October 10, 2010

Siren: The Demon Bird

Characters I adore: Siren (aka Silene, aka Sirene) The Demon Bird, from the extensive horror series Devilman, by Go Nagai.

She's Japanese, and white as a ghost. She's honorable, and yet, she'll hit you with dastardly tricks whenever she pleases. She's beautiful and topless, which is seriously distracting if she's trying to kill you. Oh, and if she's trying to kill you you're probably already dead, unless of course you're Devilman.

I don't know what it is about girls with wings, but I can't not lust for them. Purgatori, the "voluptuous, crimson-skinned, winged vampire goddess" from Chaos comics is no exception either, but that's one for a different post. Perhaps what instantly draws one to Silene is that her wings are attached to her head! It's brilliant beyond comprehension, and I would go as far as to say that she's flawlessly designed. Her image has been presented in many forms from Manga, Anime and artwork, to action figures, models and real life actresses (eh, and cosplayers too). I feel that her look was perfected in the second OVA of the Devilman Series (image above). Notice the striking blue eyes, cute little sharp teeth and yellow above her nose and brow to accentuate her long flowing wings. She's also got razor sharp talons, courtesy of her yellow bird hands and feet, some nifty head antenna that she can read minds with (or is that destroy minds with?) and some feathery ass padding.

While Silene is a ruthless demonic killer, she is also a victim afflicted by the sorrows of lost love. Awww! As the story goes (and this is the shortened version), Ryo Asuka brought his "good friend" Akira Fudo into the know when it comes to demons and possession. In order for them to keep man's natural enemy from destroying the earth, he needs Akira to become possessed by an incredibly strong demon and yet, maintain control of his own consciousness (shit never happens). Sounds like quite a task, but Akira is up for it and uses his unmeasurable love for girlfriend Miki Makimura to keep him grounded and in control. Blood is shed at a nightclub for a black magic ritual and it works; Akira is merged with Hell's god of war Amon and through his pure and innocent childlike heart, controls him and becomes Devilman. Only one little problem: Silene is Amon's bride from the demon world and now Akira has taken him away from her, so she is seriously fuckin' pissed off about that.

Cue Epic f'n battle! Silene tears Devilman to shreds, hitting him with everything she's got including damn near electrocuting him to death with her antennae. This fight must go on for at least twenty-five minutes and includes some noteworthy moments of dismemberment and impalement. Their super powers, such as teleportation, levitation, and extra sensory perception are displayed to make things a little more interesting. This particular fight is much more vicious than their previous, if you put bloodshed over mental torment I suppose. Back in the 70's the nudity, profanities and violence had to of course be toned down. In the early 90's however, their looks were upgraded as well as their attitudes and they displayed a wide array of emotions. I'd say that it's rare for an ultra-violent battle to stop for a few short moments as one demon confesses his love for another before committing suicide to benefit her. Despite the preceding chaos, this touching scene really works and I could feel for Kaimu and Silene as she let out that agonizing scream.

You can see the Beginning and Middle of the their battle on YouTube, as well as the Finale. In the 90's both Devilman OVAs were released in hard white clamshell boxes from a company called L.A. Hero. I got a hold of both of them way back then so I can tell you that the subtitles were very well done. However, those first two videos online have some annoyingly shitty subs that I've not seen before. They do no justice at all to the source material, and sadly the DVD from Manga Entertainment is dubbed. The only video I could find of the fight's ending is in Japanese with Spanish subs. I'm hoping some definitive version comes out on Bluray soon but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Silene has much of what I look for in a woman: She was born in the 70's, she's a bloodthirsty blonde bombshell, she's Japanese, she's not real, ect... and as currently as 2004 the character of Silene has been represented again in two different medias. One in a photo-manipulated artwork book from Screaming Mad George. A model calling herself "Persephone" posed in photos depicting her battle with Devilman. Also, a fashion model named Ai Tominaga played Silene in the not-too-well received live action Devilman film. Who would I like to see play her in an American film version? Perhaps Emily Browning.  It's been six years since Devilman and Silene got to see some action, get on it Hollywood!

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