Friday, March 03, 2017

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign (First cour) – review

Director: Daisuke Tokudo

First aired: 2015

Contains spoilers


This is the first twelve episodes of Seraph of the End, an anime that has a second part that runs for a further twelve episodes. The disc I got was a Malaysian release but for some reason I can’t find a release (on its own) of the second part from the same source and the western releases are expensive (to say the least).

This is a shame as I was very much taken by the animation – but rest assured I will get the second cour at some point.

terrified kids
So the first episode, as it opens, shows us the fall of humanity. A mysterious virus strikes making people drop dead. Cars crash, aircraft fall from the sky. We discover this virus only kills those aged thirteen or more and vampires come out of the shadows, rounding up orphans and taking them as livestock. Cut forward four years and we meet Yūichirō Hyakuya (Miyu Irino), known as Yu, and his friend Mikaela Hyakuya (Kenshô Ono), known as Mika. They are twelve year old kids held in the vampire city and live with a group of younger orphans.

Yu and Mika
Yu is quite the rebel and wants to be able to kill vampires – who are faster and stronger than humans. He is unhappy with Mika as he is offering his blood freely to a noble vampire called Ferid Bathory (Takahiro Sakurai). It turns out that it has been a ruse and Mika returns home with a map of the city and a gun. They decide to run away. They get close to the city entrance when Ferid appears. He plays this game often it seems, giving a sense of hope (in the form of escape) and stealing it away.

Ferid feeds
Ferid butchers the orphans and grabs Mika. Yu is able to shoot Ferid in the head (disabling but not killing him). Mika is dying and tells Yu to run, content that his friend, at least, has escaped. Outside it is winter and Yu falls through the snow where he is picked up by members of the Japanese Demon Army – the protectors of the last vestiges of humanity. The squad leader, Lt Col Guren Ichinose (Yûichi Nakamura) recognises Yu as the focus of a prophecy and offers him the chance to kill vampires.

killing a vampire
Cutting forward four years and a sixteen-year-old Yu disobeys orders and kills a Four Horseman of John (a demonic type of creature that appeared as the apocalypse happened). As punishment he is sent to school and must remain there until he makes a friend – having distanced himself from friends after the events of the escape. He does quickly, and accidentally, make a friend and ends up training to be able to claim a demon possessed weapon – as only cursed weapons can convincingly kill a vampire.

Seraph form
The rest of the first cour shows the squad of misfits he ends up in pulling together as a team and the beginning of a vampiric offensive against the humans. We discover that Mika is still alive, having been turned before he died by the vampire Queen Krul Tepes (Aoi Yuki). We also discover that there were a few children (we discover Yu for definite and Mika probably) who were not entirely human, having ten percent Seraph genes. At the end of this cour we see those genes temporarily usurp Yu’s body, making him wildly powerful. We don’t discover much vampire lore, though we do find out that not drinking blood will change the vampire into a mindless demon.

reunion
The series was good fun. A nice balance of characters and an interesting story that needs fleshing out but I am sure will be in the second cour. The score, as stands, is for the first cour only and I think 7 out of 10 is fair. I think fleshing the story out will add to the score. The imdb page is here.

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