Asuka Ryo Best In Show

As you all know, I am the #1 Devilfan, and I will fight to the death anyone who claims otherwise. By extension, this means I am also the #1 authority on all things Devilman related. Including Ryo. Especially Ryo. Because boy howdy, are there a lot of Ryos to keep track of, varying wildly in aesthetic, personality, and quality.

In light of this, I have taken the liberty of presenting the following sampler — some Ryos d’oeuvres, to borrow a phrase my girlfriend coined — ordered from worst to best, according to my objectively accurate and indisputable opinions. Enjoy!

#5 – Devilman Crybaby

I’ve never hated anything like I hate those pants.
  • Bad fashion
  • Bad hair
  • Definitely vapes
  • “Professor Ryo’s Science Lab”
  • Gets shoved in a locker by the other Ryos

I’m not fond of Crybaby, and Ryo is a large part of why — he’s practically unrecognizable compared to Ryo Classic, and not just because of his awful design. Ryo as a (more or less) functional genius who lives in a massive penthouse and is a professor despite still being in his teens just isn’t that interesting. We’ve all seen that archetype before. He’s not a kid who’s confused, scared, and high off his ass after his father tried to kill him and left him with a terrible inheritance — he’s just some smartass with a machine gun.

And seriously, a bowlcut?

#4 – Shin Devilman

Even I can’t deny this page is iconic.
  • Has never done a substance
  • Too weak even to bully
  • This is not my beautiful son

I’ve written before at some length about Ryo in Shin Devilman, and what exactly my issues with him are, so I’m not going to retread the same territory here. Please note that he’s still ranked higher than Crybaby Ryo.

#3 – Cyborg 009 VS Devilman

He comes across as less “cool and composed” and more “too stoned to feel feelings.”
  • Glasses???
  • Trades Bitcoin
  • Active on the darkweb
  • Does party drugs alone in his house

Now we’re getting into the good stuff. 009 VS Ryo is something of a missing link between Ryo Classic and Crybaby Ryo — more intellectual and less wired than the original, but not as obnoxious as he is in Crybaby — which makes sense, since 009 VS was the first Devilman adaptation (or spinoff) to try and update the cast. Which meant having him use the darkweb. He really is a Ryo for a new generation.

#2 – Original Manga

Ryo Classic
Like I was gonna pass up a chance to recycle this image.
  • Now we’re talking
  • Never not crossfaded
  • Threw a rave in his dead dad’s basement
  • Probably lives in the woods like a cryptid

Go Nagai set the Ryo bar high. The Ryo of the original manga is incredibly iconic — the weird, wobbly expressions that make him look impossibly high at all times, the overwhelming manic energy, the one-liners… He’s really something else, and Devilman wouldn’t be what it is without him as one of its linchpins.

#1 – OVAs

The fuckiest look I’ve ever seen in all my sworn days.
  • What if manga Ryo was hot
  • Bad fashion, but charmingly bad
  • So gay, oh my god
  • Does he look like he gives a shit

Ryo might be perfect in the manga, but sometimes, even perfection can be improved upon. The Ryo of the OVAs has two things his predecessor didn’t. The first: charisma. Where manga Ryo demands focus via being wildly chaotic, OVA Ryo does it by being strikingly attractive, enough to sell scenes with nothing more than a look at the camera. As fun as the…quirks of Go Nagai’s art can be, it’s only in the OVAs that Ryo seems like the type you’d follow to Hell and back.

The second thing the OVAs have above the manga: Ryo is super, super gay. Whether it’s the eyefuck he shares with Akira before entering the Sabbath or their reunion at the hospital, the chemistry between them is palpable. Sure, the Ryos of Shin and Crybaby are DTF too, but the homoerotic tension is never quite as thick and sensual as it is in the OVAs — and at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters most?

#??? – Iron Virgin Jun

They open the door to their room and he’s just…there.
  • Nickname is Count Dracula
  • Got it from going out disco dancing in a cape and top hat every night
  • Those who really know him well call him Satan
  • what the Fuck

Iron Virgin Jun is…a lot of things. Bad, for one. It’s wildly misogynistic, fetishizes rape the way only Go Nagai can, considers all lesbians to be predators… I could go on, but I’d have to spend more time thinking about it.

However, IVJ does have one thing that’s almost enough to justify its existence — Ryo Asuka.

The Ryo of IVJ is an enigma. Is he actually Satan? Is the sixth sense he claims to have real? Or is he just an edgelord with a pet bat? We have no way of knowing. He appears in the story with the abruptness of a brick to the head and vanishes as soon as his bit is done, leaving readers with nothing but bafflement as to what him and Akira are doing here, accomplices in a trashy rape farce. It is absolutely top-to-bottom buckwild.

It’s hard to compare IVJ Ryo to any of the others, since both he and the story he’s in are such different beasts from anything Devilman, and it’s impossible to imagine what he’d be like in a more serious setting. Personally, though? I love this fucking weirdo.

In Conclusion

There are a few more minor Ryos that I’ve passed up — Violence Jack and Amon: Apocalypse of Devilman, for instance — whether it’s because I’m not familiar with the material and can’t be bothered to read it or because they simply don’t have enough screentime for a proper evaluation. But as far as noteworthy Ryos are concerned? This list is true and accurate. Anyone who believes otherwise can meet me out back of the Waffle House at 3 AM to settle matters. It’s what any good Ryo would do.


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