Cyborg 009 VS Devilman Review

Cyborg 009 VS Devilman is a 2015 supernatural action Japanese animated series directed by Jun Kawagoe, voice performances including Johnny Yong Bosch, Bryce Papenbrook, Chris Smith, and  Kyle McCarley.  The series is a crossover between Cyborg 009 and Devilman and follows 009 and Devilman who find themselves in a conflict with one another while trying to uncover a sinister plot involving cyborgs and demons.


Positives:

  • Good characters
  • Good animation style
  • Great voice performances
  • Good sound/music
  • Good action

Negatives:

  • Story is forgettable
  • Forgettable antagonist
  • Writing is poor
  • Some action could’ve been better

Plot: The story is, of course, pretty ridiculous. The cyborgs are trying to find Black Ghost and discover demon sightings in Japan. Believing him to be responsible they go to investigate. Their search eventually leads them into conflict with Devilman who’s hunting said demons.  Of course, there is some dumbass scientist trying to create a cyborg/demon hybrid for some reason.  It’s a pretty original story though it lacks any kind of complexity to make it interesting nor emotional value to make it deeply engaging.  The ending leaves a lot to be desired and is just underwhelming on nearly every level.  Also, the Devilman storyline feels completely underrepresented as the story focuses more on the cyborgs.  By far the best moments are in episode one, but the rest of the story is pretty predictable. Maybe if the story was extended more that could’ve given more time to the Devilman storyline as well as given more exposition on other characters. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  The characters are a mixed bag but honestly the main cast from both series are good with good characterization.  However, there is nothing deep about any of the damn characters nor any growth.  Had the writer had Devilman interacting with the various members, it would’ve had a better balance of the characters and giving them more screentime.  The only original character for the series that’s any good with any kind of depth is Eva (though she does that weird Japanese brother/sister relationship thing).  The rest of the antagonist are just garbage with no real depth to them, especially Dr. Adams, who seeks to combine cyborgs and demons, for what reason?  He literally tries to do it for no other reason but to do it, although it is clearly a really bad plan and he looks stupid when it blows up in his face. Yes, he was trying to revive Seth, but there is no emotional connection between the two.  Cyborgs 0014, 0016, and 0017 are just stupid, especially 0014 who is a copycat of 009.  Lilith is a huge disappointment and like the actual Devilman series is a badguy for the sake of being a bad guy. (2 out of 5)

Animation Style: The animation style is actually pretty good, having very vibrant color schemes and an overall high production value.  Many of the character designs look really good, though some are very comical and sort of out of place.  The modification of the animation style and models for Cyborg 009 as well as Devilman is a good compromise. Devilman looks pretty badass and the cyborg redesigns look great. The demonic transformations are pretty grotesque though some of the designs are just stupid, recycled, and lack creativity.  Lilith’s design is a big disappointment. The action sequences are pretty violent with enough gore to make it intense without being over-the-top.  The backdrops are beautifully designed. (3 out of 5)

Score/Music: The sound quality is done pretty damn well.  The intro and outtro by JAM Project is great, feeling like it appeals to both series.   The musical composition is actually really good and feels very modern.  The English-dubbing is actually done really well. (3 out of 5)

Writing:  The characterization is pretty strong and they are handled in a way that make the roster of characters feel different and unique. The action is handled well enough to accommodate both series.  The most memorable moments of the series is the 009 and Devilman are fighting each other. I’m not sure if the writing actually supports a crossover as neither side actually has acknowledge the knowledge of the other before (Devilman has never acknowledged robotic/cybernetic threats nor has Cyborg 009 acknowledged demonic threats) so the series doesn’t feel like canon in either series. Even the title is wrong.  There is literally only one fight between the two.  If this series had been written to be an original series following a group of cyborgs created to fight demons then it would’ve worked better. Or a parallel universe scenario. (2 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Cyborg 009 VS Devilman is a series filled with potential but ultimately falls flat.  Yeah, the premise is good and the characters are awesome but the writing completely sucks on almost every level thus compromising the crossover aspects.  Yeah, it can be entertaining but putting ridiculous action into a series doesn’t make it a good series.  However, the animation looks good and the sound is done well.  Cyborg 009 VS Devilman gets 3 out of 5.

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