First Reactions: Devil Survivor 2 Episode 4

So Photo Kano ended up being a study as to why scriptwriters are necessary even for skilled directors. The visual sense in that show is excellent, and fits the main character’s story very well, but the script is a bunch of torrid rust. I’m willing to bet Akitoshi Yokoyama had full control over the situation to the extent that nobody with veto power could come up to him and told him some of his story ideas were really, really bad. Even Masaki Yuasa’s name in a cutaway bit can’t save that script. I would watch another thing of his, provided his next producer keeps him 10 kilometers away from the script.

Moving on to shows that actually have me interested, I really like where Devil Survivor 2 is going. After a mediocre first episode, it’s been picking up the pace by laying down a layer of intrigue, setting up fast-moving, area-conscious fight scenes, and pumping up on drama. Thus, I’m making my hop right back on the ol’ rock-steady Kishi Seiji bandwagon.

The beginning of this episode sent an interesting message reminding characters that there’s still a larger crisis going on amidst the aftermath of Keita’s death. It was simultaneously the smart move and one that solidified the image of a cold, unfeeling organization to have the operatives immediately rush Hibiki & co. off to the next destination. This was an image that the episode kept driving in, particularly in the scene where Daichi’s call to Hibiki was cut off by the chief and they admitted they were sacrificing personnel on a large scale. I think it’s a smart decision; these JP’s should not be acting sweet, and I like the potential of the moral dark grey area the show is laying out around them. If only their grunts were less ineffectual.

DS2-4-1

Maybe if they had popped a steamlight and driven a Transam at it instead…

Beyond the JP’s callousness (which is ultimately a tad generic), what I really love about the show is the complicated emotional mess the male lead has stumbled into by making a lot of seemingly sensible choices. His insistence on trying to save as many lives as possible backfired on him quite spectacularly, and gives more credence to JP’s original strategy in the process. It’s very nice to see a show focused on being gritty to the extent that the main character taking initiative has negative consequences. It’s like the anti-Dai Guard, but just as refreshing.

Nitta, meanwhile, has been showing herself to be capable in a number of ways, accepting both the roles of backup clutch defender and of moral support for the increasingly devastated Hibiki. That scene after Hinako’s defensive line got massacred defending him while the aftereffects of his failure played on the radio made it definitive that he will be needing that emotional crutch if the series continues as is.

DS2-4-2

Literal blood on his hands is about as symbolically direct as such a scene can get

The ending this week hinted that Hibiki and the rest of the cast are about to get involved in factional politics of JP’s. Depending on how hostile the renegades are towards the main faction, things could get fairly grizzly. Too, I’ve seen too many Kishi Seiji shows to not have absolute faith in the direction the story is going.

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