Title: Owari no Seraph (season 1) and Owari no Seraph – Nagoya Kessen-hen (season 2 | English: Seraph of the End-Battle of Nagoya)
Mangaka: Yamato Yamamoto || Author: Takaya Kagami
Production: Wit Studio
Number of episodes: 12 episodes each
In this post-apocalyptic world, almost the entire population of humans were wiped out due to an unknown virus that affects people from age 13 and up. The rest of the younger population were taken by vampires. They are confined in walled areas and treated as livestock, where they harvest blood on a regular basis, in return for protection from monsters that roam the earth.
Mika and Yuu are among those children taken in to vampire-protected areas. However, a failed plan to escape cost the lives of Mika and his friends, except Yuu, who was able to escape the confines of the vampire city. He was taken in by the Moon Company, a branch of the Imperial Japanese Demon Army, where he trains in order to wipe out all the vampires and avenge his friends.
Whew. Sounds familiar, no?
No wonder some touted this as a rip-off/clone/successor (whichever you prefer) of Attack on Titan. I didn’t even realize it until I was writing, er, typing that sort of intro above. Welp. So many similar themes indeed.
Well, a shitton of anime has been released over the years, and so it can’t be helped that some would show similar themes over time. This is no exception. It’s up to the clever storylines, believable characters (also intense shipping, lol), and immense world building by the author and/or mangaka to prove that a certain anime will stand the test of time (and fad).
I’ve seen my share of post-apocalyptic anime over the years, be it Ergo Proxy, No. 6, Attack on Titan, among others. What makes this different from the ones I mentioned is that it leans heavily on the religious side of things, somewhat like Neon Genesis Evangelion (or so I heard. Haven’t watched this yet. Hopefully in the near future). And that’s what convinced me to watch this, the heathen that I am.
Unlike Tokyo Ghoul where I was really hyped up prior to watching it but ended up getting bored (and sleepy too), I wasn’t too keen on this one. The story, while totally appealing for me (Vampires! End of the world! Military uniforms!), the anime didn’t really make a good impression on me.
Actually, I just decided to watch it because this is the one available on my laptop the other day. Surprisingly, this one managed to grab my interest until the end of season 1, so I tried my very best to finish downloading season 2 last night. And I finished watching season 2 today. In one sitting. Yay. Well, part of it is because I wanted to confirm if the Mika x Yuu ship truly exists (sorry, my fujoshi senses is quite strong on this one). Lol. (Edit: it’s real.)
Please be reminded that I haven’t read the manga yet. So if I made some wrong assumptions, it’s either a) I haven’t read the manga and it wasn’t shown in the anime, so I really don’t know about it, b) it was shown differently in the anime compared to the manga, so I might be wrong, c) I really didn’t understand what was going on in the story, so I’m totally wrong, or d) I cannot remember for the life of me what I just watched so I’m already making things up. Lol.
It borrows a lot of elements from religious themes, particularly Christianity and its concept of the Apocalypse. You know, from the Book of Revelations. This manga made me recall everything that I’ve read in third grade. Mind you, I didn’t read the bible because I was religious. I only read the Revelations on my own because I find the idea of the end of the world both scary as hell and strangely fascinating at the same time (sorry Ma, for treating the Bible as a fictional book. Sorry not sorry.)
My main gripe in this anime is that it tries to become several things all at once. Unlike Attack on Titan that only focuses on titans as its main antagonist, plus all the human politics and secret experimentation that adding up to the mix, in the end all of these are interconnected. But this anime is a mixed bag. What is it really about?
So okay, we have a post-apocalyptic world, overrun by vampires and mysterious monsters called Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When you say Horsemen of the Apocalypse, you’d only think of four: the black, grey/pale, red, and the white one. But my mind was ringing alarm bells immediately: “why are they so many in this anime?” As far as I can remember it was never explained why it was called as such. They don’t even look like horses, lol. And where do they came from? Are they allied with vampires, since they attack humans? From the looks of them, it’s either they are artificially made or they came from another dimension or something. Until the very end, the anime was silent about the origin of these creatures.
And where do the vampires came from anyway? How do they reproduce? Are they humans before (well, Mika is one)? Oh boy, they can walk during the day! But can they sparkle? (Shit, ignore that last question.)
Who is responsible for the virus that killed the older people? Is it the vampires, so they can collect blood easily from the powerless children? Is it the humans, in a desperate attempt to thwart the vampires but the experiment went wrong?
What is Owari no Seraph, really (the main question)? I’m guessing this is a very powerful weapon (duh) in a form of a human, or a weapon using a human as a vessel. Think of Naruto‘s kyuubi(?). Or Casshern Sins. Or maybe Sailor Saturn. Or Akira. No wonder both the vampires and the humans are scrambling to get it.
But what really is it? Where does it came from? In the anime, it was never really answered completely (maybe they will in season 3, if they even plan to make it). All we know is that Mika and Yuu came from the Hyakuya Orphanage, where human experimentation has been done on unsuspecting children. Soon, the Imperial Army took over the experimentation and the details about it became classified ever since.
- It is possible that the Owari no Seraph is a gene/cell/virus/whatever that was transplanted on selected subjects and will activate on certain conditions?
- Or maybe it is a “naturally-occuring” life force or energy or entity of some kind, that humans were able to isolate/capture and imprison in a person’s body?
- Is there a huge possibility that Mika also has a variation of that gene/cell/virus/whatever?
- So does it mean that there are a lot of possible candidates to become the Seraph of the End, not just Yuu?
- Or will it follow the biblical version, that there are seven seraphs, each of them assigned to blow the trumpets? If the girl was one (sorry, totally forget her name), and Yuu the other (the Salt King), where are the others? Will they be appearing too (in the manga, at least)?
Other observations: While this show is post-apocalyptic, the school setting in the most part of the first season was kinda unsettling for me. Why the hell did the school looked new and well-kept, while the outside world was fucked up as hell? I mean, maybe yeah, they could’ve restored stuff so they can train new soldiers, but it looks way too modern and shit, it’s not even financially feasible. When you’re in a war with vampires in a post-apocalyptic world, with monsters roaming around, you do not spend all your money building such an expensive structure just for students. You’ll be needing food, medicines and weapons and shit.
When they are practicing and studying how to use their own weapons, it felt like they’re just joining a tournament for the sake of friendship or eventually leave Pallet Town to catch Pokemon and go on adventures forever. It didn’t feel as if their world is going to end anytime, like how I thought it should feel. I didn’t felt the urgency of their situation. To me, it seems as if they’re just playing. And don’t get me started on the cheery classroom setting. It pains me. The fact that given the humans’ sticky situation, the fact that they have the resources to assign one person to watch over the main character to check and see how’s he doing at school truly boggles my mind.
To summarize: I told myself before that I’ll be reading the manga because I felt I judged it too harshly. But this review got stuck in the drafts folder for months, and it was too hard for me to actually finish typing this even after I just finished watching it. So I decided to abandon the plan altogether. I don’t have any gripes against those who enjoyed the anime and the manga, but on my part, I don’t see any value in reading it. Okay, it’s just me.