It’s hard to believe that four years have already gone by since the world of anime was introduced to Devilman Crybaby. The series hit like a megaton of TNT, catapulting cult auteurs of Go Nagai and Masaaki Yuasa into pop-culture.
In an anime landscape that too often rewards blending in and adhering to trends, Devilman Crybaby was a welcome shock to the system. From its expressionistic animation, to its graphic content, killer soundtrack, and edge-of-your-seat story, the series was unlike any other.
Devilman Crybaby remains my favorite anime series because it told an unpredictable story from start to finish. I also appreciate that Studio Science Saru had the courage to faithfully adapt Go Nagai’s original ending that was often deemed too dark in other anime adaptations. However, even as a damn near perfect anime, I believe that there is room for more story.
Go Nagai created a spiritual successor to Devilman, titled Violence Jack. This post-apocalyptic series follows Violence Jack, a mysterious anti-hero, with the muscles of a gorilla and the fangs of a wolf, who wanders the wasteland helping the weak.
Violence Jack’s arch nemesis is the Slum King, a sadistic warlord who turns humans who displease him into maimed pets. The twist is that Violence Jack is a reincarnation of Akira Fudo and Ryo Asuka is a servant of the Slum King. When the two rivals regain their memories, Akira once again becomes Devilman but this time finally vanquishes Ryo.
Violence Jack could make for an epic follow up anime series or film to Devilman Crybaby. However, just as Devilman Crybaby made efforts to modernize the original manga story, I would want similar creative liberties taken in adapting Violence Jack.
Instead of saving the series connection to Devilman as a last minute twist, it would be fresher to introduce this element from the start. The apocalypse that created the world of Violence Jack could have been caused by the battle between Akira and Ryo. New primitive societies could emerge in the world post-devil-war.
Both Akira and Ryo have lost their memories and been reincarnated as Violence Jack and The Slum King. That way there is a ticking clock counting down to when Akira and Ryo will become enemies again. This is a similar narrative device used in the Golden Age arc of Berserk between Guts and Griffith. Berserk’s author Kentaro Miura cited Violence Jack’s post-apocalyptic setting as an influence on his work, so it would be great to see a vision of Violence Jack that’s inspired by Miura.
Devilman Crybaby could easily stand on its own as a classic deconstructionist tale about power, paranoia, identity, and alienation. It’s such a great series that I wouldn’t want a followup that’s half-baked. Yet, if Studio Science Saru gives the same creative reinterpretation to Violence Jack, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.
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