Devilman

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Devilman
Devilman Volume 1.png
Cover of the first volume of Devilman, as published in Japan by Kodansha
デビルマン
(Debiruman)
Genre
Manga
Written byGo Nagai
Published byKodansha
English publisher
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Magazine
DemographicShōnen
Original runJune 11, 1972June 24, 1973
Volumes5 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by
Produced by
  • Ken Ariga
  • Yoshifumi Hatano
Written byMasaki Tsuji
Music byGoh Misawa
StudioToei Animation
Licensed by
Original networkNET (now TV Asahi)
Original run July 8, 1972 April 7, 1973
Episodes39 (List of episodes)
Manga
Shin Devilman
Written byYasutaka Nagai
Illustrated byGo Nagai
Published byKodansha
English publisher
MagazineShōnen Magazine Special
DemographicShōnen
Original runMay 25, 1979May 8, 1981
Volumes1
Novel series
Shin Devilman
Written byYasutaka Nagai
Illustrated byGo Nagai
Published byAsahi Sonorama
ImprintSonorama Bunko
Original runMay 13, 1981March 31, 1982
Volumes4
Novel
Devilman: The Birth
Written byYasutaka Nagai
Illustrated byKazuo Komatsubara
Published byKodansha
DemographicMale
PublishedJuly 7, 1987
Original video animation
Devilman: The Birth
Devilman: Demon Bird Sirène
Directed byUmanosuke Iida
Produced by
  • Toshio Tanaka
  • Ryohei Suzuki
  • Katsuhiko Hasegawa
  • Koichi Murata
Written by
  • Go Nagai
  • Umanosuke Iida
Music byKenji Kawai
StudioOh! Production
Licensed by
Discotek Media
ReleasedNovember 1, 1987 (The Birth)
February 25, 1990 (Demon Bird Sirène)
Runtime50 minutes
Episodes2
Novel series
Devilman: The Novel
Written byYasutaka Nagai
Illustrated byGo Nagai
Published byMediaWorks
ImprintDengeki Bunko
DemographicMale
Original runMay 25, 1999August 25, 1999
Volumes4
Manga
Neo Devilman
Written byVarious (anthology)
Published byKodansha
DemographicSeinen
Original runJune 21, 1999February 21, 2000
Volumes3
Manga
Demon Knight
Written byGo Nagai
Published byKodansha
MagazineMANDALA
DemographicSeinen
Original runMarch 23, 2007July 3, 2009
Manga
Devilman vs Getter Robo
Written byGo Nagai
Illustrated byDynamic Pro
Published byAkita Shoten
MagazineChampion Red
DemographicShōnen
Published2010
Volumes1
Manga
Silene-chan
Written byGo Nagai
Published byNihon Bungeisha
MagazineComic Heaven
DemographicSeinen
Original runAugust 9, 2012February 9, 2013
Live-action film
Spin-off manga
ONA
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Devilman (Japanese: デビルマン, Hepburn: Debiruman) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Go Nagai. The manga focuses on a high school student named Akira Fudo who absorbs the powers of the demon called "Amon" with help of his friend Ryo Asuka in order to battle creatures hidden in human society, thus calling himself the "Devilman" in the process. The series was originally ordered by Toei Animation as a toned-down anime version of Nagai's previous manga series, Demon Lord Dante. However, Nagai wrote a darker-toned manga in order to alert readers of the dangers of the wars based on how dark the narrative becomes with each of Akira's challenges.

Devilman's 39-episode anime series was developed by Toei Animation in 1972, while Nagai began the Devilman as a manga in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine, barely a month before the anime series started. The manga was published between June 11, 1972 and June 24, 1973, while multiple editorials have released it in collected volumes (tankōbon). Seven Seas Entertainment published the English translation of the original manga in two volumes in 2018. The series has since spawned numerous OVAs, manga, novels, films, and a sequel. Devilman and other characters from the series have shown up in cameo appearances numerous times in Go Nagai's other works. The most notable is Tomoharu Katsumata's 1973 feature film Mazinger Z vs. Devilman, which features Devilman teaming up with Nagai's titular robot to fight Dr. Hell. In 2018, a remake titled Devilman Crybaby directed by Masaaki Yuasa was created showing an alternate more modern-like retelling of the manga.

