With the appearance of a mysterious virus that kills everyone above the age of 13, mankind becomes enslaved by previously hidden, power-hungry vampires who emerge in order to subjugate society with the promise of protecting the survivors, in exchange for donations of their blood.
Among these survivors are Yuuichirou and Mikaela Hyakuya, two young boys who are taken captive from an orphanage, along with other children whom they consider family. Discontent with being treated like livestock under the vampires' cruel reign, Mikaela hatches a rebellious escape plan that is ultimately doomed to fail. The only survivor to come out on the other side is Yuuichirou, who is found by the Moon Demon Company, a military unit dedicated to exterminating the vampires in Japan.
Many years later, now a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, Yuuichirou is determined to take revenge on the creatures that slaughtered his family, but at what cost?
Owari no Seraph is a post-apocalyptic supernatural shounen anime that follows a young man's search for retribution, all the while battling for friendship and loyalty against seemingly impossible odds.
Owari no Seraph is an anime adaptation of Takaya Kagami's ongoing shounen manga of the same name. Kagami himself did script writing for the anime involving events that were not yet published in the source material. The anime is licensed by Funimation for both video and streaming in North America. The source material has also spawned several other adaptations including two different light novel series, a voice comic, two video games and a spin-off manga.
Alright, this is one of the most popular shows last season so I found it reasonable for it to serve as my first review for the season.
The story is surprisingly bad. Episode one was almost perfectly copied from popular WIT series Attack on Titan. The premise is pretty generic. Main character is trapped and enslaved in a city by vampires along with many other kids. He ends up the sole survivor as he and friends attempt to escape from the city of Vampires. He then vows to get his revenge. Oh boy. He joins the military force to combat the vampires and for some odd reason the MC goes through school while receiving his training. His school life was irrelevant other than for making friends so the school setting was unnecessary as he could've made friends anywhere else. The setting is extremely unnatural considering the situation
The story continues to progress predictably while MC meets a typical cast of characters which I'll get into. But the absolute worst thing about the series is the dialogue. It's beyond generic and incredibly predictable. From "I'll kill all the vampires" to "I'll make sure no one dies lol". Just as no one seems to think before they spout whatever trash they want to say, they author doesn't seem give much thought to what dialogue can convey. It's as if he tried to take every cool sounding line from previously anime and manga and apply them where possible only to receive the opposite effect of what he hoped.
The weapons systems is retarded. They are controlled by demons and you must make a contract with a demon using some arbitrary and nonsensical show of "willpower", Which will lead to yet again some more predictable scenes. The fights are strangely favorable to MC and his party even though the power level between humans and Vampires is revealed to be huge. The upper level Vampires never go all out for whatever reason and constantly miss chances to kill, in contrast to episode one where the kids are cut apart in seconds. The thing I realized about this series is there is nothing unique about it. There is nothing that make it stand out and be recognized as "that anime". This isn't simply in comparison to AOT, but many good or at least decent anime. This goes back to the blandness of the dialogue, and the blandness of the characters.
Not much to say here. The character are all dull as I said. The MC is a typical angry little kid who wish to exterminate the vampires. He spouts the expected edgy lines all throughout the first few episode thinking he doesn't need friends to kill, he wants to hurry up and kill, etc. He meets a typical shy kid who seems completely useless but can actually be somewhat helpful, and a typical rival character who is an ass but is actually nice on the inside. Shinoa was actually decent and entertaining as well. Maybe that's why I remember her name along with just a few others. Her smug playfulness drew an interesting contrast with her serious attitude on the field. But that's about it.
Strangely enough with all the emphasis on teamwork you'd think there'd be more tactics in fights but I guess not. The vampires didn't appear enough to do anything other than say the usual antagonistic lines and how things seemed interesting. MCs friend survives and turns into a Vamp, no surprise here. The show does a terrible job drawing sympathy for the viewer for either side, though it clearly aims to do so with MC's friend being turned while MC fights the vampires and a few other reasons.
