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.
Owari no Seraph, or 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 up. It's a throw-away title that'll be replaced by the next factory-assembled one to take its place. It's the store brand cereal at anime's supermarket; 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 an entry level show in every regard and depending on how accustomed you've grown to these formulaic setups will determine how much you like/tolerate it.
The story of Owari no Seraph is so standard-fare that if someone were to tweak it with a few name and setting changes, they will be able to use the same synopsis to describe any other show with a familiar setup. Use the template below and see how many bottom-of-the-barrel shows you an insert:
One day humanity is suddenly attacked by a group of [insert name of threat here] and was brought to the brink of annihilation. [insert amount of years] later, leftovers of this time in mankind's history attempts to scrape together what's left to form a new society out of the event that felt like an act of divine punishment. And 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 in this post-apocalyptic world. And in the process of doing so, they slowly discover the mystery of their sudden appearance that might be closer to home than what was intially thought.
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 setup was done right nor not. Despite harping on its overused premise, it can still be done well if executed and presented with some tact... and to the surprise of no one, Owari didn't even manage to do that.
The story is supposed to document the power struggle between humanity and vampires, with our protagonist and his friends being in the centerfold of all the events taking place. You'd think with such a setup that we'd at least get an action-filled romp to keep us entertained but sadly, all we got were less than 2-episodes worth of skirmishes. That's right, a show that boasts "action" as its primary genre couldn't even fulfill that simple quota. That's like ordering a Porterhouse steak and receiving a White Castle slider instead. To add insult to injury, the pacing for Owari was painfully slow, despite what the erratic time-skip-filled 1st episode would have you believe. Plot points that would normally be wrapped up in 10-15 minutes with proper pacing are now extended to 2-3 episodes. This made some events that barely held any plot relevance to adopt the type of pacing akin to long-running battle shounens.
And as if that wasn't enough to seal its fate, the story of Owari is also plagued with plot conveniences happening in rapid succession:
A virus wipes out humanity but "conveniently" doesn't kill anyone 13 and below. Enslaved kids attempt a big escape from their vampire capturers and our protagonist is "conveniently" the only one to get away, where he "conveniently" meets a resistance force that was "conveniently" waiting right outside the escapee's exit. Humanity has "conveniently" discovered a way to infuse demon's energy into weapons to fight against the vampires with the scriptwriters' explanation being "just because." And since shounen protagonists are always special snowflakes, he "conveniently" mastered this infusion where many others have been known to fail. And no, he never practiced, because God knows he's the special snowflake. 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." The screenplay is plagued with the artifice of fatalistic storytelling while pretending that aspect to its writing doesn't exist. "You can't have your cake and eat it too" perfectly encapsulates the issue on display.
Haven't done a lick of training but need a power boost? Well, how about this "conveniently" placed power-boost pill that was never foreshadowed or properly introduced beforehand. Stuck in a dire situation where all your friends are in trouble? Well, how about a "conveniently" timed supernatural powerup using the trite "dark side" shounen cliche.
And again, a formulaic setup isn't inherently a bad thing if done with finesse but this show just doesn't demonstrate any concern for decent storytelling whatsoever. It's a show that would rather abuse every literary device in the book if it'll get it the results it wants rather than achieving the same end-result through careful consideration. Owari is sloppy writing 101.
An area that demonstrated some effort, however, was the art and animation. By itself, the art and animation were fine but when brought together, they mixed as seamlessly as oil and water. The 2D character designs in contrast to the watercolor/oil-pastel inspired backgrounds felt very out of place. This was made apparent in open environments where the individual scenes showed no proper separation between its foreground and background. There's no dimension or depth in the background, which result in the characters moving awkwardly across the landscape. It's like watching them play things out on a green screen, which is made all the more amusing given that it's animated and not live-action.
