear which is really weird considering the devilman army is a huge part of this story. In addition, it really seemed like they were starting something with Miko in the previous volume but just forgot about her, which is a damn shame because she seemed like she’d be an awesome character.
Dosuroku didn’t do much either. In fact, I have no clue what happened to him. Akira calls him ‘Roky’ once and he entrusted him with the knowledge that he was a devilman, which implies they became good friends, but he disappears and is never even seen dying. I mean, considering all of humanity was wiped out in the 20 Year War, it can be safely assumed that he quickly died, but I would’ve liked to have seen something come of his character.
Despite Miki not being annoying for the first time in ever (except stupidly saying she won’t fight the army of people charging her house with torches and weapons intending on killing her and her little brother. I understand why, but come on. Look where you are, take in the situation and toss a molly.) and even being a little kickass, her relationship with Akira just wasn’t done well enough for me to give two shits about her dying.
She was incredibly annoying for a majority of the series, Akira treated her like crap several times and they just never shared any really good moments of connection. Near the middle of this volume, they share a nice embrace, but that’s it. The romance just wasn’t handled well enough for me to really care when she died.
In fact, I was way more impacted by Tare’s death. That poor kid didn’t deserve to go out that way.
The ending also leaves a few notes to really think about. Did Akira’s cause really matter in the end? Humanity proved to be just as selfish, fearful and vile as Satan believed they were from the start. Men, women, children, babies; all of them mercilessly murdered by humans and demons alike.
You could also say that the ending is perpetuating the lesson that Satan learned. God wished to destroy the demons because they were violent and evil beings, and Satan wished to destroy humanity because he thought the same of them. When the angels arrived to supposedly wipe out the demons yet again, could this start the cycle again? If humanity is restored, is it just damned to another massacre at the hands of something else?
Despite the dark ending, I am actually perfectly content with it. Sometimes you need a story with deeply tragic ending. Not all stories can end happily. Not all heroes can save the day. We may escape into media like this to get the happy endings we’ll never have, but sometimes the sad endings can really make you appreciate the good endings; both in fiction and real life.
Devilman is an awesome series, and while it does have its problems it is still a really great read. It’s not for those without a stomach for gore or dark and tragic tones, but it’s still a great manga that I’d fully recommend.
ENTIRE SERIES RATING: Based on an average of all of the volumes, Devilman gets a final rating of 8/10
Final notes: I really loved this one shot of the people who attack the Makimura household, It’s purposely drawn erratically and colored in sloppily in order to give them people a monster-like look.
Recommended Audience: There’s still plenty of gore around every corner, and a graphic small child death. A couple of instances of nudity, no sex, minor swearing, dark tones. 17+