The Enigmatic Man in White
- Episodes: 10
- Genre: Action, Horror, Demons, Supernatural
- Airing Date: January 2018
- Studio: Science SARU
Devilman: Crybaby Preview (No Spoilers)
Devilman: Crybaby is a modernized adaptation of Go Nagai’s highly influential 1972 manga Devilman. It’s notable for its wacky animation style from director Masaaki Yuasa, insane amounts of sex and violence that actually manage to serve the plot, and for being the first real Netflix original anime.
Ryo Asuka, a teenage prodigy with a penchant for wearing puffy white coats, suddenly reappears after 10 years in front of his childhood friend Akira. He drags his hapless buddy into the world of demon hunting, forcing Akira to fuse with a powerful demon to become the hybrid hero Devilman. But what is Ryo really planning, and why is he so insistent on keeping Akira by his side?
Ryo Asuka Highlights (Spoilers Beyond This Point)
1. A loaded teen genius
Despite being only 16 years old, Ryo has somehow managed to become both a college professor in the United States as well as the host of his own TV news network. He lives in a massive penthouse apartment, complete with lavish furnishings and even a pool (which, considering property costs in Japan, is doubly impressive). He also seems to have unlimited resources at his disposal and even has access to highly illegal goods like machine guns and experimental drugs. Just who is Ryo, and how did he make himself into Japanese marshmallow Batman?
2. An expert manipulator
With just a few well-placed words, Ryo can bend the popular consciousness in any direction he wants. This works especially well in the modern world of Devilman: Crybaby since he uses the power of social media to escalate demon paranoia and turn the humans against each other much more quickly and directly than he did in the original manga.
And even on a personal level, Ryo holds a frightening amount of power over Akira without his friend even noticing. Just think of how slick Ryo had to be to get Akira to go to the Sabbath party with him mere hours after showing up for the first time in years! His love and trust for Akira do come into play here, but Ryo is smart enough to use those real emotions to get exactly what he wants from his one and only friend.
3. Does what he wants
To be blunt, Ryo is pretty weird. He dresses like a cross between a Paris runway model and the Michelin Man, carries heavy weaponry wherever he goes, and only eats CalorieMate bars instead of real food. But whenever anyone brings up his eccentricities, he just shrugs off the question and goes back to his demon-hunting scheme.
He seems single-minded in this goal, killing without hesitation anyone who figures out Akira’s secret or otherwise needs to die for his plan to go smoothly. In fact, he’s the one who started the Sabbath demon massacre in the first place by attacking partiers with a broken whiskey bottle. Ryo isn’t exactly evil - it’s more that his morals don’t line up with those of normal humans. We wonder why...?
4. Just as terrifyingly hot in his angel form
Wouldn’t you know it – Ryo is actually Satan. Yes, late in the series, Ryo regains his memories and realizes that he’s the fallen angel Satan whom God has sent to Earth as punishment for his betrayal against Heaven. In his fully awakened angel form, Ryo has long golden hair, an elegant feminine face, many wings, and both male and female sexual characteristics. It’s a bit strange to see Ryo with breasts after knowing him as a man for so long, but for some reason, the image works very well. Ryo’s naked intersex angel form helps underscore the fact that he’s an otherworldly being with no concern for tiny humans.
5. Genuinely loves Akira
Why did Ryo turn Akira into Devilman, spread panic, and eventually doom the entire planet to its destruction? It’s because, at his very core, Ryo loves Akira and wants to keep him all to himself. He’s not as much of a blatantly jealous yandere in Crybaby as he is in the manga or other adaptations (for one, he respects Akira’s wishes not to kill Miki after she sees him transform), but that might just be because he knows Miki and the others will all eventually be killed anyway.
Akira’s kindness and friendship when the two of them were children touched Ryo so deeply that he ensures they’re the only beings left on Earth after the apocalyptic war. But because of Ryo’s heinous deeds, Akira turns against him and dies in the battle for humanity. And as Satan’s punishment for defying God, Ryo is forced to relive the same timeline where he kills the only one he has ever loved, over and over... forever. It’s the only thing that can pierce Ryo’s frozen heart and make him feel true sorrow.
Ryo is quite the character, and it makes perfect sense why countless other villains (like Griffith and Homura) were modeled after him. His Crybaby incarnation brings out the best in him, and that’s why we love him so much.
What did you think of our list? Let us know your Devilman: Crybaby crush in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!