Sometimes when I am looking at Tweets for a certain show I come across a couple that are diametrically opposed in their views. It’s exciting to see this because it creates a point of debate. There are two sides to every story but sometimes one half doesn’t get represented. In Conflicting Opinions, we will be looking at the complete picture. The lines in the battlefield have been drawn and we’re going to figure why exactly both sides have come to war.
Devil Survivor 2 is the perfect show to kick off this article series. While I have shared my disappointment with the series, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad show. It has great music, voice cast and visuals while putting together a logically cohesive and compelling narrative week to week. I can see why people would like it. This week’s tweet exemplefies the opinions of two camps: those who like Devil Survivor 2, and those who do not.
@Nooferdog: That was one of the best #DeSu2 episodes yet. This series has not declined. I am happy.
@appamn: That ending cat really save how terrible the last 3 episodes were. Unfortunately #DeSu2 has been dissapointing
Before we delve into how these two points of view differ, lets see where they agree. They both believe that the show was in some sort of narrative quagmire. There wasn’t much happening that pushed forward the interesting narrative points, such as Ronaldo’s rivalry with Yamato or the relationship between Jungo and Airi. Instead the show wanted to hit the viewer over the head repeatedly with the ideological battle between Yamato and Hibiki.This theme had already been firmly established. There was no need to constantly reiterate the conflict.
Rather than building tension it diluted the development of the characters surround the two. Poor Daichi, who was a wimp in the at the beginning of the apocalypse is still the same boy he was even though he has been literally going through hell. That sort of stuff changes a person! You would have expected him to get his balls together by now and taken some charge. Guess not.
The action, which was pretty well done at the start had also began to wane. These scenes were abrupt and the little that was there wasn’t choreographed that well. Combat and demons were the main reason people flocked to Devil Survivor 2 in the first place. It was a shame to see them take a back seat.
For all these faults it’s easy to say that the show was in decline as @Nooferdog pointed out. The question now is whether or not Episode 10 redeemed the series. In some ways it did. The show took some time to develop Io as a character. Everything that was bottled up inside of her finally came out as she explained her insecurities and fears. While these sentiments could be assumed, its great to see her finally come to terms with them. Daichi finally showed some growth as well. His small rebellion against Yamato was shocking yet pleasing. He’s finally becoming a man. Best of all, the action was back up to snuff. Seeing demons duke it out, spilling their guts, is quite satisfying.
But where did the episode go wrong? Even when it focused on the relationship of Io and Hibiki, it fell back on the narrative of Yamato and the hero. The narrative has hinted that it’s bit more complex than that, considering that have yet to face Polaris, who is technically God. It would make more sense if that sort of being was a more pressing issue than philosophical complexities our heroes face. The show should take some time to build up humanities battle with Polaris, not just Hibiki’s battle with Yamato.
Worse was the scene between Hibiki and Io… It was incredibly cheesy. I’m not too big on heavy handed writing and this moment has pretentious smeared all over it. While I’m glad to see the two get closer, I wish it was done in a much more natural way. Instead of being a very intimate and touching, the few minutes the two spend in the light is a tad bit comical. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intent.
What’s the final verdict? Was Devil Survivor 2 redeemed by it’s latest entry? The answer of course is a lot more complex than just saying yes or no. This show is trying to build both character and narrative depth and it’s taking steps in the right direction. It hasn’t quite reached their yet but has given us hope that while this might become a good, if not great, show.