Netflix’s animated lineup is killing it right now! First, “Pluto” drops out of nowhere and becomes a top-of-the-year contender. Then, along comes “Blue Eye Samurai” to give it a run for its money. Now, we’ve got the original “Akuma Kun” anime based on Shigeru Mizuki’s manga and the 1989 anime series. It might not hit the same high notes as the other two, but just for its visuals. Here’s our review.
Netflix’s “Akuma Kun,” is based on Shigeru Mizuki’s manga and the 1989 anime series. The series comprises 12 episodes, each running for approximately 25 minutes, showcasing Ichiro and Mephisto II as they work together to solve various cases.
Toei Animation is at the helm of production, with Fumitoshi Oizaki and Junichi Sato directing, and Hiroshi Ohnogi contributing to the screenplay. The animation work is handled by Encourage Films under the watchful supervision of Sakae Shibuya. In the world of voice talent, Yuki Kaji takes on the main character, Akuma Kun/Ichiro Umoregi, while Toshio Furukawa lends his voice to Mephisto II.
The Original Anime “Akuma Kun” revolves around Ichiro, a prodigious boy also known as Akuma Kun, who was forsaken by humans and adopted by demons. In the contemporary world, he collaborates with Mephisto II, a demon-human hybrid, as they take on the role of paranormal investigators, delving into various murders and mysteries that afflict the human realm to make ends meet. Akuma Kun taps into the supernatural abilities of demons, using them to combat evil and preserve balance.
Despite his noble mission, Ichiro struggles with the mundane challenges of life, barely scraping by to pay his rent on time. His father entrusts him with the mission of achieving the Millennium Kingdom, a realm where demons and humans can coexist harmoniously. However, this grand goal is overshadowed by the everyday struggle for survival. Amid the chaos, the demon Gremory relentlessly pursues Ichiro’s heart, while other forces set their sights on his very soul.
Akuma Kun Anime Review
Akuma Kun, the protagonist, exudes a stoic and dry demeanour, raised by a demon with a mission to bring peace to the world. His realistic and logical nature gives him a unique ability to understand situations. In contrast, his colleague, Mephisto II, brings an optimistic perspective, delving into human emotions and seeking goodness in humanity.
Ichiro’s logical and emotionless approach contrasts with Mephisto II emotive stance, adding complexity to the story. Ichiro, raised by a kind demon after being abandoned by humans, lacks inherent optimism and simplistically sees humans. This clash of perspectives is further influenced by their distinct upbringings, creating a dynamic interplay in the narrative.
The dynamic between the characters in “Akuma Kun” introduces a constant push and pull, compelling the audience to delve beyond the surface. Ichiro operates with a rational thought process, deducing cases through logical reasoning. In contrast, Mephisto II responses are emotional, representing an often-overlooked aspect. The clash between Ichiro’s cynicism and nihilism and Mephisto’s optimism creates a delightful contrast, adding depth and complexity to the plot.
Therefore, the plot fails to deliver unexpected elements that would keep the story consistently exciting. It adheres to a formula by introducing antagonists who play a minimal role in the main plot. It’s more like obstacles that the protagonist effortlessly overcomes. The plot’s twists and turns are easily foreseen, and despite well-executed build-ups, the revelations lack impact and fall disappointingly flat.
The series also falls short in its depiction of female characters. They are either portrayed as irredeemable or overly passive, while male characters, regardless of their actions, often get a second chance.
Spectacular Art Style
The animation in “Akuma Kun” anime captivates viewers with its exceptional quality, featuring a unique and distinctive artistic style. The art style of this series stands out in the current anime landscape, skillfully blending hand-drawn and traditional styles to create unique visuals that strike a balance between action and compelling, quieter moments. The inclusion of characters and backgrounds drawn crudely adds a distinctive and hand-drawn quality to each scene. Meanwhile, other characters and environments are depicted in a softer, more traditional anime style.
Each frame is meticulously crafted, demonstrating a commendable level of detail. The character designs are visually striking, with each individual exhibiting distinct features and a unique personality. Moreover, the utilization of vibrant colours and imaginative backgrounds adds an extra layer to the visual appeal, contributing to the creation of a world that feels both rich and enchanting.
Despite the narrative’s drawbacks, the voice cast of Akuma Kun anime shines in bringing their characters to life. Yuki Kaji, in particular, impresses with his portrayal, skillfully embodying Akuma Kun’s deadpan personality. Kaji’s performance not only stands out but also leaves me anticipating more, especially after the season’s suspenseful cliffhanger ending.
Throughout the first season, “Akuma Kun” explores themes of good versus evil, love, and hate. It also engages in philosophical contemplations with each supernatural mystery that captures Akuma’s attention. The premise alone makes “Akuma Kun” sound devilishly enticing as a supernatural anime. For the most part, it lives up to the expectation. But, the actual plot falls short of delivering the promised intrigue and novelty. Overall it’s a fun anime to watch and you can finish it in one night.
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You can watch Akuma Kun on Netflix.