While they didn't mesh well together, the creators still deserve credit for at least attempting to make it different, as the backgrounds did look quite nice at times, with a nice range of color choices and purposeful 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, especially considering the limited amount of physical encounters they chose to have, to begin with. As a whole, the art and animation were passable, it wasn't the best but it did demonstrate some creative decisions in its visual output. At worst, a bit off model and at best, a serviceable piece of work.
If Owari had any saving graces it'll be the opening theme that came with it. It was a toe-tappingly infectious tune with well-timed visuals that I found myself playing on repeat. A catchy pop ballad that hit just the right notes and visual presentation that kept it in tempo. Surprisingly enough, the soundtrack had some restraint to it, which is uncommon for Hiroyuki Sawano, especially when taking into consideration his previous work on Attack on Giant Naked People and Kill La Wincest. While it still had his signature use of orchestric soundbites and digital glitch-pop buildup, it was often intertwined with shyer melodic tunes. It was refreshing if only unexpected for what Sawano is known for.
The voice acting was all fine, with the standout being Takahiro Sakurai's performance for the vampire antagonist, Ferid Bathory. He did a good job giving him a playful yet sinister tone, which really helps to sell how much of a baddie he was. But enough appraisal, time to address the biggest crux of Owari, and that were the characters.
Like the underbaked story, the characters suffered from an equal amount of problems. On top of being indistinguishable from your garden variety shounen lineup, they were also all grossly underdeveloped. Our protagonist, Yuu Hyakuya, is yet another hot-blooded teen who's on a quest for revenge. His one-track mindset is only topped by his regurgitated "I will defeat them all!", "I don't need friends!" mantras that he seems to want to yell out every 10-minutes. What's disheartening about the protagonist is that if given the proper time, he could have actually received decent characterization. There were several opportunities that could have allowed for this to occur but they were never taken advantage of. If you want the audience to get invested in a conflict, there needs to be proper time given to let the events unfold. If something life-altering happens to our protagonist that would cause a metamorphosis upon conquering that mental dilemma, it would benefit the story to let the audience see that play out. But instead of giving the proper time to allow this to happen, they simply time skipped pass this rough stage altogether. So not only was the story written with a sense of artificiality, but even the little decency it could have attained through demonstrating the character's growth was completely disregarded.
The rest of the cast were all forgettable nobodies you could find in other series. There was the pussy sidekick, the friendemy rival, the tsundere, and Douchbag teacher-sama, and the list goes on and on. Possibly the only character that had a decent personality was Shinoa Hiiragi, one of our protagonist's comrades. Her snarky, 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 the already playful nature that she possessed. Another key character brought up was Yuu's childhood friend, Mikaela, but his involvement comes with spoilers so I'll leave it at that. The vampire antagonists were all one-dimensional baddies and none of them really mattered in the end. The only one that really got focus was Ferid Bathory, due to his involvement with our protagonist's life-altering incident. He's cartoonishly sinister and takes lives in a carefree manner, and that's about the extent of him as a character.
And after running through everything that Owari no Seraph had to offer, the final verdict can't surmount to anything other than generic.
This title is a knock-off brand shounen in every way possible. While I wasn't really bothered watching it, I certainly wasn't impressed either. The setup was predictable and the cliched moments just came in by the truckload. It was a time-passer, but not a good one at that.
If you're a newcomer to anime then Owari could, at best, serve as a gateway title to help you get a little insight into the medium's common practices. But if you've been a part of the anime community for a decent amount of time and have grown tired of these formulaic setups, then I suggest skipping this one as it does nothing but follow a set checklist like its life depended on it.
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.
Owari no Seraph is pretty simple to describe. It’s a vampire shounen with action combining elements of horror, suspense, and odd humor. When, I mention odd, I don’t mean it as unconventional. Hardly. Owari no Seraph (Seraph of the End) attempts to stylishly craft a show with vampires at war with humans. It wasn’t always like this though because apparently, a virus many years ago wiped out a mass majority of humanity. The rulers of the world are now vampires as humanity desperately struggles for survival. At the center of it is an orphan named Yuichiro Hyakuya who hopes to reach freedom someday alongside his
friend Mika. Sound a bit familiar? It may not be another Attack on Titan but Owari no Seraph surely follows a story of dark fantasy. Only the problem is, it’s only as half as dark as it seems.
