Devilman, part 2


The storyline of the TV series is markedly different from that of the manga and of the OVAs. Akira and his father are killed while mountain climbing in the Himalayas, and Devilman chooses Akira's body as a cover to disguise himself. Although Devilman takes the form of Akira Fudo, Akira as he was before is completely gone, and the being occupying his body is purely Devilman. Devilman's mission is to cause death and destruction on Earth to pave the way for a demonic invasion of the human world. However, when he moves in with the Makimuras, he finds himself attracted to Miki's tough, no-nonsense ways, and is thus distracted from his mission. The lord of the demons sends forth a succession of demons to eliminate the distraction by killing Miki, and Devilman/Akira resolves to fight to protect Miki. In the TV series, Devilman's motives for fighting are much less altruistic than in the manga or the later OVAs - he fights only to protect the woman he loves and for nothing more. The TV series also had more comedy than the manga or later anime incarnations of the franchise, especially after Lala's debut.

Devilman evolved from a previous manga titled Mao Dante (Demon Lord Dante) after Toei Animation approached Go about turning Dante into a television series. The producers wanted certain elements toned down, and a more human-like anti-hero created. Devilman was born as a result of this; Go Nagai worked on the anime's scenario along with Masaki Tsuji, a well-known anime scenario writer and a highly successful and regarded novelist of several mystery fictions. Along with the television series, Devilman was also produced as a serialized manga in Shukan Shonen Magazine over 53 issues beginning in 1972. Go Nagai designed the manga to be more horror-like and mature than the anime version. It was later reprinted in a five-volume series, and has enjoyed over a dozen reprints and in five different languages. The manga's extreme violence and excellent story line made it an instant hit.

The anime series was 39 episodes long and ran from July 1972 to March 1973 on NET (now TV Asahi). The series sported some differences from the manga (the character of Ryo Asuka wasn't created until Go started working on the manga after he finished working on the anime), but was still very popular. Both the anime and the manga also vary on the ending; while the anime series had a bittersweet open-ended finale, the manga had a tragic ending. Rather surprisingly given its level of violence, the Devilman TV series was also broadcast on TV in Italy in the 1980s.

Two OVAs (Original Video Animation) were released in 1987 and 1990. These videos were what Go Nagai originally intended the first anime series to be like, since the censors made him tone the series down back in 1972 because of its extreme violence. The late Kazuo Komatsubara, an animation director on the original TV series, returned for the OVAs as character designer. The videos revolve around Akira's transformation into Devilman up until his battle with Silene (also called Sirene, Siron, Shiranu or Shienru). The OVAs are well animated and, other than a few minor alterations, are faithful to the original manga, and were released in the U. S. during the mid 1990s on video by L.A. Hero, and then on DVD in 2000 by Manga Entertainment. The U. S. DVD release, much to the consternation of many American Devilman fans, is English redub only and does not include the original Japanese audio track, whereas the series was released in both subtitled and dubbed form on VHS. The OVAs remain the only Devilman anime to have been commercially released in the United States.

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