Devil Survivor 2 The Animation – 05
「DAY 3 – 不穏の火曜日I」 (Fuon no Kayoubi)
“DAY 3 – Tuesday’s Disquiet 1″
DeSu2a is one of those shows that make me wonder: Does faithfulness a good adaption make? Lest people misunderstand, it’s not a question about the quality of DeSu2a, but rather the style of adapting a work. It’s become clear Kishi’s intent was telling this story from ground up; the central storyline’s there, but the many differences in the minute details make it seem like a completely new story. If you were one of those looking for the game’s narrative brought to screen (and from the looks of it, it seems to be most of you watchers) chances are this retelling hasn’t been your cup of tea. The plotline’s already been making some pretty big leaps away from the strict and narrow of game’s narrative. Even more characters are seeing big changes in their personal stories; Ronaldo never had that JP’s background, Joe’s (living) girlfriend was a pretty central point of his arc, and I sure as heck don’t remember Yanagiya Otome (Yuka Iguchi) being forced to cooperate with the insurgents.
But as I’ve maintained for the last few episodes, I don’t think a retelling like this is a bad thing at all. My reasons, I’ve made clear. As this episode goes to show, there does exist that incredible opportunity for the story to be made concise but punchier in its themes. And frankly, they seem to be going in a right direction with the depiction of the ideological plotline here.
Thing is, it just wouldn’t be SMT if we didn’t get that classic Law and Chaos ideological conflict inserted in some manner; here in the form of Yamato’s social darwinism and Ronaldo’s egalitarianism. Having the episode pull back on Hibiki and the Septentriones to focus on exploring these two sides was a great step; there’s more to the Septentrione business than saving the world, and this could shape up to be a truly interesting angle in the show.
Perhaps the most positive thing I can say here is that the few changes they’re making gives far more rationale to Ronaldo’s faction than the game ever bothered; those little things like the distribution of the looted JP’s rations and the fairness extended to the defeated JP’s soldiers. These details make the faction’s cause –by extension Ronaldo himself– sympathetic, and more importantly, feel human. Especially the insurgent’s big plan to win favor by defeating the next Septentrione; it makes the big man feel like a more intelligent and befitting leader than mindlessly pursuing vengeance against Yamato.
I already know there’s a vocal bunch that aren’t taking Yamato’s characterization favourably. It’s nothing quite like how it was in the game, and is an arguably weaker interpretation of his character. But the short flashback of his childhood gives precedence for his Social Darwinist nature in a manner the game never managed. The guy’s been brought up isolated from the rest of society and was constantly reminded by his handlers of his superior status; that he was better than his tutor, that he was better than any other summoner for summoning ceberus, and that he was better than takoyaki. (That, and operation box. You cannot say the anime is neglecting its fans with the service.)
Granted, it’s a fair assessment if you still think Yamato’s worse off. Kishi’s been taking some massive liberties with the characters in favor of the plot. Supposed principles like Joe have now been degraded to a much lesser supporting role, and characterization basically jumps all over the place. Ronaldo and Yamato seem getting the better end of the deal, but I’m still missing the point in forcing Diachi’s comic relief role. (Though if you asked me, I’d say this is preferable to his whiny side.)
In terms of characterization though, the one character I just can’t settle my thoughts on is the protagonist himself. I can see where Kishi’s trying to go with Hibiki’s switching of sides; both Ronaldo and Yamato seem most interested in wielding his abilities to achieve their goals. There’s a message that comes through the narrative clutter; one of Hibiki’s role as a tool, and this sentiment is accepted by the boy himself when he echos “Even if it’s as his machine, if its doing the right thing…”. Again, it’s hard to tell if the anime is still trying to channel that mecha show, but those are some nice ideas for sure. It’s just that the execution never seems to match the ambition, though I guess time will tell if this would amount to anything.
It’s a decent episode, for sure; perhaps the best one to come out of the series so far for pulling the focus back from Hibiki and the Septentriones to cast light on the supporting cast. There’s some real estate with the exploration of the idealogical conflict and the various character perspectives on JP’s and Ronaldo’s rationales; I’m hoping the anime can build on what they’ve managed to set up here.
-Operation box and takoyaki! Game players should be pleased at the references.
-This show needs more Makoto. Her character arc really looks like it could go somewhere. And as a JP’s member who stayed, there’s an interesting duality with Ronaldo here who left. And yes, I’m biased because she’s my favourite character, damn it.
-Yuzuru “Joe” Akie (Madono Mitsaki), even in those few short minutes you appeared, why are you still such a bro? Damn it, if there’s one change the anime shouldn’t have made, it’s reducing him to a side character.
-I actually like that they made Ronaldo a JP’s member, when all’s said and done. It gives more rationale for his opposing of Yamato.
-Byakko, and now Suzaku. Seems like they’re going with the four constellation beasts, with the two remaining being Seiryuu and Genbu. By your powers combined…
No preview with this week’s episode. Take it however you will…