Thursday, June 30, 2016

Seraph of the End Review

Seraph of the End Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first season of Seraph of the End. If you wish not to know some plot details, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please exit the tab, and join me once you've watched the show. Or you know, you can continue to read, since you don't care about spoilers.

Anyways, with that said, thank you, and onto the review:

In some cases when anime is concerned, a new studio will occasionally emerge among the many popular ones, cementing themselves as a force to be reckoned with for their first big project. A prime example for this would be Wit Studio, who become well known for Attack on Titan once it premiered in 2013. Though I haven't seen the show (and won't), I have heard a lot of praise come forth for the series having great animation, and from what I've seen, I would agree to that, as the anime has a unique style that I typically don't see elsewhere.

When news about this show first came out, I was immediately curious to see what my experience would be when watching it. For one thing, reception for this show was mixed when it was coming out, with some fans loving it and others dismissing it as cliched. The story for this also sounded interesting, but I think that mainly had to do with the vampires. And no, not the ones that sparkle in the sunlight (Twilight) or just ones that love their power and would eat it as their cake too (Dance with Devils). I'm talking about the vampires who have depth, character, and actual personalities. INTRIGUE!

Plus, some of the characters looked pretty cool, and it was a split cour anime, which meant that the second half was going to air down the road. So I knew that I would come to this show eventually, especially with a studio that's established itself so quickly, and for a shonen that seemed to actually pay attention to the small details.

So, we find ourselves a year later, having finished the first cour in a week. Did this anime make those expectations that I had set?

For the most part, yes. Seraph of the End isn't perfect (but I wasn't expecting it to be), due to its slow beginning, some of the characters not being as interesting or unlikable (f**k you Guren), and the score being stale. But as it goes on, the development that some of the leads get is excellent, and the fact that the war between humans and vampires is so complicated that the line between evil and pure begins to blur is incredibly powerful, which leads to the unexpected question that I haven't seen in any shonen: Is the good side actually worse than the bad side?

Plus, this show put me in a emotional whirlwind towards the end, and by Episode 12, I'm all:

The story becomes so engrossing once the battles start happening, and there were various moments where I winced, dropped my jaw, almost started crying, or muttered, "Oh my god." There is great potential for the 2nd cour to completely blow me out of the water, or perhaps stay the same, but I'm honestly really curious to find out.

Oh, and the animation is just as good as you'd think for the most part.

Let's first start off with the premise:


In an alternate 2012, humanity falls under a virus that is claimed to be started by them, which causes the entire population of the world except for children under the age of 13 to perish. It is during this time when vampires emerge as the world's leaders, followed by mysterious monsters known as The Four Horsemen of John. The vampires allow the children/teenagers still alive to live underground or in secluded areas, but at the price of having to donate their own blood for their protection. 

Four years later in Japan, Yuichiro Hyakuya lives with his friend, Mikaela Hyakuya (they're orphans and their last name is a reference to the orphanage's name where they live), as well as a group of younger kids that are also fellow orphans. They struggle to survive while following the rules day by day, but Mikaela has a plan to escape from the vampires so the family of orphans can go above ground, even though the vampires have claimed that Earth is a barren wasteland.

After finding a map in the home of one of the Progenitor Vampires named Ferid Bathory, which clearly labels the exit as to which they can flee, the group takes a chance one night to run away. However, Ferid catches them, letting Mikaela put his faith in him in order to betray his trust at the very last second, Ferid then kills the other children aside from Yuichiro and Mikaela when they are told to escape, and Mikaela sacrifices himself in order for Yuichiro to make it out alive. Yu takes this chance and runs into the hands of Guren Ichinose, the Lieutenant Colonel of the Moon Demon Company, a branch of the Japanese Imperial Army that exterminates vampires. Fueled by his desire to take revenge against the vampires as a whole for the death of his family, Yuichiro decides to join the soldiers in order to accomplish that.

