|>> || 1591550152955.png -(662632B / 647.10KB, 984x602) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. >>13 |
I wanted to wait until tommorrow, but what the hell (no pun intended)?
So I can tell Mr. Yuasa was a fan of Devilman yet got tired of living in a post-Devilman world. After all the manga is borderline inaccessible and, sadly enough, dated to some (or at least the people who made “Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman”) from what I’ve been able to guess. Yuasa, however, is not only conscious of THIS but of the fact he was also living in the kind of world where something ELSE was dated by now despite also containing heavy Christianity allusions: Evangelion. Seriously, I’m pretty sure the demon girl’s breasts from the first episode resemble Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors and the Mass production Evas from End of Evangelion, let alone Devilman’s pose copying one of the piloted Evas when he’s in extreme agony in the penultimate episodes (even if that’s not where the coincidences/homages from that franchise end since it’s only the PENULTIMATE episode). The sad thing is it wasn’t dated because it wasn’t unique, rather due to the opposite: it was TOO unique.
TOO influential. I remember in anime club, when they were going to put a show called “Ga Rei Zero”, my friend only told me how “Evangelion was only the beginning” before I started watching. I wouldn’t doubt how any self-respecting otaku can name you at least ONE anime that was inspired by it (which is perhaps a good 80%, if not more, nowadays). But besides the fact this show didn’t have much going for it anymore past a few manga and a lighthearted crossover, Mr. Yuasa clearly adapted two principles before entering into pre-production: “Make the work you want to see” and “If you want something done right do it yourself”.
First let me start with what got me into this:
To anyone not familiar with the music video for “Fantasy” by DyE think It Follows meets the Thing. To anyone not privy to horror movies it’s pretty much a French anime inspired MV about teenagers, who sneak into a pool at night to “fool around”, but instead end up all becoming 80s inspired horror creatures, except one. I bring this up because I saw another video for the song, albeit with ONE discernible difference: It was composed of clips from Devilman Crybaby. And let me tell ya: it’s here where one can’t help but wonder if Mr. Yuasa was incited by at the very least 50% of Dye’s aesthetic from that video because these horror based vibes were just the same if amped up a bit. The remainder is impossible to tell due to the lady’s breasts becoming the aforementioned Eva Audreys, but with all the expressive elasticity of a Frank Tashlin animation.
Yet regardless of how intense this got at times, from the Jinmen episode that felt like Satoshi Kon worked on as guest director to the last two episodes that really felt as though 90s Anno helmed himself, one thought came to me as my more depressing ideas recollected after watching this: When you’re young you have a sense of wonder that makes your point of view seemingly infinite without any effort whatsoever. This is definitely shown when Yuasa shows off all these whimsically childlike designs that merge between his Yellow Submarine meets Tex Avery influences and his experience working on one episode of Adventure Time. Yet all this is because you don’t go through enough hardships which invalidate this level of imagination completely, rendering it useless until you’re no longer a young adult but a full grown one, something that can be reflected in the mindset Yuasa had which served as a spark for why he wanted to make this in the first place: As visually contradictory as it seems, Yuasa wanted to make a more “adult Devilman”, meaning although it doesn’t shy away from the trauma and unabashedly disturbed tone, also included an at times more sensible yet more openminded oeuvre of real life realities from varying sexual content to lighthearted slice of life moments with freestyle rapping to the obvious Anno inspired existential dread brought out when humanity is at its most horribly desperate. In fact I can’t help but wonder if Sirene and Psycho Jenny had bigger roles in the original source material yet Yuasa knew it was impossible to make the audience care for their characters as much as they used to nowadays without putting in twice the effort with a fraction of the enjoyment as they went along. But returning to that same sense of wonder: the reason I said young adult is because even as you reach that age you still have yet to be crushed by the weight of so many hard times which develop that inner cynicism within you. You either see yourself as limitless and, without spoiling too much, legitimately die trying to keep it alive, or you can only handle so much weight from the bad times until you give up and yield to the inevitable pain as an adult. It didn’t dawn on me how Akira’s line from the first episode “you’re crying too” had more than one implication until I saw the last episode, as one could say his heartwrenching failure to save living beings serves as some sort of motif for growing up throughout the anime until the very end when, again without spoiling, his phrase comes true in an unconventional yet bittersweet manner.
Maybe I’m biased but I can’t help assume that this did not look like something that was easy to accomplish for Mr. Yuasa, especially compared to previous works he’s tackled. It looked like something that he had always wanted to see pulled off since he was probably in High School, given how uncomfortable it must’ve been to make if it might not have been for all tastes from just the first episode. Even if he wasn’t the right person to manage this particular atmosphere, look, aesthetic, and most essentially, feel. Even if it was far as went against his very beliefs at the time of putting this together. But as messed up as this may sound to even myself he probably also held Devilman close to somewhere left in his heart after all these fucking decades and at least wanted to see it done justice if no one else was going to do him the overdue yet mutual honour, even if he had to do it himself, as previously mentioned, regardless of the modern consensus which no longer took interest in this kind of idea, be it for obvious reasons or more complicated ones that still didn’t stop Mr. Yuasa.
Much like Akira before becoming Devilman, he just wanted to satisfy his High School self before leaving him behind, be it for an excruciatingly long while or even forever.