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Saturday, July 12, 2014

'Devilman' is a kids' show in Japan.

So for a while there, Discotek went and got a whole bunch of Go Nagai stuff -- Mazinger Z (which I mentioned working on before), Cutie Honey (which I love and which a friend of mine worked on), and then Devilman. And Devilman is another of those shows that lived on for me only in remakes and side material and descriptions from friends. All I knew is that there's a teenager, he turns into a giant demon, and the last monster he fights is named God.

You know, seems cool overall.



One thing I noticed as I was reading up on Devilman before I started is that it had never been presented properly (i.e., at all) in the contiguous States, simply because it was so inappropriate by American standards. ('American standards' being visible cartoon boobs, occasional blood, and violence with lasting consequences, I guess.) I mean, I get it, what we think kids can handle is pretty different to the rest of the world -- see American parents screaming that Coraline and Iron Giant are too dark and Doctor Who is too sophisticated.

But I'm gonna lay down real talk here: Devilman is nightmare fuel. Like high octane nightmare fuel. Recently I worked on an episode where a Demon handed out pearl necklaces that transported humans' heads to a nether dimension where said Demon would gouge their eyes out while their bodies kept running around in the real world. I mean, fine, the passage-of-time scene in 'The Doctor's Wife' left me with more nightmares, but this shook me up kinda bad.

There are other things in there that probably wouldn't fly. At one point our hero Akira slaps his girlfriend's little brother Tare for no reason, and I do recall a whole episode of Sailor Moon being cut simply because Usagi's li'l bro kicked Luna. So we can't handle that. And there's plenty of implied nudity, because a good number of female Demons don't wear clothes. No details are drawn in, but who knows.

Now, our general rule in my fansubbing days, which has carried over into my pro work with the same people, is we keep our language level to that of the original intended demographic. So okay, I doubt ten-year-olds are gonna be watching any of the Go Nagai stuff we're releasing. Anyone who pics up bricks of old-school anime is gonna be about my age or older. Regardless, I was told to keep language to Goonies level (one of our more common benchmarks). Because yeah, even though the demographic has changed by necessity, we're going for accuracy of presentation -- and Japanese doesn't really have the same sort of set lexicon of swears we do, so any 'swear' can be translated a variety of different ways depending on the speaker.

Okay okay okay. But would Kara show this to kids?

Eh sure.

I'm not sure how much it would interest kids nowadays, as the animation is not a thing of beauty (Akira is perpetually cock-eyed to the point that screencaps of him are becoming a bit of a joke) and the plot isn't really in line with what most shows these days are. Do I think a kid could handle it if they wanted to? Sure. Even with boobs and blood? Sure.

And yet there are people out there who think I would've made a good parent. But seriously, I give kids a lot of credit. I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail when I was four, and I'm pretty all right. I can see the shock value of 'Oh my God, they did that,' but not 'Oh my God, kids watched that.'

If any of you has a kid who'd watch Devilman, though, I swear, get in touch with me because your kid sounds awesome.