While it's only been out for around a week now, I think it's safe to say that Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is one of animation studio Science Saru's best. Killer animation with great character designs, a soundtrack you can't help but jam to, and a star studded cast, it has it all. But there's another Netflix anime that really helped put the studio on the map, and one you really should check out if you haven't: Devilman Crybaby.
For those that haven't heard of it, Devilman Crybaby is based on the 70s manga titled just simply Devilman, by Go Nagai. It's a manga you should make yourself familiar with if you're a Neon Genesis Evangelion fan, as it was a huge influence on the 90s mecha show, both in its dramatic dark turns, as well as the potential queer elements of its main characters. Crybaby is an updated take on Devilman, bringing it forward to a modern day setting, and it is nothing short of astounding.
It centres on a teenager called Akira Fudo, the titular Devilman, himself fused with a demon granting him great powers and strength, all because of his close friend Ryu Asuka (yes, there is some romantic tension between them). Iconic anime director Masaaki Yuasa helmed the adaptation, his signature fluid art style on full display, one that works incredibly well for the at times quite out there demon designs. I should be absolutely clear that Devilman Crybaby is for a bit of an older audience than Scott Pilgrim Takes Off; there's a bit of nudity, a lot of violence, that kind of thing. But I think it's also the perfect next step for those who watched Scott Pilgrim Takes Off as adults that are revisiting something from their teen years.
You see, when I mentioned Yuasa's fluid art style, I really don't think there's a better word for it. The show's line art is incredibly thin, allowing the various shapes and colours to move in ways that are wholly unnatural, but that's exactly what a show about demons invading the world needs. There's a sense of speed at certain points in the show which elicits a sense of fear just from how impossible something like that would be. It's an art style that might not click with everyone, but without it, I don't think a single scene would feel nearly as captivating.
This might sound like a bit of a negative, but that captivating feeling feels something akin to a car crash at times. You can't help but feel your eyes pulled towards the screen no matter how horrible anything you're watching is; horrible not necessarily in horrifically violent means, but certainly in upsetting ways. Friendships, relationships, families, the whole world gets pulled apart by the change that comes from the unveiling of demons, and sure it's a touch depressing at times. There's beauty to be found in it all too, particularly the show's final scene, one which I won't spoil, but will again say that fans of Evangelion will surely revel in.
Not to mention the soundtrack, which twists some tracks from the original anime into modern, dance club anthems, with intermissions of freestyle J-rap that comes from actual Japanese rap artists. The commitment to creating a vivid and believable soundscape is a strong one, and makes the world all the easier to invest in.
Thankfully, if you've already watched Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, then you've likely already got a Netflix account, which is exactly where Devilman Crybaby is housed. So if you're looking for something with the same kind of DNA as Scott Pilgrim, you know where to look. Just don't write to me if you experience any kind of existentialism, I can't be held responsible for that.