Seraph of the End begins with the extermination of all humanity via a mysterious virus that mysteriously only affects those 13 and older while vampires give a speech about how stupid humans are. If that were not enough, those children are then enslaved and then we are thrown some child prostitution metaphors before a dozen children are annihilated by vampires.
Seraph of the End is not a subtle series.
Bizarrely, its lack of subtleness in everything it did in its first two episodes is sort of charming. It tries manages to get away with it because it’s thinks it’s bombastic enough to get away with it, like Attack on Titan or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, which it isn’t. It’s like a cute kitten getting into a trash can and then being unable to get out.
Keeping in with the Attack on Titan comparisons because to a certain extent this is an Attack on Titan clone and also because the entire webs are doing them, I really didn’t think Seraph had a great first episode. Attack on Titan opened with this iconic shot of the Colossal Titan before we get to see some slower paced world building. What made it work was that, via the power of literary irony, we knew shit was going to happen.
In contrast, Seraph just throws us a scene of children being slaughtered and expect us to feel bad. It’s a really stupid and manipulative way of trying to build gravitas. To phrase it another way, the first episode of Attack on Titan‘s expectations of everything going to shit kept me on edge. Seraph‘s first episode just tried to cut me on its edge.
But hey, I still liked it.
Which is a shame because the second episode decides to throw it all away and move it to goddamn high school.
And not only that, but also it’s about friendship and such. Really, Seraph? Not only are you going to do the whole power of friendship thing that has been done like 8417 times in shonen, but you’re also going with the cliché “anti-social MC” ?
If that were not enough, we are also introduced to Shinoa, who is bland and annoying. The series tries to make jokes involving her blocking Yu’s antics, which all failed to connect. She served virtually no purpose. Moving swiftly on…
We’re also introduced to other characters like Guren, the resident Levi clone who is bland as all hell, Yoichi, whose purpose is to be degraded to the seme in the multitude yaoi works that will inevitably come (and that I’ll inevitably read) and who will invariably be killed and who is also bland as all hell, and vampire #1, who is slaughtered.
Overall, even though all the characters were bland or annoying and every attempt at humor failed, I still liked Seraph. It looks pretty, although to be honest I don’t like the oil paint backgrounds. It kept me intrigued regarding its setting and backstory, and if it manages to dwell on it effectively, it will go to the soaring heights of basically okay.
One thing I did consistently like about this show is the surprising amount of homoeroticism between the men. Let’s be real, Mika totally was in love with Yuu. He literally died for him, for fuck’s sake. And then there’s Yoichi tacking Yu and crying on his pecs. It’s only two episodes in and I’m really, absolutely convinced that Yu cannot possible be straight.
Or maybe watching all 12 episodes of Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! just permanently placed my mind the gutter, I don’t know.