Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: First Impressions

Streaming Allegiance: Crunchyroll
Reconnaissance Report by: Kuroi
Progress: Episode 1

ed72ea47318c230facd60dca0b0d24011365013653_fullI’ve gotta admit, this was the show I was most looking forward to this season. I’m a big Shin Megami Tensei fan, and I’ve always been disappointed in myself that I never got around to playing Devil Survivor 1 or 2. The fact that the anime is an adaptation of the second game might be a little off-putting to people, making them think that they missed something or need to have played the first game. However, it actually stands alone, so there’s no reason not to jump in.

The story of Devil Survivor 2 starts off with a bang: there’s a new website called Nicaea that uploads “death clips” – video clips of its users dying. Everyone thinks it’s a joke and just something for fun…until people start actually dying after their death clips are uploaded to the site. In the same manner, no less. The first one we see is actually of the protagonist, Hibiki Kuze, being crushed under a subway car.

Dragged into it by his friend, Daichi Shijima, he gets uncomfortable and wants to leave after watching this clip in a subway station. Understandable – I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a train for a week at least – but it’s too late. He, Daichi, and their classmate, Nitta, are all caught in the accident.

But, luckily for them, Nicaea is more than it seems. The avatar asks them if they want to live, and after picking the obvious choice the three find themselves clear of the rubble, only to be faced with a monster. And then another one… which… seems to be protecting them. Weird. After figuring out that Nicaea has installed a “summoning app” on their phones, they realize that some of these monsters are on their side and that they can control them. Crazy.

What’s crazier is that there’s apparently another organization that uses the same sort of summoning tech and is watching them, but has no idea how the trio ended up being able to summon. Especially Hibiki, who summons Byakko on his first try (Byakko the white tiger being one of the big four personas in the franchise and relating to the big four directional animals in Asian astronomy – a phoenix, a dragon, a tortoise, and a white tiger, so it’s a pretty big deal that Byakko is his first) and defeats a giant exploding mushroom, which ends up drawing everyone’s attention.

They cram a lot into one episode (and understandably so – Shin Megami Tensei games are not known for being short, so there’s a lot of material) so we don’t really get introduced to the characters beyond a “this is their name.” But there’s time, and the pacing of the episode was good, as was the animation and music, so I’m looking forward to seeing more from it. It streams on Crunchyroll on Fridays if you’d like to join in.

Score: 8/10