Devilman Crybaby Series Review: It’s Making A Splash But Does It Have Substance?


Devilman Crybaby Overview:

In Devilmana Crybaby, Ryou, a teenage professor, tells Akira, his childhood friend, that demons are going to take over the world. They go to find evidence and Akira ends up fusing with Amon, a powerful demon, becoming a Devilman (demon with the heart of a human).

Devilman Crybaby Review – some spoilers:

There’s been a lot said about Devilman Crybaby already, but just in case you missed all the other blogs that have written about it, this is a Netflix anime that is not for the faint of heart. Whether it is the gratuitous violence and gore or the sex and body horror, this is definitely not for those who are squeamish about anything. Even my fairly high tolerance for fictional violence was pushed while watching this and it didn’t help that some of the imagery (the sex and body horror elements) ended up being a little  disturbing. But if that doesn’t put you off, let’s discuss whether or not this show is living up to the hype surrounding it.

While I might be in the minority, I really didn’t enjoy watching Devilman Crybaby. From the start, the visuals just didn’t sit well with me as I didn’t particularly like the style. There are some really striking scenes where they do some wonderful contrasts with colour and the like, but it just didn’t appeal visually. Then again, possibly the ugly and overly simplistic art style fit with the nature of the story but it certainly wasn’t a selling point for me.


Then the characters came along and my issue is each one is very much one thing with potentially one twist up their sleeve. From the beginning Ryou is portrayed as lacking in human emotions so by the time the reveal as to why comes along you’ve mostly figured it out anyway and it isn’t in the slightest bit surprising. In fact, it makes some of his earlier actions in Devilman Crybaby a lot easier to swallow because it makes sense that no sensible person would suddenly start slashing random strangers with a broken bottle in order to collect proof of demons.


Akira, on the other hand, apparently has a very warm human heart. Let every character tell you about it, over and over again. Oh, Akira’s a crybaby? He cries for others? Oh, how empathetic. Over and over again Devilman Crybaby hammers you with this point and the real issue is Akira has no other personality trait other than his apparent abundance of empathy for others. Even his anger and rage later in the show is produced because of his empathy.

The side characters are all much the same, with Miko maybe being the exception. They are introduced as one thing, if they are a more important character there might be a later reveal but the show isn’t spending a great deal of time on fleshing these characters out. They are stand-ins and place-holders for the rest of society.

Because Devilman Crybaby very much wants to make a POINT. It is a deep metaphor, a reflection of society and the social disharmony and disconnect of youth culture… And it wants to make sure you never forget it. Not for a single instant. Like Akira’s empathy and heart, let the anime tell you again and again about characters with broken dreams, feeling disillusioned, lost, unsatisfied, and how society doesn’t value those who work hard or genuinely feel for others.


Now, there is nothing wrong with being an allegory and filled with metaphorical characters and imagery, what takes the enjoyment away from Devilman Crybaby is while it wants to have that deeper message, it also wants to shock and titillate its audience. And it does this with as much subtlety as it constructs metaphor so large chunks of early episodes are given to the sabbath, to sex, and to violence between demons played out on scenes nearly too dark at times to really catch the detail of what is going on but with a plethora of squishy and unsettling sound-effects.

The balance is lacking and by the time the show switches into full allegorical mode none of the characters or ideas have really had a chance to be developed or to sit well with the audience because so much time has been given to extended sequences of sex and violence. So the show falls back on imagery we are familiar with from other stories and myths and to replaying ‘critical’ segments over and over again to once again hammer a point home that could have been made more easily with a bit more legwork in the earlier episodes.


Miki’s appeal on social media particularly bothered me. It felt so much like the writers wanted to directly state their message and simply put the moral into Miki’s typed messages. Miki’s subsequent death for sending out messages of peace and love lacked impact as it was mostly lost in a sea of other deaths and she hadn’t been built up enough for the audience to care. Therefore, Akira’s rage when he sees the result is understandable but not something the audience can share with him. We’re kept at arm’s length and in honestly her appeal was naïve at best giving me little reason to sympathise with the result.

The sudden gathering of an army of devilmen is also kind of convenient and simply allows for an overblown final battle which visually is a mess of colours, attacks, and spinning. There’s very little detail to that final fight, though one scene definitely gave me Evangelion vibes which was kind of weird.

Thematically, Devilman Crybaby is solid but for me the execution failed to engage. It was watchable, and had some dramatic moments, but without ever really getting an emotional response other than occasionally flinching at the visuals in earlier episodes. I get some people will have fun with this but it just didn’t work for me and I probably won’t do a rewatch at any point. Actually, if you just watch for the over-the-top violence and a story that pushes forward (even if it doesn’t get into much depth) this would kind of be the perfect watch, however I just found myself wanting more from it.