The character designs are good but the animation can be inconsistent with one hilarious episode standing out in terms of poor quality. The water color-esque background are unique and works well for indoor scenes, but outdoors draws an huge contrast with the 2D character figures which can be annoying. Fight scenes were done decently at best, as seems WIT is saving the shekels for AOT.
Many people take the opportunity to shamelessly cream themselves when Hiroyuki Sawano is revealed to be handling the music composition for an anime. This is certainly not on the level of AOT or Kill la Kill and it's not anything special. It's has some good moments but nothing else.
Even with all I mentioned the series managed to remain entertaining enough for me to at least complete it. I may or may not be watching season 2, but I don't feel like I've completely wasted my time somehow. Maybe I still retain hope for the show to get better and haven't been completely let down (considering my expectations were pretty low in the first place)
If you like something generic yet can kill time without causing you to die of boredom, this may be the show for you. read more
A little disclaimer here: I've never expected this anime to be the next big thing or whatsoever, it attracted me on a very superficial level so I started watching it as a hobby to exercise my critical sense and to pass time during saturdays. What I've witnessed, however, was disappointing even to a casual watcher...
Story - 3/10 - Owari no Seraph attempts to be everything at once: a dystopian grimdark post-apocalyptic story, a military war drama, "humans versus supernatural beasts" conflict with some high-school/slice of life/teen comedy moments. All of that while bringing on vampires, demons, ominous and vague prophecies, Evangelion-esque monsters and deadly viruses killing 90% of the population. In the end, all these elements didn't work together and the plot falls by itself. The impression I had was to be watching a very poor collage made from scraps of other successful shows, like Code Geass, 07-Ghost, Attack on Titan and Tokyo Ghoul.
Probably the producers/creators thought that shoving every possible shounen/seinen trope down the watcher's throat would be a good idea, but in the end it was a messy, nonsense trainwreck that tries to pander to every possible demographic but lacking it's own essence.
Also, although the manga might provide answers, the anime leaves many weird plot elements with no explanations at all: where did those beasts called 'Four Horsemen of John' come from and what's their relevance to the plot? Although the humans can't attack vampires with normal weapons due to their enhanced strength, why can't the vampires attack humans with bombs and firearms since they are vulnerable? What did the Mahiru Hiragi character do that triggered the plot? Where and how did the vampires live during all this time before the apocalypse? Too many things with no answers, and that's pretty frustrating.
Art - 6/10 - The art style is kinda mediocre to be honest. It's not ugly, but the character design was very unoriginal. All the female characters have the exact same babyfaces with round proportions, like, you could switch hairstyles and some clothing and voilà, they would look exactly the same person. This female/wide-eyed face is also shared by the two protagonists and another innocent/young-looking boy called Yoichi. All the adult/"threatening" males also have the same stern face with sharp "Tsurime" eyes. The choice of that weird lime-green color as the one used by the military was weird. In my opinion, golden, deep blue or burgundy could have been wisest design choices. Also, it appalles me that the human girls wear microskirts (with the exception of a girl named Mito Jujo) and the female vampires have uniforms with cleavages. Also, the Big Bad looks like a 8 year old Goth Lolita, not only this is a very lazy design choice but also might have infortunate implications. The animation slips sometimes and it ruins the mood pretty much.
Music - 5/10 - The music in Owari no Seraph is unremarkable. The intro is kinda allusive to KLK/Alnoah Zero, while the ending song sounds like Nickelback or other random neo-grunge revival from early 2000s sang in japanese. The score is repetitive... So, not much to say here.
