Devilman (デビルマン Debiruman?) was a 1972 monster of the week style anime series by Toei that ran from July 8, 1972 to April 7, 1973 on NET Television (formerly Nihon Educational Television, now TV Asahi). It was directed by Masayuki Akechi and Tomoharu Katsumata under the supervision of Go Nagai. Nagai worked with Masaki Tsuji, a prolific screenwriter and novelist and fan of Nagai's work, to adapt his manga for television. The anime was originally meant to be an adaptation of Go Nagai's previous work Demon Lord Dante however the violence had to be toned down so Nagai formed it into the manga Devilman which the anime was based on. The series has a far lighter tone than other entries in the franchise, and takes various cues from Tokusatsu series that were released around the same time. The nudity and violence was far more tame than the manga; however, on occasions it still contained some graphic material.
The series was also telecast during the 1980s (dubbed) in Italy, where it became very popular.
The anime followed a demon named Devilman, a bodyguard for the demon king Zennon, the leader of the Demon Tribe. When Akira Fudo and his father were exploring the Himalayan Mountains they fall through a crack in the ice where they encounter Zennon who promptly kills them. He then summons his three bodyguards Devilman, Rerasu and Daruni and tells them to battle for the right to use Akira's body so the winner could infiltrate the human world so the demons would know when to attack. Devilman however falls in love with a human girl named Miki Makimura and betrays the Demon Tribe to be with her. This angers his former leader Zennon and he sends his solders to try and kill him, each episode often bringing a new threat and foe to the table.
- Devilman: Devilman was sent by Zennon to go out into the human world and cause chaos. However in his first meeting with the beautiful human girl Miki Makimura he falls in love and is unable to follow out his orders. In response, he decides to instead fight for humanity, and battle the forces of evil. Voiced by Ryoichi Tanaka (Japanese) and Massimo Corriza (Italian).
- Miki Makimura: A school girl that unintentionally stole the heart of Devilman due to her great beauty, not to say she doesn't find his arrogance and attraction annoying, and would often strike him when he got out of hand. Voiced by Sumie Sakai (Japanese) and Beatrice Margiotti (Italian).
- Zennon: The gruff and all powerful leader of the Demon Tribe, rarely moving from his home in the Ice Kingdom, and often keeping on the same form, rarely showing his true face. Voiced by Hidekatsu Shibata (Japanese) and Renato Montamari (Italian).
- Zannin: The first of Zennon's three Demon Generals, a gruff, sadistic and spiteful foe with great strength. He was a vicious killer and would even kill those of his own race if they failed him too often. Due to this, he was unpopular even amongst his own race. Voiced by Hiroshi Masuoka (Japanese).
- Muzan: The second of the Demon Generals, a strong demon who could create new dimensions on a whim, being deadly both physically and mentally. Voiced by Kouji Yada (Japanese).
- Lacock: The final General, Demon Marshal Lacock was a beautiful demoness with magical powers. Her soldiers each acted as a part of her clothing, she proved to be the most powerful of the Generals. Her soldiers also being some of the toughest foes Devilman had to battle. Voiced by Kyoko Satomi (Japanese).
- Lala: The most beautiful member of the demon tribe, however despite her looks she was scatterbrained and was incredibly ditzy. However she fell in love with Devilman and fought by his side often, although in some cases he preferred it when she didn't try to help. Due to having betrayed the Tribe she became the target of many attacks, despite this she was able to ward of a great many of her attackers includingJewel, Arlon, and even the Demon Marshal Lacock. Voiced by Kazuko Sawada (Japanese)
- Kensaku Makimura: The younger brother of Miki Makimura, he was often used as quick comic relief early on, but becomes more important and plot specific later on in the series. He's nicknamed Tare because of his tendency to wet his pants. Voiced by Keiko Yamamoto (Japanese) and Massimo Corizza (Italian).
- Himmler/Iwao Himura: A cocky, arrogant, and manipulative biker sent to assist other demons in their fights against Devilman before finally revealing that he himself was a demon. Voiced by Makio Inoue (Japanese).
- Alphonne: The schools teacher, a lonely depressed man often used along with the school's principle for comic relief. Despite his idiocy, he has proven to be a great aid even unwittingly defeated a demon due to his stupidity. Alphonne would later go on to become the basis for the character Alphonne of Cutie Honey fame. Voiced by Ichiro Nagai (Japanese).
- Miho: A sweet young girl, who acted very mature for such a young age. This likely because she had to put up with the havoc caused by the demons, and her boyfriend Tare's idiocy. Voiced by Michiko Nomura (Japanese).
- Hairo Todaiji: The school's chairman and a recurring character, he is often clashed by Akira's aggressive behavior. His father is a drunk and his mother is often strict about his studies. He has a girlfriend named Chachiko who also serves as a recurring character in the series. Voiced by Shunji Yamada (Japanese).
- Chaco: Hairo’s girlfriend and another recurring character, her family owns a cafe that the cast occasionally hangs out at. Voiced by Akiko Tsuboi (Japanese).
- "Devilman no Uta (デビルマンの歌; Devilman's Song)" by Keizo Toda
- "Kyou mo Dokoka de Devilman (今日も何処かでデビルマン; Devilman is Somewhere Today)" by Keizo Toda
On July 16, 2013, Discotek Media announced a DVD release of the series. It was released on November 28, 2014 in a complete box set. Sadly this set is only available in America as a Region 1 DVD.
More recently a special edition Blu-Ray release has been announced in Japan, claiming it will be jam packed with special features including a never before seen 15 minute pilot.