That’s what I’m talking about. This is a new series on Netflix, so it’s reasonable to say it would draw people in by it’s previews alone. While the previews make some things obvious, there are other things they really sell short. It’s not unreasonable to assume with anything new that gets thrown onto Netflix, you’d need some advance warning for certain topics. I’ll be the first to admit that not only do I not know who Go Nagai is, I don’t know who Masaaki Yuasa is either. Maybe it’s my fault that I’m filthy cashews when it comes to the Deep Anime Lore, but that’s besides the point.
What I take some serious fuckin’ umbrage with is the fact that-- well, that. That blindness that really shouldn’t exist when it comes to things like this. As an example, these are the cliffnotes of what ended up on my dash:
Cool Monster Designs,
Bury Our Lesbians (But It’s Okay Because It’s Horror And That Happens To Everyone)
Some Of It Is Horny
There’s A Lot Of Gore
That’s a small sample, but it was consistent across multiple social media platforms, from people I honestly expected to be more talkative about the presence of sexual assault in a work of fiction, especially after the year we just had and how it’s carrying over into this year as well. But what did get mentioned was either all stuff that I could enjoy or just things I could shrug off. Even the party scene in the opening episode was honestly just the usual stale kind of horror bullshit I expect from stories that go for the shock-and-thrill rather than the slow creep.
I said before that I found it “weird” that there wasn’t a lot of talk I saw going around about the scene I spoilerblocked above, but if I’m being honest, I find it less “weird” and more… Pretty infuriatingly irresponsible actually.
If I wanted to, I could get into this a little more, but I actually don’t want to. So I’m not going to.
I would say that the show gets less objectionable in that respect later on, but some of that stuff never really goes away entirely. For what it’s worth (not much), that scene you described in episode 2 is probably the worst that show gets. But then again, there’s no reason it should be going there in the first place.
tl;dr Yeah, I can’t blame you for ducking out when you did
I think this is a perfectly valid way to look at the series, but I do disagree with it for a couple of reasons. Also just bear with me because this is the first Devilman thing I’ve watched or read in like twenty years so I’m just talking about this recent Netflix show.
A huge part of the story is the development that Ryo’s explanation of how demons and humans are different is bullshit, because right from the get go we see that a demon society is a thing, and that there are demons that care about others, hate others, etc. way beyond Ryo’s take on how each demon is an animal focused on one single thing to the detriment of everything else. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that every time Ryo brings this up we see a human character acting the same way prior to them having any kind of demonic contact.
Lovecraft was influential, but a big difference between his work and a lot of Japanese horror is that the latter’s stories skew to be much more intimate and primal towards life in general rather than Lovecraft’s otherworldly terrors often being stand-ins for specific ethnicities he hated and feared. And while it seems shallow, since this is primarily a video game forum I’d say to look at the order/chaos conflict in the Shin Megami Tensei** games as a guide for that.
I think it’s important that Ryo is educated in the west in this snotty high academia setting we see bits of throughout the series. Ryo describes having to go to this hidden darkest part of South America to find a demon tribe because he assumes that that’s where you’d go to find demons instead of just looking outside or in a mirror. This parallels all of my real life interactions with old white dude academia and the fine arts world way too much be coincidence. He then draws more demons out by attacking people at hedonist parties. Ryo is an asshole, and because he’s an asshole with an asshole world view and asshole methods at an asshole party (I mean it’s literally an orgy where teenagers are allowed and handed drugs), the demons he draws out at them in that scene are assholes and one note. Ryo’s rich western education upbringing has given him a rich western concept of borders and good guys and bad guys and what is pure and un-pure in the world, so instead of seeing a wild party or teenagers being taken advantage of, he’s driven to divide and judge people (I’m including demons in that use of people).
As the series goes on we very quickly see how wrong he is because the show gives us demons that clearly have their own emotions, goals, and motives beyond one single driving force. All of the negative aspects of demons happen because of the humans around them.
I do think that’s a big part of Japanese horror in general though that doesn’t get explicitly spelled out because it is such a big part - that whatever the horror thing in the story is is a much more direct reflection of what its victims already want or desire taken to a profane extreme. Something this series changes from the original story that I think supports this is that in the original There’s no merging of heart and body, Akira literally dies the second Amon takes him over. I think changing this is a smart decision because it makes the story earn all of its high school content’s super exaggerated takes on obsession and confusion about these kids’ place in the world and what they want.
I think for my own part, I dropped watching anime in general really hard around 2002-ish or so because I just completely despised everything I saw that all my friends were saying was good.* So seeing this now, I saw it as a ton of typical anime bullshit on the surface but graphically taken to its logical conclusion. And it’s cool to see a series where the story’s developments actually earn the content and it fully owns what it is, and that works for me. But I think you are definitely making the right choice in not continuing.
I do want to say though, as someone who also has gotten burned so many times by people I thought I could trust telling me to watch whatever show regarding this:
I looked at a couple of reviews of it before watching it, and I didn’t see any that failed to mention how messed up the show’s content can get though I read that particular scene as 100% her own fantasy and not her recalling something that actually happened, not to say that that makes you wrong or anything and I don’t mean that. I just personally would never trust folks’ hot takes about a show the week it’s come out unless they’re a personal friend.
The level of responsibility you’re asking for, over the years I’ve realized it doesn’t really exist on the whole and never will. A forum post or someone’s Twitter chain is always going to be built around what hits them personally as tolerable or not first and foremost, and that’s fine because we’re all different. If we spend a lot of time on one platform in one circle of folks, we can sometimes get a full picture of a topic but I think that’s a lot rarer than we give it credit for. Some of that is just the reality of how much time we have to devote to forum posts and social media. Like if you look at my own post history as an example, I’m going to be generous and say probably 90% of what I put on this forum is one line jokes and white noise. I’m only able to make this post because I’m at a job right now that just got delayed for a bit.