Characters - 1/10 - The characters are THE WORST PART of the anime. You know, even when the plot is weird and the storytelling is overall insubstantial good and charismatic characters might save the day by conquering the watcher's affection. It doesn't happen in Owari no Seraph and I will tell you why:
Yuichiro Hyakuya - Probably the most annoying main character of the year. To me, he IS the most unbearable and revolting shounen protagonist I've witnessed in my entire life. He is the typical cliché hot-headed and determined shounen hero, willing to fight recklessly to protect what's important to him while trying to avenge his family (rings the Eren Yaeger bells). However, he has no character development whatsoever: he is a brat unable of cooperating with his teammates, doesn't follow orders, is verbally abusive towards everyone around him no matter how amiable they are, his obsession with 'killing vampires because they killed his family' is absolutely shallow because, seriously, he probably doesn't even remember the names of the other kids that were killed, he was solely worried about Mika all the time. Also, he doesn't have a coherent discourse or belief, he switches from "I'm gonna kill all vampires!" to "I'm gonna protect everyone" or "I have no friends" to "You are my family" in the blink of an eye, like he is always slipping out of character. What makes me more even distraught about him is that the plot insists that we should root for him and empathize with his pains, but we simply can't, he is an ultimate asshole. Anyway, this boy deserves no love and I absolutely despise him.
Mikaela Hyakuya - He is a blank slate. He is the Lost Lenore to Yuichiro and have been working with vampires after being turned into one, however, other than his obsession with 'saving Yui from the hands of humans' he doesn't have much characterization. I've noticed that the plot tried, briefly, to insert some drama about the conflict he goes through about being a vampire and not a human anymore, and to be honest, this screams Kaneki Ken (Tokyo Ghoul) but isn't even close to the depth this character or his story have.
Shinoa Hiragi - She is probably the only main character that has my sympathy. Although she has some Mary Sue traits, her more realistic reactions in face of the disaster, quirky/sarcastic personality and backstory (being the unwanted youngest daughter in a family of buff ruthless military men) earned her some respect. I particularly think that Shinoa could be a much more interesting protagonist than Yu, to be honest.
Mitsuba Sangu - Annoying, extremely annoying. She is another entry into the old "twintails tsundere" cliché present in almost every shounen since Asuka from Evangelion. The difference is that Asuka had a convincing backstory, she knew her actions were abusive and irrational and suffered because she couldn't overcome her inner demons and change her ways. Mitsuba Sangu could have been an interesting female character, but once again, the chance was thrown away for the sake of shallow archetypes. I also must point how annoying it was to see innuendos that she might have a crush on the bratty main character.
Shihou Kimizuki - Seriously, what's wrong with this show? We already had a jerk of a protagonist with a rotten attitude, but not satisfied in making us suffer, we got another one! This guy is an absolute ass, the typical "detached and brooding dude with glasses" unable to express sympathy or friendship openly, instead yelling and being verbally abusive towards everyone, but who the inside cares about his friends and whatever. I'm honestly rooting for this guy to be killed in the next season.
Yoichi Saotome - I have nothing much to say about him. He's shy, nerdy, effeminate, probably his only function in the plot is to be the levelheaded and friendly teammate who is shipped by the fangirls to the other two more masculine boys of the group. I have no hard feelings for him, but he could disappear from the story and wouldn't be missed.
Guren Ichinose - He's an abusive and sassy Gary Stu who throws hints about being ambigously evil, manipulating the MC behind the scenes. He's like a failed attempt to blend Roy Mustang (FMA) and Kishou Arima (Tokyo Ghoul) and does it very, very poorly. His team, that seems to be far more enjoyable and mature then the bratty teen protagonists, should have gotten more focus IMO.
Ferid Bathory - It drives me so mad that the only character coded as being sexually divergent (he is very effeminate and apparently homosexual) is portrayed as being a villainous monster who is, withal, a pedophile. The producers don't even hide their intentions of perpetuating the homophobic and bigoted 'evil gay bishounen' trope. It's disgusting.
All the other characters, humans or vampires, are absolutely uninteresting and not worth being mentioned.