From the creator of Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, Owari no Seraph adapts a story based on the manga of the same name. It’s important to note that the series follows the manga rather than the light novel. And just like the way the premise implies, freedom in the world of Owari no Seraph comes at a price.
The first episode doesn’t drop you in the middle of the story. Instead, it establishes a background tale, a way of telling events from the past. We learn quickly that vampires treat human like trash and apparently, some of them are allowed to live only because they have blood. It’s a classic gimmick as vampires depends on it as a source of food. Nonetheless, the first episode shows how bloody (literally) it can be when humans tries to escape from their fate. Or rather, I can’t really call it fate because Yuichiro manage to escape. The only problem is that the rest of the orphans perish as the price. Luckily, the series also has a group of vampire hunters (Moon Demon Company) and Yuchiro becomes acquainted with the group. Their goal? To exterminate the vampires and make their freedom a reality.
So essentially, this show pretty much sets up a standard war-like atmosphere between the two sides – humans and vampires. Yuichiro is the central protagonist although the show also introduces others that he meets while he trains to become stronger. The problem with Yuichiro is that he is a rather narrow minded individual when it comes to his goals. Apparently, his goal is to annihilate the vampires because like many other humans, they annihilated his family. His black-and-white view of the supernatural world brings him at odds with his superiors because he tends to even ignore orders at times so that he can get a bit of retribution. In essence, Yuichiro isn’t exactly a good role model. However, I do have to emphasize that he is quite brave and often not to speak his mind. His kindness can also be seen at times when he is helping out others. Joining with him are Shinoa Hiragi, a girl with a rather sarcastic personality. Her relationship with Yuichiro and the others are usual casual although it can be seen that she greatly cares about them too. She also has a family member that she used to share a connection with although the show doesn’t fully emphasize on this. On the contrary, there is Mitsuba who has a more serious attitude and often wants to do things herself. This puts an odd at times with her comrades like Yuichiro as they have conflicting ideologies. Luckily, Yuchiro does get along better with other characters such as Yoichi and has a rather peculiar friendship with Shiho. (The two are more like rivals most of the time). With such a diverse group of characters, the show tries to do its best to bring out Yuichiro’s character. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. I say this because the show’s weakness is the way the dialogues are delivered. It lightens the mood to a point where it’s hard to take the show seriously at times. In a way, it’s more like unconventional humor coming from the interactions of the characters. Yuichiro’s also too brash at times to really see him as a reliable person. However, I do have to say that one of the show’s stronger aspect is the relationship he has with Mika.
Despite being separated in the present storyline, there’s still a lot of reflection going back between Yuichiro and Mika. The story essentially shows that the two childhood friends are inseparable. With the way the first episode was presented, it also gives Yuichiro a stronger motivation to kill the vampires. What he doesn’t know is that certain circumstances happened back in the past. But regardless, there’s a strong form of brotherhood that can be seen indirectly throughout the season even though the two are not together on-scene most of the time. In retrospect, the show focuses on relationships with family and friends. This is sort of ironic as Yuichiro is an orphan so that means he has no true family (related by blood anyways). However, his new family comes from the people he works with such as the Moon Demon Company and the kids he encountered in the past. His friendship with Mika is one strongest bonds he has formed. At times, he even works well with his superior Guren despite him being a bit rebellious because of his nature. The show establishes these relationships as they are one of the core reasons for the characters to fight and survive.