Flash forward another four years, and while Yu is now a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, he still isn't satisfied with what branch he's in (not the Moon Demon Company) and hasn't seen a vampire since Ferid. Plus, his reckless behavior when jumping ahead of his unit to kill a Four Horseman gets him suspended. During a day of his boring school life, a girl named Shinoa Hiragi tries to befriend him by convincing him to take advice from a letter Guren gave to her, in which she gives to Yu. Shinoa is actually a part of the Moon Demon Company under Guren and sees potential that Guren also acknowledges. But let's be real: Yu needs to get his act together.

After meeting Yoichi Saotome, a very meek student who is a delivery boy for a group of bullies, and hearing about his drive for also wanting to become a solider in the Moon Demon Company, a vampire escapes from a biological research facility, which makes Yu get fired up enough to attempt to defeat it (although he's incredibly confident he can). Though he comes close, the female vamp is killed by Guren, as vampires also aren't killed by ordinary weapons, but by Cursed Gears. Cured Gears are only controlled by soldiers who have the knack to handle them, as in order to make a contract with one, you have to also make it with a demon that lives inside the weapon.

Guren decides that Yu did a good job protecting his "friend", and thus invites him to join the MDC and go to their training classes for a little while while also helping one of the bullies escape from the Forbidden Room (but Yu also heard about a potential contract, so you know, a way to be able to get enough strength to kill the vampires. Alas, we never see the bullies again. So, bye bye!). After being introduced to another potential recruit, Shiho Kimizuki, the tests for the Cursed Gears begins! All the boys pass, but Yoichi has some struggle when the demon who he eventually forms the contract with takes over his body, as his desire for revenge is too soft.

After being introduced to one more member, Mitsuba Sangu, an experienced soldier, the new Moon Demon Company squad is complete. With Shinoa as appointed leader, how will the missions go? And what's going on on the vampire side?

Well, Yu thinks Mikaela is dead. He's actually not. You see, he's a vampire now. and was turned into one by Krul Tepes, a vampire queen of Japan and the Third Progenitor of all vampires. Though he isn't a full fledged vampire, as he only drinks Krul's blood in order to stay alive, he's now desperate to find Yu and rescue him, but will they finally come face to face when threats of war hang in the balance? And are there secrets lurking in the shadows of the Japanese Imperial Army that may make them look not as pure as they hope to be?

As a whole, the premise for this series is incredibly strong. An alternate present scenario hasn't been seen in quite a lot of shonen for me, and I also like how instead of normal human villains, we get vampire ones. The first episode of this show serves as a prologue for the story, and it's needed to develop the connection between Yu and Mika, illustrate the vampires as the villains, and to show how Yu becomes involved with the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, even with commentary of "Why are you talking so loud?" and "You could have tried harder to carry him, Yu. You idiot." After this, the show gets a bit slow, as we don't actually get involved with squad duties until Episode 7, which does makes this show feel like it's going about as fast as a car during a traffic jam. Once the Moon Demon Company's newest recruits gather together, though, the pacing becomes faster, and the show in turn becomes much more interesting.

For example, the conflict between the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and the vampires. The show at first gives many good reasons as to why the vampires are evil, seeing as they treat humans as livestock and just use their blood for more power. However, it turns out that the JIDA isn't all sparkles and rainbows as once thought to be. For example, the fact that the Seraph of the End (a gene?) has been mentioned twice and how the vampires think that the army is trying to resurrect it (possibly in Yu, since special snowflake reasons). But the main reason as to why I caught on to it was the dopamine pills that the soldiers use when they are in a pinch that gives them 2 to 3 minutes of a power trip that allows them to become stronger and more agile.

This seemed absolutely stupid to me, because why would a top ranking company even use these tablets even though they wield Cursed Gears, which are the strongest weapons to fight against a vampire? I get that there's stronger vampires outside of the background ones, but it seems incredibly reckless, as well as dangerous, especially since taking two could possibly kill you. And the reveal that the army is experimenting on humans only smears the line that divides both sides, making you think: Which side is actually more "pure" in the end? Asuramaru (Yu's contacted demon from his Cursed Gear) does mention to Yu when their contract is being made that Yu should trust humans the least aside from vampires and demons, and I'm very excited to find out more about why this is so, aside from the tablets, the fact that Yu's "non-human side" goes berserk in the final fight of the cour, and the supposed experiments on humans.