Enjoyment - 5/10 - You know, it is a fun pastime during boring saturday mornings, but it can be a little bit painful to watch sometimes: the war/fight scenes make absolutely no sense and probably would make war veterans die in laughter because that's not how things work during wars. I mean, your brave shounen protagonist won't stop in the middle of the action to brag about some irrelevant philosobabble. The story also takes some time to gain speed, but it also fades quickly. Probably the most ridiculous scene I've seen so far was that of some human military taking down choppers with bows and arrows. Lmao....
Overal - 2/10 - It tries to be gory, dark and edgy as a seinen, while having action, fights and characters archetypes common in shounen, with a bishounen cast and teen comedy/queerbaiting elements to pander to the shoujo/fujoshi fangirls, but in the end nothing makes sense. The characters suck and have no development. It can be fun to watch, but this is far from groundbreaking. Very, very mediocre at best.read more
Owari no Seraph (Seraph of the End) is the quintessential example of a "generic" anime title. It's a show you've undoubtedly seen many times before and one you'll continue to encounter way after its time in the limelight is long gone. It's a throw-away title that'll be replaced by the next lackluster one to come behind it. The best analogy I can think of to allow you to fully comprehend Owari's placement among other anime titles, is to think of it as the store brand cereal at the supermarket. It's bland, cheap, packaged in a box with little creative effort, always at the bottom shelf, and does very little to distinguish itself from its competitors. At worse it's a forgettable hodge podge of clichés and overused tropes, and at best it's a cheap knock-off of a much superior product. It's a entry level show, and depending on how accustomed you've grown to these formulaic setups, will determine how much you like it.
This story of Owari no Seraph is so standard fare that with a few substitutes of names and a little tweaking here and there will allow you to use the same synopsis to describe any other show with the same basic setup. Use the template below and see how many 'bottom of the barrel' shows you an insert.
One day humanity is suddenly attacked by [insert name of threat here] and is brought to the brink of annihilation. But with the discovery of [insert name of weapons or power here] they were able to fight back. We follow our protagonist [insert name here] as he and his comrades use [insert name of weapon or power] to fight the [insert name of threat here] and reclaim humanity.
To say that there's little to talk about when discussing Owari's story would be an understatement. Everything I can say here can apply to any other cheaply patched together narrative. Instead I'll discuss if the execution of this bare-bones setup was done right nor not. Despite harping on it's overused setup, a overused setup can still be done well if executed and presented correctly... and to the surprise of no one, it couldn't even manage to do that well either.
The story is suppose to document the power struggle between humanity and vampires, with our protagonist and his friends being in the centerfold of all the events. You'd think with such a setup we'd get atleast a action filled romp to keep us entertained but sadly all we get are less than 2 episodes worth of skirmishes. That's right, a show that boast "action" as it's primary genre couldn't even fulfill that end of the bargain. That's like ordering a steak and only getting a plate of sauce. To add insult to injury the pacing for Owari is painfully slow, despite what the erratic timeskip filled 1st episode would have you believe. It's like the narration was being held down by lead weights. Plot points that would normally be wrapped up in 10-15 minutes with proper pacing were extended to 2-3 episodes. This made the importance of some events to lose impact or tension.
The story of Owari is also plagued with plot conveniences happening one after another. A virus wipes out humanity, but 'conveniently' doesn't kill anyone 13 and below. Our protagonist and his friends were enslaved by the vampires and attempted to escape. Our protagonist is 'conveniently' the only one to get out, where he 'conveniently' meets a resistance force that was 'conveniently' waiting right outside the escapee's exist. Humanity has 'conveniently' discovered a way to infuse demon's energy into weapons to fight against the vampire.. how? "jus cuz". And since shounen protagonist are always 'special' he 'conveniently' mastered it where many have been known to have failed. And no he never practiced, because God knows he's 'special' (like every other shounen mc). And the rest of the story adheres to this painfully forced path from beginning to end, there isn't an episode that goes by where you're not thinking "well that sure was convenient"... Haven't done a lick of training but need a power boost? well how about this 'conveniently' made up pill that we never foreshadowed or hinted at before. Stuck in a jam where all your friends are in trouble? Well how about a 'conveniently' timed powerup using the typical shounen "dark side" cliche.