The manga has sold 50 million copies worldwide. Despite mixed reception in regards to whether or not the art was appealing, critics enjoyed Nagai's darker take on the superhero tropes mostly due to how violent the manga was and recommended the manga to most readers who are not sensitive to gore. The series' themes and Akira's design have influenced multiple other series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and X.

Plot[edit]

Manga[edit]

Akira Fudo is a shy teenager who lives in his friend Miki Makimura's house as his parents work abroad. One day, Akira's childhood friend Ryo Asuka reveals to him that the Earth is about to be invaded by demons, monstrous beings hibernating for centuries in the ice that are about to return to the surface. According to Ryo, demons have lived on Earth before the appearance of man, and now they want to claim possession of it. The only way to defeat them is to take control of the powers of the demons themselves to fight them on equal terms. Ryo then involves his friend in a ritual called the Black Sabbath, an event where numerous demons plan to merge with humans to infiltrate society. During the Black Sabbath, Akira merges with Amon, a demon warrior both idolised and feared among his kind for his incredible strength. However, instead of Amon holding control over Akira, the latter's pure soul triumphed over that of Amon, bringing the demon to heel and creating Devilman.

After fighting his way out of the Black Sabbath, Akira uses his demon persona to battle multiple enemies hidden in society. However, Akira starts to question his own methods after he encounters Sirene and Kaim, two demons whose relationship to one another challenged Akira's prior perception of all demons being immoral, and the cruel Jinmen, a turtle-like demon who contained the still-living souls of his human victims on his shell, forcing Akira to destroy them in order to defeat the demon.

A large detachment of demons led by the demon lord Xenon invade Tokyo, alerting the population of the world to the existence of demons. Akira learns that other humans are becoming Devilmen, and resolves to contact them to form a team dedicated to protecting humankind from the demons. However, during a TV broadcast Ryo confirms that demons exist, but claims that Akira and the Devilmen are also dangerous. This panic leads to humans turning on each other across the world.

Ryo journeys back to the mansion where he informed Akira of the world of the demons, and finds an album about his life which states he died years ago in a car accident. During his ensuing existential crisis, he is met by a group of demons led by the demoness Psycho Jenny, who informs him of the reality of his identity. Ryo is actually Satan, a fallen angel who was sealed by God with the demons for sympathising with them, who God sought to exterminate. As part of Satan’s plan to lead an all-out war on humanity, he had Psycho Jenny erase his memories and replace them with those of Ryo Asuka until the time when he was ready to begin the war.

Akira is devastated when humans kill Miki and her family for being associated with him. Akira confronts Ryo to get revenge, and learns the truth of his former friend's identity.

Several years pass, and all humans - save for the Devilmen recruited by Akira - are extinct. On the day of the final battle, Xenon confronts him with the question as to why he wanted Akira to survive by becoming a Devilman, when this would conflict with his plans to leave Earth to the demons. Xenon then asks him if the reason for this is because Satan loved Akira and wanted to protect him, a statement which Satan implies to be true. The two forces collide, with the demons ultimately emerging victorious. In the midst of the confrontation, Akira and Satan fight each other, but Satan unknowingly kills Akira by bisecting him with his attacks. As Satan reflects on the events, then comes to realise what he has done, God’s angels descend upon the Earth.

Anime[edit]

One of the Demon Tribe's strongest warriors, Devilman is sent to lead a full-scale invasion of the human world by Xenon. After he ambushes and kills Akira and his father in the Himalayas, not far from the base of operations of the Demon Tribe, he selects Akira as his host, restoring him to life, but giving him a wild and unpredictable streak. However, after returning to Japan, Akira encounters and falls in love with Miki Makimura, and Devilman is tamed by his desire to protect her. Devilman resolves to defect from his orders, and from then on fights a slew of opponents sent by Xenon and his Demon Generals.

