Yuri Anime: Devilman Lady

May 28th, 2004

Okay, yesterday I forgot to tell you about the one great big gay character in the Devilman Lady manga, but that’s okay because I’ll be covering her today, with great enthusiasm. ^_^

Let me start off by saying that the anime version of Devilman Lady is SO lesbian, that it’s a wonder it doesn’t get more spin in Yuri circles. I guess the majority of viewers just prefer cute over tough, but call me a happy minority. I’ll take cool, competent and tough any day over cute. ^_^

Where in the manga our heroine, Fudou Jun, was a uber-tough, butched up athlete, even had been in the Olympics as a swimmer, the anime Jun is a quiet, lovely top-notch fashion model. She’s immensely popular and we can see why, because when she gets in front of the camera, she becomes something alive and animal – her charisma is obvious, and so is her hunger.

Into this life comes the (still) completely psychotic Ran Asuka, who throws Jun into a room with a guy who becomes a ravening Devilbeast. The shock of being attacked forces Jun to transform (no demon bats here…) and Asuka calmly tells Jun that she’ll help Asuka hunt other Devilbeasts around the city. Jun, who has pretty low self-esteem, does.

Asuka is openly and obviously attracted to Jun, but pretty much only when she’s in her Devilbeast form.  In any case, Asuka definitely teases her unmercifully, as she forces Jun to travel the country slaughtering people as a Devilbeast; ironically in the name of preserving humanity.

Complicating Jun’s life is the addition of a young friend, Kazumi who, after her parents are killed by a Devilbeast (and she is saved by Jun in her transformed state) moves in with Jun. It is *equally* apparent that these two LONG for each other. You’ll be happy to know that about 3/4 through the series, they finally acknowledge their feelings and even spend a night together, but this series is not a comedy – it’s a tragedy. I’ll leave you to guess the rest.

Episodes 5 and 6 of the series ought really to come with a 100% Yuri label. Kazumi has moved in and now wants to buy a bigger bed to share with Jun. She all buts says, “Look, stupid, I really want to sleep with you” but she’s young and a little unsure of Jun’s feelings. Jun, is agonizing over this, exactly *because* she wants so desperately to sleep with Kazumi. Trust me – this is not subtext. From this point on, whenever anyone other than Jun mentions Kazumi, it’s to refer to her as Jun’s lover, even though they aren’t. Jun wimps out, btw, and buys bunk beds. Kazumi is quite shocked by this admission of Jun’s, because what it says is either “I want you so much I won’t be able to control myself” – which is the truth, or, “I loathe you so much I can’t stand the thought of sharing a bed with you,” in which case she ought to make Kazumi leave. It’s pretty apparent that Jun feels she wouldn’t be able to control herself.

In the meantime,we introduce Jun’s old high school classmate (and, in the manga, rival), Big Gay Aoi.

Let me backtrack. In the manga, Kurosaki Aoi is like 6 1/2 feet tall and HUGE. Muscles everywhere. She makes butchy Jun look like a little girl. She obviously wants Jun, but they have a nasty rivalry between them and Aoi has a abusive background and doesn’t do well when she’s not letting the Devilbeast in her body eat people she hates. The Devilbeast, of course, decides it wants to eat Jun. Aoi and the beast that is her body argue and the beast eats Aoi i.e., itself. Aoi does confess her feelings and in the end, Jun is forced to admit that she was also attracted to Aoi. Duh.

Okay, here in the anime, Jun is no athlete – in fact, she’s anemic, and had a problem with passing out when she got too excited as a youth. Flashback to high school at a swim meet. Aoi sees Jun pass out and carries her to the locker room. When Jun comes to, Aoi tries to kiss her. At first Jun gives in, but then, in a moment of weakness, pushes Aoi away and they never speak again. For years. Now, Asuka sets Jun on Aoi’s tracks, because she’s exhibiting signs of being a Devilbeast. In the manga, where Aoi became a Devilbeast to avenge herself on her sexually abusive stepfather, here in the anime Aoi basically has done it for Jun. Jun visits her at the pool and Aoi blatantly asks Jun to love her back, but Jun refuses, again. (Given Jun’s reacton to Kazumi and Asuka, it seems to me that the worst enemy Jun has is herself. She obviously is attracted to women, but it scares her silly, even after all this time.) They fight and ultimately, to save Jun, Aoi sacrifices herself. Let me just add that as Jun is played by Iwao Junko (Tomoyo in Card Captor Sakura and Aoi’s voice is done by Ogata Megumi who played Tenou Haruka in Sailor Moon, we’re talkin’ serious 6 degrees of Yuri-fest right here. ^_^

Episode 6 is the story of a rival model who also wants Jun and ends up getting her naked and tied up in bed before the Devilbeast transformation happens and Jun has to kill her.

