Mysterious invaders called the Septentriones arrive in Japan and begin attacking the country on a Sunday. To fight back, the heroes in Devil Survivor 2 signed a pact with the devil to become the Thirteen Devil Messengers. The Septentriones show up at least once a day and you have a time limit of seven days to defeat them.
Neon Genesis Evangeli- I mean, Devil Survivor 2 the Animation, is a great example of an adaptation from a video game to television gone wrong. Having beaten the video game myself, this anime adaptation was a severe disappointment from start to finish in many off-putting ways. The writing in this anime is childish as it constantly uses well-known clichés, character archetypes who never develop past their cardboard cut-out selves, spills melodrama all over the floor, and everything feels rushed and unconvincing. It is rather, to put it simply, a monstrosity. Now, the story of the video game wasn’t exactly original nor was it interesting, so
I wasn’t expecting the anime to have a storyline to be on a whole different tier. However the anime definitely could had improved on the overarching story in various ways. Unfortunately, the anime never really improves anything throughout its entirety and leaves off a trail of poor writing everywhere.
The story starts out when a colossal, unnatural disaster hits Japan which pushes civilians and society into desperation, as any major disaster in real life would. Soon, invaders called Septentriones appear and humans must defeat every one of them using demons they can summon in order to survive. Wait a minute, doesn’t this premise sound a bit familiar? Devil Survivor 2 borrows a lot of the same concept from Neon Genesis Evangelion. However the video game managed to blend in its own traditional and original aspects of the Megami Tensei franchise, (Devil Survivor belongs to the Megami Tensei franchise), thereby allowing the game to hold onto its charm. The same can’t be said for the anime adaptation. Unlike the video game, the anime sheds off every inch of strategy in every battle, and replaces it with random attacks that seem to serve no purpose other than for eye-candy and to weakly move the plot forward. The result is mainly dull action and boring battle scenes.
One of the first problems that appear in the anime is that it never really genuinely shows how such a monumental impact is affecting the civilians and society. In Devil Survivor 2’s case, world-building is essential in order to allow the viewer to sink in the necessary details so that important aspects such as pacing and plot and character development feel natural. World-building in this anime’s case could had provided more details on the nature of the post-apocalyptic setting, what the order of society is currently like, how various civilians are holding up, the government’s reaction, etc. Unfortunately, the viewer gets none of this in a genuine manner but gets instead various plot devices that jump out of nowhere which feel jarring, unnatural, and in certain cases, make for unconvincing writing in both story and character-wise.
Enter Hibiki, the main protagonist. He encompasses everything that many other battle shounen protagonists there ever were. He is the hero who jumps straight into action without rational thought. He is the hero who has to save everyone simply because he has the power to summon stronger demons than anyone else. By the way, why Hibiki has been granted this special power while almost everyone else has been left with much weaker demons is never explained until the last remaining few episodes. Even then, the reasoning for this special power is as cliché as it can get. The unexplained unique powers he acquires acts as plenty of plot devices, as Hibiki manages to defeat foes left and right with the help of his powerful demons, and without any convincing struggles. To hurt the writing further, for the first few episodes, this power is the only reason that drives him to become the typical hero that he is and jumps into every battle he can get his hands on. When Hibiki lacks such motivation for his heroic behaviors, he comes off as a very unconvincing character and becomes hard for the viewer to sympathize or understand with. Other characters beside Hibiki also never properly develop, and this makes for much unfruitful viewing containing melodrama and rushed events. In fact, the majority of the characters are hardly even realized, it’s as if they were put into the anime simply to fill up more cast and time and amount to nothing more.
On top of this, well-known clichés pretty much plague many parts of the anime. One notable cliché and theme used throughout the anime is… the power of emotions. Yes, screaming out loud while also screaming cliché lines can save the day in this anime.
Devil Survivor 2 the Animation was very disappointing. There is not much of a single redeeming aspect about this anime. Cliches, bland characters, overdramatic scenes due to poor development, weak narratives and overall plot really plague this anime, ultimately coming off childish and dull. And to those who played the game and hoped for a faithful adaptation in terms of story, you will be disappointed. To make it worse for the video game fans as well as for the rest of the Megami Tensei franchise fans, a lot of the Megami Tensei aspects seen in this anime are terribly realized. The anime breaks the laws of the MegaTen universe, such as how Hibiki can somehow summon Byakko as his first demon in the first episode, a high-level demon in the video game. It was also disappointing how the Demon Fusion was actually introduced in the last episode, and it didn’t help that it was intertwined with horrifying writing. Also, did I mention that Jungo is the most awkward character I’ve ever seen in any anime?
