in other news, I’m inconsistent about updating this page…
but anyway. I have an anime review to post!
Seraph of the End
I haven’t done one of these in a while – apologies and such, but also I haven’t had an anime that really grabbed my attention until just recently.
It’s a world where the apacolypse happened and most of the adults died. Unless you’re counting the vampires. This anime is like if someone took Evangelion, Trinity Blood, and Fullmetal Alchemist and smashed them together.
Normally I don’t go for the whole Vampires genre, but I feel like in this case there are enough original elements involved that it works.
Main characters Yuichiro Hyakuya and Mikaela Hayakuya are orphans, Yuu being the latest addition to the pack of amazingly happy children for kids whose parents were like “Hmmm. Nah.” While at first Yuu is very much the angsty anti-social jerk, it actually turns out that his attitude is %90 front to keep himself from getting emotionally hurt. The other ten percent being cocky little shithead kid that has a chip on his shoulder. Also it’s pretty easy to get past his barriers and to top it off, he is about as tenacious as a tick to remove once you’ve gotten his loyalty. I find this to be a refreshing change from the usual Lone Wolf type main character that runs about these days. He isn’t after girls and he doesn’t have a harem despite his general obliviousness to the virtues of the female form. The girls around him do love him, but its more a focus on ‘my stupid derpy brother is at it again’ type of love.
Mika obviously has been with the orphanage a bit longer than Yuu before all hell breaks loose and the whole lot of them get swept into captivity under ground by the vampires. Despite being treated like cattle, he does his best to survive and make sure his little family survives while Yuu plots and schemes to Kill All Vampires (now where have I heard that before? Ohhh Titans…). Mika is not above pretending obedience to get what he wants. He is fully capable and willing to grovel and beg if he needs to. It is his shrewd cunning that gets their little orphan family to the door to freedom.
Here’s where things took a turn for the expected. Of course Mika ends up as a vampire, but it isn’t a matter of “NOOO RIKU COME BACK TO THE LIGHT!” He was not willing, is still not willing, and will forever plot and scheme to bring about the demise of the vampire regime, and the humans if he has to. His only concern is for Yuu.
Yuu, on the other hand, has been taken in by the Demon Army, the largest and strongest force of humans that have begun resisting the vampires’ total domination. Their organization is not perfect either, which is a delightful turn of events in my book. Rife with corruption, bloated with self-importance and full of hot-headed youngsters that were barely young enough to survive the purge of adults, the Demon Army is out to take over the world for themselves. The vampires just happen to be in the way.
Meanwhile, two young boys who barely know what having a biological family is like are tearing through everyone and everything in their way of reuniting.
Supporting these star-crossed boy-loves is a whole cast of highly engaging, flawed, and amazing characters on both the vampire and human sides. In another surprising turn, the female characters equal the number of male characters. They’re not all being used as props to further the male characters plotlines. In fact, Yuu is frequently called ‘princess’ and is often the one who gets himself into distress and needs saving. His female teammates are arguably more badass than he is, considering that their weapons supposedly aren’t as strong as his. There is another boy whose personality is very feminine, and he too bends the norm by being both soft and strong in ways unexpected in our – the viewer’s – society. He’s an archer, he’s not the healer, he’s back-line fighter, but not because he isn’t strong enough to be up front, but because that’s just not what he’s best at.
On the vampires side is the Queen who knew what Yuu and Mika were and chose to spare their lives despite her orders otherwise. She knows exactly how dangerous the pair of them are, and appears to be on their side, if only for her own reasons. What those are, I’m not sure, but the danger that Yuu and Mika present to the world is clearly demonstrated in a fairly early episode. Even demons fear the power these boys contain, for it isn’t even in their control.
Over all, this anime is a wonderful exploration of the hubris of humanity, and how children are far more open minded about things than adults are. With some really flipping awesome fight scenes thrown in.
From the technical side, the animation is amazing. The quality is very high and they don’t skimp on the fight scenes either. They use some computer rendering, I bet, but I can’t easily pick it out. The voice acting in the Japanese version is superb. I’ve not heard the dub, but Funimation has the rights to it, so… Whatever that ends up meaning to you.
I give this anime a 7 of 5 stars. I’m looking forward to it coming out on DVD. I even went so far as to buy the manga I like it that much.