This anime had a ton of promise, but it just tripped over so many hurdles in the execution.
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.
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).
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.
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.
This includes my review for season 1 & 2
I wasn’t sure about this anime and waited until it was dubbed before trying it. Then I watched the first episode and just had to start writing the review right after.
You want my attention, you got it. The first episode pulls you in immediately from the very beginning. I didn’t need any character or background information to understand what was going on which is what makes a good opening along with starting the story right away instead of introducing everything before actually starting. I quickly understood the characters, felt for them, and understood the situation.
I was drawn in and held captive through the whole first episode (although a little disappointed at the end when they skipped ahead four years). To make things even better, this is the more serious and heavy type of story where people bleed and die and there isn’t any ridiculousness, at least at the beginning. They mood kind of reminds me of Attack On Titan but with a more powerful opening and a bit less powerful follow up.
Overall I enjoyed the first season. I felt it was waaaay to short still but I liked it and at least there is a second season. The story wasn’t quite as strong after the first episode but I still like it. One thing I don’t like is sitting at the edge of my seat wondering if they will rush the story. They released the first and second season so close together they could have just made it a 24 episode first season. That is how many episodes SHOULD be in a season, not that anyone over in Japan is actually listening to me.
The second season doesn’t have the strong start of the first season and at some points feels a bit weaker than the first season. I’m not saying it bit the dust or exploded. It was still and enjoyable watch that had me at the edge of my seat (or more like gripping my blanket in my fist and getting all tense). I was disappointed that the characters didn’t develop as much in the second season except Gurren and some others I don’t really care about. The action on the other hand increased and the fights were enjoyable. The story did answer some questions but I still felt like there were too many things I didn’t understand. Hopefully these things will be further explained in season 3. I’m not entirely positive I know exactly who the seraph of the end is or what that means or what the point of the human experimentation was but maybe I’m just stupid or oblivious. Maybe I was distracted by my noisy neighbors during the explanation. I sure would like to throw a fish at them right now or better yet, release this seraph of the end thing on them! Lovely lovely thoughts. I love when anime gives me good ideas and hate when I realize I don’t live in an anime and those ideas aren’t possible.
Anyway, back on track, the biggest problem with season two is that it exists and the season three doesn’t. They practically started a new season in the last few minutes of the last episode and there is no confirmed date for season 3 yet. There better be a season 3. Or I will just have to send a seraph of the end to the studio to force them into making season three. I want to see the development of the new situation with Mika and Yu. I want to know who that girl is. I want answers. Yes I’m greedy.
Overall the story pulls you in from the beginning and while it may not always be strong, it moves at a decent pace and keeps the interest. The main characters develop mostly in the first season and the others mostly develop in the second. The second continues from the first and leaves you wanting more. It kind of reminds me of Attack on Titan in terms of mood and story (human race almost wiped out by some supernatural being and humans trying to fight back) only this is perhaps a little less gruesome. It also reminds me a bit of Coppellion only darker than that and full of the supernatural. However the ruined cities and a group specially equipped to go in the cities and rescue people is a bit similar. A third similar anime (that I can think of which isn't much) is Chrome Shelled Regios whith a school training kids to defend and fight outside the city and in if need be. Anyway, It's a good anime so I say watch.
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.
I don't know why this anime has a 4.1 star rating. PLEASE, before you watch, look at the overall review rating from the people who took the time to watch and review the anime and go by that. If you're still interested, then by all means go ahead and watch it...but take the star rating from the site with a grain of salt.
I'm honestly not sure what to put here, as the plot is something the writers continue to keep hidden from the viewers. After all 12 episodes, you still will most likely not know much of anything about...well, ANYTHING.
There's no world building; nothing is explained.
A mysterious plague just randomly kills off almost all adults in the world (14 and up) and many of the kids are brought in as blood sources to feed vampires while random apocolypse creatures roam the outside world.
There is zero explanation for any of this, and this first set of 12 episodes does nothing to expand upon any lore.
Where did the vampires come from? What are the creatures roaming around? Why are the humans and vampires at war?
What the freak is going on?
Only the writer(s) know, and they aren't sharing it with the viewers.
I don't usually get subjective this early in a review, but this anime is the most confusing thing I have ever watched. There are some anime where the plot makes you scratch your head and go to the next episode to try and see if anyone will reveal what's going on (like Kekkai Sensen), but those anime have endearing qualities and eventual reveals of some semblance of worldbuilding and a plot.
This anime's plot is basically:
Vampires are killing humans and humans are killing vampires after a plague wiped out most of humanity. In the middle of it all is probably one of the most dislikable protagonists I have ever encountered (and I've encountered a lot) who has a secret of his own which even he doesn't know about which is hinted at but never even partially explained even by final episode.