Production[edit]

Manga author Go Nagai created Devilman

Devilman evolved from Go Nagai's previous manga, Demon Lord Dante, after Toei Animation approached Nagai 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.[4] Devilman's outfit seems be inspired by a villain from his 1972 anime Gekko Kamen. Go Nagai worked on the anime's scenario along with renowned screenwriter and science-fiction novelist Masaki Tsuji, who wrote the scripts for 35 of the TV series' 39 episodes.[citation needed] Along with the television series, Devilman was also produced as a serialized manga in Weekly Shōnen Magazine beginning in 1972.[5] Go Nagai designed the manga to be more horror-like and mature than the anime version.[4] When developing the Devilman manga, Nagai was told by his editor to write an alternative take of the anime aimed towards a more mature audience.[6]

Nagai designed Devilman as an anti-war work; the fusion of humans and demons is an analogy for the draft, and Miki's violent death symbolizes 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."[4]

In further exploring themes of war, Nagai stated that he wrote this manga to alert the world in regards of the narrative's chaos possibly happening in the real world. He further stated that despite Satan's actions in the manga, he was not a stereotypical villain as Nagai believes that God would fit more into this category as a result for the actions he committed against demons years before the series' start.[7]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

The manga was originally published by Kodansha from June 11, 1972 (1972-06-11), to June 24, 1973 (1973-06-24), in Weekly Shōnen Magazine.[5] The series has been published in tankōbon format several times, most of them by Kodansha. Starting with the 1987 publishing, most Kodansha editions include Shin Devilman, which originally was not meant to be included in the canon of the original series, as a part of the volumes.[8] The manga has been translated into English in a series of five bilingual manga volumes published by Kodansha.[9]

The manga has also been published along with Cutie Honey in the magazine Gekkan Kanzenban Devilman x Cutie Honey (月刊完全版デビルマン×キューティーハニー, gekkan kanzenban debiruman x kyūteī hanī) published by JIVE during 2004[10] in order to take advantage of the release of the live-action films of both series.

Seven Seas Entertainment published the English translation of the original manga in two volumes in 2018,[11] and of Devilman G and Devilman VS. Hades in 2017 and 2018.

Spin-offs[edit]

Shin Devilman (新デビルマン, Shin Debiruman) was originally published in Kodansha's Shōnen Magazine Special in May 25, 1979 (1979-05-25), January 25, 1980 (1980-01-25), September 15, 1980 (1980-09-15), March 6, 1981 (1981-03-06), and May 8, 1981 (1981-05-08). All chapters were drawn by Go Nagai, but the first chapter was written in collaboration with Masaki Tsuji, while chapters two and three were written by Hiroshi Koenji.[12] The rest of the chapters were done by Nagai. The manga is sometimes known as Devilman 2 and Neo Devilman.[8]

A one-shot, which is not originally part of Shin Devilman, but that has always been compiled along with the series in tankōbon, was published in the magazine Variety by Kadokawa Shoten.[12] This 16-page story does not have any text and it presents the moments of Akira after the death of Miki in the original series, but before the battle with Satan, as he buries the remains of Miki and encounters Ryo.

Go Nagai published the manga Devilman Saga in Shogakukan's Big Comic from December 25, 2014 to March 10, 2020.[13][14] The story takes place in the year 2025, a roboticist named Fudou Yuuki joins a project involving a large mural depicting humanity's true past as well as the ancient but advanced technology found in Antarctica. Shogakukan compiled its chapters into thirteen tankōbon volumes, released from June 30, 2015 to May 29, 2020.[15][16]

Animated adaptations[edit]

The anime television series was 39 episodes long and ran from July 8, 1972 (1972-07-08), to April 7, 1973 (1973-04-07), on NET (now TV Asahi).[17] Outside Japan, the TV series was broadcast in Italy in 1983 and enjoyed great popularity there.[citation needed] A DVD box set of the series was released in Japan on September 21, 2002.[18] The TV series has been licensed for the first time in North America by Discotek Media who released the series on DVD in 2014.[19]

Devilman: The Birth (デビルマン 誕生編, Debiruman Tanjō Hen) was released in November 1, 1987 (1987-11-01), by King Records.[20] It was followed by Devilman: Demon Bird Sirène (デビルマン 妖鳥シレーヌ編, Debiruman Yōchō Shirēnu Hen), released in February 25, 1990 (1990-02-25), by Bandai Visual.[21] Kazuo Komatsubara, an animation director on the original TV series, was the character designer for the OVAs, which were animated by his Oh Production.