But the last 3 episodes easily take the cake as the best of the cour. Yuichiro and Mikaela reunite on the battlefield after Guren is shortly defeated in the battle when the vampires attack Shinjuku, where the scene builds and builds until it comes crashing down when Mika realizes that the human charging for him is not some other human that he despises. It's actually his childhood friend and family member in a sense. It is then followed by Yu impaling Mika with his sword, before realizing that the vampire he stabbed is none other than the one he assumed to be dead like the rest: Mikaela. This moment is easily the best among the series, as it has so much tension until it snaps, leading to probably one of the best episode cliffhangers.

The writing between these two establishes their strong connection that in fact, why does the rest of the dead family matter? It's clear that Yu and Mika have a bond that the writers only hinted at earlier on, but it is shown even more as Mikaela asks Yuichiro to run away with him, away from the bloodshed and loss of life, and away from the humans who he feels are manipulating him, and the vampires who just want Yu to become one of them. 

During this confrontation, the vampires get the upper hand on the Moon Demon Company, and Shinoa's squad almost dies because of it this. This scene is incredibly hard to watch, not just because all of the suffering is hard to bear, Yu is too far away for them to help, and following this, the inner demon awakens. But because the writing displays how Yu thinks of his friends and his family as one in the same, even if the evolution on the friendship between his comrades is a little rushed, it's pretty powerful and heartbreaking and easily makes room for more development between the two in the future.

My feels during these final 3 episodes though. Oh boy:

My emotions were all over the place. From joyful on seeing great battles, to worried about the destined reunion, to horrified by Yu's demon form and the fact that Guren was actually happy about it (f**k you Guren), to scared about Shinoa's fate when she is forced to be the one who stops Yu's rampage. It seemed like they were going through the water cycle just thinking back on it. It's an extremely good thing when an anime can make you feel like your heart's about to burst open. I haven't felt this in a long time.

So despite the fact that this show is really slow in the first half of its first season, the pacing does get better, even with the skipping over some of the building blocks into establishing some concrete friendships with the squad (which might not develop further in Season 2 anyway). The story does live up to its interesting premise once vampire Mika is added back into the mix, and when the fierce battles come underway. It is also helped by the fact that the standard shonen tropes of black and white good and evil don't exist, and the corrupted line possibly getting more investigation makes me even more thrilled with how Season 2 could possibly turn out, if it manages to meet my expectations.

Let's move on to the characters now.


Seraph of the End also has some fascinating characters. Well, not all of them are fascinating per say, but most of them are. It could range from their looks, to their personality, and their development. And I think we're going to have more coming our way despite brief appearances, such as Krul and Shinya. 

I'm not doing a good job at hiding my fangirl side, am I? Oh well.

Yuichiro is up first:

Yu is the lone human survivor (since Mika's now a vampire) of the Hyakuya Orphanage, who managed to escape after immobilizing Ferid by shooting him in the head (he's fine, of course. We'll talk about him later). Now 16, Yuichiro is a part of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, though he wishes to actually go out on the field in order to get revenge on the vampires for his family's death. 

At first, Yu is very brash, impulsive, and stubborn, often putting himself in accidental situations of danger because of his dedication to exacting revenge. He's also very cocky, thinking he is one of the best members of the JIDA of all time and over-confident in what he can do, even without proper training. But he still has a soft spot for his eventual comrades, and doesn't like seeing them get hurt. Over time, he grows to having actual friends, and seems to have now matured more after finding out that Mikaela's still alive. More development seems to be in the cards for the relationship between Yu and his squad mates, as well as for himself, so it's going to be exciting to see how he further develops his compassionate side without being as self-confident.

His Cursed Gear is made in contract with the demon Asuramaru, and it's in the form of his katana. Outside of his fighting abilities, he seems to have something dark and deadly inside him, and it may as well be a demon. Or could it be the Seraph of the End? After all, Asuramaru is a special Cursed Gear, or so we've been told, and Yu needed different dopamine pills regardless. Could the power be triggered by the pills? Or is it triggered by seeing his friends or family in great distress? Either way, still not smart to take the pills, children.

