is the title of a popular manga and anime created by Go Nagai, as well as the name of the main character of the manga and anime. Devilman began as a manga in Kodansha's Shōnen Magazine and a 39-episode anime TV series in 1972, and has since spawned numerous other anime, manga and films.
Along with the television series, Devilman was also produced as a serialized manga in Shukan Shōnen 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 complex story line made it an instant hit.
A long time ago, the Earth was ruled by demons. The demons constantly fought each other for survival, but soon found themselves fighting a new race of beings: The first humans. The demons then became imprisoned in ice after a great cataclysm. They would remain there until the ice melted, after which it was said Satan would rise and lead them in Armageddon. That time has come in Go Nagai's Devilman.
Devilman is about a teenager named Akira Fudo. At first, Akira is very modest and gentle, avoiding conflict. When his parents are lost on a business trip in the Antarctic (or the Arctic), Akira goes to stay with his childhood friend Miki Makimura; both soon form a close relationship as the story progresses. Miki, a tough, smart, self-sufficient girl, loves Akira but wishes that he would stand up for himself when he gets pushed around, and is frustrated by his lack of backbone. She often has to defend herself from bullies even when Akira is with her; in the OVA, she saves Akira from a gang of bullies who are threatening him. (In the manga, Ryo Asuka rescues Akira and Miki by pulling a gun on the bullies to frighten them off.)
One day, Akira's best friend, Ryo Asuka, asks a favor and completely changes Akira's life. Ryo's father had discovered the existence of demons when he found a mask during an excavation of the ruins of an ancient Mayan temple. This mask turned out to be a fossilized demon skull, which showed whomever wore it what the world was like when demons ruled over it. Ryo shows Akira this and informs him about the demons' revival. Akira then sees Ryo's plan: "To fight a demon, one must become a demon."
Demons have the ability to possess and control humans. However, Ryo believes that people like Akira may be able to harness a demon's powers when possessed, due to the fact that Akira has a pure heart. Ryo takes his friend to a nightclub and picks a fight to draw demonic attention to the club. His ploy succeeds: Demons possess the clubbers and threaten Ryo and Akira, until he is possessed by Amon. Amon is the Lord of War, also called the Beast of Hell, and also one of the strongest demons. His possession of Akira causes Akira to transform into Devilman. Devilman contains the strength and power of the demon Amon, as well as the heart and soul of the human Akira Fudo, giving Akira complete control.
After he becomes Devilman, Akira is no longer timid and shy: He becomes very aggressive and no longer lets anyone push him around. This change pleases Miki, although she is unaware of Akira's new-found powers (although in the TV series, she often has to step in to stop Akira when his temper gets out of control, and it is revealed that she knew of Akira's identity as Devilman in the CB Chara Go Nagai World OVA, due to secretly reading the manga offscreen).
Throughout the manga and anime, Devilman has many battles with the demon hordes. He encounters many foes such as Silene (also called Sirene, Siron and Shirenu) the demon bird (she was also Amon's lover before he possessed Akira), the water demon Geruma (also called Gelmer), a large turtle-like demon called Jinmen, Welvath, Kaim, Zannin, Zan, Zenon (Zenon is basically Satan's right hand, and one of the strongest demons), Psycho Jenny, Lala (a demon in the TV series who transformed herself into a beautiful young woman and attempted, unsuccessfully, to seduce Akira), and Saylos (Saylos is one of the main villains in the movie Amon: Apocalypse of Devilman).
The story ends with Akira discovering that his friend Ryo is really Satan in a dormant state. After Miki and her whole family are brutally slain by a paranoid human horde (in a particularly famous scene, Akira retrieves Miki's dismembered body from her burned house and later is seen holding her head in his arms), the final fight between Devilman and Satan ensues. The Earth is totally destroyed during this battle, and Devilman dies at the hands of Satan.