Both were directed by Umanosuke Iida (credited under his birth name, Tsutomu Iida) and were closely developed in conjunction with Nagai himself. The OVAs' plot revolves around Akira's transformation into Devilman up until his battle with Sirène. Besides a few minor alterations, the OVAs are faithful to the original manga. Both OVAs were released on Laserdisc and on a single DVD by Bandai Visual in March 28, 2003 (2003-03-28).[22] The two OVAs were also the only Devilman anime to have been commercially released in the United States (by Manga Entertainment) prior to 2014. The DVD release included only the English-dubbed version (the original Japanese version was previously released on VHS in 1995 by L.A. Hero and Dark Image Entertainment).

In 2000, Amon: Apocalypse of Devilman was released as a pay-per-view event in Japan and was later released on video and DVD. Based on Amon: The Darkside of The Devilman, It covers the period between the humans becoming aware of demons and the semi-final battle between Devilman and Amon, who was unleashed after Akira became demoralised by witnessing the death of Miki. In the final battle, Amon is subdued and remerges with Akira, but instead of Akira then proceeding to battle Satan, he rejects the latter's challenge, and walks away into the wreckage of Tokyo.

In 2015, Cyborg 009 VS Devilman was released. The 3-episode OVA features the Devilman series crossing over with Shotaro Ishinomori's Cyborg 009, with the titular characters from each series becoming rivals before working together to bring down a joint threat.[23]

A 10-episode original net animation adaptation produced by Science Saru and directed by Masaaki Yuasa, titled Devilman Crybaby,[24] was released worldwide on January 5, 2018 exclusively on Netflix.[25]

Films[edit]

Mazinger Z Vs. Devilman is a crossover animated film between Devilman and Mazinger Z produced by Toei and released in July 18, 1973 (1973-07-18). While the film stars the majority of the characters from each series, it features alternative versions of the events from both, and is therefore not canonical to either one.

In October 9, 2004 (2004-10-09), a live-action tokusatsu film directed by Hiroyuki Nasu was theatrically released in Japan.[26] The film starred Hisato Izaki as Devilman, Yūsuke Izaki as Ryo Asuka and Ayana Sakai as Miki Makimura. The cast also included AV Idol Maria Yumeno.[26][27] The film was criticized for its poor special effects and the casting of various popular celebrities with no prior acting experience.

Music[edit]

A large number of soundtrack albums have been released since the beginning of the original series.

Title Format Company Standard number Release date
Devilman Flexi disc Asahi Sonorama APM-4016 July 10, 1972 (1972-07-10)
Devilman EP record Columbia SCS-502 August 10, 1972 (1972-08-10)
TV Original BGM Collection: Devilman LP album Columbia CX-7088 March 1983 (1983-03)
TV Original BGM Collection: Devilman CD Columbia 28CC-2295 May 21, 1988 (1988-05-21)
TV Animation Drama Series: Devilman CD Columbia COCC-12398 March 1, 1995 (1995-03-01)
Animex 1200 Series 71: Devilman CD Columbia COCC-72071 September 22, 2004 (2004-09-22)
Original Soundtrack Devilman Tanjo Hen Ongakushu LP album King Records K20G-7359 1987 (1987)
Original Soundtrack Devilman Tanjo Hen Ongakushu CD King Records K30X-7094 November 1987 (1987-11)
Visual Sound Series Devilman Shin Mokushiroku CD King Records K32X-7055 1987 (1987)
Devilman Tanjo Hen / Yocho Sirène Hen CD King Records KICA-10 March 21, 1990 (1990-03-21)
Devilman Densetsu ~ The Legends of DEVILMAN CD Pony Canyon FSCA-10054 October 21, 1998 (1998-10-21)
Nagai Go Hero Densetsu Onkyo Geki Devilman Armageddon Hen CD First Smile Entertainment FSCA-10209 February 20, 2002 (2002-02-20)
Devilman Densetsu + 3 ~ The Legends of DEVILMAN CD BeeSmile BSCH-30011 March 10, 2004 (2004-03-10)
Eternal Edition Dynamic Pro Films Files No.11 & 12: Devilman CD Columbia COCX-32285/6 July 23, 2003 (2003-07-23)
Devilman no Uta (21st century ver.) CD single TEAM Entertainment KDSD-95 February 22, 2006 (2006-02-22)
Hikari no Naka de CD single Sonic Groove AVCD-16051 September 23, 2004 (2004-09-23)
Devilman Original Soundtrack CD avex trax AVCD-17543 October 6, 2004 (2004-10-06)

