Netflix is producing one of its most ambitious anime projects yet after expressing interest to grow out its division.
Devilman, created by Kiyoshi Nagai (better known as Go Nagai), initially ran as a manga between 1972 and 1973. It was also adapted into a television anime series in 1972. The manga, which follows a teenage boy named Akira Fudo, was praised by manga and anime lovers for its unapologetically violent story about demons, but it became the target for PTA groups in Japan as a result. It was considered one of the most violent manga series at the time, making it incredibly controversial. Devilman would also go on to influence series like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Berserk.
The manga and anime also became the base for a number of video games, including Devilman, which was released for the Famicom in 1989. In 2000, Bandai released a separate game for Windows PC and PlayStation, also called Devilman.
Netflix announced yesterday it was adapting Devilman — changing the name slightly to Devilman: Crybaby —and to fans’ pleasant surprise, confirmed iconic Japanese anime writer and director Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game, Adventure Time) would be helming the project. The streaming service released the first trailer for the movie and people noted they were happy to see that Yuasa was planning on sticking to the original tone of the manga.
Yuasa is known for more family-friendly and light-hearted series and films. One fan on Reddit pointed out that although Yuasa may be used to working with other styles, he has proven in the past that he’s more than capable of handling a project like Devilman: Crybaby.
“Yuasa did make Kemonozume, which in style and concept is not that far from Devilman,” they wrote. “In that sense I can totally see him nailing the re-adaptation that the manga totally deserves.”
Netflix has slowly started adding more beloved anime series to its service and has plans to invest a portion of its spending money into producing original series. In 2015, Netflix CEO Reed hastings said he would love to make one great, original anime series.
“We're hopeful that we'll, over time, make a great Bollywood show, make a great anime show,” Hastings said, as reported by Wired.
As of right now, Devilman: Crybaby is slated to be released in Japan in 2018. Considering it’s a Netflix exclusive, however, there’s no reason the anime couldn’t be brought over to the West for fans. Polygon has reached out to Netflix for comment on whether or not it plans to distribute the project worldwide and will update when more information becomes available.
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