Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Devil Survivor, Vol. 1

Devil Survivor, Vol. 1

Devil Survivor, Vol. 1Devil Survivor, Vol. 1
created by Atlus, manga by Satoru Matsuba, original characters by Suzuhito Yasuda
Kodansha Comics, 208 pp
Rating: Teen (13 +)

Kazuya and Atsuro make plans to meet the enigmatic Naoya in Shibuya, but their plans are turned on their head when another friend, Yuzu, arrives with gifts from Naoya… three mini-computers. Once Atsuro cracks the passwords on computers the trio find a mysterious email detailing events that have yet to occur, including demonic attacks! From Satoru Matsuba comes the first volume of Devil Survivor!

Video game adaptions are tricky things. More often then not they end up feeling pointless and make for awkward reads. Unfortunately, Devil Survivor, Vol. 1 is no exception. Characters explain the rules of the world in painfully unnatural exposition. A cryptic character is incredibly cryptic for no discernible reason, and no one really has much in the way of personalities. It bounces back and forth from trying to be a horror manga to feeling like some kind of Pokemon knock off. This is due to Kazuya and friends summoning monsters to battle other monsters via their computers, complete with stats for each monster and other useful information that you’d expect to find on a CCG card. As a result, it’s not terribly engaging or fun and everything feels incredibly plot heavy. Like things are happening because the story requires them to happen rather than something happening based upon character choices or decisions.

A page from Devil Survivor, Vol. 1

An example of the monster designs.

Satoru Matsuba’s art throughout is a bit bland. The monster designs are dull and unthreatening, while the action is short and uninteresting. The contemporary setting comes through with the backgrounds, but they fail to evoke much in the way of atmosphere or mood. The main characters don’t really stand out very much either. All three are slim with similar looking facial features and bodies. Admittedly, this and the monsters might not be Matsuba’s fault as Devil Survivor, Vol. 1 is an adaption of a video game. Indeed, a quick google search shows that in full color they stand out a bit more, but in black and white their distinguishing features boil down to a hat, headphones and one being a girl.

There’s another small problem with Devil Survivor, Vol. 1 that’ll be immediately noticeable to physical book readers, the pages vanish into the spine. Word bubbles, captions and panels all vanish within the spine and binding of the books. It might seem like a minor issue, but when you’re reading the book and suddenly parts of the dialogue vanish within the spine and binding it’s kind of annoying.

Video game manga can be tricky. At the very least you’d hope that they’d engage new readers and make them want to play the game’s they’re based on. Sadly, that’s not the case here. Devil Survivor, Vol. 1 is ultimately a bland and forgettable read that did nothing to make me want to look into the franchise it’s spun off from.

Devil Survivor, Vol. 1 is available now from Kodansha Comics.Review copy provided by the publisher

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  1. November 27, 2015 at 1:21 pm

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