The video game is very fun and addicting. This adaptation can leave one with the impression of the exact opposite.
I had my share of problems with Persona 4's anime adaptation. Actually, I had a truckload of problems with it. Scratch that, I was finding stuff to complain about every single episode. And yet, I look back on it and think "oh wow they actually didn't do that badly, considering they condensed a 70-hour RPG into 25 episodes". Indeed, Devil Survivor 2: The Animation served to put Persona 4 into perspective for me. In spite of all its issues, it really didn't do that much wrong. The story was well developed, the characters all got their moments to shine, and there was still time left
over for fluffy social linkage.
Yeah, uh, DeSu 2 doesn't do any of that. What we have here is the boring parts of Mirai Nikki with the basic premise of Neon Genesis Evangelion tacked on, infused with Megami Tensei lore. P4 wasn't exactly a paragon of originality, but the tricks it played to stay above the typical worked well. Here, however, everything is strictly by-the-numbers. Chosen one, blah blah blah, pointless friends, sexy rival, blah blah blah, end of the world, boss battles, mysterious otherworldly ally, this has literally all been done before. Even worse, this show is as predictable as it is boring. I could see all the plot "twists" coming, -especially- the ending. Oh, wow, the ending. Don't even try to pretend you were shocked. It was so, so obvious.
One of my biggest problems with this is the cast. If your name isn't Hibiki Kuze, you're shit out of luck. This show doesn't care about you, and you won't get to do anything, ever. The only other characters to get any screentime are Hibiki's two friends, his sexy rival, and the mysterious otherwordly ally. Everyone else is mere decoration, which is extremely sad, because the minor characters happen to also be the most interesting ones. I was charmed by Jungo and Airi from the first moment they appeared, but "Jungo = chef, likes cats; Airi = kind of a bitch" is the only thing we ever get to know about them here. This is a huge problem, because when the show starts killing characters off and treats it as a huge deal, I was unable to care. They weren't killing -people-, they were killing concepts. None of these characters were developed enough for their deaths to have any sort of impact. Speaking of development, though, not even Hibiki gets that. Indeed, his only privilege is the vast amounts of screentime. He starts the show as a generic, personality-free protagonist, and ends it the exact same way. The protagonist, Yu Narukami, was one of the things the P4 anime did extremely well, so seeing them utterly fail here was kind of sad. Perhaps 13 episodes just wasn't enough for such a large cast of characters. Wait, perhaps? There's no "perhaps" here.
I suppose the show being short kinda starts making up for it being incredibly boring. Hey, let's be positive some more! Electropop magician kz of one-person music "group" livetune composed the opening, and he has, of course, delivered a total jam once again. It may not be a complete banger like his other op of the season, OreImo's Reunion, but more kz is good kz. I cherish kz's compositions. On a similar note, the ending song (Be by Song Riders) isn't bad, either. Both songs eventually found their way into my playlist, where they both got their heavy rotation. Oh and the animation is kinda nice I guess.
Let's have a bottom line, a line at the bottom. Devil Survivor 2 is boring. Really boring. Uninteresting and bland, even, and I can't think of this as anything other than a failure. I suppose it's a bit better than Mirai Nikki, one of my least favourite anime of all time, on account of this just being dull, as opposed to face-breakingly bad.
Although, technically, isn't making a bad impact better than making no impact at all? Mirai Nikki -did- have some absolutely fantastic stupidity...
Er, yeah. To close this review, I can't recommend this to anyone. To fans of the game, this is a shitty adaptation. Don't bother. To fans of the genre, Evangelion is there for a reason. To fans of SMT, just rewatch Persona 4. To everyone else, this is one boring piece of work. I suppose the best way to describe it would be "mediocre", but it's -so- mediocre that it crosses into being god-awful. After all, aren't the worst shows the ones you can't even enjoy for their badness?
Your anime's death clip has been uploaded. This outcome cannot be avoided. Have a nice day!
You know you're in for a ride when you read that first line of the synopsis and realize that the world is about to end thanks to some mysterious invaders. These invaders are called Septentriones want one thing: your life. It all takes place on the holy day of Sunday where the lives of the main characters are in danger. Why? Because the world is about to end and their only chance now is to survive. That's right....
