Devil Survivor 2 The Animation Episode 4: Monday of Upheaval – III
‘We were warned’
Summary: Following Keita’s sudden death, Hibiki remains visibly shaken due to the fact that they couldn’t prevent it. As Merak arrives in the city, Yamato has JP’s members move Hibiki into position to intercept it. At the Osaka Juso Ohashi Bridge, the Japanese military tries and fails in their attack against Merak while Botis and “The Anguished One” discuss the state of affairs. With of the loss of most Osaka’s spiritual barriers, Merak fully manifests itself and makes its way to the final barrier – “Tsutenkaku”. Meanwhile, Hibiki is deployed into the field, Hinako and Io discuss his mental state due to Keita’s death. Meanwhile at the Umeda Sky Building, JP’s summoners try to stop Merak with a swarm of Itsumade but it kills them all in an instant. As Io heads to Hibiki’s location, Merak then launches a devastating ice attack, at the “Tsutenkaku” barrier, which survives, but the attack leaves a path of destruction and kills many more people, upsetting Hibiki. Not wanting any more people to die, Hibiki abandons his post and proceeds further up the battleground to confront Merak. Io arrives just as Hibiki departs and Yamato sends a “replacement” for Hibiki. Hibiki arrives at the current battleground at Kawaramachi in the Osaka Chūō-ku Ward and intervenes in Hinako and a platoon of JP’s summoners fight against Merak. Hibiki has Byakko unleash a strong lightning attack at Merak, which doesn’t have any effect. Merak counterattacks and Hinako protects Hibiki but gets severely injured which then shatters his fighting resolve. In the wake of the attack, “The Anguished One” approaches Hibiki and introduces himself as Alcor. He informs Hibiki, that because of his “choice” to fight, Io has followed in his footsteps and taken his place at the final defensive line, causing Hibiki to head over there. Io’s feelings allow her to summon Kikuri-Hime and proceeds to attack Merak with support from the JP’s summoners. Although Kikuri-Hime manages to severely damage Merak, it sheds its outer layer and begins charging up its final attack. Just then Hibiki appears with Byakko and successfully deals the final blow to Merak, defeating it. As Merak slowly begins to disintegrate, Hibiki lets his guard down and Merak tries to move, but is destroyed by a new demon as Hibiki is approached by Ronaldo Kuriki. As the JP’s reports that their Nagoya Branch has been seized, Ronaldo tells Hibiki that Yamato is dangerous and asks him to accompany him. As Io heads to where Hibiki last attacked Merak, the JP’s reports that he has vanished.
Where do I begin? This episode (and this series in general) was a mixed bag of good and bad, it was in no way horrible but then again it was nothing special. I didn’t evoke the emotions and responses required for me to really feel immersed and that is, in part, the fault of the bad characterization of pretty much every main cast character. I don’t feel a connection with any of them and without that connection I find myself unable to sympathize with their plight and their desperation. On the other hand, the survival feel is really starting to kick in now. Tanks in the streets, a city in ruins and a demoralized and broken people… yes, this is Devil Survivor 2.
So I guess we should probably deal with the elephant in the room, Keita’s death and its effect on the episode. So Keita died. Yeah. Did I care? Well sure. I mean, he could have definitely done with some more character development and my first impression of him was pretty darn bad, but he grew on me and before I knew it I was beginning to like him. And then he died. And to me, nothing changed. As cruel as it sounds of me, Hibiki should in no way have had the reaction that he did. Then again, his Hero complex enables him to feel the way he does because he feels as though he has to take responsibility for everything and everyone because he has the power to do so. We should also take into consideration that these are just kids (adolescents technically but let’s go with kids just for effect), they’ve never seen anyone die like this before. Barely even two days ago Hibiki and Daichi were messing around on their way home from school/college and now, they’re facing the end of the world and an army of demons that are seemingly impossible to defeat. And to make matters worse the people that Hibiki feels he has to be protecting are dying all around him and he feels as though he can do nothing about it. I’ll admit, I’m really liking badass Hibiki. Sure he’s still emitting an ass load of feels and I’m not particularly liking that, but otherwise Hibiki is an awesome character who is definitely a redeeming feature among the cast of characters so far.
The battle with Merak. Anyone else feel nothing? Bridge is doing an okay job with the animation and that’s about it. It doesn’t stand out and sometimes it just feels lazy. But I digress, the battle with Merak felt almost stale and uneventful in my eyes. Killing of twenty unknown characters in an attempt to portray the desperation of the situation isn’t a way to make the viewer feel something, in fact, it’s simply just to ‘attempt to portray the desperation of the situation’. Seemingly killing off Hinako in an attempt to recreate that Keita moment – bad move. Not only did it just feel forced and cheap, I could see it coming from a mile away. She was dead weight, emotional bait, you might say. And to make matters worse, she’s not actually dead… or do I mean better? No I mean worse because it takes away from anything the moment even tried to achieve! Now what I will say is that Alcor and Ronaldo made the episode a whole lot better. I came down to them to mix up the flow of events a little, introduce some new factions and add some emotional leverage. I’m interested to see just who Ronaldo is representing and just why he’s warning Hibiki to stay away from Yamato (is it bad that I had to Google that to find out his name? Shouldn’t I know it by now…?). And Alcor… just who is this guy? I’ve been referring to him as the fabulous make up boy for the last 3 episode and now he just makes an appearance as if it’s nothing? Why doesn’t Hibiki question him on his eye make up? I guess Hibiki’s just accepting like that…
Nitta and Daichi… Now Daichi didn’t do much in this episode (as was to be expected) and Nitta actually played a pretty important role. Daichi gets assigned to the med team to help and assist summoners but instead finds himself questioning Yamato’s tactics (like Ronaldo) and feeling melancholy about the situation around him. Nitta on the other hand has seemingly developed (ever so slightly) implied feelings for Hibiki? Its been two days since you met him girl! You sure do move fast… But I digress, Nitta finds herself rushing around in an attempt to sooth Hibiki’s hurt and help him out… in the end she simply assists with the taking down to Merak and piss taking of Daichi’s demons (seriously, Daichi has some truly pathetic demons)… and I guess that’s not a bad thing? I just hope they get some more character development and a bit more screen time from now on.
On a final note I’d just like to say this… this episode didn’t live up to my expectations. Episode 4’s preview made it out to be an epic battle episode with EPIC being the main focus of it. Instead, we received an episode of Hibiki spouting his feels and tiny bit of the same old action just to wash it all down. That’s not to say this anime’s bad or anything, I mean, if it had aired in the Winter season this year then it would have been one of the best shows there was, but this is the Spring season and there are so many hard hitters with better plot lines and better character. There is no place for mediocrity.
P.S Not cool. They just left Keita body on the floor after he died…