First Look: Seraph of the End

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Alternative titles: Owari no Seraph, Attack on Titan: Twilight Edition, Vampire Reign
Manga Adaptation by Wit Studio
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

A cataclysmic virus has wiped out the adult population, leading an underground society of vampires to round up the children to keep as livestock. One escapes and joins the above-ground resistance (which happens to be at a high school and is totally not an allegory for Imperial Japan, you guys) and vows to kill all the Titans vampires.

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Iro’s verdict: Sucks

I’m so tired of stuff that pegs itself as DARK and MATURE because it kills off a bunch of people in the most hamfisted way possible. Whenever all of the look-totally-adorable-right-sure-will-be-sad-if-they-die kids showed up onscreen, I couldn’t help but either burst out laughing or sigh miserably at the lack of subtlety. There are some cool ideas here, like the vampires keeping people as livestock because their “supply” is dying out, but the execution is so off-base that I have no desire to keep watching. Add in the inevitable decline in quality from Wit Studio and Seraph is just a disaster waiting to happen.

Jel’s verdict: And the “I Demand to be Taken Seriously Award” goes to…

I haven’t handed out that verdict in a while, but we have a worthy nominee here. Wit is getting a reputation for two things: angsty teenage revenge porn and super slick action scenes that fizzle out mid season. Seraph of the End certainly locked down the first part. What better way to elicit a response from the audience than killing off a bunch of kids? I almost started laughing as our hero was dragging his dismembered best friend (who I’m sure is TOTALLY not dead) across the floor, the whole scene so desperate to get us to care. As far as item #2 on the list, I kind of want to watch the next episode because I’m sure it will have an AMAZING fight scene, then bail out for good knowing it’s all downhill from there. Seraph of the End is a looker, I’ll give it that. I like the art direction, especially little details like the bright green highlights contrasting on the dark black and blue landscapes. Beyond that though I don’t think I can take this seriously enough to be bothered.

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Zigg’s verdict: Too Much Bite

There’s a seriously good show that could be assembled out of the parts on display here, but the final product is so melodramatic as to be laughable. Anime has never really learnt the ‘less is more’ rule and the final scene here is an exercise in both bad taste and hilarious over-egging. The core story beats seem solid enough but the characters are pure garbage cliche of the highest order and the story seems packed with troublesome tropes designed to draw and audience – the violence, the angsty loss of family, the homoerotic overtones between our generic lead and his generic friend, and the weird creepy shota-esque stuff between blonde boy and the bishonen vampire. Even if I wasn’t morally opposed to ruthless butchering your child characters onscreen (is this the fastest case of woman in refrigerator we’ve ever seen?) there’s just not enough substance here beyond the questionable style to make me care.

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