The show follows this predictable setup with no attempts to subvert the formula. Again a formulaic setup isn't inherently a bad thing but the show just seem to be comfortable just coasting by. It's complacent and doesn't care nor attempt to be more than passable.
Owari's story is a sad excuse for writing and fails on every fundamental level.
The art and animation are fine by themselves but when brought together they're like oil and water. The 2D character designs in contrast to the water color/pastel inspired backgrounds felt very out of place. This is made more apparent in open environments where the set pieces show no proper separation between it's foreground and background. There's no dimension or depth in the backgrounds which result in the characters moving awkwardly across the landscape. It's like you're watching them play things out on a green screen. While they didn't quite work together all the time it still deserve props for atleast having creativity placed in making it different, as the backgrounds did look quite nice at times, with a nice range of color choices and purposely brush stroke like textures. The character designs were all fine as well, being distinct enough to tell apart from other series. However I am disappointed that they never had any well choreographed fights and at times there were some noticeable animation derps and choppy character movement. As a whole the art and animation was passable, albeit a little underutilized and stiff at times but it still wasn't anything offensively bad and it did have creativity behind some of it's art choices. It was serviceable enough to sit through.
If Owari had any saving graces it'll be the opening that came with it. It was a toe-tappingly infectious tune that I found myself never skipping. A catchy pop ballad that hit just the right notes. Although a music heavy weight like Hiroyuki Sawano was behind the music composition of Owari, the soundtracks were surprisingly tamed. Especially when compared to his previous works on Attack on Giant Naked People and Kill La Kill. While it still had his signature use of orchestric pieces it was often intertwined with more melodic tunes. The voice actors were all fine, with the standout being Takahiro Sakurai's performance given for the vampire antagonist Ferid Bathory. He did a good job giving him a playful yet sinister tone which really help to sell the character and his personality.
Like the incompetent script the characters suffer from an equal amount of problems. Other than being a typical shounen-esc cast they were also all underdeveloped. Our protagonist, Yuu Hyakuya, is yet another hot blooded teen who's on a quest for justice and revenge. His one track mind is only topped by his reverberated "i will defeat them all" , " I don't need friends" lines he seem to want to spout every 10 minutes. The biggest upset of the protagonist is that if given the proper time he could of received decent characterization. There was several opportunities that could allow for this to occur but they were never taken advantage of. If you want the audience to get invested into a conflict or an action, there needs to be proper time given to let events unfold and take hold of the viewers. If something detrimental happens to our protagonist that would cause an internal strife and possibly result in him receiving development, we need to see this play out. But instead of giving the proper time to allow this to happen they simply dodged the events or timekip it altogether. The rest of the cast were all forgettable nobodies you could find in other series. There was the pussy sidekick, the friendemy rival and the tsundere. Possibly the only character that had a decent personality was Shinoa Hiiragi, one of our protagonist's comrades. Her snarky and playful attitude made her interaction with the others fun to watch, but like the others she remained underdeveloped and lacked any proper characterization outside of her already playful nature. Another key character brought up was Yuu's childhood friend Mikaela, but his involvement involves spoilers so I'll leave it at that.
The vampire antagonist were all 1 dimensional villains and none really mattered in the end. The only one that really got focus was Ferid Bathory due to his involvement with our protagonist. He's sinister and takes lives in a carefree manner and that's about the extent of him as a character.
This title is a knock off brand shounen in every way possible. While I wasn't bothered as much watching it I certainly wasn't impressed. The setup was predicable and the tropes were overused. It was a timepasser but not a good one at that.
If you're a new comer to anime then Owari could at best serve as a gateway title to help you get a little insight into the medium's norm. But if you've been a part of the anime community for a decent period of time and have grown tired of this formulaic setup then I suggest skipping this one as it does little to nothing to distinguish itself. read more
So the first cour of Owari no Seraph has ended, and I can say with clear confidence that this show, is without a doubt, an utter piece of generic troupes amalgamated and fused together into one entity. Was it amazing? No, not even close. And was it horrible? No, it hasn't reached that low of a tier yet, fortunately.
