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Ping Pong and Devilman Crybaby Are Basically the Same

On Masaaki Yuasa’s work and the subtle narrative differences between implicit and explicit queerness

Left: Ping Pong; right: Devilman Crybaby. Masaaki Yuasa obviously has some imagery obsessions, and I would argue that they reveal parallels beyond the merely superficial.
Left: Ping Pong; right: Devilman Crybaby. Rivalry! It can take many forms, some of which have the potential to destroy the world, and some of which… don’t. Or, well, I guess it depends on which sports anime we’re talking about.
  1. Both Devilman Crybaby and Ping Pong are about newly surfacing tensions between two boys who have been close since childhood…
Left: Ping Pong; r — oh, you know the drill. Above, distance is established between two formerly-close pairs of teen boys. As always with these two series, once you look beyond the obvious differences in scope, strikingly similar portraits of fracturing intimacy become visible.
Smile and Ryo… don’t actually have a lot in common beyond their inability to express a “normal” range of emotions. But that’s what makes these parallels so powerful!!!
There’s no better or gayer way to show that you love someone than a good fight to the (metaphorical or literal) death.
Hey look, it’s ya boys, finally feeling things, thanks to the arduous efforts of their male counterparts-slash-rivals!

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Elizabeth Simins

V. gay writer & illustrator living in Portland, OR with a large collection of comics & a small collection of cats. AniGay co-editor / LoGH-Icebergs co-author