Welcome to the world of Devil Survivor 2, where survival is a word that you'll be hearing more than meets the eye.
The series is based off the video
game, Devil Survivor 2 of the same name. It is based off of the Megami Tensei so expect some similar themes to its other products such as Persona 4. Otherwise, this series is not a sequel despite being labeled seemingly as such. Rather, Devil Survivor 2: The Animation is an animated series that brings out survival at its finest. Hmm, or does it....
Taken from a survival standpoint, the series begins off with a strong promise. In fact, the subway station and the threat of being exterminated after a faithful event seemingly sets the course on its scale. It is on rail as we can tell that the mysterious invaders known as the Septentriones aren't messing around. As a matter of fact, anything coming in contact with them will likely end up a quick journey to the next world; aka death. It presents it visually well too. The way the characters panics in the beginning as well as the deaths of innocent people makes the series seem gruesome. It's not realistic but keeps up with its pace in terms of 'survival'. It holds true to the extent of its main tagline that features two prominent words:
The series follows main male protagonist Hibiki Kuze. The guy is seemingly who attends a normal high school with his normal friends until that not-so-normal day. To me, the character seems just like any other typical boy with no special qualities of notice. Well, except perhaps by that distracting hood he often wears with the funny ears, he is just a student. However, it is noticeable that the boy is fearless against certain situations and is able to make crucial decisions that can potentially lead to important outcomes. Then, there are his friends Io Nitta, the school beauty who comes with a package of both brain and looks. Unfortunately, she too gets caught with the events from the beginning of the story. But hey, friends can conquer all right? Wrong. Well, not entirely they need a little help from the supernatural. This comes in the form of cell phones. If you think today's cell phones are flashy with the latest gadgets, just get a load of the ones in this series.
The cell phones from this series comes with a special feature you won't find anywhere. That feature is the prominent device known as a demon APP. Luckily, this APP isn't just for decoration but an important tool to fight off the mysterious Septentriones. Thus, the APP functions as both a tool and weapon for the protagonists to use. They are able to summon demons for assistance, creatures who are not just badass looking but also packs powerful abilities that makes the characters awe of their appearances.
As for the demons themselves, they seemingly serve for no other purpose other than obeying their master's commands. In other words, this isn't' a friend/partner relationship between the summoners but rather as master/servant. At the same time, these demons are designed in the way that shows off how powerful they are. Take for example, Byakko the demon that Hibiki commands. He represents the ferocity of his nature through his sabertooth-like appearance. On the other hand, the Septentriones are designed to reflect their strange nature. Most of them are difficult to relate with in terms of realistic nature because of their odd appearances. They don't seem to have any personalities but rather surrounded by mystery. What we do know is that they are the executioners of mankind. Their appearances resembles otherworldly beings being perhaps comparable to Vividred Operation's Alones or Eureka Seven: AO's Secrets. In other words, they serve as the most mysterious factor of the series as they threaten the very existence of humanity.
The series takes off with a good start but quickly loses its interest after its memorable first episode. The premise is easy to follow with the key word 'survival' being a central part of the series. However, it's the pacing that causes the problem here. Unless you're a fan of the original game series, it's quick to pick out what happens and its upcoming events. Needless to say, this series follows the more of mindless fun in terms of action rather than anything serious. It's honestly hard to take this series seriously despite the given premise as well. I mean, the characters use cell phones, a tool that should be used for communication rather than summoning. In this series though, we see these kids using them as a tool of war. However, the way it employs it is rather blend. Most of the time, the kids themselves relies too much on their summonings rather than themselves. I mean, they rarely comes up with the thought of 'what happens if I lose my demon?' It's pretty lame to see their summoners just sit back and let their partner do the job.
Devil Survivor 2 does pull out some unusual events through the appearances of 'death clips', scenes that depicts a characters' outcomes in the series. Then again, there's the Septentriones flying around causing panic to everywhere with a seemingly lack of explanation of their origins. Although it seems fun to dig clues about the series, it just seems blend through their certain appearances. As for a animated series of only 13 episodes, Devil Survivor 2 is one of those adapted anime that is crammed by its game material. This leads to problems with character development, relationships, world building, and the story itself. To make matters worse, there are even episodes where hardly anything happens but creates a setup of what's to come. It creates barriers that prevents the series to succeed in this way and doesn't help the fact that not every characters gets to shine in the spotlight.