From this point on, the story becomes a triangle between Asuka, Jun and Kazumi. Kazumi wins, in a way, because she and Jun admit that they love each other, but in a more concrete way, Asuka wins, because she makes Jun into what she wants her to become. Asuka also wins because she’s the only transgender lesbian from New Jersey that I know of in anime. We learn that she was born and raised in New Jersey (Montclair, from the looks of it,) and that she was born male, but is now female. So in my book, Asuka wins, hands down, because I can say that she is a transgender lesbian from NJ. In anime. It always makes me happy to be able to say that. It doesn’t bother me that she’s insane because I love psychotic lesbians. ^_^

This series is campy horror, not as violent as the manga, but still violent and has a really sort of ambiguously happy ending. I think it’s one of the most Yuri series out there now and it’s a damn shame more people don’t know how wonderfully weird and bizarre it is. Sure, the girl doesn’t get the girl, but it really doesn’t matter, because it’s a great story, with a strange, but less super-weirdo-bizarre ending than the manga, but still plenty weird.

Ratings:

Art – 10
Characters – 10
Music – 10
Yuri – 10
Service – 10

Overall – 10

Devilman Lady is one of my very favorite anime series in the whole of Yuri-land. ^_^

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13 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is actually my favourite anime series of all time too, a beautiful story which takes itself seriously and the Yuri in it comes ascross as a proper story tool than just an excuse for some action. I loved Devilman, but Devilman Lady is even better, my review =

    http://www.animedaze.com/review.php?ac=fr&r=9&t=88&cp=3

  2. Fanusi Khiyal says:

    Thank you! I have been wondering whether I was alone in being a serious Devil Lady fan. I bought the whole box set really cheaply; one of the best buys I have ever made.
    Your comments are all spot on. I particularly enjoyed the comment about “Big Gay Aoi”; yes, there is a time when every lesbian in Tokyo seems hell-bent on getting into Jun’s pants.
    And, yes, being able to say “transgendered Lesbian from New Jersey” is very fun. Strangely enough, I had never thought of it like that.
    I’m a Yuri fan who has some trouble finding series that aren’t dreadful cheesecake (I’m looking at YOU, Kannazuki no Miko) or excessively dull. Devil Lady is neither; it has a very good plot, good characters, and fine development.
    The secondary characters are also great. I am surprised you didn’t mention the rather tragic role of Chika, who, in my mind, just screams “Kaorin!” in ten mille high flashing neon letters (except of course we know that there is _no-way_ that Sakaki would ever be depressed because she got cat-features…) I swear, I get a lump in my throat whenever she says “and then I grew a tail too…”
    Great review. Ma’am, you have good taste!

  3. Farthingale says:

    Great series, really blew me away. I must say, though, I think that the main reason Aoi and Jun had bad blood between themw as to do with teh fact that, in rejecting Aoi, Jun injured her and permanently removed the possibility of her becoming a professional athlete. Hence my guilt on Jun’s part too.

  4. vee says:

    I love the Devilman Lady anime, but *god*, could it have gotten more depressing? Actually, yes, I’m sure it could have, so I probably shouldn’t complain too much :).

    I could, however, definitely have wished that Jun grew a spine at least 10 episodes earlier. True, the whole climax of the story might’ve been derailed if Jun had been able to fight Asuka off :), but 25 episodes of timid weakness got just a bit much for me from the story’s heroine. Besides, Bates managed to max his Devilman potential without Jun’s submission, so I’m sure they could’ve managed Asuka’s “ascension” without it.

    Btw, regarding Asuka: are you sure she was transgender? I thought Asuka was actually intersex. I don’t recall that any of the full-frontal shots showed below her waist, and Jun realised there was something “wrong” with her with one glance at Asuka’s naked body. Also, I definitely got the impression that when Asuka raped Jun as part of her “ascension”, it was … um … definitely the way a male would do it.

  5. Boogie says:

    I’m glad to see I’m not just a perv who only saw what I wanted to see (at least the seeing part). From what I read about the manga, the changes in the anime adaptation were improvements. My first impression was that Asuka was a hermaphrodite, born with both sets of equipment (and I don’t think that birth certificates make a special indication).

    Anyway, it was a great series and very refreshing. Deserves far more street cred than it gets.

  6. You might well be a perv – but this series was anything but subtle. :-)

  7. Oh God, you’re right–this series is so ridiculously gay and yet Yuri fans know barely anything about it. But I suppose Jun making out with guys occasionally was enough to make the fans run. God forbid a closet lesbian kiss a man to deny her sexuality and desires!

    Devilman Lady was so great. Camp? So much of it. Yuri? More AND better than some out there.

    :\ It was ridiculously depressing though. Everyone was so flawed and… human. Although that’s a stretch to say concerning this series.

    Ah, yes. And it followed the grand Yuri tradition as well. You know, dead lesbians all over the place.

