After a catastrophic epidemic kills every adult on earth, vampires arise from the shadows to enslave the remaining human population. Yuichiro and his friends are kept as vampire fodder in a creepy underground city. Yuichiro dreams of one day fighting back, and the first step is staging a daring escape from their vampire overlords...
This anime had a ton of promise, but it just tripped over so many hurdles in the execution. The Good: The story itself was damned interesting. You've got a world where nearly every adult died, and almost all the children were abducted by vampires. It's the story of how one boy manages to escape captivity and manage to fight back alongside the human resistance. It's the makings of a great shonen anime. Seriously, we haven't seen a shonen action story with this much promise since Attack on Titan. Funny thing that I mentioned Attack on Titan, because this anime's story might as well be Attack on Titan, except with super-smart vampires instead of titans. That being said, this similarity didn't take away from the anime; what the story lacked in originality, it made up for in interesting plot devices, such as pills that could make the characters into super soldiers, at the risk of death. Overall, I liked the story, and I might speed my way through the Manga so that I can get a better look at the story. The Bad: Oh boy is there a lot of bad. Let me start off by saying that there was a lot of themes I did like about this anime, I liked the story, I liked the color schemes they chose for the uniforms (lime green and black go together rather nicely), and I liked the always present suggestion that the humans might be doing something so evil in the background that the vampires actually might be the good guys in comparison. So let's start off here with the biggest problem this anime has: Pacing. This anime could have very well been 6 episodes long with the amount of actual content that it had. It seems like they really tried making this anime too early, before the manga actually made it far enough to fuel a real half-season anime. The pacing felt fine for about the first three episodes, and things were going as you'd expect them in the setup of the anime, but as soon as time advances to present day, the entire story's pacing falls apart, within about 3 episodes (not exact, I have no intention of going back to rewatch this show to figure out where this actually happens), the crew find themselves embroiled in a warzone, one of the few cities the humans control has been invaded, and they have to rush to the rescue. But there's one problem, there's no rushing, it's more like a calm stroll to the battle. There's no sense of urgency, it's like when you're playing a game with a railroaded main storyline happening in the background, there's technically a story going on back there, but the characters will get to it when they feel like it, which doesn't work that well for a TV show like it does for a game. As bad as the pacing was, it was made even worse by what I imagine to be one of the lowest animation budgets for a headliner anime I've ever seen. Let me just say that short of straight to video hentai, I've never seen animation this bad in an anime. Nearly every conversation between two characters was a series of stillframes with moving mouths. Every "battle" was a slideshow of individual characters making shouting sounds and advancing towards each other and then stopping as their swords met, so that they could could animate their mouths in another series of stillframes. It's not to say that there wasn't action, the first three episodes actually had decent animation (5/10), but you can tell when their shoestring budget really ran out. Combined with the lack of pacing, the poor animation really killed any sense of urgency or excitement that you SHOULD feel in a shonen anime battle. A battle in this anime consisted of a handful of vampires standing on one side of a battlefield with a handful of humans on the other side looking menacingly at each other while their main character leaders talked at each other for minutes at a time, every once in awhile punctuated by a character remembering they have a special ability they can use to turn the tide of battle, being reminded of their futility, and then a quick return to the standstill. Oh, and another thing, the writer obviously knows nothing about the military. A big point that the anime makes early on is that the main character is GOING to join the military to fight the vampires. So, of course, he does (right around episode 4) and the first thing he does is disobey orders, putting his squad in danger. In the real world, this would be a court marshal, and probable jailtime or other punishment. He gets a "strong" talking to, during which he disrespects his commanding officer multiple times as well as outright fighting with at least one member of his squad. At no point is there any real reason given as to why he isn't just kicked out, or better yet, locked up in the brig. This anime might have been a lot better if he got locked up in the brig long enough for him to reflect on his assholery (although it still wouldn't have fixed the awful animation). Closing: In short, if you like to watch powerpoint presentations, this might be the anime for you. If you enjoy main characters who spend the entire anime being insufferable assholes that don't understand the concept of teamwork, this might be the anime for you. If you feel like the combination of lime green and black is a sufficient reason to watch an anime, well, you probably have something wrong with you, but this will be the anime for you. Don't watch this anime.