Speaking of which, the fighting in the show between the two sides seems to be one sided at times. The vampires are the dominant force. Powerful vampires such as Krul Tepes and Ferid Bathory really shows a difference in gap of power between the two races. They also despise humans and looks down on them like livestock. As evidenced in both the past and present, a key idea of this show is to show if and how humans can overcome these vampires. Unfortunately, the show holds back on characterization on these vampires. They are too stereotypical and really too straightforward with their goals. In fact, the goal they have is too narrow as well and despite having a compelling post-apocalyptic setting, there’s little world building to go with the story. Luckily, the series does have its mechanics when it comes to the weapons and military. Basically, the show does two things: to show and tell. This comes from the weapons that the Japanese Imperial Demon Army uses known as the Cursed Gear. While it’s still generic, I do have to give some praise to the creativity of these objects. All of them are categorized by a different type with unique prestige, shape, and powers. The way the show explains it is just enough for a viewer to understand while also showing (not just telling) the consequences of their usage. In general, creativity with its weapon arsenal is clever in the case of mechanics. Even the military of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army has a good set of mechanics behind it with different rankings, squads, and roles.
As one of several anime projects that Wit Studio undertakes in the year 2015, it’s expected that they may maintain a strong degree of visual quality. Honestly though, it’s rather mixed. Although some of the first few episodes of the series makes an impression with its artwork, others really seems it ran on low budget. I think what I refer to most are the character expressions as they look far too one dimensional. Despite showing a good portray of emotions, it’s often hard to get viewers to think more about them. Also, there are static movements occasionally in the show and in one particular episode really suffered from body movements. On the plus side, background visual can be a spellbound sensation. The fantasy elements of the series especially with post-apocalyptic scenery is fantastically done. It makes it feel real that is also accompanied with dynamic camera work. The action scenes are also solid on most parts with intense movements, clever angle features, and a display of explosiveness. It’s a blockbuster for any action fan who should feel satisfied. Character designs also has a style to them such as the Japanese Army’s uniforms, the Cursed Gears, and even vampires. In particular, the cursed gears all have unique designs ranging from swords, scythes, bows, or even enhanced sniper rifles. Fan service is minimal although not entirely absent either such as the case of shower scenes. Then, there’s the iconic blood scene throughout the show that seems to be a key emphasis. There is a seemingly longer screen time when blood and violence is shown. To put it simply, it tries to create an element of dark fantasy envisioned by what the creators want the audience to experience.
Soundtrack is one of the more standard parts of the show. Names such as Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan, Nanatsu no Taizai, Aldnoah Zero) will instantly ring a bell and is easily recognized by their style. However, the show does suffer a bit as most of the soundtrack sounds similar. Unlike some the other popular works he is involved in, Owari no Seraph’s OST doesn’t create an excitement. It is on the right track most of the time but doesn’t leave behind lasting impressions. In fact, I can’t name one single OST in the show that I’d want to search for again. On the other hand, the OP and ED theme song has a creative melody to it with a lot of foreshadowing. It puts creativity to the vampire themes with decent amount of symbolism and can be memorable. Finally, character voice mannerisms is more or less average. The only praise that I can give are perhaps for the vampires because of their personalities. You can easily see how the two traces contrast with their tone of speech.
Owari no Seraph is a bit paltry when it comes to its dark atmosphere. The story obviously has a grim tone to it but can never really capture that objective. The improper timing of the humor holds this show back on many occasions. Fortunately, the series does establish its meaning well so understanding its intentions isn’t so hard. The characters obviously has their goals that we see firsthand. One of the better executions of the series relies on relationships, something that it has done from the very beginning. With a tragic tone and premise, you can expect this series to be appeal for fans of drama as well. It’s noticeable that this is the first cour season for the adaptation. Another cour of 12 episodes is scheduled to air in Fall 2015 so expect more vampires, cursed gears, and spills of blood.
Blood sucking, coffin dwelling, and deathly afraid of garlic? While the modern vampire formula has changed, the creatures remain just as scary. Come check out our list of the best 15 vampire anime of all time!