|Good battles, Enjoyable OP/ED, Solid premise
|Felt rushed at times, Questionable characterization, Could have used more episodes
I do think that game adaptations are one of the harder things for an anime to pull off effectively. Unlike novels or manga a game doesn’t normally have a great stopping point part way through it. While some do, it’s just not that common to adapt a game and stop before the story is done. I think that also ties into the current trend in anime to make safe or low risk bets. It’s easier to make a 13 episode series than gambling that a 26+ episode series will be successful. All of this kind of ties into what I thought a weakness was for Devil Survivor 2: The Animation. They really had to push the pace and try to fit the story into a pretty small amount of episodes.
That’s not to say the series was a disaster, just that it had the potential to be better and I think more episodes would have helped in that respect. The setting of the story is actually interesting even if it doesn’t sound unique by the premise. The world is continuing along as normal until the world just goes right to hell. A threat is preparing to wipe out humanity and several enemies called Septentrions will strike over the course of a week. The real question is if humanity can survive to see the following week. You throw in some kids who gain the ability to summon demons in order to fight back and that’s basically how the story is set up. A case of watching these characters interact and deal with the incredible and dangerous situation they’ve found themselves in. It certainly has a game-like feel to it. Several bosses set up over the course of a few days and characters needing to summon increasingly powerful demons in order to survive.
The story itself is certainly solid enough. Again the major problem I had was just not having enough time to see the effects. The series pretty much has to jump from event to event since they have to cover several days with only a few episodes. In order to reach the end they can’t even really afford to have on average 3 episodes per day. Some days really only get a single episode while others get a couple. Overall I liked the development of the story. Seeing how these threats continue to escalate and how it all wraps up in the end. The story progression near the end was fairly predictable, but still did it well. The problem I had was that it didn’t give nearly enough time to the characters to show how these people were dealing with such a situation.
Honestly there were really only a few characters that got decent development or background. There were too many characters that the story seemed to want us to care about but never giving us enough time to get to know them. Hibiki as the main character is pretty well understood by the end. They were a bit late in explaining his background which gave a great deal of understanding to his character, but at least they fit that in. His closer friends Daichi and even Io were better off than the majority of characters but their characters sometimes just had highlight moments before disappearing more or less. Yamato was probably one of the better understood and consistent characters. He never really lost his focus throughout the series and had flashbacks spread out enough that you could see how he came to this point. Then you had characters like Joe. The first reaction I’d expect when bringing him up would be “Joe who?” He was one of those characters who pretty much just got introduced and forgotten about. Just too few episodes and not enough time to give all these people legitimate focus.
Despite a lot of the complaints the story does conclude fairly well. It doesn’t leave you hanging and you do get an epilogue in order to see how everything turned out. We mostly get to see how Hibiki is dealing with the stresses of this situation, but on occasion other characters do get the spotlight. Seeing how people are dealing with what may potentially be the end of the world is something I think we could have gotten more of in this series.
This is all coming from the perspective of someone who hasn’t played the game this was based on. While I have heard some complaints I did try to avoid paying attention to what those people were saying. Adaptions are difficult things since they just never quite do it justice for those who read or played the source material (with some exceptions).
In terms of animation I think the series was pretty solid. The demons looked good and their attacks weren’t badly animated. Things did get blurry when you stopped the episodes but for the most part I had no complaints. When you have fights for the fate of the world and all that you need to have the battles looking good. I won’t say it’s one of the best animated series I’ve ever seen, but I don’t think it was one of the worst either. At most I’ll say that this series was average in that respect with at times being above average for the battles.
I don’t think the music in the series was overly memorable. Thinking back on the series the music within the episodes often wasn’t anything outstanding. I will say it had one of the better ED songs for the season. I liked how it reflected at times what was going on in the episodes and frankly it just sounded good. I never had a reason to just stop the episode before watching the ED. There was also a good insert song placed in one of the final episodes which I thought sounded nice. It’s one of those things that does stick out in my mind. The characters themselves were well voiced of course. I thought that Yamato and Hibiki especially had voices that suited their characters and since they did a lot of talking in this series that’s a nice thing XD. No real complaints on the voice cast.
I still feel like Devil Survivor 2 was more of a commercial for the game than anything else. It gives enough of a taste of what the game is like while making you curious to find out how fun it is to play. You find out a little about the characters, but don’t get to know some of them as well as you would like. I think this was a very average series. It did a lot of things well, especially when you consider that it wasn’t a long series. You can question things like pacing and character focus, but it was still a decent series. I wouldn’t turn people away from checking it out. A series with some good action, fairly likable characters, but perhaps too few episodes for what it was trying to do.
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