Well since this has only gotten good reviews I guess I'll add a less good one. Oh no, don't get the wrong idea, I'm not just doing this because no one else has yet, I really think it's average. Since I only watched the first 5 episodes and skimmed 6 and 7 (edit: now I've looked through all of the first season to make sure there wasn't a plot twist, a formality only), I'll just give an overall rating. I started watching it wondering if it was any good because I felt like some action, and am always looking for another good Anime :D, but was dissapointed. I didn't see the opening song the first episode and didn't need to to know pretty much everything that was going to happen. This continues as far as I can watch. Of course not everything, each series varies on the genre and what they use for details, but overall no suprises. In itself predictability isn't a bad thing, most Anime consists of plot that's already been used, but even a normal, seen-before plot can be good if well done, and if it grabs emotion. I didn't get that at all with this. This is definately something that could vary person to person, but 7 episodes in and the plot and characters are still following the cliches and norm with no practically no originality, and it's not emotionally grabbing. One possible reason for this would have to be the main character. Yuu bores me a little, I can normally handle this if there's an interesting plot...but well. Let's see what we know about him: 1.) He says he's only after revenge because someone/something killed his family, but is secretly a good guy concerned with his friends that he 'grudgingly' made. 2.) He actually is a prodigy at fighting for his age. 3.) He's immature and easily angered. Edit/spoiler 4.) There is a strange monster inside of him! *End Spoiler (if it is one...)* These are all the traits we get, and it's been seen SO many times before. It's too one dimensional at this point. Might as well switch him out with Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan or Leon Luis from Garo. Is it that much to ask to add a few traits to flesh Yuu out, even if they're insignificant traits? Take D. Gray Man's Allen Walker for example, similar plot, but to me it was more enjoyable from the beginning. Allen Walker was interesting because of his nice/pure guy personality despite being the main character, having Timcampi around him, being a big eater, his marking on his face, he's secretly good at gambleing/playing cards, and his fun evolving arm weapon. That's 6 traits I pulled out of my head, even though it's been several years since I've watched it. These things may have been seen before, but when added into one character it gives them some depth. Plus they're all easily established traits that you could see in the first few episodes. Another less important issue was one of the show's best parts, the animation. It looked nice (though not amazing), but other than that the only interesting design I can give it is Yuu's green eyes, and that isn't much. The uniforms were the main issue I had with it. I know the vampires and humans are in seperate factions, but frankly it's sort of boring to see every single character in A.) Vampire cloak uniform B.) human vampire fighting uniform C.) School Uniform, and D.) dull gray-brownish commoner unimportant clothes. *sighs* If Cardcaptor Sakura could switch up the outfit Sakura wore for transformations now and then, then this show could at least give us something really pretty with variation to look at for lack of substance. Edit: I've looked over the last few episodes, and I added .5 to the scoring I originally gave it. Specifically the last two episodes, and the overall outcome of the first season. But my opinion mainly stands. *SPOILERS*: They decided to let Yuu have an inner uncontrollable power/monster inside of him, because it would go great with his hot-headed personality, and before episode 11 nothing was really differant than my previous review, so that's why this does not leave the 5 zone. They also had slightly annoyingly cliff hangers in these previous episodes (like I would actually believe that they would kill off some of the popular main characters in the first season). However, a rating of 5.5 was given because of the simple fact that on the last episode Yuu seemed more reserved, and Mika and Yuu ACTUALLY AREN'T viewing eachother as enemies; they still care about eachother...though Mika has become a little twisted. Yuu himself says 'it's ok as long as [Mika] is alive'. Yuu's change in attitude on the last episode and Mika and Yuu's non-hate relationship makes the anime slightly more refreshing, thus the added .5. Though the last episode does not make up for everything else...*END SPOILER & Edit* Sound: I did like the opeing and ending themes, they were nice, but was not impressed by anything else, so it was satisfactory. This show is creating a normal plot, with normal characters, without being very grabbing (to me), so I recommend only if you really like this kind of setting and genre. Overall I give it a 5 for being normal, and only normal. ...and I won't give it benefit of the doubt that everything will change for the better in the second season, first season is over with only the last episode of it slightly better; it is probable the second season will be about the same.
