This manga is based off of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, the Nintendo DS game published by Atlus. Being a fan of the game, I was curious to see how the manga would turn out and how the storyline would develop. Let’s take a look.
Devil Survivor 1 (Kodansha Comics)
Kazuya’s meeting up with two of his friends, just normal teenagers off to go do some teenager things. They end up receiving these “comps” from a mutual friend of theirs. This is a gaming system that can be used for communication and, as we later find out, gives them the ability to summon demons. They receive threatening messages on these devices; things like, a man will be murdered, there will be a huge explosion at this time and place, or a blackout will occur at this location. So not good things. Shit is happening.
And of course, the teenagers are like, “screw this message, it doesn’t mean anything” and it takes someone’s death in order for them to get their act together. The plot is a bit jumbled from that point—all we know is that demons are fighting demons and Kazuya and his friends’ lives are constantly in danger. In order to survive, they have to harness the power of their “comp” demon.
The art is very similar to the game style. We’ve got the basic main character with headphones, his best friend At-low, a computer hacker, and Yuz, the chick with the big boobs that’s just there for cannon fodder. I’m kidding…kind of. The one thing this manga lacks is a strong female perspective. Yuz is the nurturing type that cares for her comrades, but needs to be saved every waking moment from danger (of course her demon/powers is the ability to heal. I can’t tell you how much I hate that gaming stereotype).
The demon abilities are pretty entertaining to see on the page. I can tell that Matsuba is trying really hard to stay true to the game, because there’s key information on how they fight, what they are, and how these characters are going to learn their new abilities. I think it’ll be something that the fans will enjoy and if they haven’t played the game, then they’ll want to after they start reading. There isn’t much to the first volume aside from all the shonen-type fights, because this is just a simple introduction to this new world.
The gore is very light and there aren’t any notable themes, leaving me to believe this is for a younger audience. I thought it was entertaining to say the least, and I’m curious to how it’ll turn out considering that the game evolves through the choices you make. Clearly, we can’t make any choices here, so I’m wondering what direction Matsuba is gonna take on this one.
I think it’s too soon to tell if this is going to be one of those series that you can read over and over, but it’s a good start. The dialogue is solid and the characters, though typical, aren’t all that bad. The demons could be a little more original, but I liked how it sticks very close to the game. I would say go for it, especially if you’re already a fan.