Devil Survivor 2 – Episode 1

Devil Survivor 2! I never played this one, but I loved Persona 3, and I’m interested in how this kind of work can survive an anime adaptation. Let’s get to it!

Episode 1

0:25 – Dat hat.

2:00 – These Lelouch poses in the OP are getting me kinda antsy. What kind of show is this, exactly?

2:58 – Dat inhuman character exposition dialogue. “Hey friend, you go to college practice tests because you are a student practicing for college, correct?” Gotta make that stuff organic, writers.

7:07 – This videogame adaptation stuff is weird. So many conventions that seem standard in a player context come off as an odd affectation in anime. I actually kind of like how much of these influences they’re maintaining, but itdoes seem to distance me from the story, in a way. Did they do something like this for P4, as well?

9:25 – Yeah, really weird. I’d need to see more VG adaptations to see more ways they handle the artificiality/arbitrary nature of so many videogame necessities, but it’s an odd thing for sure. The way this show embraces its videogame routes is definitely distinctive, but drawing attention to a story’s construction certainly doesn’t help immersion.

15:12 – Mysterious organization lady lays it on the line. Again, this feels like a really ineffective way to establish exposition. None of these words mean anything to the audience at this point, and far worse than that, none of our actual protagonists (or at least our current ones) have any access to this infodump. Maybe it’s included to build suspense for what’s going on behind-the-scenes, but talk of spooky organizations and “Judgment Day” is far more generic than the phone-app demon stuff anyway.

15:35 – There. There’s an example of one way shows organically can introduce exposition (such as character names) – introduce a character who’s new to the situation, and thus must have things explained to them, as the audience surrogate. Classic trick, still useful. Psycho-Pass does this… hell, almost the entire point of Ellen Page’s character in Inception was to be This Person.

16:00 – An example of the weird disconnect between storytelling in videogames and anime. The videogame-esque indicator of the current location pops up just as the camera does a classic establishing pan across a sign revealing the same information.

20:03 – Daaaamn, that is one styling secret lair.

And Done

Well, that was fine. So far, the actual story and characters seem pretty generic, and the animation/direction merely “perfectly serviceable,” but the ways it very obviously mirrored its videogame origins were pretty interesting. That’s not enough to sustain my interest, though, so unless this one does something to prove it’s either smarter than average or has something interesting to stay, it’ll probably be three episodes and done.

That said, Persona 3 started extremely slowly as well, and that only got better and better. But it also started with more distinctive style and more vibrant characters – we’ll see where this one goes.