If you don’t know by now what Seraph of the End is about, I’ll give you a small rundown. Seraph of the End (Owari no Seraph) is a post-apocalyptic tale wherein a manmade virus wiped out about 90% of the population – mostly those over the age of thirteen. I say ‘mostly’ because at the time of this apocalypse, some of the adult characters were above the age of thirteen, despite the show saying only those under the age were spared. After the apocalypse, many children were taken and used as cattle – being milked for their blood by the vampires. Some even believe that their black and white clothes are a symbol of this. The story revolves specifically around Yuuichirou Hyakuya, whose entire family of fellow orphans was wiped out when they attempted to escape from the vampires clutches. Quite a few years later, we see that the world has schools again and an army that deals with vampires and giant monsters known as the Four Horseman of John. On the vampire-side of thing, we see our other main character, Mikaela Hyakuya – Yuuichirou’s close friend who was believed to be dead and was forced to become a vampire. The overall plot revolves around trying to regain control over humanity and trying to go against the vampires, as well as two friends turned enemies.
If viewers are looking for something that feels very Attack on Titan-esque down to a main character that has sworn to kill all of a race of monsters “for his family”, then Seraph of the End is most certainly a recommendation I can give. However, Seraph goes much deeper than that with its various biblical references. One of my favorite references is near the final episodes, when the main character is within his own soul, speaking to the weapon that gives him power. Before he succumbs to a different power and goes crazy, we see 7 trumpets being sounded. In the book of Revelations, the 7 trumpets refer to the 7 changes that will be brought to the world before its end. There is plenty of symbolism within Seraph and as someone who was forced to study religion as a child, the symbols fascinate me to no end.
Seraph may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially with its parallels with Attack on Titan. And admittedly, the main character hasn’t really gotten less angsty by the end of the first season. If anything, Yuu gets more angsty as he wants to protect his friends to the point that he easily will attempt to throw away his life. He dives headfirst into battles where he is blinded by rage and in general, he’s stupid and bratty. But I don’t hate him. He has an admirable strength and deep love for those around him. Mika also gets more moody as he gets older. He started out as a bright and happy child and when he is seen again, he has gained a strong sense of self-hatred because of his vampirism. All of the supporting characters are interesting enough as well. There’s the apathetic-looking Shinoa who is made of snark, Yoichi – who is the actually definition of a precious cinnamon roll, Kimizuki –the bespectacled ‘rival’ of Yuuichirou and many others. Each character has their own story, some of which we have yet to delve into at this time.
Seraph was animated by WIT Studio (Attack on Titan, The Rolling Girls) and admittedly, there are many areas where it was sloppy. Eyes were often off balance and at times, faces looked absolutely horrible. And there are even a few times when characters are jumping that it looks like they just drew over scenes of characters in AoT using their gear. Overall, however, the animation looks nice, especially during fight scenes. The backgrounds are stunning and as a fan of the manga (I began reading it AFTER watching the show), I really enjoy the way the characters look in action.
As for sound, Seraph of the End takes a 6.5 because the soundtrack is wonderful but not that memorable. Aside from the themes and the instrumental version of ending theme Scapegoat, there aren’t any tracks that I can hear and go “Aha! This is from Seraph.” As a cohesive soundtrack, the music is enjoyable to listen to and there are no songs in places that don’t fit the mood. Seraph’s score is well-composed, I just wish it was more memorable. When it comes to the voice acting, the Japanese cast did very good in their roles and I wish I could say I loved the English just as much. (For the record, the dub does not affect the score, I just want to touch on it a bit). For those wondering which language it should be watched in, certain lines were changed in English – especially Shinoa’s. Shinoa is made even more sarcastic and her apathetic charm is lacking in the Japanese. Yoichi’s voice is way too low and overall, the writing and directing was disappointing.
When starting Seraph, I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I do. The first episode was wonderfully eye-catching and intense. From there, the series slows a bit. Most of the first season is used to set the series up for bigger things to come. There is plenty of foreshadowing and story set-up. And of course, fans were lucky enough to get a second season (which aired during the Fall 2015 season). While I recognize there are many flaws in the story, I still find it enjoyable and I’d love to see how it all plays out to the end – whether this much every gets animated or not.
If You Liked Seraph of the End, Check Out:
Attack on Titan – Features an angsty main character whose family is destroyed by monsters and lives in a walled-in civilization in a post-apocalyptic world.
Neon Genesis Evangelion – Get in the robot, Yuuichirou. (Biblical symbolism, fate rests on the shoulders of teenagers).
Chrono Crusade – A teenage nun teams up with a demon and hunts for her brother, who was kidnapped by a demon.