    Even though the Yuri was pretty much GAH–IN YOUR FACE!! there were some subtle developments, I have to say. Primarily with the development of Kazumi and Jun’s relationship. It was so… tense. So nervous and awkward and unspoken. I was completely surprised neither one of them just jumped the other one. But one of the themes of this anime is self control, so…

    The bed buying scene? Heh, my interpretation was a little different from yours. I more saw it as Jun’s way of trying to deny herself any closeness with Kazumi, but I don’t think even Kazumi knew what she wanted from Jun. But I wouldn’t doubt for even one second that if Kazumi was buying that bed, it wouldn’t have been a bunk ;)

    I thought Kazumi saw the purchase of the beds as Jun’s way of alienating her. Like, “This is my personal space. We can’t get any closer than this.”

    Then there was that wonderfully tragic Christmas. Before I had watched the series in its entirety, that was one of the first episodes of Devilman Lady I saw and even without knowing that it was a Yuri series, that Christmas episode made me stop and go, “There’s something going on with that older woman and that short-haired girl… and that blonde chick.” It was that episode that made me watch the whole series. Didn’t know that was more subtle Yuri as compared to the rest :P

    I felt a little ripped off. Jun practically kissed everyone else in the anime. No kisses with Kazumi. Hell.

    My one grouse was that I bought the DVDs and listened to the English dub as well (morbid fascination) and it seemed that at the time, ADV was hell bent on trying to make the anime less lesbian than it actually was. Any time someone referred to Kazumi as Jun’s “koibito” (I don’t understand Japanese more than the average anime fan, but I listen to what they said and I definitely heard it several times), the English dub just totally found every other adjective to refer to Kazumi.

    That one scene where creepy evil kid was in the tunnel berating Jun for having a relationship with a younger girl and calling her shameless, the English dub totally warped it to make it seem like he was threatening to hurt “a good friend”. Thanks a lot, ADV. Hide the lesbians, hide them!

    Anyway, great series, and I wish more people watched it, but it’s hard to get a campy horror fan to watch something with so much Yuri and it’s hard to get a Yuri fan to watch something with so much campy horror.

    I think it’s a perfect mix of genres. It’s what Yuri anime should aspire to be–having a general storyline that didn’t centre solely on confessing to onee-samas or one-sided love amongst school girls/psycho side characters.

  8. Sonic says:

    @ The Denominator: I loved your comment – totally agreed with all of it. I think this show DID get campy at times, but it was still awesome and serious and I loved the Yuriness – really well done and not fanservicey. Okay, so Jun morphs into a beast flashing her boobs all over the place, but I really didn’t get a “sexualizing” vibe off of it, so for me, that was fine.

    I am so glad I bought all 6 DVDs :-)

  9. Actually yo are wrong on Asuka and I’m surprised you didn’t see it.

    Since they censored the sex scene in the “heaven’s ruins” scene, you didn’t get to see it but Asuka was never a male, ‘he/she’ was intersexed. A hermaphrodite.

    The only part of the “HUH?” here was that in “violating” the devil woman version of Jun, somehow this gave Asuka this “angelic power”(…or whatever).

    Of course Jun gets the final laugh in that she proves Asuka to be the true evil and therefore defeats her with all the tortured soul’s powers from (hell?).

    It would seem that Asuka either 1, NEVER got ‘her’ rocks off any other time in the story, 2, had to blow snot into the devil woman form of Jun specifically for some reason unknown ‘spiritual’ or ‘magical’ reason never explained.

    I personally was pissed that all the other dead awakened were left down in that pit. Especially Kazumi.

    I really think that fact alone made this a real tragedy.

    However, the writer SUCKS for vilifying an intersexed person, even if the audience may not have actually got the connection. I’d love to kick the writer’s ass for that.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hm, I finished the last disk of my box set (it came with all of the monster cards, lmao) which I did on a marathon and I had mixed feelings. Yes, this was very Gay, I liked Aoi and Kazumi best so with their fate I had to change my attitude after I started yelling at my TV like they do for the super-bowl. It was obvious he was going for a biblical type epic here with plenty of mythology and old testament type stuff blending with horror and the tragedy Japan loves so much. So I stopped thinking this was a Yuri anime and it worked. It was also clear that this soooo influenced RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne which I think had a better ending. Jun is an armless wonder with no one of any value left to go to (her manager was pathetic scum, I wanted him to die) and Jun being the universal opposite of Asuka yet the same with all the added meanings in the wrap up left a bitter taste like all those people died for nothing in the end, but some optimism for the children of the future at least. I liked Vampire Princess Miyu better even with no Yuri maybe because this was so tragic especially for my lesbians. I’m still glad I own it and if you know of any older quality titles like Devil’ and Miyu’ please let me know.

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