Otaku USA Magazine
Excited for Chainsaw Man? Give This Classic Series a Try

Chainsaw Man, on its way to being an anime!

With the Chainsaw Man anime just around the corner, we’re looking for stopgaps to get us to the big day. We’ve offered up some anime recs before for fellow fans, but there’s one prime title that beats them all hands down: Devilman. The Go Nagai masterwork seems to get a remake or retelling every few years, so there’s sure to be a version you love. And that goes double for fans of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s revved-up manga.

Here’s why one—or more—of Devilman‘s many forms will keep you going until the October premiere:


Humans and Devils

Devilman circa 1972

One day, a guy fuses with a devil, becoming a new entity. This new entity becomes integral to fighting off other demonic presences. Yes, this is the beginning of Chainsaw Man… and also Devilman (depending on which version you’re referring to). Granted, Akira Fudo’s transformation in most versions is nothing like Denji’s. There’s no weirdly cute chainsaw devil puppy. Instead, Akira ends up in the middle of a dark ritual, eventually becoming its only survivor.

And then there’s the 1972 anime version, where Akira is just dead, and Devilman is straight-up a devil who took over his life. Either way, the core concepts are there, with or without Pochita.


Love and Deception

Ryo Asuka gets animated

Listen, Chainsaw Man is pretty new, and we’re not here to spoil it when the anime isn’t even out yet. But suffice to say… there are elements of the relationships in the series that mirror the ones in Devilman. And, also as in Devilman, not everyone is who (or what) they seem.

Both titles touch on the bonds between characters, power struggles, and concepts of “good” and “evil.” Akira’s story has been retold multiple times… sometimes those “retellings” turn out to be continuations (such as Devilman Lady or Violence Jack). That’s all we’ll say so as not to spoil the fresher of the two titles… but if you know, you know.


The Imagery

Devilman Crybaby

Love absolutely weird nightmare fuel monsters? Then Chainsaw Man is for you… as is Devilman. Go Nagai has long been the master of weird, horrific imagery, with faces where faces don’t belong and strange rogues’ galleries of anime villains. So readers (and viewers) will find themselves right at home in Akira’s story.

The imagery of Devilman is so evocative, it even got its own temporary virtual exhibition. There, you could (digitally) immerse yourself in famous scenes from the series. And it’s no surprise Masaaki Yuasa led DEVILMAN crybaby—his dreamlike style blends perfectly with Akira’s nightmarish story.

There are plenty of anime, manga, and more based on Devilman… enough to keep you entertained ’til Chainsaw Man kicks off this far.

Explore more dark, dreamy anime with our recommendations for Sandman fans.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.