Listen, there is a level of bait that is great in small doses, but this is taking it to a whole different plane of existence on top of the whole vampire apocalypse business. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you obviously haven’t heard of Serpah of the End or Owari no Seraph or Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign. Originally published by Shueisha and Viz Media, it is a series written by Takaya Kagami, drawn by Yamato Yamamoto, and storyboarded by Daisuke Furuya, the first two having previously worked mostly with light novels. It started 2012 and is currently still on going, mostly drawn out of the last few years with the last update being around the 11th of October at a total of 50 chapters. The anime series by Wit Studio aired 2 seasons throughout 2015, and like many series is just on hiatus while more chapters are added. The series also has 6 light novels under the title Owari no Seraph- Ichinose Guren, 16-sai no Hametsu or Serpah of the End: Guren Ichinose: Catastrophe at Sixteen. They have also recently released the Serpah of the End: The Story of Vampire Mikaela in 2015. Wow, that’s a lot of really long titles…
Like many recent stories, Seraph of the End is centered around the end of the world, but after a virus ravages the world and allows for… Vampires to appear and decide to take over the planet since the virus won’t affect them? Listen, I know it sounds dumb, but this is the actual plot. It’s like Attack on Titan in a way only… Maybe a lot less convoluted. Anyway, the story specifically follows Yuichiro Hyakuya and his journey for vengeance against the vampires, who killed his family and rule over them. He does this by joining the Japanese Imperial Demon Army alongside a few other kids who slowly become his new-found family, all while mourning his best friend Mikaela who sacrificed himself for Yuu (as he is affectionately called by other characters). The way to join the army, I know you’re all wondering, is to make a pact with a demon. So, these kids are literary risking being possessed to fight vampires. Again, I know how this plot sounds, but it’s a lot of fun. This also isn’t including all the twists and turns that the story takes with hidden agendas and who the real villains are.
There’s a lot of things happening in this series that are hard to cover and explain without spoilers.
As stated, Yuichiro Hyakuya is the main character of the story, and boy does he play the part. He is literally all the things a main character is, hot headed a to name one. He has feels strongly about family and friends, wanting to protect anyone he considers family. Since he was 12 he has wanted to destroy all vampires for the violent murder of his family, the Hyakuya Orphanage, whether this blinds him sometimes or not, well that’s open for interpretation. To do this he joins the Demon Army and makes a pact with Asuramaru, a katana that is possessed by a demon, but he has another source of power. All I will say is he is The King of Salt.
Next is Mikaela Hyakuya and if you’re upset about spoilers… The dude is literally in the opening as teenager next to Yuu. When he sacrificed himself for his friend he was instead taken by a vampire and turned. However, he has yet to become a full vampire, as he has never drunken the blood of a human. Something has happened to him that has caused him to detest both vampires and humans, allowing to focus on one goal only: Find Yuu. That is his motivation. He also is extremely worried about meeting Yuu again, since you know… Vampire.
Literally, I cannot stress this enough. The two main characters are so incredibly devoted to each other that I can’t handle it. They go from staring at each other in the first opening credits to literally cradling each other’s faces in the second. It’s so bait filled that it’s glorious, but it also hurts me. It hurts so much.
Anyway, the next character is Shinoa Hiiragi, Yuu’s commanding officer in their specific squad. She acts much older than she is and is related to the most powerful human family in the series. She has a scythe called Shikama Doji, which apparently means Four-Scythe Child. She, like Yuu, considers her squad her family as she begins forming relationships with them. She also is the character that gets to develop feelings for Yuu, as most main female characters do.
Finally, the last character I want to cover is Guren Ichinose, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Demon Army. He also leads his own squad while being the leader of the company Yuu is a part of. He seems strict and uptight, finding weakness in many places, especially in how Yuu carries himself alongside his squad. His sort of the stand in father figure for Yuu. His demon weapon is Mahiru-no-Yo or Midday’s Night, a katana. He was around before the fall of humanity and watched it destroy so many, including people very important to him.
There’s a lot of other characters I could cover, but there is a lot. A lot on both sides, humans and vampires and we’d all like to avoid as many spoilers as we could if possible.
This is a beautiful series; it also has a great attention to color and detail in facial expressions. I would say that the anime is a bit prettier than the manga and that’s only because you can watch the action happen fluidly. Much like a series like Haikyuu you get a feel of everything that’s happening. The series was licensed by Studio Witt, also known for Attack on Titan… which explains a lot. My AoT complaints aside the color on this series is gorgeous, certain color combinations to not be acknowledged. Blood comes off as actually thick and sort of gooey, all in good ways that show the sort of brutality in the show’s world. Hair seems thick and fluidly move in wind and action. Trust me, I’m all about that hair action and how it moves during actions, and this show delivers. It also has scenes that are genuinely painful because of how well it’s animated, like a character is dying and it legit looks awful to go through. The series was directed by Daisuke Tokudo and had episodes personally drafted by the manga’s writer for story that now goes past the manga’s current chapter. This is a good-looking show and easy to enjoy visually. It was licensed for America by Funimation and that leads us straight into how good the dub is.
This is a great dub, but it does have some interesting moments in how it was directed. I’ve only seen the full dub and a few select scenes in Japanese, but overall I think you could go for either and be happy with what you heard. As stated earlier, the dub was done by Funimation, so you know it’s a good one for the most part. It has Micah Solusod as Yuichiro, a voice actor also known for his role as Soul Eater Evans in Soul Eater or more recently as Yuri Plisetsky in Yuri!!! On Ice (which you should all go watch). Solusod has a very Johnny Young Bosch feel sometimes and I found myself wondering which one it was sometimes. It also has Jerry Jewell, as Shinya Hiiragi, who is known for many roles but perhaps best as Kyo in Fruits Basket or Russia in Axis Powers Hetalia, he’s also currently in Yuri!!! On Ice as Victor Nikiforov. I don’t think I need to go on about how good the dub is, but what about the original? It does have Miyu Irino, as Yuichiro, who is probably known best for his role as Sora in the Kingdom Hearts video games or as Todomatsu recently in Osomatsu-san. But, and I know someone’s asking, what about the music? Well, it has a pretty sweet soundtrack. The soundtrack was produced and composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, also known for his work on the Blue Exorcist series and the Attack on Titan series. Overall, I think it has a great sound that works for everything that’s happening, though it does remind me of AoT a lot at times. Sawano also helped compose the opening and ending themes to the first series, though X.U., sung by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Gemie, is probably a stand out personally. It says everything that Mika and Yuu are feeling toward each other, though you could probably read into it differently than I did. I think you could check out either and be pretty pleased with what you heard.
This series is a lot like Attack on Titan, but I, and don’t get angry, think it’s better than its predecessor. There something about it that pulls more emotions from me; I feel like I actually get to know characters before their untimely demise. I also think that this show definitely plays up the relationships characters are building a lot more fluidly. However, I can’t ignore that it is a lot like AoT at times and many other post-apocalypse stories. It is a bit distracting when I think of certain things and how convoluted it can be at times. I’m also worried that it’s going to fall into the same political arc that AoT did, something that stagnated the series tremendously for me. Ultimately though, I enjoyed this series and all of its faults. If anything, you could check it out and see if you end up enjoying yourself.
Seraph of the End: 8/10