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.