The bright side of this series though (I don't mean this literally) with its idea of survival. Characters do actually die off rather than being a tease, at least for the time being. Even the credits played after each episode presents this visually as it removes characters after they are killed. There's also an unusual relationship between Yamato and Hibiki that is hard to paint later on. Yamato is one of the most mysterious figures. Despite seeing Hibiki as a friend at times, he is also brutally honest and makes decisions with cruel outcomes. Speaking of outcomes though, the story comes out as perhaps quite weak. It's problem again lies in its adaptation of being a condensed 13-episode series. It also pulls out the deus ex machina when the opportunities come. Furthermore, it even has bits of fan service by the characters' designs such as Airi and Hinako. To present material like this in a demonic series such as DS2 makes the show more messy than it already is.
As for the series' visuals, it represents both a gruesome nature and also one that is hard to take serious at times. Well, there's the way that Hibiki is designed along with other characters such as 'The Anguished One'. The way the characters look doesn't make them look like survivors of anything. They look like people out of a video game. However, there are a few characters who are dressed in an unusual way that may raise a few eyebrows. Our mysterious Septentriones also are presented in a way that is completely out of this world. The apocalyptic nature of the series does fit though so I give some praise to that.
Perhaps one of the stronger points of the series is the soundtrack. The OP song, “Take Your Way” takes the stance of an artistic way of presenting the series. We can see the characters digitally with enhanced features of their profiles as well as some depictions of the events. The OST is hardly noticeable though except during more of the crucial or more emotional scenes. Otherwise, the ED song as mentioned before shows the survival theme as when characters dies off, they are removed from the credits. It's all about survival people.
All in all, this series is fun for some full shock violence and action. It reflects the idea of survival and gives it away immediately. However, its story is dry as paint and its cast of characters seems unbalanced with their weak development or structure. Furthermore, the series seems to be rushed and has some nonsense as it loses energy. The first episode had my eyes glued to the screen but quickly changed my mind afterwards. It's one of those series where patience is a key to getting it through. If not, then tough luck. It's just like the main characters too where they need everything to survive whether it's strategy, power, and luck. Well, for luck, they're going to need it.
Devil Survivor 2 aired from April to June of 2013. What starts off seeming to be similar to Mirai Nikki as the characters’ cell phones are given a “future sight” ability quickly turns into a “save the world from demons” kind of show. Unfortunately, DS2 has many problems with pacing, characters, and just an overall confusing plot. It is based off of a game by the same name, which I have heard is much better.
First I want to mention one thing. Whenever I say anything is bad in this show, it excludes Jungo and Airi who are two supporting characters and who are gems that
really stand out in this mess of a show.
Story – 4/10
The story begins with Kuze Hibiki and Shijima Daichi, two best friends in high school who are preparing for college. One day as they are about to board the subway, a strange message comes onto their cellphones. It shows a video to them of the subway train derailing and crashing into the station they are standing on killing everyone around them. As they stand there freaked out at the video, the train comes into the station and proceeds to do exactly as the video showed. The two boys barely avoid being crushed by the crumbling station and were much more fortunate than the people around them. Still, they’re not safe yet. Strange monsters have appeared and are attacking a classmate of theirs who also happened to survive the incident, Nitta Io. Nitta and the two guys all saw the same video and all soon find out that that’s not the only thing their phones are now capable of doing. They somehow manage to fight off the monsters surrounding them by summoning demons from their phones, much to their surprise.
After escaping from the subway, they learn that similar events have happened in other places. Everything starts to turn chaotic as monsters appear in the streets and start attacking. Still inexperienced with the new abilities of their phones, the three somehow manage to survive with their own strength before being found by members of an organization named “JP’s.” They learn all about the demons which are called “Septentriones” and that the world will be destroyed in a week by these Septentriones. JP's was created in order to fight the Septentriones and try to protect the world. However, the leader of JP’s, Yamato Houtsuin, seems a little untrustworthy to the trio.
While I admit it is a good setup, the plot is heavily confusing. It is never explained very well what the Septentrione are and only adds more confusion later on. All I can figure is they are similar to the Angels from Evangelion (one even resembles humans). The characters jump around between sides a lot as well. By that I mean that the people surrounding Yamato never really understand his reasoning for things, and he is one of the most confusing parts of the story. The show is very indecisive on whether it wants to portray him as a villain or a hero. Yamato, while apparently trying to protect the world from the Septentriones, will use any means necessary to stop them, and he sacrifices people without showing a single ounce of regret.