Satan regrets what he has done, and then out of his despair creates a malevolent being known as the Slum King. Satan binds himself as a slave to the Slum King, in order to punish himself for what he has done to the world and his beloved Akira. This event leads into the related series Violence Jack. At the end of Violence Jack, it is revealed that Jack is none other than Akira after his battle with Satan.
Several other books have been published dedicated to Devilman over the last 35 years.
In 2004, a tokusatsu Devilman movie directed by Hiroyuki Nasu using CGI effects was released. Unfortunately, it was universally rejected in Japan, even by Devilman fans. As a consequence, it won Grand Prize in Japan's Bunshun Kiichigo Awards (the Japanese version of the Razzie Awards, which are given to the worst movie of the year).
Go Nagai also released a manga series called Violence Jack. The series takes place during the aftermath of Armageddon and the battle between Satan and Devilman. In CB Chara Go Nagai World is revealed that Jack is Devilman. This series became an OVA anime in 1986, and was released in the U. S. sometime during the 1990s in an edited version by Manga Video and an uncensored release by Critical Mass.
In 1997, Go Nagai created Devilman Lady (Devil Lady in the US). Devil Lady is based on Go Nagai's idea of "What if the main character was a woman?" The story takes a different approach to the story presented in its Devilman counterpart. In Devil Lady, a top model named Jun Fudo learns that she has the power to transform into a being known as a "devilman" or "Devil Beast". A mysterious woman named Ran Asuka shows up and explains to her that her "powers" or "gifts" are actually believed to be somewhat of a disease known as the "Devil Beast Syndrome". It is even stated that these "devilmen" are actually the next step in human evolution as a means of survival. The story became very popular and was made into an anime series in 1998. The series consists of 26 episodes and was released in the U. S. during late 2002 and early 2003. The Devil Lady series is very popular and contains its own original story that stands out from the Devilman series.
The cast of Devilman, including Akira, Miki, Ryo Asuka, and Silene, also crossed over with characters from Mazinger Z and Violence Jack in the 1991 OVA CB Chara Go Nagai World, also released in the Italian market as Il pazzo mondo di Go Nagai. This release featured the familiar characters in comical and lighthearted antics, in squashed-down "super deformed" form ("CB" in the title may refer to "chibi", a Japanese term meaning "runty" or "shrimpy", as well as "child body" as such double level English puns are popular in Japan). Also in this OVA series is revealed that Violence Jack is a future version of Akira Fudo, it is also revealed that Miki is an otaku, and it is also revealed that she knew of Akira's identity as Devilman, due to reading the manga offscreen.
Interestingly, Go Nagai is said to have been highly shocked that his giant-robot work Mazinger Z, which was on Japanese TV at the same time as Devilman and which he originally did not take very seriously, far surpassed Devilman in popularity. The reason was that he had worked especially hard on Devilman and only made Mazinger as a way to blow off steam.
In an essay written three decades after the debut of the original manga and TV series, Nagai commented that he designed Devilman as an anti-war work. According to Nagai, the fusion of humans and demons is an analogy for the draft, and Miki's gruesome death parallels the death of peace. "There is no justice in war, any war," wrote Nagai, "nor is there any justification for human beings killing one another. Devilman carries a message of warning, as we step toward a bright future." [See: http://www.devilworld.org/revelations.html.
Akira has appeared in various incarnations of Cutey Honey, most notably the 1994 OVA Shin Cutey Honey. Episode one features gargoyles of Amon and other demons. Devilman appears as a guitarist in episode three, and Akira himself shows up later on to team up with Honey. In addition, the second opening sequence to the OAV featured a brief cameo of Akira fighting Silene the Demon Bird. Hideaki Anno's Re: Cutey Honey featured cameos by Akira and Miki in their trademark clothing from the original TV series, as well as Himura, a villain from the TV series.
In Mao Dante, Zellin from the original Devilman TV Series appears.
In the episode "The alliance strikes back" of the Voltron series, Devilman appears between some aliens who are staring at the torture of Prince Lotor.