In other media[edit]

Three novels have been released. The first one Shin Devilman (真・デビルマン, Shin Debiruman) was written by Go Nagai's brother Yasutaka Nagai with illustrations by Go. It was originally published in 1981 by Asahi Sonorama in four books.[28] It is not related to the manga Shin Devilman, from which some chapters were also written by Yasutaka. With the release of the first OVA, in 1987 a single volume novel based on it was released by Kodansha titled Shin Video Shosetsu – Devilman: Tanjo Hen (新ビデオ小説 デビルマン 誕生編, shin bideo shousetsu debiruman tanjou hen). It was also written by Yasutaka Nagai, but it had illustrations by the OVA's main designer, Kazuo Komatsubara. In 1999 a second novelization of 4 volumes titled Devilman: The Novel (デビルマン The Novel) was published by MediaWorks and once again written by Yasutaka and illustrated by Go.[28] All three series of novels are unrelated to each other even though all were written by Yasutaka Nagai.

A video game based on Devilman was released for the Famicom by Namco on April 25, 1989 (1989-04-25).[29] Bandai also released a game based on Devilman for the Sony PlayStation and Windows 98 on April 13, 2000 (2000-04-13).[30] Along with several of Nagai's other creations, Devilman appeared in the Japanese Super Famicom game CB Chara Wars: Ushinawareta Gag (CBキャラウォーズ 笑われたギャーグ, cb kyarauōzu warawa reta gyāgu).[31]

Devilman and other characters from the series have shown up in cameo appearances numerous times in Go Nagai's other works. Miki is the first female protagonist of the 1974 manga Oira Sukeban, and Akira has appeared in various incarnations of Cutie Honey, most notably the 1994 OVA New Cutie Honey. Miki and Ryo Asuka also appear as dogs (with dog-like bodies and human heads) in the Violence Jack manga. In 1997, Nagai created Devil Lady, based on his idea of if the main character was a woman. The Devil Lady series contains its own original story that stands out from the Devilman series. Fudo's silhouette briefly appears in the opening credits of Devil Lady. The cast of Devilman also crossed over with characters from Mazinger Z and Violence Jack in the 1991 OVA CB Chara Nagai Go World. This release featured the familiar characters in comical and lighthearted antics in super deformed forms. In this series, it is revealed that Violence Jack is a future version of Akira Fudo. It is also revealed that Miki is an otaku and that she knew of Akira's identity as Devilman due to reading the manga offscreen.

Reception[edit]

The manga has sold over 50 million copies as of March 2017.[32] In 2018, Anime News Network listed Devilman among the seven "Best New Manga for Grown-Ups".[33]

Critical response initially focused on Akira's personality and the controversial themes portrayed before Akira becomes Devilman. Zona Negativa found the narrative simple since Akira and Ryo learn about the demons and through a party that involves orgies and other controversial themes Nagai is famous for.[34] Anime News Network initially referred to Akira as an appealing hero based on his kind demeanor, but criticized his relationship with Miki due to how she berates these traits. As a result, when Akira becomes a more violent person due to absorbing Amon, the review believes Nagai was expressing the idea of a man undergoing growth but still retaining his kind self. Although Akira and Ryo's relationship is not fully explored, the review felt there was a homoerotic tension between them that was interesting for readers.[35] Manga News found the manga's prologue outstanding based on how Akira becomes a Devilman and how psychologically it affects him.[36]