Overall, Yu is a stronger shonen protagonist compared to Meliodas, because while Nanatsu no Taizai constantly goes back to Meliodas groping Elizabeth's breasts from time to time, Seraph of the End doesn't let Yuichiro stay as an incredibly cocky bastard for long. He still annoyed me back when he was more impulsive and so dang confident in himself, but I think it would have been more unbearable had I not been warned beforehand (thanks ShadowACS). But Yu grows as the series goes on, and even though he still makes some reckless decisions in battle, it's for a good reason. I can also easily see the care he has for Mika and for his comrades, and how they've become a family to him. Like I mentioned earlier, the developmental stage for Yu's comrades is a little wonky (that might have to do with the Japanese Imperial Demon Army themselves rather than the pacing), but I could still see why he doesn't want them in danger.

Though he is a little bit of a special snowflake because of the fact that there's demon power inside of him (and the slight sob story of his birth parents), but I've seen worse.

Mikaela's up next:

Once human, Mikaela was kind and sweet and definitely the leader out of the orphanage kids. It wasn't just because he was the oldest, but because of his courageous spirit and willingness to get his hands dirty in order to plan the family's escape. After being forcefully turned into a vampire by Krul, his emotions manage to dull, causing him to become self-loathing and apathetic. Only his care for Yu still remains. Aside from that, he has the typical yearning for human blood, but doesn't drink any blood aside from Krul's in order to remain a half vampire and not turn into a full one.

He is also in an interesting position, finding himself both hating humans and vampires. The vampires due to his complicated history with them, and the humans for using Yu for their own personal gain. He is also described by Ferid as more arrogant than he used to be, as well as extremely powerful due to Krul's blood giving him Third Progenitor-like powers. Despite this, he prefers to shelter himself from the vampires as much as possible to avoid conversation with them, except for Krul and Ferid, where the latter mainly comes on the battlefield. His sword, much like the other vampires, takes some of his own blood in order to fight with it, though his is probably on a lesser level.

Overall, I'm really interested into seeing more of Mika's growth. I liked having him be a vampire, but refusing to become one in order to rescue Yu, as well as hating both sides of the war divide. His connection with Yu also becomes really heavy on the shipping, as he typically refersto Yu as "Yu-chan" in the original Japanese and wants to save him from the fate he's putting himself in. It's incredibly strong, and one can't help but start to picture them as a couple. I do a little as well to be honest, so hopefully I'm able to see more moments with them together that take place away from a serious battle. I'm also hoping that he comes to trust Yu's new family. Maybe not all the way, but at least in some part so he doesn't get angry and hurts himself again because Shinoa was forced to figure out a solution to taking Yu out of his berserk demon mode. That wouldn't be good, but I can see Mika doing more reckless things to protect Yuichiro. It's in his nature.

Though I'm honestly curious as to if Yu and Mika will become a couple or not. I mean, all the potential is there in dialogue, and how much they care for one another, so I totally see it happening.

Let's move on to Guren:

This is awkward. This is the second mentor type character that I've seen Yuichi Nakamura voice, and he's the second one that I hate as well.

But I actually have good reasons to hate him rather than Arthur from Divine Gate, who was just written terribly from the start anyways. I don't want to punch Guren every single time I see him after Episode 11 (and probably won't in Season 2 unless he acts differently than normal or does something out of line), but I can't help but feel betrayed by him because on the surface, he seems like a really lax and chill leader. But the fact that he seems to have darker desires, as well as not seeming to care what happens to Yu, makes me second guess him.

But moving on to his character (but seriously, f**k you Guren). Guren is a Lieutenant Colonel Squad leader of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, as well as the leader of the Moon Demon Company. He values dedication to being a solider and teamwork above everything else, often reprimanding Yu when he goes against that in the beginning. He also acts very laidback, but is actually quite serious about his job, since his family name of Ichinose is given a bad rep by many of the higher up families involved in the JIDA, such as the Hiragi's. Maybe that's also why he thinks current family/comrades are more important than actual birth family. It's a good guess. For his Cursed Gear, he wields a kantana that's named Mahiru-no-Yo, which we don't know the background of yet. But I'm pretty sure we'll get to know, considering that Shinoa's older sister was also named Mahiru.