The story in a nutshell involves kids, and adults stuck in a post-apocalyptic setting with two sides, the vampires and the humans. So what happened? Honestly, nothing much. The story itself progresses at the speed of a snail for the majority of the series and drags out too much, in which I personally hope the second cour will be faster paced and utilise suspense more intelligently for the benefit of the show.
The first episode was without a doubt, somewhat suspenseful and does a semi-good job. However, the opening song does a great job to counter this semi-well done job and reveal that Mika is indeed alive by showing his grown up self which would have been much better if it were to be revealed unexpectedly later on in order to create some sense of suspense.
Nevertheless, in this "post-apocalyptic" setting, the second episode starts off with the orthodox and conventional, overused school setting which already makes it hard to take the "post-apocalyptic world" seriously, and minimising any genuine sense of danger and threat that left off with the premiere episode. Fortunately, it then derives off this school setting but the ambiance still does not skyrocket in terms of suspence, tension or intensity as the main cast is composed by a group of children, not adults, but children.
The male central protagonist is Yuichiro Hyakuya and his friends from the Moon Demon Company, a group of freedom fighters formed to extinguish vampires in the harsh and dejected reality. Here on, it sets up two sides, the humans fighting against the vampires in this war-like battlefield. Although the main cast is a bunch of children, surprisingly they can pull off wicked stunts with their cursed gear, weapons specialised to exterminate the vampires, and are portrayed centuries stronger than the other adult looking soldiers from the army.
If I had to pick the best character, it would be Shinoa Hiiragi, also, she is one of the reasons I was able to enjoy the show to some degree. Her comical expressions and satirical manner of speech is what makes her as a character stand out more than the rest. Her design also stands out more than the others with her purple hair and ribbon attached. I applaud Hayami Saori for her splendid voice acting in portraying Shinoa's cheerful voice and sarcastic approaches and mannerisms, which pulled the show to a better level.
Sound-wise, it was definitely one of its stronger aspects, but also may be considered pretty incompetent by some because from a Hiroyuki Sawano standpoint, it was "just more of the same". The ost could have also been utilised better throughout the series and was not extremely memorable besides the orchestral version of the ending song. Both the opening song and ending song are pretty compelling though and definitely stand out.
The art is a hit and miss, some can say it is a manifestation of the show's lack in budget, and some can say it is for artistic and creative purposes, but I think, it's both. The animation was nothing ground-breaking or topnotch and was particularly below average for a shounen action series which is definitely disappointing.
The action is in particular, extremely weak and incompetent in terms of an action anime and there are many better shows that execute action and its choreography in a much better fashion with more fluid animation and well-directed choreography. Hopefully, as the climax is in the second cour of this series, one can only hope for improvements in these areas. Even if the second cour depicts improvements for the animation or action sequences, the show as a whole still will not have consistent good quality, but rather, fluctuations in its inconsistent quality.
Luckily, this is only the first cour, and certainly, if this was how the show ended, it would have a much lower score, but since it is merely the first part, that's somewhat forgivable and may perhaps be redeemed later on with improvements.
I can't say I did not enjoy the show, because I definitely did to an extent. But was it amazing? No, not even close. And was it horrible? No, not to that tier yet - but from here onward, I expect better from the second cour. The premise in itself has been done countless of times before and does not bring anything new or groundbreaking, but it does allow room for improvement, in both its presentation and execution in which the second cour will be pivotal to in order to judge the series as an entirety.
Undoubtedly, the second cour should expand on the story more, reveal more of the implied secrets, and hopefully develop the characters in a profound manner because right now, this show has not entirely finished and has ended in an open fashion for the second cour and until then, nothing in this first cour of Owari no Seraph will be complete.read more
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