One last major issue is the disconnection you have with the important fighting demons of the main characters. Aside from Hibiki’s, Yamato’s and Daichi’s main demons (just one from each), I don’t remember a thing about any of the other characters demons (even Jungo and Airi’s). Having not played the DS2 game, I don’t really know how important they are, but I really wish more focus had been given to the powers and abilities of each of the demons. As similar as they are to Pokémon or the “box-weapon animals” from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, there’s just nothing in the show that helps make them memorable like in those other shows.
The first two episodes of DS2 are pretty good, but from there, the story just dive-bombs lower and lower and never recovers. Even at the very final episode, I have no clue what this Polaris thing is or whether it's good or bad, and the ending itself is weak.
Art – 7/10
Aside from some scenes being a little too dark and difficult to follow, the art is fairly standard. While it has some great moments, the action scenes are nothing special. In addition to the poor explanations of the demons, in many cases, the characters send them out to fight and then the story focuses on the drama between Yamato, Hibiki, and everyone else instead of showing the action in detail. The character designs (excluding Jungo and Airi) are not very original. There’s one woman, Hinako, who kind of takes a motherly towards Nitta and the other characters. Her design (which I really did not like) is just bizarre as I have no idea how the two flaps that are her shirt stay on her breasts.
Sound – 6/10
I noticed in Episode 12 that there were a few great songs playing during the action scenes, but other than that I hardly noticed the music at all. The voice actors for the most part are decent at best. Daichi’s voice is really annoying, but at least the VA cast has Sawashiro Miyuki as Makoto who is one of my favorite voice actors (she also voices Celty in Durarara!!). I also found Hibiki’s voice to be sub-par for a main protagonist. As much emotion as he shows, he never really sounded the part to me during those scenes.
Character – 5/10
This would probably be a 3/10 if not for Jungo and Airi. Despite being supporting characters who are not even introduced until around episode four or five, to me Jungo and Airi were really the best characters in DS2. Their relationship was more of a big brother (Jungo) and little sister (Airi) relationship than anything romantic. Jungo is a fairly quiet, tall man while Airi is kind of a brat who talks a lot and gets embarrassed easily. When I first saw them, I thought they were kind of similar to Jesse and James from Pokémon (they’re first seen sneaking into a rebel building), but they quickly show that they are much more than that. Like every other named character in this show, they have cellphones which can summon demons to fight.
Now onto the main cast. The main cast greatly resembles the cast of Durarara!! (main trio who look very similar, long-time rivals, and Makoto and Celty have the same VA and similar roles). I thought Hibiki was a pretty weak and stereotypical protagonist. He’s thrust into a supernatural world he doesn’t understand with an unusual amount of power and he is basically forced to save the world with said power. Daichi is just annoying. He’s Hibiki’s best friend who can only summon small useless demons at first. Nitta is a girl who has trouble comprehending everything at first as she is thrust into this world while worrying about her family. She also has a strong desire to protect everyone. I already talked about Yamato so now I’ll talk about his “rival” who he has known for years, Alcor (Ureu Mono). Alcor is a Septentrione who has the form of a human (though what’s up with his huge white eyelashes?). He is interested in Hibiki and wants to help him save the world (I think, like Yamato, Alcor’s motives are a little confusing).
One thing about this show (which you’ll notice as you watch the ED after a few episodes) is that it is not afraid to kill characters. I already mentioned that Yamato sacrifices people (tens of background characters get wiped out from a single attack from Septentriones many times), but this show does not give you much time to grow attached to a few characters.
Enjoyment – 5/10
I just barely enjoyed it enough to finish all 13 episodes. To me, this show is a butchered mix between Neon Genesis Evangelion and Mirai Nikki for the plot and Durarara!! for the characters. It’s confusing, only has two strong characters with a weak main cast, and does not even have the art or sound to really back up these huge faults.
+ Jungo and Airi
+ The first two episodes are not bad
- Weak main characters
- Confusing plot
- Music is never very strong
- Weak action scenes
- Demons are forgettable due to lack of screen time
I would recommend avoiding this anime. Similar things such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Yumekui Merry manga did the “save the world from mysterious creatures” concept better, and I would recommend them over DS2.