As always, I’d love to know what you thought of the show so please leave me a comment below.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Conception: It’s The Joke That Just Keeps Missing

Conception Anime Episode Review Title Image

Conception Episode 9 Review

I think Matt said it best over on ‘Anime Q and A’ but Conception has proven time and again that it has zero interest in pursuing its own premise and is instead determined to indulge in whatever it feels like indulging in. While sometimes that might be the smuttier aspects (though apparently never outright sex despite early promises – and I’m not actually disappointed by that but I would at least understand what sort of anime this was trying to be), it is far more frequently its forays into humour usually spear-headed by the regularly fourth wall breaking Mana (who still hasn’t had a close encounter with a paper shredder despite my endless wishes since episode 2).

 Basically if you’re still watching this for the actual plot, I feel sorry for you because I don’t think this show is particularly interested in it either! 

Cactus Matt
Conception Episode 9 Itsuki and Mana

What happens in episode 9 of Conception?

Well, Mana pursues the line of thought that the thirteenth labyrinth must be some sort of forbidden door and uses that to create an incredibly flimsy premise that clearly the ‘maiden’ must be someone forbidden and proceeds to suggest that they are either male (in the absence of being a younger sister or a step-mother). We then see the two other male characters indulge in some fairly blunt dialogue with Itsuki that is more or less a take-off of the usual pick ups they’ve been doing with the girls, but now there’s an incredibly amount of awareness behind every single line and it is almost as if the anime is daring you to call them on it.

Conception Episode 9 Itsuki mad at Mana
Conception Episode 9 Itsuki

All of this is rounded up in a twist reveal at the end that more or less confirms what the audience more or less knew all along. And that is, Mana is a punk and the single most obnoxious character of the season. 

I’m guessing there’s humour to be found here but to be honest I just found this whole sequence tiresome and Conception has definitely earned its title of ‘Anime I Wish I Hadn’t Watched This Season’.  Still, too late now to back out so let’s see if they manage anything resembling a resolution given they’ve ignored their own plot for so long.

Killing Stalking Chapter 17

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.


The after party continues and as much as Sangwoo has proven himself to be a very disturbed and quite sadistic human being, you have to wonder what excuses his friends may have?

They are horrible people. From the guy who won’t move to let Yoon Bum out (he’s using a crutch to walk, get out of his way), to the girls giggling over whether or not he has a girlfriend. They are petty and cruel and when Sangwoo kind of suggests they are all just future fodder (or maybe he really just changes friendship circles, his phrasing was ambiguous), you kind of don’t feel sorry for any of them.

This seems to be a reoccurring theme in this story. As horrible as both our protagonists are, everything they’ve faced outside of their twisted relationship has also been pretty horrible. It isn’t a subtle message, but it is clear that these monsters were made by the society they live in and now society is going to have to deal with them.

Still, Sangwoo is as cruel as ever. After taking Yoon Bum home and shoving him in a closet, telling Bum not to leave until he let’s him out, he then goes and retrieves the girl he earlier ditched. But, and this is where my concern for her immediate safety kicked in, he called her away from the others with a text before meeting up with her.

Jieun, without anyone else knowing, come down. I’ll wait for you.

I guess for her, she thought she’d struck gold. Her earlier jealousy over the fact that Sangwoo was leaving with Yoon Bum erased, she was all smiles.

I do not know what Sangwoo’s next plan is but at the end of this chapter it is clear he is in true sadistic form this evening, given he was having sex with the girl right outside the cupboard he threw Yoon Bum into.

There are no decent human beings in this story.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Killing Stalking Chapter 9

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.


How about it? You’re going to be the masters of your own fate! What a joke! But it’ll be exciting, like a roller coaster.

Sangwoo is really, really cruel. I can’t help but admire how incredibly expert he is at playing on human emotions, building up small glimmers of hope and then crushing them mercilessly under foot. He’s the brilliant manipulater and the game he sets up in this chapter brings that attribute to the foreground.

We pick up exactly where we left off in Chapter 8 with the new guy being thrown into the basement. Sangwoo, after forcing introductions, decides that the best way to break the ice will be a card game and of course it isn’t any fun if there isn’t something on the line. Why not bet their lives.

So begins a game that kind of reminded me of some of the episodes of Death Parade. The characters are doing something totally innocuous, but with the stakes as high as they are, emotions frazzle and things rapidly spiral out of control. In this case, Yoon Bum having won the first game before Sangwoo declared it a practice round, becomes desperate. In his desperation he clings to the only thing he has and that is Sangwoo.

Now, Sangwoo could have just let things run their course but that is not his style. Instead, after looking at Yoon Bum’s hand, he sits behind the other guy and begins indicating to Yoon Bum which card he should pick. Naturally, this gives Yoon Bum just that little bit of hope that Sangwoo doesn’t intend for him to lose.

Which makes Sangwoo directing Yoon Bum to the joker just that little bit more cruel. The fact that as readers we see this outcome coming from the moment Yoon Bum looked desperately at Sangwoo doesn’t take away the impact of that final draw.

Of course, knowing how many more chapter already exist after this one, I’m pretty convinced Sangwoo isn’t about to kill Yoon Bum so now I’m curious as to what the twist will be next chapter.

That’s really all there is to chapter nine. It is a delight to read and in terms of sex and violence is probably one of the safest chapters yet (except for the part where Yoon Bum is still pretty naked and covered in bandages from previous damage, and the bondage on the other guy), however there is definitely tension cutting through the entire chapter that leaves you just a little bit tired after reading because you’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop ever since the game started.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this chapter.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Killing Stalking Chapter 6

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.


