“Who should I trust?” that is the question that Owari no Seraph asks.
Also known by the English title Seraph of the End, it is a 12-episode anime series based on a shounen manga of the same name. It is set in a time when an apocalyptic virus wiped out most of the people on Earth, and much of the remaining children were abducted by vampires. Among the children is a certain Yuuichirou Hyakuya, who, after losing his family during an escape, sought revenge against the vampires. Trust issues and vengeance aside, prevalent themes include teamwork, familial and platonic bonds, loss, and ethical dilemma that arise in a post-apocalyptic setting. This review was originally written by Clarist.
The story itself isn’t exactly out of the ordinary. The themes prevalent in the series are commonly found in shounen manga, and clichés of various kinds are everywhere. Awkward nakama (friendship) quotes? Check. Tsundere heroine? Check. Knucklehead protagonist? Check. Strange and intense power-up that an important character cannot control? Check. Villains leaving the scene without killing the important characters they can already defeat? Big check. Also, I get the feeling that a lot of needed explanations is being skipped.
And this is why the characters are likable. While they are archetypical personality-wise, they are fleshed well enough to be intriguing and/or compelling, or at the very least, likable. My only gripe is that the protagonist Yuu can act so awkwardly that I sometimes feel secondhand embarrassment whenever he does. Regardless, he is a very likable protagonist and I look forward to how his story will go. I’m also quite wary of where a certain heroine’s romantic feelings will go, especially with how romantic female characters are portrayed in anime.
It leaves some more to be desired when it comes to fleshing out the characters, though, but considering that there’s a season that follows this, and the source material is still ongoing, we might see more.
The art is fairly decent, the animation can be fluid, and the character designs are nice to look at, but it’s oftentimes inconsistent. This is particularly noticeable on the outline, where there are times when the lines has varying thickness and times when the thickness is uniformly thin. The style that gives the art a cartoonish effect worked on anime like the Assassination Classroom but definitely not on here.
They can animate fluidly, and they can do good quality action scenes, but they tend to occasionally use cinematic techniques that doesn’t work. They also initially used ugly CGI in the first episodes, and good thing they no longer did that later on.
Despite my ambivalent view on this anime, it gets to win on the sound department. It makes good use of soundtrack, and the soundtracks themselves are nice to listen to. It doesn’t really stand out as particularly amazing or memorable, but good quality BGMs blend in rather than trying to stand out, so it works. The opening theme, “X.U.” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Gemie is not only fitting for the anime, it’s simply beautiful. Meanwhile, the ending theme, “scaPEGoat” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Yosh is an emotional song that matches the anime’s themes, nonetheless.
As for the voice acting, they do it really well. There were just few scenes where a couple of characters as children had voices that felt too deep, but it’s rather ignorable. Other than that, their voices are fitting, and if there has to be characters to commend on their voice acting, perhaps Miyu Irino for his near-perfect portrayal of Yuu, and Saori Hayami for the awesome sassing that she voices as Shinoa Hiiragi.
With all things said, Owari no Seraph is a surprisingly entertaining series to watch. It’s not for those who are looking for unique storytelling, but if you’re looking for pure entertainment and lovable characters, you might consider this.