I don’t want to make too much sport of a show that’s already been dragged through the mud a number of times, but I’ve been calling it Dull Survivor 2 to myself throughout the episode. Make of it what you will, or read on for a more detailed analysis.
It stands to reason that immortal beings have explored every known way in the universe to have fun, legal or not. I’m really enjoying both the scenes of the myths and legends in their own world and the scenes where Takuro gets a glimpse into it, both of which were prominently on display this week.
This week’s episode of Devil Survivor 2 was the blandest one of the show, and will probably end up skippable even if the later episodes end up being good (something I’m beginning to seriously doubt).
Not only are some of the villains now good guys, and not only are the real villains better established, but this shift in circumstances was shown via their actions (rather than pseudoexciting revelationary monologue), and we even got some decent fight scenes to go with it all. Now *that* was a halfway climax!
I got an email the other day (my first one, so thanks, anonymous reader Y!) asking why I’m blogging this show over Attack on Titan, which also airs on Saturday. There are two main reasons, which I want to briefly address that before moving into the meat of the episode.
First, good comedies are no less difficult to produce than good dramas. If you handed Astro Fighter Sunred, Panty and Stocking, or another comedy that relies on its particular sense of style (workplace-themed deadpan and rampant excess, respectively) to a replacement-level handler like Chiaki Kon or Yuu Kou, you’d almost certainly get something darn near forgettable. A comedy has to have real personality to work, which is something that’s not at all easy to do; just because they seem* to come along more often than dramas doesn’t mean a good laugh is worth any less than a good teardrop. Muromi-san specifically happens to be a *very* well-executed comedy, as it’s effectively mixing the high-energy of Angel Beats with the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and subtly clever camera play of Joshiraku, and has a ceiling as a low-tier 10/10 on my ranking scale.
Second, while I like Titan quite a bit, it has a plot I’m very familiar with as a reader of the manga. It means that a) there’s less I can legitimately speculate on, b) I don’t want to spoil anything by accident, and c) I’d only be able to comment on the execution, which I find slow and less interesting than the wham-bam lightning rod pacing of the manga. It’s distinctly my third-favorite Saturday show at this point. Which is, if anything, a mark of how fun Saturdays this spring have been.
For an episode that spent about half its time focusing on one battle scene, this week’s Devil Survivor 2 really ought to have been more interesting than it was. It’s hard to talk about the major focus of this week’s episode without using the word “anticlimax”.
The decision to add complexity to a character is a tricky one; there are as many ways to do it wrong and make a character flat as there are to do it right and make a character deeper. Arata Kangatari made some missteps this week, but is moving forward regardless.
I was worried about whether this show was going to fall off a cliff by resorting to cheap boob humor and forgetting to be actually funny. Fortunately, Muromi-san showed itself to be made of sterner stuff.
You know you’ve made a good point when Nanba Mutta repeats the statement almost word for word on an episode of Space Brothers airing two days later. This episode was great, and it was great because it built around dialogue that established Pico and Mutta as serious-business engineers.
Previously, I had Devil Survivor 2 pegged as a grey vs. grey morality show, the type that seems to show up a lot these days. This episode pretty much turned that assumption on its head; it’s much less of a moral conundrum and much more of a clear case of the large organization being a different kind of evil from the demons, while the rebel faction is, in the absolute worst case, lacking knowledge about the situation. This story choice leads to a show that holds more of a “protect the civilians” ethic, something I’m perfectly happy with. Too, It’s more fun to watch a protagonist proactively picking a side.