As a massive MegaTen fan, I find it my personal duty to inspect media tie-ins where available and determine if they're worth my time -- or anyone's. There's a great MegaTen track record already with the decent Persona: Trinity Soul series and Persona 4: The Animation acting as a fantastic surrogate for actually playing the game. Devil Survivor 2: The Animation sets out to accomplish essentially the same mission, though now the retelling in question is of the DS game of the same name.
We're immediately introduced to Hibiki and Daichi, high school students who are obviously two very different kinds of people. Where Hibiki is more of the studious type, Daichi's post-high school goals are more lax, and he's certainly not worried with cram school or quizzes. It's Daichi who attempts to spice up Hibiki's world by introducing him to Nicaea, a website that supposedly shows you a "death face" or a cleverly-Photoshopped video of such. Or so they think. It's an outlandish premise, but it sets the stage for even crazier events to unfold.
Of course, next thing you know, as Hibiki and Daichi check out Io, fellow student, while waiting for the subway train, the Nicaea app notifies them that there's a new video waiting for them. Surprise! They receive a video of each other dying in a horrifying subway accident. Understandably weirded out, the two make a split-second decision to bail, but not before a train comes hurtling down the track. Cue fade to black. Are they already dead?
Of course not. Nicaea has something else in store. Before the moment of fate, Daichi and Hibiki received a question: "do you want to die?" Their refusal to do so allowed Nicaea to download a new demon summoning app, which worked out well seeing as after waking up in the subway wreckage, there are not tons of demons roaming around at will. Obviously now we know our three heroes: Hibiki, Daichi, and Io will somehow get mixed up in demon summoning and weird battles, but it wasn't clear when.
You get your first taste of what feels like a conspiracy between the agency meant to contain the oncoming threats, as well as a sense of emergency for the three teens involved -- their families and their own lives are in danger, and they've immediately been thrust into a confusing situation.
The action is paced competently and the characters tolerable -- though it's obviously Hibiki is the "chosen one" with the most powerful demons. One standout aspect was the show's incorporation of menu screens and setups from the game itself, very similar to the original Devil Survivor. Extremely slick and stylized, these were intriguing in that it felt like you were actually playing while watching.
I wasn't a big fan of the OP, which seemed far too cheery for the subject matter, and the ED animation and tune weren't exactly interesting either, but due to the content and the mysteries that are about to be unraveled, I found myself overall very pleased with this debut episode. MegaTen fan or not, I would continue watching if only to find out what the deal is behind all these demons popping up everywhere and wreaking havoc all over the place. What's their deal, anyway? So I'm in it for the long haul now, at least until they decide to make a Nocturne anime series.
[Devil Survivor 2 airs weekly on Crunchyroll]
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