Three teenagers play around with a mobile app that will change their lives and the fate of humanity in the first episode of Devil Survivor 2: The Animation. A pair of friends, Hibiki and Daichi, mess around with a hot new mobile app that allows one to see the dying face of the person they submit a picture of. As they take pictures of each other and wait for the results, they head home and spot a girl, Io, whom Daichi wants to get familiar with. The video returns foreshadowing their deaths which happen moments later, they all wish to continue living so they have a program that allows them to summon demons to protect them force installed onto their phones. As they fight mysterious invaders on the way to Io’s home, they run into an exploding monster and a mysterious bureaucracy.
Right from the moment they started summoning their protector demons, this felt like I was watching someone play an RPG only without any sort of emotional involvement on my part. Having not played this particular game, it felt like there were odes to fans of the game that I simply would never get. The laughing demon girl in the app felt like one instance of that for example.
As for the story, it did seem a bit disorganized even given a setup involving an apocalypse. After the disaster and a crew arrived to look for survivors, they were turned away by this mysterious organization later identified as JP’s. That it ended up involving meteorology in the title of the organization (at least according to the translation) made me think that this grand secret government organization wasn’t fully thought out. It makes it absurd, basically that you would have hundreds of magic users in a secret wing of the state. You could simply use something like the Internal Affairs Ministry and have it work fine.
As far as the characters are concerned, Io isn’t a very good character to be honest. She just feels like the standard husk of a female character that the male audience is supposed to impose their own ideas on. While I’m sure that changes, it had too much “silent girl” who happens to be extraordinarily attractive feeling. Daichi and Hibiki, meanwhile, have the whole crazy/cool-head partnership going on. I think it would have worked fine with just the 2 of them in this episode.
As for production, it felt the same as the first episodes of most game adaptations. Remember ever Chaos;Head had a decent looking opening installment. What I would reiterate is that it felt like I was watching the early stages of an RPG which just happened to be animated and not interactive. It also seemed to struggle with the fact that innocent people were being killed but not giving that any weight at all. At least that small dog seemed to get away, right?
Reasons to Continue Watching: Io is an attractive character, there is no shortage of action
Reasons to Drop: Like watching a game being played, laughable conspiracy angle
My Verdict: Probably earned a second episode, but hoping this adaptation is willing to take liberties with the source material.