I don’t think that’s irresponsible. I just try to be realistic and figure if someone isn’t getting paid for their content, I’m not going to expect a holistic, fully encompassing breakdown of a show’s ups and downs. And even on a professional level as you mentioned you can’t always rely on someone’s early review or editorial choices.
To use Waypoint as an example. It’s a site that has three employees. And we see in action from last year that even people who create and curate content professionally are overworked because of the blood from a stone employment mindset entertainment websites have to work with and will at times make some massive miscalculations regarding content, content warnings, and so on. I don’t mean that to exonerate folks, just that the bar is already lowered when your company is saving money by only really hiring a small handful of people on a site while still expecting a 24/7 output of writing, videos, streaming video, and podcasts.
To me whenever someone is hurt by media the onus shouldn’t be on people who aren’t in much of a position to do more than talk about a few things they liked or disliked about it, but rather on whoever is serving the media. And I do think we see the opposite reaction a lot (this isn’t directed against you personally or your posts) because of how effective corporations are at manipulating accountability. Like if I go to Devilman Crybaby right now, I notice that it’s rated TV-MA, that’s it. There’s no extra details or content descriptors, and that’s bullshit. The only time Netflix ever put a content warning in front of anything was the show 13 Reasons Why and, frankly, that was a show that should have straight up been pulled because of how stupidly it deals with suicide.
The closest thing was a crowd sourced app called Feerless (though IIRC it died last summer), a Chrome extension that would give thoughtful content warnings and pop ups preceding certain scenes in Netflix.
Even with that in mind though, when you go beyond a site or streaming platform and into the realm of social media posts, I don’t think it’s fair to expect more from someone taking just a few minutes on a post compared to the extra bit of research and insight and author will (attempt to, given time constraints) fit into an actual editorial or review.
I’m not trying to say you’re using the internet wrong or anything like that, I’m glad you posted since this thread would be pointless if it was just a stream of posts like mine saying the show is crazy.
I do think there’s another, more cynical answer to your question though about why more people haven’t brought this up, and it’s that everything about the show’s production is tailor made to get hype…
Dated but EXTREMELY influential and important property that most people don’t remember in detail, so it’s both already sorta liked but a blank slate at the same time.
Iconic action/horror imagery
New version by an artist with a more out there style that hasn’t gotten mainstream exposure in the US
It’s like a checklist of things to make nerd websites go crazy over it and overlook any faults that, were it missing any one of these elements, they would not go so easy on.
*No seriously, people would like be in my face about how “good” Kite is and oh no how could anyone dislike it. I have a very different circle of friends today.
**As recently a Shin Megami Tensei IV, there’s a straight up character and plot towards the end that’s basically a Devilman episode.
It’s not going to be for everyone but I loved it. Loved the visuals, the primal energy of it, the music, the absolutely WILD ending and that despite how brutal it got it always maintained this human core. Devilman is able to fly and has super strength but his real superpower is the ability to empathize with other people.
I’m only going to address this part, because the rest of your post is pretty well-structured, and also I’m tired.
The reason I’m disappointed about the irresponsibility of some people is that I am close to them. These are people I’ve either known for years, of who have written about subjects like this before. People who understand the climate of the world we live in, or people who know my history with these topics. I don’t really do review websites, which explains why I’m here and not on a forum for Giant Bomb or Polygon. Even if the show hasn’t been out long, it’s been out long enough that that I’d expect someone I know to be like “hey there’s sexual assault of a minor in episode 2, maybe watch out for that!”
I didn’t really want to go into detail, but I’m not saying “Hey, it’s the public-at-large’s responsibility that I don’t get slapped full on in the face with my worst trigger”, I was talking about the more personal anger I’m holding toward people I felt could be trusted to talk about this subject (i.e. friends of mine, personalities who’ve talked about sexual assault, etc).
When it comes to Netflix not putting up content warnings, or press coverage from this show not going into a little more detail, that’s just disappointment in the same old bullshit. Corporations never give a shit about their customers, and nerd press almost constantly overlooks potentially triggering content or poorly handled treatment of the marginalized so they can talk more about how cool something is.
Anyway, I have this topic muted, so sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier. If you wanna keep talking about this, just PM me or something. I’m not gonna get a notification for a response otherwise.
I made the mistake of binging all the way through this on a sick day last week. Which was… definitely more than what I should’ve pushed through.
Overall I liked it, but again. Probably would have had better sleep that day if I didn’t watch it, and waited until I was in a better state. Excellent animation, and a touch on hedonism, Japanese rap, and twitter/internet culture.
I’d never seen the original, so I looked up the plot of the original manga and a lot of it was semi-hoping it wouldn’t have the same ending. But I’m glad they hewed so close to it.
Just finished it. Absolutely amazing show that has some incredible style. I was not familiar with anything Devilman and just heard outside rumblings that this show was good. Damn is it really good. Given the subject matter I felt the blood and horniness were appropriate but I can see how some people might get turned away by it. I thought it was well done though and served a purpose, it never felt superfluous.
First, I wanna say that the analysis in here is excellent and helped me grok what the heck I watched. I’m definitely not gonna piece together anything more eloquent than “it was good, but omg.” This thread along with an analysis of the OP (spoilers in the link) helped fill in some blanks after the fact.
I watched this in two sittings only a few days after finishing My Hero Academia and I came in with no previous knowledge (but I was warned about the sex and violence). After watching the most shounen of shounen shows, Devilman’s brutal worldview was shocking. Every time I thought, “but it’s probably gonna be fine,” it got worse. I absolutely was not ready for the back half’s rapid escalation.
It’s the kind of show that will stick with me for a long time even though I can only bring myself to watch it once. Episode 9 broke me.