Editors Notes: I’m glad Talking Points is doing so well! One complaint I have received is that some of the points of discussion are not fully fleshed out. It’s not the goal of this article series to provide a dissertation on subjects I’m interested in, rather a jump-off point for discussions on anime. If you would like a complete article on the thoughts presented please just comment below!
Things are finally starting to get interesting in Devil Survivor 2. While the action was noteworthy for most of its run, the show didn’t have any dramatic tension to fold the endless conflict into the narrative. It felt like the series had two distinct halves that were separated: one where Hibiki fought some demons and the other where the show would wax philosophically about the human condition. This week brought these two disperate parts together in a showdown between Yamato, Alcor, Hibiki and Ronaldo. We’ll have to wait to see how this pans out, but for the first time since the debut, Devil Survivor 2 has my attention. Let’s see what others had to say about this week’s episode.
@Nooferdog: Hibiki is trying to look all brooding and emo but with that bunny-eared hoodie up I CANNOT take him seriously. #DeSu2
Last week we discussed what the significance of the bunny-eared hoodie was. Now the decision to have him constantly wearing it seems incorrect. While I understand that the series is trying to lean on the symbolic imagery to help develop its characters, Hibiki’s attire seems incongruous with his actual personality. Anime is a visual medium, and when a character just doesn’t look right, its hard to buy into them. I think the artists should have isolated the showcase of his rabbit paraphernalia to a single scene. That way they could get across the visual metaphor without sacrificing too much to hilarity.
@YesyStrife: Ronaldo is a loser. Yamato saves the day #DeSu2
How can you separate these two characters in the most simplistic terms? One of them defeats the demon, while the other fails. That is the key difference between Yamato and Ronaldo. The former has the power to single handedly take down a Septentriones, while the latter flounders in the wake of one. The disparity in their power is as vast as the differences in their ideals. Where Yamato wants to create a meritocracy, Ronaldo seeks to protect the weak even if they are useless.
Hibiki finds himself having to decide between both men. Does he side with a man that shares his ideals? Or does he submit to the leader that threatens to become a tyrant. If he sides with Ronaldo, he might be able to appease his conscience, but he wouldn’t be able to take down the Septentriones. This would mean that he wouldn’t be able to protect humanity from its impending doom. But Yamato, on the other hand, could help him eliminate the threat to mankind. While it would put many lives in danger, he would ultimately save the world.
Hibiki’s conundrum is the crux of the essential theme of Devil Survivor 2. Power in a world where people are essentially ‘powerless’ gives the luxury of agency. Hibiki must use this to make a decision between the greater good or the lesser evil. While the noble thoughts of Ronaldo might be comforting, it means little when Yamato will get results, one way or another.
That’s it for this week! How are you feeling about the sixth episode? Do you agree or disagree with the points made? Until next week!