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Golden Age Series

Akuma-kun (Toei, 1989-90)

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This anime, which ran in 42 episodes in 1989-90, is based on one of Shigeru Mizuki's early manga series, the first of which ran from 1963-64. A second series that followed in 1966-67 was successful enough to be made into a 26-episode live action TV series, and a third appeared in 1970-71. The details of these plots vary considerably, but they all focus on the "Akuma-kun," a wonder-child destined to appear every 10,000 years and serve as a kind of demonic messiah. His destiny (much like that of the more famous yokai Kitaro) is to create a world in which "akumas" ("demons" roughly, but including a wide range of mythological entities from around the world) can live in peace together alongside humans.

In Mizuki's plot, the infamous Dr. Faust recognizes that the fifth-grader Shingo Umoregi is the long-expected Akuma-kun. Already carrying this nickname from his classmates because of his obsessive interest in the occult, Shingo is otherwise the stereotypical normal Japanese klutzy schoolboy. Faust trains him in the essentials of ceremonial magic, and, like many other magical girls and boys to follow, Shingo finds that he has untapped powers and learns to control them.

As his powers grow, Shingo gathers around himself a circle of "white akumas," supernatural entities who help him combat and subdue the larger number of malign akumas. This circle is named "The Twelve Apostles." In fact, they are all fey creatures of unlikely sorts, each with some unique and ultimately useful power, and so they end up being a slightly darker version of Kitaro's circle of yokai allies. The series follows Mizuki's usual strategy of exploring world folklore and mythology, with familiar names from the Judeo-Christian tradition combining happily with other "akumas" found in indigenous traditions on all five continents.

The series was directed by Junichi Sato, a rising star in the Toei world. He had begun in 1981 with Queen Millennia (production) and taken on episode direction and storyboarding for a number of projects. In 1986-87 he took on his first Series Director assignment for Maple Town Monogatari, which was a big success for the studio, especially in its English dub that also spun off a popular line of collectable figurines. Akuma-kun was his next senior directing task, and that was well received enough that he was entrusted with the opening season of Sailor Moon (1992). He has remained active since then, taking charge of a number of important projects, notably Princess Tutu and Kaleido Star. He was recently announced as Chief Director of a CGI remake of Akuma-kun, announced to air in 2023.

Character design was handled by Kinichirou Suzuki, a Toei regular who worked in various capacities on a variety of projects, but is mainly known for her design work on Tongari Boushi no Memoru. ("Memoru in the Pointed Hat," or "Wee Wendy" in the English dub, 1984-85).

 Mephisto II

 Shingo with Isis

 Kajū Baū

 Kirara and Hyakume peering out of Kajū Baū

 Kōmori-Neko and Tori-Otome Nazca

 Kōmori-Neko and Tori-Otome Nazca react to a crisis

 Tori-Otome Nasca, Kōmori-Neko, and Saci-Pererê under attack

 Cuélebre with a weapon




 Butterfly fairy with Shingo



 Gomory Attacks

 Shigeru (Shingo’s Father) as a toad minion

 Hyakume as a toad chased by kids

 Hyakume as a toad chased by kids: the kid falls

 Hyakume as a toad chased by kids: the froggy akuma jumps

 Hyakume as a toad chased by kids: Bystanders

 Hyakume as a toad chased by kids: reanimation

Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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