Cyborg 009 VS Devilman
Holy crap this is probably the best original video animation (OVA) I’ve seen all year. And the fact that I haven’t seen many OVAs this year is beside the point, this just gets so many things right, exceeds expectations, and fills in gaps for anyone who’s never seen Cyborg 009 or Devilman, and shows them both in action too.
So, if you’re unfamiliar, Cyborg 009 is about a multinational team of 9 cyborgs, who were forced to become cyborgs by Black Ghost, a massive evil organization which profits off of war. The cyborgs decided to rebel against Black Ghost and become heroes. There have been numerous adaptations of the series; the most popular being an anime in 2001 which was brought to the United States when I was just a dorky 4th grader.
Devilman is a story about a timid orphan teenager, Akira Fudo, who’s possessed by a demonic entity known as Amon, the Lord of War, but happens to have a pure heart so he is able to control it, and he battles other demons that come to Earth. Because of its mildly adult content, and because the United States is still trying to not be a theocracy, there was never an anime adaptation that I watched when I was 9-years-old.
I had never seen anything Devilman-related before seeing this OVA, but this anime manages to retell the origins of both the cast of Cyborg 009 and Devilman, as well as introduce new characters, such as a team of advanced cyborgs working for Black Ghost, and an evil scientist who wants to create a hybrid demon cyborg that has regeneration powers.
The animation itself, is clean, well-drawn, and detailed, with none of the cast of Cyborg 009 looking like racial caricatures anymore, ESPECIALLY Pyunma, or 008 (Let’s just sugarcoat it and say that whoever drew some of the earlier Pyunmas probably never saw a black person in real life). They come off more like a team of dignified superhero Olympians from around the world, each showing their heritage, and their own personal quirks and traits, but not stereotyping anything.
The Devilman-related characters are all awesomely stylized, sometimes psychedelic, monstrous demons, and clean, interesting people. There’s Miki, whose family took in Akira, who’s one of those Japanese schoolgirls in a sailor suit who gets worried about the protagonist, and there’s Ryo Asuka, who drives around in what looks like a 57 Chevy Bel Air which has a hidden sniper rifle underneath the back seat and wears a trench coat. So he’s pretty much that creepy older guy that your weird female friend dated in high school.
All in all, strap yourselves to the edge of your seats, this high-octane adventure is a must-see for Shonen anime fans or action sci-fi fans, and it’s currently available on Netflix.