Seraph of the End (or Owari no Seraph in Japanese) was probably one of the most hyped series for this Anime Spring 2015. We asked you in our anime pollwhich animes from this season you wanted us to cover and Seraph of the End was the third most voted! (More information on animes we’re covering at the end of this review). WARNING: This review will contain SPOILERS!
“A strange virus kills all the world population one day. The only survivors are kids under the age of 13. These kids are now being slaved by vampires. The main character is Yuichiro Hyakuya, who dreams of becoming strong enough to defeat all these vampires”.
DISCLAIMER: First of all let me say that I got spoiled big time while writing this review. I’m obviously not gonna spoil it for you so I’m gonna pretend like I don’t know this information. Sigh.
I personally was quite excited about this anime but I have to admit I was quite disappointed while watching it. For example, I thought Mikaela and Akane were gonna be there to accompany Yuichiro and make the big trio like Eren, Mikasa and Armin from Attack on Titan but I guess that their role from now on is gonna be to motivate Yu and make him carry their will.
The episode starts by showing us briefly the virus infection that killed everyone except for those under the age of 13. Then we’re immediately placed 4 years later. The main characters, Yu and Mikaela, are 12 now. They live with Akane and other kids and consider each other as family. Yu and Mikaela works as two different ways of dealing with their situation: Yu is a rebel who doesn’t want to obey the vampires, and Mikaela is the one who wants to behave and take orders from them.
At first it looked as if we were supposed to hate the submissive ways of Mikaela and be on Yu’s side but then we find out that Mikaela’s actually doing it all for his family and for being able to obtain ingredients and other useful things such as a gun and a map of the place. The way in which mikaela sold his body for these things almost felt like some kind of prostitution. We are, therefore, dealing with very dark themes, especially considering it involves children. So Mikaela was actually being very brave for doing this. In a way, he was acting in a much more mature way than Yu. Same goes for Akane, who was in charge of cooking the food and taking care of the younger kids. All of this while Yu would just be moody and complain.
With the map in hand, they little family attempt to escape the place. However, everything was feeling too easy. Even the music was too cheerful. And wouldn’t there be some kind of surveillance in the exit? Indeed there was. Ferid, the vampire noble that had sucked Mikaela’s blood that night, was waiting for them and killed all the girls including Akane. Yu saves Mikaela from the by killing Ferid with the gun but it’s too late and Mikaela dies too. Yu is the only one who gets to escape.
You have to wonder… can you kill vampires just by shooting them? Or was that a special gun made specifically for killing vampires? And if it was, why did that vampire Ferid have one in his house? I hope we get to find out more about the methods of killing vampires.
When Yu manages to get outside, he immediately finds a group of three people who refer to him as the one that the prophecy was talking about, which places Yu as the typical “the chosen one”. Four years later, Yu is 16 and looks badass as f*ck with his new costume. *Credits roll*
So let’s talk about Yu for a bit. To be honest, he’s like any other cliché shonen main character. Again, he actually reminded me of Eren Jaeger (and no, not just because of the eyes). His ambition and rebel attitude, next to sentences like “I don’t want to be cattle” or “I’m gonna exterminate all the vampires” are the exact same things that Eren said in the first episode of Attack on Titan (you just have to change ‘vampires’ for ‘titans’).
Another thing that was a bit cliché was the term “family“. We have yet another tsundere main character that feels like he’s full of hate but then ends up getting adopted by a group of people who refer to him as family. As beautiful as it was that those kids got to find comfort in each other in that dark situation, I couldn’t help but snort at Mikaela’s last words: “Yu-chan, this was the first time that you called us family”.
Animation wise, what could we expect from Wit Studio, the same studio in charge of Attack on Titan? The background scenery was beautiful and the animation was pretty solid. As for the music, I wasn’t very impressed but I guess we’ll have to give it 3-5 more episodes to hear all they have to offer.
To sum it up, this premiere sort of felt like a prequel or a backstory of Yu. Like some sort of way of contextualising or justifying Yu’s future actions (after all, we can assume that all he wants right now is revenge). The episode served to set up what’s to come next. However, because of that, it felt like there were too many time jumps, resulting as the episode feeling too rushed. However, it is too soon to determine whether the anime is gonna live up to the hype or not. To me, it did. But the execution felt a bit rushed and cliché. We’ll have to keep waiting to see how events develop during the next few episodes. There are so many questions to be answered! Why haven’t those people, including Yu, died from the virus if they’re over 13? Is the virus gone now? Where did these vampires come from? The episode created lots of questions and mysteries that I hope we’ll see answered soon enough!