Devil Survivor 2 is an anime tv series faithful adaptation of the Shin Megami Tensei DS spin off of the same name. After Dachi and Hibeki finish their mock exams, Dachi decides to show Hibeki a mysterious phone app called Nicaea. Nicaea is similar to Laplace from Devil Survivor. If you and a friend is registered on the Nicacea, then either of you can see the other’s death live. Nicacea prediction rate is 100 percent accurate.
While Dachi and Hibeki were on the way home, the subway train crashes into them resulting in a new app being added to the cellphones. The cellphones they use allow them to summon powerful demons from the original game. The demons can only be summoned in times of danger. This however, brings the attention a clandestine government group known as the “JPS” who are assigned to supernatural cases and also to keep an eye on the geothermal activities of Japan.
Shortly after the subway accident, mysterious otherworld beings known as Sephritones start to appear and cause more chaos and disaster in Japan. Within a week, the Sephritones will destroy the world. It is up to Hibeki and friends to destroy the invading Sephritones and save the world.
The story is accessible to those who hadn’t played the first game as the events happening during the game sets up its own story. The story is more linear than the game due its multiple branching points. It also contains the series themes of the occult and the coming apocalypse and our roles in these traumatic events.
Anybody can die in every given moment of the show. When somebody dies, it does the same thing that Danganronpa, the anime has done and remove a character during the ending of the show. The devastation and apocalyptic events in the series can be compared to countless disasters throughout history. However, it is nothing compared to Dead Leaves where disasters randomly happens for no reason.
The atmosphere is extremely tense and unnerving even more so than the manga adaptation of Devil Survivor 1 due to the shonenized elements in it. The body count is extremely high and corpses and destroyed buildings are decaying more with each passing day. The sequel focuses on the inner workings of the government of Japan and especially how they are clearly involved in shady activities in the occult. Just like in the first game and in the manga, they knew exactly what was going to happen and they let the terrible events unfold.
There is no filler or padding and the story is fast paced although this makes the story feel rushed at times. The dialogue often appears to go in circles repeating obvious plot points. In fact, the comic relief dialogue was distracting from the main story. The way the series approach who lives or dies is the best thing of the Devil Survivor series along with its sense of suspense and deeper layers behind the events.
Yamato Hotsuin the current leader of the JPS is very delusional and has a massive savior complex. His goal is to create a meritocracy where the strong rules the weak and he is very manipulative and always persuades others to do his bidding. He is very preachy about his beliefs and if you don’t agree with even just one of the beliefs, he has he will consider you to be trash that deserves to be killed. Part of his belief in meritocracy is that everyone who has talent will be welcomed and because of this his, Darwanian viewpoint on life makes him believe that anybody who is a pawn should be discarded once they served their purpose. Yamato always sees himself as right and is close minded to different ideas. His ego is his biggest downfall and to him, the deaths of civilians is a small price pay for his ambitions. Nothing gets in his path for the JPS to rule the entire world and keep it in the state of a corrupt meritocracy.
The dark and edgy animation style is incredible and the use of shadow and light effects for the visuals was perfect for the show. The digital special effects were brilliant as well. The artwork and character designs were faithful to the original game. The demons were impressive as well. The world design was nicely drawn and highly detailed while the musical score added another element of enjoyment to the anime.
Everything else with the story goes downhill from here. The show throws multiple plot points all in once without connecting it in a cohesive manner. The relationships felt forced in and not properly developed just as the character backgrounds in the show. The action in the anime is hit or miss and while the animation itself was superb, it is easy to predict the winner of any combat. This predictability was boring and the fights were too short. The show cut out the final boss fight of the game. Instead, its Polaris asking Hibeki what is his wish. Even in Devil Survivor 1 manga, there was a climatic showdown between Metatron and Kazuya. The show is fairly short and has about 13 episodes. Plotholes and story inconsistencies were quite easy to find.
The characters were really underdeveloped and completely one sided and uninteresting. The anime also does not show fully on what life is like after the catastrophic events except for one scene where Dachi, Io and Hibeki were in one of the shelters trying to contact their relatives. The Sephritones are a bit of a mystery as the series don’t offer much information about them. The splash panels in Devil Survivor 1 managed to take its time explaining who and what kind of demons are but here they barely explained any.
Personality wise, the characters aren’t multi-layered but more simplified. Hibeki in particular since he has the power to summon powerful demons, this automatically makes him the savior of the world. Everyone else has demons that are weaker than Hibeki’s. He is the fortunate hero. He is incredibly preachy with his beliefs just like Yamato. Hibeki’s actions indirectly causes more deaths due to his recklessness.
Airi another character, was poorly developed. She was just as annoying, reckless and stupid as Yuzu from Devil Survivor 1 and she creates unnecessary fights that could have been avoided. In addition, her voice was really high pitched and very grating to hear literally every time she speaks. Character backgrounds for both Airi and her companion Jungo, were not fully established either. Jungo was lackadaisical and appeared unconcerned about what was going on around him.
The voice acting was uninspiring and the dialogue was poor especially when compared to the original’s well written dialogue and story. The humor of the show is really badly placed. Lighthearted comedy during tense moments such as the scene in episode 3 where Dachi’s demons ran away from the more powerful demons seemed out of place. Dachi and other characters did not contribute much to driving the story and plot.
I mentioned this in reviews like in Black Butler 2 and in Parasite Eve The Third Birthday, I have zero problems with fanservice if it makes sense in the story but in this case, it doesn’t as there is a bit of it in the show.
It is fairly short and can be completed in a week or so. This contributes to the underdeveloped characters and story. There was unestablished plot points and parts of the story were not fully elaborated on. The plot was also disjointed and seemed to lose focus as it keeps jumping from one character to the next.
Some characters get more screen time than others and this is what made the characters so unappealing and poorly written. Jungo had so much wasted potential as he was the only level headed and calm character in the entire show.
With the unique idea of death being handle in the show you really don’t care much if certain characters die because of how one sided and flat they are. The show has an extreme amount of cliches seen in many other shonen works such as with friendship, every single obstacle can be overcome and the hero will always win. The JP’s is really just another shady government group who wants to bring their supremacy to the entire world. There is so much shonen aspects in the story that if not for Shin Megami Tensai name it, would have been another run of the mill anime you see in Shonen Jump.
Hibeki can easily win any fight he has because of how powerful his demons are. Not even in the easiest Shin Megami Tensai game like the Safety mode of Persona 5 can you easily defeat enemies with just a few hits. Scenes can be even more melodramatic then they already are because of the cliches.
As someone who really is starting to get more into the Shin Megami Tensai series now this is certainly not the worst video game anime adaptation I watched but not the best either.
It gets 2 stars out of 5.
You are better off buying the Shin Megami Tensai Devil Survivor games on the 3DS instead of watching this show.
I think that Japanese video games are better off being adapted as anime or manga instead of live action Hollywood films as some essential elements get lost in translation. I really do look forward to playing the sequel of Devil Survivor this year and to the victims and loved ones of Kyoto animation arson attack you have nothing but my deepest sympathies. I wish nothing but a full recovery to all those who are affected by this.