Seiji Kishi has been charged with bringing Devil Survivor 2, a popular DS game, to the small screen. Considering the pedigree of both the staff working on it and the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, the expectations are lofty for this show. Does this series show the signs of a supernatural masterpiece? Or is it just ridding the coattails of its heritage?
Seiji Kishi is probably one of my favorite directors this side of Gen Urobuchi. Two of his shows, Angel Beats and Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, just happen to be some of my favorite shows in the past four years, so I am always excited to see him work on a new project. He has a knack for weaving together multiple elements from fantasy, science fiction, supernatural and comedy into an entertaining tapestry.
Devil Survivor 2 follows the story of Hibiki and Daichi, two high schoolers who recieve a video clip foretelling their deaths from an online service they had signed up for a few moments before. To their horror the movies come to fruition shortly after as a train comes crashing down onto them. Ironically, the application that had foretold their doom, gives them one more chance to live by harnessing the power of demons. Surviving their first encounter with death, the two find themselves in a Shibuya that seemingly has been wrecked by an earthquake and poisoned by something much more sinister.
While all of this might sound grim, Devil Survivor 2 is cut from the same cloth as Kishi’s previous work, providing an intriguing mystery, slick action and a few laughs along the way. It’s a textbook example of what a good introduction should be. While the series does hint at a dark storyline, it prevents the atmosphere from getting too bleak in its first outing. The choice is welcoming to viewers, while providing a carrot for the audience to chase as the weeks continue.
The voice acting is passable and gets the job done. None of the seiyuu truly stand out which is a surprise considering Hiroshi Kamiya is part of the cast. He’s an acting veteran that seems content with doing his job. The same can be said for the opening and ending themes which are composed of unmemorable electronic beats that accomplish nothing more than being bookends for the show. It doesn’t make the outing unwatchable by any means, but is definitely a sticking point in my enjoyment of the twenty two minutes.
The production itself is nothing to write home about. While the animation itself is satisfactory, the palette is drab and muddy and blurs out the detail in the background. Much of this could be alleviated if the lighting in certain scenes were a bit better, but the artists seemed content with making the art difficult to see. Its a shame considering the inspired character design of the cast and demons are cursed to be swathed in the shadows of dark hues.
While the art could be better, Devil Survivor 2 has its demonic claw in me. I’ve never played the video game before but the show has whet my appetite for dusting off my old DS. I am definitely looking forward to blogging this show and I have my fingers crossed that the visuals are improved.