But there is a bad side to Guren that rears its ugly head towards the end of the cour. There's the fact that he seems to be keeping secrets about himself (such as his past) and about Yu's purpose during the battle in Shinjuku, and add to that all of the new Moon Demon Company recruits not receiving enough time to properly train with their Cursed Gears before being rushed out to the battlefield. Something seems strange about all of this, and is it related to the fact of his bad reputation and his past? Only time will tell.

In all honesty, I don't see the Moon Demon Company trusting Guren for long. Though he does seem dedicated to his job and serious about preserving humanity, all of the bad qualities instantly came to mind for Guren towards the end of the first cour. The fact that he has a lot of baggage, seems to be using Yu for an ulterior motive, and the fact that he forced Shinoa to stop Yu's demon rampage, I want to know how far Guren can go in order to get what he wants in the end. I've already found out a couple of things about him via spoilers, and my suspicions of him are only getting stronger. He's the character that I love to hate mainly because he's a good example of why the Japanese Imperial Demon Army aren't as holy and pure as they're made out to be. I like antiheroes/villains who display these traits due to the fact that it makes them more than just "They're bad because they are" like I've seen in other shows.

On a random side note, did you notice Guren's slicked back hair in the screenshot? I've noticed that Guren and Shinya (and possibly others) seems to slick their hair away from the face while in battle. I guess its main purpose is for hair to not get in their eyes, but really, we're going onto a battlefield in the middle of a nearly dead city and there's going to be bloodshed. Might as well look fierce while doing it, am I right or am I right?

Let's move things to the vampire side for now. It's time to talk about Ferid:

Meet the reason why Yu wants to take revenge against the vampires. Ferid Bathory is a Seventh Progenitor vampire who killed the children of the Hyakuya Orphanage when they all tried to escape the underground city. Ferid is typically very cheerful in terms of mood, often taking to irritating Krul and Mikaela to dangerous levels. He can also be very unpredictable. As much as he may act all kind and polite, he will occasionally say things to the point of irritating his fellow vampires before brushing it off with a "Just kidding." He is also quite sadistic, and enjoys seeing children in despair alongside manipulating others.

But he's also hiding several things, much like Guren. And if the final scene of the first cour serves any indication, it appears that he's working with someone on the opposite side of the war. But for what exactly? I hope that's going to be in the cards to find out for next cour.

Overall, I'd say Ferid is probably the most antagonistic character out of the vampires, but he isn't the most interesting one from them. Most of his actions read to me as very stereotypical (such as being the "guardian" of vamp Mikaela, much to the latter's chagrin), and him being unpredictable doesn't really add as much intrigue to his character as one would hope it would. His personality feels plastered from several other existing shonen villain tropes, and it's only going to be a matter of time where we might find ourselves a stronger vampire in Japan somewhere who might as well eliminate him.

But I do like how he's able to admit the faults in his own race, such as their arrogance. It might come back and bite him in the ass, though.

Last up is Shinoa:

Out of the Shinoa Squad, Shinoa is the most interesting character, as well as the most fun. She is Guren's sergeant as well as the leader of the squad that eventually forms, and is tasked with helping Yuichiro make friends at the beginning of the series. She is often very sarcastic and loves to tease people, especially Yu. Despite this, she still cares about her friends, and is able to turn off her very playful side when battle comes knocking.

Despite being a part of the Hiragi family, it seems that she doesn't really care about her status, feeling fine for staying at the sergeant rank as she feels it fits her, being very loyal to Guren because of it. However, it seems like even she's beginning to doubt him herself after the battle in Shinjuku, and that could potentially grow. She's also starting to develop feelings for Yu, which she also seems to struggle to admit to herself. Her Cursed Gear is Shikama Doji, which takes the form of a large scythe, but comes in the form of a key-like object before being summoned.