Yea...I had to go read a freaking Wiki article. Twice. And since the manga is still unfinished, even all of that doesn't really make too much sense.
For the first half of the season, they're predictable and boring.
The protagonist, Yu, is like watching Naruto if Sasuke was the protagonist...only somehow, Yu manages to be even more obnoxious. While some of his behavior is due to losing his family, it still takes him far too long to actually develop (as in, he's pretty much a power-hungry, revenge-seeking jerk for 3/4 of the cour).
Some side characters are introduced eventually who are honestly the only reason I kept watching.
First is Shinoa, who is an officer assigned to watch him and has a hilariously devious personality while being intrigued by Yu's behavior.
Next is Yoichi, who is described as a simpering "wuss".
Finally, the "rival" character for Yu is introduced, and at first manages to be even more obnoxious than Yu.
Yes, I know this review isn't as "professional" as my typical reviews, but I'm going off the record because this anime is just so all over the place with a mysterious untold plot and one-dimensional characters.
The intro song visuals also spoils a little bit involving the characters, so what I presume was supposed to be a "big reveal" involving a character seen in episode 1 was just a shrug of the shoulders.
Animation & Sound
I'm only touching on this because the anime can't even save itself with the battles. The fight scenes in this 12 episode cour are pretty much static. They either last all of a couple seconds (better than lasting 4+ episodes, I suppose) and are anticlimactic, or they manage to last an entire episode or two because it's a war between vampires and humans...
...only, this is shown in stillframes which don't even manage to convey the stakes. Fight scenes which aren't in stillframes and aren't against "smallfry" are awkwardly drawn and animated; I laughed at one in the later episodes. It was a serious fight, but I laughed because of just how strangely it was animated.
I don't really have any complaints with the sound, though the BGM doesn't really help to fully capture the mood. Oh, the first episode certainly horrified me, but it was more the content and less the music. The voice acting is fine, which I guess at least earns some points.
Any anime/manga which pretty much requires the viewer/reader to go to a Wiki to find out what the heck the lore is and why the things in it are happening gets a thumbs down from me.
As a writer, I understand not revealing the main plot right off the bat (as well as having twists and turns), but you still need to give your readers SOMETHING. Owari no Seraph does NOT do this. Rather, the viewers are just sort of expected to have a suspension of disbelief and nod their heads to whatever is happening without asking WHY it's happening.
Because the "why" is never explained.
Humans got too big for their britches and this caused the majority to be killed by a virus/plague. And then vampires appeared from somewhere (after not being around before this event?) and captured all the kids they could in order to use them as blood banks while humans on the surface attempt to...kill the vampires for some reason unrelated to the fact that they are using freaking children as food sources.
With how bad the plot is and the writer's refusal to tell the audience anything which might help them understand the events and what's going on, the characters don't have enough weight to really carry the series, either. When a plot suffers or isn't explained, usually the characters can be relied upon to carry the weight of the story.
Not this one.
At least, not until the last couple episodes when the characters actually become likeable. Yet still, nothing is really revealed. Their "big reveal" in episode 12 wasn't really a reveal if anyone had been paying attention to the little hints leading up to it.
So, it's not as horrifying or surprising. It was also a lousy "bait" to give to the viewers, because it's not satisfying as even after learning that the tidbit we all knew was going on was true, there's no explantion as to "why" or "how".
This anime explains NOTHING...except that humans are greedy creatures.
Tell us something we don't already know.
Honestly, I'd recommend giving this anime a "pass". Perhaps the manga is better (I don't know, as I haven't read it nor do I plan on reading it), but even if it is, one shouldn't have to read the manga to understand the animation; that's not right.
Characters, plot, animation...I kept waiting for this anime to pick up, and when it hit episode 12 and there was still zero explanation or lore...well, I moved onto the next set of 12 episodes (as this is actually a 24 episode series which, for whatever reason, was split into two 12-episode seasons with a third season currently out as well).
That one didn't answer much and only opened up the door for more questions (a lot more questions), and then it was Wiki time...and even that is confusing and I had to read the bios of the characters themselves to try and understand what the flippity frack was happening.
Even the first episode has time skips in it and doesn't really give the viewers a chance to truly get to know the characters presented.
I mean, if you like being confused and not being told what's going on or why things are happening, then go for it. If you're a Sasuke Uchiha fan, then you might like Yu so you might get some enjoyment out of the character section.
Otherwise...I honestly do not recommend this anime. I have a lot more to say about it, but I'll move that to a review of the second season.
My bad on thinking that given 24 episodes, this series could explain enough lore to understand what's going on and what the "bad guys" are truly trying to do.
The characters obviously know and are told, but the audience is always kept deaf, blind, and dumb...and to be brutally honest, that's the most aggrivating thing about this anime.