「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.

Random Notes

-Operation box and takoyaki! Game players should be pleased at the references.

Airi (Asami Kana) and Jungo (Daisuke Namikawa) were pretty cute! Those two go surprisingly well together.

-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…

Full-length images: 16, 36.


      1. [Asobi: Game Spoiler] Show Spoiler ▼

        The characters themselves are themed after their own Zodiac Signs, with Yamato even having a twin sister cause he’s a Gemini, and she’s appearing in Break Record. Positive star signs are male characters and Negatives are females. Let’s not forget the invaders are based on stars of the Big Dipper.

      2. I stand corrected, good sir! Wow, I never knew they had a connection like this.

        But honestly, isn’t this still just a spin on the classic law vs chaos? Even the Reasons could be seen that way. ^^

      3. Alignments are iffy when it comes to stuff cause in several games they aren’t that different from each other despite how they may act or state that the other side is worse.

    1. When I finally do get around to playing Devil Survivor 2 (if Soul Hackers and SMT IV don’t get me first) it seems as if it’ll be quite different from the other Megaten games I played. The JPs gave me Law faction vibes, Alcor seems be Chaos and Ronaldo is Neutral. Although DS2 has its own themes, I’ll still ultimately think of those three alignments.

      “-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…”

      I guess we’ll ultimately see Kohryu then?

      On a totally random note: I wish SMT: Strange Journey was popular enough for an adaptation. It would be so very, very dark. But alas, that will never, ever happen.

  1. It’s interesting to see where they will take the show to. They have made a lot of changes and it’s a good direction, in my opinion. Since even the one who have played the game won’t know what will happen next, only the general idea of the story.

    And Airi is a lot cuter than I expected her to be.

  2. I was surprised to see MAL report the show to be only 13 episodes. No wonder the whole thing feels super rushed. I mean there are 7 big bosses to go through, maybe more depending on how the story goes, that will leave us going from big battle to big battle with barely any time for character and plot development.

    And none of the Septentriones can be brushed away easily as they each proved to be far more dangerous than the previous ones. This anime just needs more time to properly build up these threats.

  3. Seems that the consideration for the routes is occurring way earlier than that of the game.

    [Asobi: Game Spoiler]Show Spoiler ▼

  4. They are taking a lot of liberties with this adaptation, hope the risks they are taking here pay off in the end. (not sure if I agree with all of them, but so far the show has been pretty solid despite the changes from the game- hope it doesn’t go completely off the rails in the coming weeks)
    The show really doesn’t do a good job of making Yamato an interesting character though, he feels way too much like a generic antagonist at the moment. (hope they can fix this soon, because he’s rather grating currently)
    I’m glad we’re finally introduced to the whole party, and I just want to say that Kana Asumi’s voice is a perfect fit for Airi and the show needs more of her and Fumi. =3 (Also, it’s weird hearing Yuka Iguchi NOT using a super moe voice)
    Anyways, looking forward to next week’s episode! Hope Hibiki decides to take the hood off, because he looks so silly when it’s on. He’s like a emo bunny or something. (I guess having it on is the show’s way of telling us: “okay, he’s being brooding and conflicted right now.”) =P

  5. Its kinda funny really. With Persona 4 people kept complaining it followed the plot of the game… and now that Devil Survivor 2 follows its own path, people complain about it not following the game. Lol. (saw this at ANN, not here)

    1. I hate when people say things like this-

      Persona 4 followed the game, but it also really messed up some important character moments by changing the mood entirely (See: Kanji arc)

      This show is just mashing up lots of people from a different universe.

      In short, it’s upsetting because imagine you, the game director. You put in all of this work, all of this time, to make your game exactly what you want it to be. You worked with your characters, you gave them stories, you twisted the plot so it all came together, you wrote you plot changes to give impact, you had the music fit where you wanted. Then some guy comes and says “I made what you did, except I’m making it my own thing”

      Boom all of you work, totally thrown aside so an even larger audience will see it. I would be pretty hurt if someone took my stuff and totally spun it around

    2. My opinion is that a quality of an adaptation is still subject to the same assessment standards as any other anime, original or not. In both Persona’s and Devil Survivor’s case, I believe their problems are greater than just a simple faithfulness of adaptation.

      But the contrast of the two did led me to ponder that factor of faithfulness to consider. First of all, faithfulness in what form? Narrative consistency? Themes? And then there’s the objective quality of the source material to consider. And thus my question: What extent of faithfulness makes a “good adaptation”?

      Anything more, and we can start an editorial on this topic already.

  6. The thing is I could accept deviations in an adaption if it they actually could keep the core themes intact. At its core, DeSu 2 was a story about survival mixed with a bit of Evangelion. It was also, as cheesy as it sounds, a story about friendship amid hard times. That’s what the Fate System is for (its influence from Persona’s Social Links is obivous).

    [Asobi: Game Spoiler] Show Spoiler ▼

    Well that’s all gone thanks to the Hibki “The Strongest Devil Summoner ever” Kuze. I cannot stand how badly they handled him by turning him into a Lone Wolf emo who is just short of having a Linkin Park Soundtrack blaring whenever he is onscreen. Worse he makes no decisions on his own instead ending up as a lackey for any leader.

    It also affects the other characters. Io is reduced to Hibiki’s cheerleader with an almost creepy attachment to him. This makes no sense in the anime since they just met and barely have any screentime together. (Also, her “Hibiki-kun”‘s are starting to get annoying). Daichi who serves the Everyman who is scared but trusts the MC to get them through is now reduced to a butt-monkey implementing unfunny comedy. Yamato who had many redeeming moments when interacting with the MC, is now reduced the a one-dimensional ass. I can go on how the horribly botched MC has has hurt all the characters.

    There’s no friendship or camaraderie anymore. No moments of comedy that make us like the characters to show us how they cope with the dangers. Just a show being dark for darkness sake in a faulty attempt the be an Eva Clone.

    I can barely call this and adaption of DeSu 2 anymore. This is more like a DeSu 2 Fanfic: “We made it darker and bleaker because **** you!” What really peeves me is if they wanted a darker story about survival centered around a protagonist with special powers, they should have just adapted DeSu 1.

    P.S. the whole distribution of rations scene is also in the game. That anime didn’t add that.

    1. Eh, really? I don’t remember ever seeing that. Granted, I’ve forgotten large chunks of the game’s storyline at this point…

      Debating on the themes of the game and how well it translated to the anime will just open a whole other can of worms. One which I’m not particularly keen on jumping into. To say the least, the impression you had of the MC was never the one I had, which is why I’m more receptive to the anime’s interpretation. I don’t think it’s a particularly bad thing that they wanted to approach the DeSu2A story from a different thematic angle, and arguably one that’s more fitting to the context of it’s narrative. Even if the quality of execution is subpar.

      Still, you make such a convincing arguement. Your critique on the principle characters are sharp, and I’m finding little to disagree with the overall assessment there. The supporting members were something I had already gone in expecting from the start; with the length of the narrative, it was almost certain those less important members would get shaft and be downplayed into a purely extra/support role.

    2. You pretty much put what I’ve been trying to deny/suppress in tangible form.
      I do have a different take on Hibiki however:
      [Long shpiel] Show Spoiler ▼


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