The reason as to why I like Shinoa as much as I do is that despite the fact that we haven't seen a lot of her past (like the others), we still are given examples of how well-rounded she is. Her teasing and playful side is very hilarious and fun to watch, especially with her narrating the tales of Mitsuba's crush on Yu or just playing things up for kicks. But seeing how she can easily stow it away when she has the chance, as well as knowing that she has moments of weakness, make her more human as a character because of the fact her emotions never seem fake to me. They're real, and I honestly felt really bad for her when she was forced to stop Yu's rampage to the point where she was almost killed. I'm always happy when I'm able to connect to a character in a tense moment of crisis, and Shinoa does just that.

I'm also sensing that she doesn't feel accepted in her own family, because when Mika and Yu reunite, she makes a remark about them being family. It could relate back what happened to her sister, Mahiru, or it could be because of the high ranking families having their own problems. Either way, I hope to find out why in the 2nd season.

The other members of the Shinoa squad are Yoichi, Shiho, and Mitsuba, who aren't really as interesting or developed as strongly compared to Shinoa and Yu. Shiho's probably the most developed out of the three, as he wants to be a part of the Moon Demon Company in order to get money for his young sister's treatments, as she is currently ill with an unknown sickness. But at the same time, he's also the stereotypical rival character that I'm getting tired of seeing in shonen in general.

Yoichi is the stereotypical wimp-like character who wants to fight because of his older sister protecting him from a vampire, causing her to die. He is pretty kind and the most levelheaded of the group, but at the same time, I can't get help but be bored with him. I'd like to see some of his struggles in order to become stronger, such as with Gekkoin, his contracted demon, but I really doubt I'm going to see that.

Mitsuba is the last member introduced who's a part of the Sangu family, and she has been a member of the Vampire Extermination Unit for quite some time. Despite being the most experienced member, Shinoa is still the leader of the group most likely because of her higher status. She's the typical tsundere character who likes to follow the rules in battle after a mistake caused one of her former battle partners to die protecting her. Plus, she also develops feelings for Yuichiro after he manages to save her a couple of times, and yet she still tries to deny them. I'm curious to see if we'll hear more about her family, since we know that the Hiragis are the highest ranked and perhaps the ones to fear the most.

Other characters from the Japanese Imperial Demon Army outside of Shinoa's unit include Sayuri, the Second Lieutenant of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, Shigure, another Second Lieutenant, Norito, a Colonel, and Mito, who was born from the Jujo family. All of them make up Guren's squad of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, with Sayuri often stepping into Guren's teaching duties when he is not there. We also have seen a couple of members from the Hiragi family at this point, them being Shinya, Seishiro, and Tenri, the last being the highest ranking General in the JIDA, and the head of the Hiragi family.

On the vampire side of things, there's Krul, the vampire queen of Japan with Third Progenitor powers, Crowley, a Thirteenth Progenitor who serves under Ferid's faction, along with his servants Chess and Horn, and finally, Lacus and Rene, two members in charge of the vampire's city guards.

Other than that, we have the kids from the Hyakuya Orphanage, Asuramaru, a demon who resides in Yuichiro's Cursed Gear, Shiho's younger sister Mirai, and Tomoe, Yoichi's older sister.

We'll definitely be seeing some of the characters more next season, including the two I mentioned at the start of this section. And I think we'll also be meeting some new people as well. Looks like I'll have to stay tuned.


The animation for this series was produced by Wit Studio, who are also known for the aforementioned Attack on Titan, The Rolling Girls, and Hozuki no Reitetsu.

As a whole, I'm really impressed with the animation of the series. The colors of the characters are all pretty vibrant, the landscape during the Shinjuku battle looked absolutely amazing as the sun sets in the background, the fight scenes are all very fluid and characters stay on model during most of them, and I really like some of the attention to detail, most specifically the eyes between the humans and the vampires.

Besides the vampire eyes being red, they have a different style of pupil compared to the human character, as they are vertical slits. The human characters have horizontal slits, and it isn't actually that noticeable at first until you see it more closely in detail, which is pretty cool and reminds me of a character from Ai Tenchi Muyo whose glasses communicated some of her emotions like eyes. Mikaela's fangs are also pretty well hidden until the right moments.