Whenever a certain product becomes popular among the masses, it is guaranteed to have imitators trying to off its success. So when Attack on Titan became mainstream, imitators started popping up. One of these shows is Owari no Seraph or Seraph of the End in English. Right off the bat, the world makes zero sense. In the first episode, a virus kills basically everyone except people 13 years of age. And why everyone 13 and under survives this super virus that wiped out most of the human in like a day? Here’s the biggest problem with Seraph when it comes to its narrative, it never answers why things happen. When it comes to any story, there are five important questions to ask: What happened? Who was there? Why did it happen? When did it happens? Where did it happen? Now if you were to why stuff happen to Seraph, you will soon realize how many things happen just because. Why is people thirteen year and younger unaffected by the virus? Why were the vampires in hiding all this time? Where are there demons? Why some of the adults survive the super virus that killed nearly everyone in an hour? None of these questions are answered and the only reasoning behind these events are to move the plot in the direction the writer wants it to go. Even if you were to over the very flimsy plotting, there isn’t much to the show. The plot is a hogpog mess of ideas. There’s high schools, teenagers with giant weapons, a prophesy, vampires taking over the world, etcetera. Being unoriginal isn’t inherently a bad thing, but the show doesn’t do anything new or interesting with the ideas they had. Because of this, the show fails to have its own identity. As for the characters, they are by far the worst part of this show. They all reek of “shonen” and are completely void of development. The main lead ( Yuuichirou Hyakuya ) is an obnoxious, hot headed git. All he ever talks about is how he wants to kill all them vampires or how he doesn’t need any friends. It is impossible to get behind him since he doesn’t have any relatable aspects except raw anger. As for the other characters, they are pretty forgettable. Most of them consists of overused archetypes. To give an example, the MC team consists of a blond, twintails tsundere, a wimp, a male rival, and Mary Sue. The only character I liked was Shinoa. Even though she is a Mary Sue, her sarcastic attitude make her more bearable, especially in comparison to Eren Jager 2.0. In the animation department, the show fails to impress. The character designs are quite generic and it doesn’t help that the 2D character designs poorly blend in with the water colored backgrounds. Also, the military uniforms that everyone wears look stupid. The uniforms for the Japanese Imperial Demon Army are black and lined with neon green as if they was Tron and the vampires wear black and white 18th century military uniforms. As for the action, it is quite underwhelming. All the action in this season consists of only small skirmishes that don’t have the impact or choreography to make them memorable. Despite being composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, someone who has a rather good track, the soundtrack for Seraph is rather lacking. Most of the anime consists of silence. And when I listened to the soundtrack separately, I was all like “ where the hell all this music went to?” It is basically the opposite problem that Aldnoah Zero. In Aldnoah, the soundtrack was overused so that it became repetitive and to take away from any impact the series might of had. In Seraph’s case, the music was used too sparingly that it makes the show feel empty. I can’t really recommend Seraph even as a stupid time waster. I won’t fulfill anyone in terms of writing or aesthetics. I would say give this show a pass since it’s not worth your time. As for alternative shows, try out Attack on Titan or Blue Gender. Even though both shows eventually become train wrecks, they do the “ humanity is on the brink of extinction” far better that Seraph. If you want to see some cool vampire action, try out Hellsing (preferably Ultimate) or Blood the Last Vampire since they have better action and writing.
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