Really reminiscent of old style cartoons, complete with the art style and the earworm theme song… How nostalgic.
With a turbulent publication history – rebooting three times with three separate publishers – the Netflix adaptation of Akuma Kun doesn’t have the exact same plot or protagonists. Instead of the original Shingo Umoregi from the 60s manga and 80s anime, this show hands it off to Shingo’s successor and son Ichiro, who conducts the same magical experiments but also investigates rogue paranormal activity. However, this anime doesn’t stray too far from the original, taking inspiration from the 60s with its ink scratched art style, and even calling back the original director and voice actors. It makes for a weird and quirky supernatural series that stands out from today’s anime, while still honoring the original creator, the late Shigeru Mizuki, on his 100th birthday.
Through the premise alone, Akuma Kun is weird. It mixes the supernatural with Addams family-esque oddities, and it’s not limited to one single concept of demons, spirits, and possession. In line with this, Akuma Kun definitely does not look like something from today’s anime landscape. Instead of the fairly realistic backgrounds and detailed character designs of today, Akuma Kun ditches that for ink scratched shadows that’s reminiscent of the high-contrast publications of yesteryear. To further emphasize the protagonists’ weirdness, Akuma Kun and his team are drawn with rounder shapes, wider eyes, and dot pupils, compared to their clients’ colored pupils and regular expressions. These decisions lead to a unique art style for the anime that also happens to honor the original 60s manga.