Seraph of the End: Battle in Nagoya
Episode 1 also reviewed here:
Also known as:
Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen-hen
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Year:
2015
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Season Two: 12 episodes plus a 2016 OVA, 'Vampire Shahal'
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Review date:
1 February 2017
Owari no Serafu
It's still good. I really hope they make Season 3. (It's not unlikely at some point, but the anime completely caught up here with the manga, so they'd have to wait for more of that to come out.)
Anyway, here the story continues and does all the things I'd wanted it to do, but with the bonus of giving the hero a brain. That's always good. Seriously, though, I admire how extreme this show's gone with Yuu's character development. When Season 1 started, he was some kind of suicidal shounen uber-hero of brain death. He was so macho that it was funny. With hindsight, this was clearly a sign of emotional and mental problems. We've since learned that he was indeed borderline suicidal during the last four years, or at the very least hadn't seen any point in staying alive and might well have walked under a bus if there were any buses left in this post-apocalypse vampire future.
Since then, though, he's learned about himself. He's reconnected with the concept of friendship. He's found someone he thought he'd left for dead (although the news there isn't all good). He's learned to relax. He's become likeable. He can even smile! He's still obsessive almost to the point of reality-resistance, but being able to say "almost" is a huge advance for Yuu and in any case "family" is a healthier focus than "revenge".
As for their ghastly world, we're learning ever more about it. The vampires and humans both have their own factions, politics and dirty dealings. This world's biggest bastard is human, actually, which is impressive given the utter lack of morality shown by most of the vampires. Nobles like Crowley and Ferid would do anything to anyone, but so far I don't think they've had their own allies tortured or sent children for experimentation. (I think they'd be willing, but the need hasn't arisen.) That puts them behind Kureto Hiiragi in the Self-Righteous Two-Legged Snake stakes, then.
Which season is better? I've seen some people claim that Season 1 has better pacing and character development, while others have called Season 2 talkier and more boring. Personally I disagree with both sides. I don't see much difference (in a good way). They're the same. They're the same characters in the same world, mostly trying to do the same things. Season 2 is faithful to Season 1 and continuing the good work. My guess is that people might often have been reacting to the evolving characterisation of the show's protagonist, with Season 1's Yuu being more antagonistic and combat-happy, while Season 2's Yuu is more chilled and less knuckle-dragging. You can probably guess which one I favour, but I can see how some fans might prefer Season 1. Those early episodes have more bite to Yuu's interactions with his colleagues, for obvious reasons.
The anime-original OVA's rather good too, incidentally. It's exploring many of the themes of the main series from another point of view, although I'm not sure where it's supposed to go. Every episode of the main show follows on so closely from the last that I'm not sure there's a convenient space for it. Well, it doesn't matter much.
The ending's screaming at the top of its lungs for Season 3. Well, that's no bad thing so long as we eventually get it.
I enjoyed it a lot and I've got my fingers crossed for more. It's a lethal post-apocalypse vampire war with evil politics on both sides, where the wrong people can die. However it's also got a strong focus on character and isn't afraid to turn a reunion episode almost entirely into a two-hander. Mikaela is cool and goes through hell. Yuu has more or less attained sanity, e.g. he's now capable of admitting that he lost a fight. (The old Yuu would just have shouted a lot about being the strongest.) The finale goes Biblical (with a bit from Genesis as well as more obviously Revelation). It's strong, juicy stuff.
"Humans are defective animals incapable of controlling their greed."
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