Story Time!! When you are someone like me who has very few friends in real life who watch anime, having someone throw a DVD at you telling you to “watch this now” does not happen everyday. In fact, it never happened to me until just over a week ago. I was at home for spring break and had already started watching Your Lie in April for my next review. I was five episodes in when my Mom asked me to run over to the fish fry and get dinner and bring it home. I was like “okay” and planned on running there and back so I could keep trucking through Your Lie in April. Then. It happened. I was waiting in line to order when I kept hearing my name being called over and over. My vice president from the anime club I was in came running up to me and was like “I have something for you in my car!” and she darts away. She came back with a copy of Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign and told me to try it and return it to her when I was done. And that is what I did. I put Your Lie in April to the side for a while and watched this show.
So here is my 27th Anime Review for an anime that was thrust in my hands without me expecting it: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign!
Seraph of the End is a 12 episode anime that originally aired almost a year ago in April 2015 as a part of the Spring Anime Season. It ended in June 2015.It is based off of a manga of the same name written by Takaya Kagami and illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto with storyboards by Daisuke Furuya. The manga is published in Japanese by Shueisha in “Jump SQ” and also in English by Viz Media in “Weekly Shonen Jump”. A sequel series, Seraph of the End: Battle in Nagoya, premiered in October 2015 and finished airing in December 2015, also with 12 episodes. There have been a few manga and light novel spin-offs, as well as a few games that were produced. There is also an OVA titled Seraph of the End: Vampire Shahal which will be released in May 2016.
Now before I get to the plot and all the other goodness I just want to make it clear that I am only going to review season 1 of the show, so the first 12 episodes. I have not yet watched the second season for reasons that I will mention towards the end of the review. Okay? Moving on!!
So our story is about a mysterious virus that is released all over the world which is said to kill everyone over the age of 13. We are introduced to young Yuuichiro and Mikaela Hyakuya who taken captive by the vampires along with the orphanages other children, or the rest of the two boys’ family. The vampire claim that they will protect the children from this virus as long as they donate their blood to the vampires. Tired of their captivity, Mikaela creates an escape plan that was doomed before it began. The only survivor of the attempt is Yuuichiro who is found and rescued by some members of the Moon Demon Company, a military unit dedicated to killing the vampires. We are then fast forwarded to a few years later to Yuuichiro trying to become a member of the Moon Demon Company to take revenge on the vampires who killed his family.
I thought that the Seraph’s story was actually pretty good. Sure, vampires are not exactly an original concept, but the idea of this virus being used as a scare tactic to lure children to donate their blood was kind of interesting. I saw a review of this show done by a YouTuber I watch and he talked about how the human society actually knows of the vampire’s existence. Which is something that happens in very few vampire anime out there. Usually they are hidden and the public is unaware of their existence so the plot will surrounding keeping that secret. However, Seraph decides to mix it up a little and have the driving story not to be protecting the vampire’s existence a secret, but instead to stop them from trying to take over the world. I found the story to be quite interesting, although slow at times, and it definitely maid binge watching it a whole lot easier because I was always waiting for the next episode.
Our main character is Yuuichiro Hyakuya who starts off as a very “I’m better than you”, “give me what I want” kind of character. His life has not exactly been a good one, and from what we have been shown even before he was taken by the vampires it was not exactly a cup of tea. His obnoxiousness did not bother me too much though because if your entire family is killed in front of you, you will not exactly be the most happiest and kindest person ever. He is hotheaded and often gets himself into situations he is not supposed to, or will run off into a battle before he is told. This kind of made me like him because he did not have to develop his bravery to train to fight, he was pretty well ready to go from the get go. We even got to see him fight his inner demons and go through building a new “family” for himself. Yuu is probably not one of my favorite lead characters because he is pretty obnoxious and rude towards the beginning, but his development definitely made him more likable to me.
Now over the course of the series we are introduced to a good amount of characters. We meet the leader of the Moon Demon Company and probably my favorite character in the show, Guren Ichinose, as well as Yuu’s classmates and later Moon Demon Company teammates. As well as the Hiragi Family members, who are the ones in charge of the entire Japanese Imperial Demon Army. Oh! And the vampires of course! Cannot forget about them. Most of these characters have driving forces that have caused them to make the decisions that they are today. It kind of shows what those are for each character a little bit, but unfortunately there are characters that we have no idea what is driving them. I mean the vampires in general just want to keep the human’s alive so that they have a food source, but do not want them fighting back. It is a motivation, and I mean a pretty good one, but you are just kind of like “Well why do they treat the kids like that. Would it not be easier to treat the kids kindly so maybe they will not try and fight back?” I was going somewhere with this…….oh right!!