Chapter 6 gives us a break from violence or even the implied threat of violence as Sangwoo and Yoon Bum seem to have found a new equilibrium early in the chapter. That doesn’t mean Bum isn’t jumping every time Sangwoo looks sideways at him, but there’s definitely a feeling that things are slipping into a slightly warped but stable pattern.

However, for a story that so far has pushed the audience and gone for shock, violence is replaced almost entirely by sex in terms of how much space it takes in the chapter and for some this might be just as confronting. Particularly when you consider the position Yoon Bum is in. This is not a romance built on good intentions or anything even vaguely stable. Most tellingly when Sangwoo pushes himself under Yoon Bum’s shirt and comments on how warm it is, comparing it to being back in his mother’s belly. Even when he isn’t being violent, Sangwoo remains a highly disturbing character.

Some spoilers below.

I’ll admit, I was waiting for the moments that came at the end of the chapter given someone posted there own thoughts on the situation on Twitter so I kind of knew it was coming and was paying fairly close attention. The only thing that I was left wondering about was why on earth does Bum feel Sangwoo is in any way being honest? Sangwoo who has played Bum at every single step and now he’s left him alone in the house with a warning to not cross the line. Seriously, read between the lines and realise you are being played.

Of course, even if the Twitter spoiler of what happens next hadn’t been a thing the clear clue to the audience is the umbrella. Sangwoo clearly comments on the rain while he’s on the phone and then we get three very clear images of Sangwoo exiting the house and leaving that umbrella sitting in the umbrella stand.

Killing Stalking is not subtle, but it does do foreshadowing very well. When something is seen like that, it is going to be important.

So now of course I want to read the next chapter but at the same time I’m a little apprehensive about just what will unfold.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Killing Stalking Chapter 1 Review

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning. Also, I will reveal plot points from the chapter including the conclusion so if you have issues with spoilers, maybe pass.



I started reading this after becoming quite intrigued by some of the teasers and images, and even outright plot spoilers, people were posting on Twitter. While manga (or web comics, or whatever word you’d like to use here) aren’t my favourite way of taking in a story there was enough of a buzz around this that I decided to give it a go. Going into this knowing some of what happens in later chapters probably makes a lot of chapter 1 even harder to take because you’re just waiting for everything to go horribly wrong. Although given Yoonbum’s life up to this point, it kind of seems like things have just gone wrong for him forever so maybe we shouldn’t have expected any other outcome.

The story starts, as many do, with the protagonist introducing himself in an internal monologue.

What we take away from this is he is in love with another man who he watches from a distance but he already knows it is a doomed relationship so makes no move to actually interact with his target. That doesn’t stop him from using his memory of the target for his sexual fantasy.

I love the character design as it really helps convey the absolute sense of misery that this character’s words and actions carry throughout the course of this chapter.

I did have one moment of, are the actually trying to justify stalking via social media, however given follow up events it seems clear that none of Yoonbum’s actions as a stalker are being condoned.

“Isn’t it obvious I’d want to know about the personal life of someone I like? It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

We learn about Yoonbum’s two encounters with Sangwoo prior to his current stalking lifestyle. First in college and then in the army. Yoonbum connects Sangwoo with saving him from abuse he was facing from two officers and realistically it is that emotion that becomes obsession and really just kind of seals the rest of the events into place.

If Yoonbum had just remained a passive stalker it still would have been creepy, given the obsessive nature of his actions, but he takes it one step further and breaks into Sangwoo’s house. He’s nearly stopped by police on a patrol but manages to bluff his way out of it and he get’s inside (I wonder if later he’s going to regret not being arrested for attempted break and enter – it seems quite likely). There’s a particularly good image where Yoonbum is at the door and the perspective has us looking down and passed him to the officer standing at the gate. It really drives the tension of the scene home.

Ultimately, he ends up in Sangwoo’s basement where he finds a mostly naked and very battered and securely bound woman (see what I meant about the content being confronting). While he is attempting to untie her she starts screaming and then the view changes and we see Sangwoo behind Yoonbum and a baseball bat in mid-swing.

That is of course where chapter 1 ends but it’s kind of a cliff-hanger done right. We’ve met our main character and seen his view of Sangwoo. His perfect, stylised view of a man he has essentially never spoken to. And we’ve had the reveal that the image Yoonbum has is completely false. We don’t know what the story is behind the woman but it isn’t going to be good. No good story ends with a naked, bound and battered woman in a basement.

We’ve also been given reason to believe that one of the police officers is at least a  bit suspicious, though whether of anything in particular or whether he is just suspicious by nature I guess remains to be seen.

I really enjoyed reading this chapter. It was a tense experience as I said because I’ve seen bits and pieces of what’s coming, but at the same time I felt really drawn in to Yoonbum’s story and at times even felt sorry for him even while really wanting him to be caught as a stalker and given some much needed counselling.

If you’ve read or started reading Killing Stalking, what did you think of chapter 1?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James