If there's one complaint I have with the show's animation, it'd be that sometimes character movement as a whole is either too stiff or too loose, which I noticed in Episodes 5 and 12 especially. It just looks jarring compared to the fight scenes, which are probably the best out of the show entirely for reasons mentioned above. But that's kind of a nitpick when I think about it (Episode 11 probably had a different animation director, so I can't really fault the whole show for that episode, even though it did probably have the worst moments), because as a whole, I didn't think the animation was that bad, and I really liked it in general.


The score for this series was composed by 4 people, though I think Hiroyuki Sawano is the head of the OST composing (Blue Exorcist, Nanatsu no Taizai), and Asami Tachibana (Aoharu x Machinegun, Soul Eater Not!), Megumi Shirashi (no other credited score works), and Takafumi Wada (Highschool of the Dead, Terraformers Revenge) contributed to it.

After a wonky score and an almost rip-off score, I was really hoping that Hiroyuki Sawano would be able to produce an actual winner this time. I mean, after all, third time's the charm as the saying goes. But unfortunately, Seraph of the End didn't deliver, and instead, all I got was a really boring musical score.

The majority of the pieces are too similar, and only a few tracks manage to stand out (some may have been composed by the other composers other than Sawano). There's one instance in the recap episode where a track that has a Gothic choir comes in during the reunion that completely makes the scene lose its momentum, and aside from that, I don't think it's going to be one that I remember down the road. 

It's a shame, because Hiroyuki Sawano has done a lot of work on popular titles, and I really want to actually like something from him. But that hasn't happened yet, and I'm not sure when it will.

The voice acting, on the other hand, is actually fairly good. The original Japanese has a pretty talented voice cast, and I couldn't help but notice that the two leads gender wise on the human side are played by the seiyuus of Yui and Apollon from Kamigami no Asobi (Saori Hayami and Miyu Irino), which I think is absolutely hilarious. Some of the seiyuus have a different tone to their voices that I haven't typically seen from them (mainly Aoi Yuki and Kensho Ono), and I just typically liked the voices of most of the characters in general. I haven't seen enough of the English dub yet to gain an impression on it yet, but I do have two voices that I already don't like from what I've heard. But I do hope to watch it as soon as I can when it's legally free for me to watch.

Highlights in the original Japanese include Miyu Irino, Kensho Ono, Saori Hayami, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Kaito Ishikawa, Yuichi Nakamura, Takahiro Sakurai, Daisuke Ono, Yu Shimamura (as both young Yu and Mito), Haruka Chisuga, Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Keiji Fujiwara, Tomoyo Kurosawa, Yoko Hikasa (as Horn and Gekkoin possessing Yoichi's older sister Tomoe), Aoi Yuki, Kenichi Suzumara, Nozomi Furuki, Takuma Nagatsuka, Yuichiro Umehara, and Hibiku Yamamura.


I did have expectations for this series that I was worried the show wasn't going to hit, but in the end, I'd say the show managed to hit the expectations that I wanted it to hit. It's not terribly cliche, and it's pretty entertaining for what it offers. I do wish the story, character development, and the score were stronger, but I managed to find myself get emotionally affected by some of the moments towards the end (MY HEART), and the animation was very fluid when it came to fight scenes. I'm definitely interested to see if the 2nd cour will be able to improve on the weak spots that the 1st cour had, but I also want to see if the show will make the stronger points even better (such as the development of Yu and Mika and the good vs. evil conflict being blurred).

Overall, I'd say this is a perfect recommendation for shonen anime fans, as well as people who like vampires, shows with great action, and if you're curious to see if you'll actually ship Mikalea and Yu as much as this show's fanbase might. I'm sure you'll will.

Onto the next season!

Score: 8/10


Story's premise is really interesting.

The ending episodes are very emotional.

The exploration of the balance between good and evil is fantastic.

Yu x Mika ship is sailing.

Lead development is super strong.


Animation is very colorful and fluid.

Good voice acting.


Story in the first half moves pretty slowly.

Character development between the squad isn't developed strongly.

Score is boring.

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