This article contains heavy spoilers for Devilman Crybaby (2018) and The End of Evangelion
Devilman Crybaby (2018) is a modernized adaptation of Go Nagi’s manga, Devilman. The Netflix show is a mere ten episodes long. However, in the short run time, it packs a heavy emotional punch. The show explores the relationship between Ryo and Akira and the themes of good vs. evil via the backdrop of demons vs. humans. The End of Evangelion is an alternate ending film to coveted anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion. This film offers a look into what occurs after the end of episode 24 of the anime. Shinji and Asuka fend for their lives to protect humanity from an impending apocalypse.
On the surface level, Devilman Crybaby (2018) and End of Evangelion don’t have much in common. However, a closer look reveals that between themes and visuals, there are many cinematic parallels between both properties endings. The first image in each of these series is from end of Evangelion and the second is from Devilman Crybaby (2018).
I watched The End of Evangelion first and that film was released in the summer of 1997. As I watched Devilman Crybaby, which came out in the winter of 2018, I didn’t think about any similarities to The End of Evangelion until I reached episode ten. As I watched the horrors of Devilman’s climax unfold, I was awestruck by all the similarities both visually and thematically it had to the aforementioned film. In my head, I was uncomfortable by the uncanny visuals that I described earlier in this piece that I found myself googling “Devilman Crybaby & The End of Evangelion.” I needed to wrap my head around why the similarities were so on the nose. I admit that I felt a sense of prioritizing The End of Evangelion’s creativity knowing that it was released so much earlier than Crybaby. However, what I found was much more intriguing.
In an interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, a character designer for Eva and The End of Eva, Sadamoto described that NGE was heavily inspired by Go Nagai’s Devilman manga. They wanted to create something that was on a huge scale and thusly, it was very reminiscent of Devilman. This would mean that The End of Evangelion is a by-product of its influence from Devilman. With Devilman Crybaby taking inspiration from The End of Evangelion for visuals, framing, and color schemes, we’ve come full circle on who inspired who.
Ryo as Satan Vs. Rei as Lillith
By episode ten of Devilman Crybaby, it is revealed that Ryo is Satan incarnate. He describes his presence on earth as punishment for being exiled from heaven. When he takes on his Satan form to commence the apocalypse, Ryo is pure white with his wings glowing. He is naked to symbolize his purity. He has four outstretched wings coming from his upper body with a wing from each of the ankles. Rei Ayanami is a central character of The End of Evangelion. She is vital to the start of the apocalypse known as Third Impact.
As opposed to being a heavenly creature like Ryo, Rei becomes one. Rei merges with a being named Lilith, who is the personification of the seed of life. When Rei becomes Lilith, her physical form changes. She gets wings. Although, she has four wings on either side, compared to Ryo’s five. She begins to glow and is naked as well.
As the Apocalypse finishes in Devilman Crybaby, the audience is shown the scenery. The night sky is colored a deep blue with stars speckled throughout. The color scheme lightens into a baby blue as it meets the edge of the ocean. The water is colored in red due to the blood of those who died. However, the water is glittering with what looks to be bright white spots. Our two characters, Ryo and Akira, are laying on a rock. There are shots to show that the body of water they are in is filled with rocky terrain.
The setting for the aftermath of the Third Impact is very similar. The night sky is dark and tapers into a light-blue as it meets the ocean. While the general color scheme is similar in both pieces of media, The End of Evangelion chooses a much darker and muted color palette compared to Devilman Crybaby. Some stars are shown in the sky. The water is bloodred from all of the humans that have died but it does not glitter. Protagonists Asuka and Shinji are also present on some type of ledge, although it is not a rock.
Ryo and Akira Vs. Shinji and Asuka
Both Crybaby and End of Eva feature an important relationship. In Crybaby, the relationship between Ryo and Akira is a focal point. At The End of Eva, Shinji’s relationship with Asuka is vital. As mentioned in the previous point, both properties show their respective duos laying down, absorbing the aftermath of the cataclysmic events that transpired.
In Devilman, Ryo is to the right of Akira and musing over his apocalypse. He reveals that he had turned Akira into a Devilman so that he would survive in the incoming tragedy. Ryo considered Akira to be one of his best friends. He brought on the apocalypse to rid the world of humans and how they’ve ruined earth. He sites human emotions such as love and kindness as weakness. However, he soon realizes after he’s done musing, that Akira has died. In a moment of intense grief and humanism from Devilman Crybaby’s antagonist, Ryo cries on Akira’s body realizing that Akira is the only person he’s ever loved.
The End of Evangelion shares a cinematic parallel between Shinji and Asuka. However, the context and end messages are much bleaker than that of Crybaby. Shinji appears distraught over the events of the Third Impact laying next to Asuka. He does not say a single thing to her. He does begin to choke her. It’s a dishearting scene as it lasts for almost a minute until Asuka brings her hands to caress Shinji’s face. Taken aback, he cries on her. He cries over her body until she gathers up the energy to say, “How Disgusting,” and the film ends. Bleak and depressing, the ending is ambiguous and has been highly debated. As opposed to Ryo’s understanding and connection to his feelings, Shinji doesn’t get the semi-hopeful ending.
Devilman Crybaby rendered me speechless at it’s jawdropping and gut-wrenching ending. Just like Evangelion, it leaves viewers feeling emotional and heavy. I am glad I discovered that both properties shared influences between one another. Without their creative teams mutually loving those properties, we wouldn’t have two very distinctly different pieces of media that also has very deep, humanistic similarities.
If, like me, you love Evangelion, please take the time to watch Devilman Crybaby. If you’re a fan of Crybaby and still haven’t gotten around to Neon Genesis Evangelion and The End of Evangelion, do yourself a favor and watch it when you are ready. You won’t regret it.