This leads me to the other character I wanted to discuss in detail, Mikaela “Mika” Hyakuya. He is Yuu’s brother from the orphanage and is the one who both gets the plot rolling in a way and is also part of Yuu’s motivation to join the Moon Demon Company and kill the vampires. I really do not think it is a spoiler to say this, because it becomes obvious by I think the end of the second episode that Mika has become a vampire. This does get pretty frustrating because while we see on one side how much Yuu is struggling with the death of his family and his vow for revenge, we are also shown that Mika is still alive which could greatly change Yuu’s way of thinking if he finds out. We do not really get to spend a lot of time seeing what drives Mika, but all he really wants to do is protect Yuu, who he believes is being experimented on by the humans. Mika is an interesting character, from what we see of him, and I did enjoy what little we did see. I cannot really explain to you the reason why, but I really did like Mika as a character especially since his relationship with Yuu kind of reminded me of the relationship that Suzaku Kururugi had with Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass.
The soundtrack for Seraph is actually not too bad. The opening titled “X.U.” has a very interesting sound to it and I actually really liked the song itself. The opening was kind of slow for what I expect from a very action driven anime, but the song did pick up pace towards the end and showed its action side. The ending titled “scaPEGOAT” I really enjoyed. It had a really….I do not exactly know how to say it….hardcore sound to it? I really liked it. It was kind of slow at first but picked up at the end, a lot like the opening did. These two songs will definitely be put on my iPod as soon as possible. Now for animation. Seraph was animated by Wit Studio and the animation in the show was very good. It was pleasant to watch in both the calm scenes as well as the action scenes when it seemed like there was a lot going on. The studio did a really good job, but I mean that was not really a surprise upon me realizing that Wit Studio also animated Attack on Titan so….yeah…MOVING ON!!
Now it is time to get serious. I usually make a rule that before I review an anime I make sure to watch everything of that series that has been released so far. I have made an exception to this rule on two times before this. The first being when I reviewed the first season of Gundam 00, which I at the time had every intention of reviewing the second season after reviewing some different anime first. The second exception being when I reviewed the first season of Durarara!! which I reviewed for Anniversary Review week back in July, when the second season was still ongoing. Now Seraph is a little different than these two exceptions because I kind of….ruined the second season for myself. I had no intention to!! I mean first of all the girl I got the first season from did not have the second season. Then me being the over curious person that I am was like “Oh, I wonder what this means?” and googled what I thought was a harmless question about Seraph. Fifteen minutes later and I had ruined a huge part of the second season story line for myself. FANTASTIC!! So long story short I have no motivation, at the current moment, to go watch the second season because I know what will happen to some certain character and I am still mad at myself for it. I will have to come back a little later, after I kind of forget what happens, and finish out the season.
Now on to the important stuff!! It has taken a great deal of consideration, and arguing with myself, to decide how I wanted to rank Seraph of the End. As of right now, having not seen the second season I award Seraph of the End with a score of a C. While there was a good amount of stuff that I liked about the show (such as the motivation some of the characters, the soundtrack, and overall plot idea) there were many things that I disliked about it. Some of the characters were kind of annoying, and I honestly question why they were there exactly. The show takes a while to get to the point that Yuu is actually fighting the vampires, and the fact that we, as the viewer, knew Mika was a vampire a LONG time before Yuu did and I think I would have been a little more interested to see how Yuu would have reacted or changed his ideas seeing Mika was a vampire. As of right now, I just do not think that the positives outweighed the negatives. Maybe the second season made it a little better, but so far nothing has me super hooked to go watch the second season. I really hate to say that though because I feel like this show could have been a whole lot better if certain things were explained better and the characters all had a little more depth to them, or were given more character development than just a whole bunch of really tragic backstories. No matter how much I liked Guren and Mika, they just could not carry the show for me.
Well that I all that I have for my 27th Anime Review. Boy, it took me a lot longer than I anticipated to get this review finished. But here it is!! I hope that you guys enjoyed it!! Well what do you guys think? Any shows that you stopped watching after the first season? Have you watched Seraph of the End? What did you think of it? Are you on the side of the vampires or the Moon Demon Company? Do you maybe have an idea for an anime for me to watch? Let me know down in the comments below!!
See you next time!!