The dark narrative presented in general was noted especially during Miki's death which felt to Jason Thompson ANN to look "like a visualization of a child's nightmare".[3] In the book Manga Design, Masanao Amano and Julius Wiedemann found the twist involving humans killing other humans as a major plot twist that shocked the audience as well as next generation manga artists, comparing it to witch-hunting.[37] The Fandom Post also found the manga to be too gruesome but hoped that more people read it if they can get past its gore. He also praised Nagai's art for the horror presented and brutal fight scenes.[38] Manga News was shocked that despite Akira's belief in mankind, he sees a disturbing scenario caused by the war between men and devils, resulting in one of the deepest and saddest endings in manga history.[39] Thompson was more critical to Nagai's art, stating "his characters' eyes rarely seem to be looking in the same direction, their limbs look like pipe cleaners, and the women are like blow-up dolls with apples glued to their chests."[3]

Although its controversial depiction of violence made it a major target of protest for PTAs and other groups, the storyline in Devilman made it stand apart from other manga of the time[40] and it impacted the industry as a whole. Devilman was ranked fifth in Mania Entertainment's 10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes written by Thomas Zoth who commented that "Shonen manga developed a dark tone with Devilman's graphic violence, casual blasphemy, and theme of using evil itself to fight evil."[41] A character designer from SNK admitted that Devilman was an influence in designing Kyo Kusanagi.[42] Manga writer Nanase Ohkawa claimed that Devilman was the manga that shocked her the most as a child.[43] Ohkawa was eventually influenced by Devilman to write X due to the themes employed in both mangas, most notably the Armageddon.[44] Neon Genesis Evangelion director Hideaki Anno said the mecha Evangelion Unit 01 was influenced by Devilman. Anno claims that Devilman's scary facial expressions were the basis for the mecha alongside Mazinger Z.[7]

Jason Huff of The Anime Review Notes "a couple of enjoyable bits" in the OVA adaptation, yet ultimately recommends Vampire Hunter D instead "if you want to see a splatterfest of grotesque monsters getting all gooey and split in two",.[45] Helen McCarthy and Jonathan Clements of The Anime Encyclopedia said that the series was brought down by "the messy confluence of Japanese and European mythology".[46]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Devilman: The Classic Collection". Seven Seas Entertainment. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
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  4. ^ a b c "Devilman Revelations". devilworld.org. Archived from the original on 2006-06-20.
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  28. ^ a b "Devilman variation novels" (in Japanese). Japan: Viva! Dynamic. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
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  30. ^ "Devilman Release Information for PlayStation – GameFAQs". USA: CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
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  34. ^ "Devilman: The First 1". Zona Negativa. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  35. ^ "Devilman: The Classic Collection". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  36. ^ "Devilman 1". Manga News. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  37. ^ Amano, Masanao; Wiedemann, Julius (2004). Manga Design, Volumen 1. Taschen. ISBN 9783822825914.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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  39. ^ "Devilman 5". Manga News. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  40. ^ "Masaaki Yuasa's Devilman project is officially titled Devilman Crybaby". Men of Comics.
  41. ^ Zoth, Thomas (January 12, 2010). "10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  42. ^ ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ'94 [All About The King of Fighters '94]. Micom BASIC Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 7. The Dempa Shimbunsha Corporation. 25 December 1994. pp. 4–272. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2020-04-24 at the Wayback Machine).
  43. ^ CLAMP NO ESHIGOTO NORTH SIDE. 2005. ASIN B000J3EGSU.
  44. ^ "Ten years of X". PUFF. No. January 2002. Zassosha. 2002. pp. 19–21.
  45. ^ "Devilman". TheAnimeReview.
  46. ^ The Anime Encyclopedia, Page 143

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]