Devil Survivor 2: The Animation

Devil Survivor 2: The Animation

devilsurvivorHigh school friends Hibiki and Daichi discover a ‘fun’ website which apparently sends you a picture of your friends face right before they die. But they realise that it’s something more sinister when they see each other dead – at the train station where they are right now. With death only seconds away, they are given the change to make a pact with this website that allows them to summon the ‘demons’ they need to survive. Before they know it, along with schoolfriend Io, they are pulled into a suspicious alliance with an underground organisation that are now fighting the Septentriones – demons that want to bring about the end of the world.

I couldn’t wait to start watching this one. As a long-standing fan of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, I was eager to see what this had to offer as an anime. Essentially, the plot and characters are based on the Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor 2 game for the Nintendo DS. Despite what others may be saying, I quite enjoyed this. Many people believe that adapting a video game doesn’t really work: those who don’t know the franchise don’t get it, and those that do can be too passionate and critical, but I think it worked. Of course, there are going to be big chunks shaved off in order to fit what would be a fifty-hour gameplay game into the space of one anime series, but I feel that sufficient information and action were provided in order to keep the pace moving along. The main one simply being: seven monsters wanting to bring down humanity, seven days in which to defeat them. For me, Shin Megami Tensei hits the nail on the head so consecutively that I would be happy to give it a change on any media that it chooses to manifest itself in. Really.

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What I enjoyed about this anime was the dark, psychological side. The styles, the colour scheme, and the animation were very impressive. In some places, it was reminiscent of Neon Genesis Evangelion with its apocalyptic nature and the question of what was good, what was evil, and should this world actually be destroyed in order to be recreated, possibly for the better? The soundtrack was very fitting to the general theme, being able to alternate well between the despair, hope, and  the comedy of the anime (scarce though the latter was later on). One thing that really stood out for me, and what really hammered home the dark descent of the characters was the end credit scene. At the beginning, it featured every demon summoner in the anime for a certain amount of time. As the days progressed, and things became more difficult, characters began to die. As they did, they were erased from the end credits, replaced with just dead space where they once were. Towards the end, I began to find this generally creepy as the odd character was popping up alone against the featureless backdrop. It has really stuck in my mind as one of the best ending sequences I’ve seen, and you can see it here.

The anime in general is dialogue heavy, but this does not necessarily compromise on the action. Conversation is interspaced with various interactions and broken up with fights and summons throughout, which gives it a strange combination of being packed with detail but also very fast-paced. A lot happens in the space of a week and we get to see all of it, and how it all works towards a final conclusion. The more people die, the more screen time the others have, and the more you get attached to them. But I would be mindful of that happening, as no one is safe.

Devil Survivor 2: The Animation is a great addition to the Shin Megami Tensei series, and shows just how successful a game-based anime can be as a stand-alone media. There is plenty here for fans of SMT to enjoy, but not knowing much about the franchise does nothing to dampen the entertainment of newcomers because there are catchy songs, attractive characters, and a psychological overtone that nearly everyone will appreciate.