Oh man, it’s been a long time since I had a hatewatch (well, two seasons actually but that’s a long time for the Interwebs). I was hoping that Winter’s LN trio, whatever they were called, would be one of those. Alas, they were too dreadful to be hatewatched; rumours persist that the North Koreans are using them as torture devices for particularly tough POWs. And so, I was left with Seraph of the End in Spring and I was left with despair and anguish.
People have been praising Seraph‘s oil painting backgrounds. And indeed, they are the best part of Seraph’s visuals: it does give the show a rather gothic look that is indeed visually interesting. However, the quality of these oil paintings can be rather variable; Guren’s office, for example, leaves much to be desired.
The character designs are meh. None of them look particularly interesting, and not even the army suits with the green accents look all that great—if anything, they remind me of firemen suits. They also rarely blend in with the paintings. The digital paint on them is oftentimes way too saturated and too bright for them to mix with the backgrounds in a non-jarring manner.
The biggest sin in this show’s animation is the surprising lack of… well, animation in many fight scenes. Quite a lot of them are just a series of pastel chalked still frames with some sound effects behind them—a fact that, by the way, got this series nicknamed as “Seraph of the End: The PowerPoint Slideshow” in some circles. It reminded me a bit too much of Dai Shogun, and anything that reminds me of Dai Shogun cannot be anything but the spawn of Satan.
The series begins with a premise (everyone over thirteen dies) that it dropped even before the first episode ends. A prophesy is mentioned, only to be completely forgotten. Characters explain other characters’ backstories to them. Characters announce their own flashbacks, which contain “memories” they, by all rights, should not be able to remember at all. The series constantly chastises Yu for his revenge boner, only to constantly reward him for his reckless, revenge-driven actions.
That, lads, is how inept this show is at storytelling.
It’s just mesmerizing how bad this series is at telling such a simple story. It’s paced awkwardly—looking at you, pointless high school section. The setting itself is uninteresting and not really engaging enough which is a sin considering it aired in the same season as Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet 9 and its glorious setting.
The weapons system is stupid. It’s a vaguely defined yet somehow arbitrary system in which a human makes a contract with a demon through the also vaguely defined “willpower” which leads to a couple of really predictable scenes that added not much to the show.
Usually, Hiroyuki Sawano doesn’t fail to deliver in his soundtrack. And that’s rather irrelevant here because Hiroyuki Sawano did not compose most of the soundtrack for this show. Instead, it was mostly composed by three guys (one of whom doesn’t even have a ANN page) with Sawano being mostly responsible for the OP and ED.
The rest of the soundtrack is pretty mediocre. It doesn’t have any standout pieces that I can recall, unlike, say, GARO: The Animation‘s soundtrack. Normally, I’d assign this a 5 or 6 but damn, that opening is catchy.
Character interactions feel really shallow. Since every character is trying really hard to act all cool and tough, quite a lot of the show’s dialogue can be non-dismissively and non-sarcastically described as conversations consisting solely of “shut up” and “I don’t care”. If I want to see a bunch of edgy guys being edgy, I can just go to my local arcade or rewatch Akame ga Kill!. The only exception is Yoichi, and he’s so unfitting into this orgy of edge.
For the amount of fuss the show creates about the Yuu/Mika pairing, my filthy fujoshi heart simply could not ship them together. Not only are the two characters cardboard cutouts, but the “subtext” between them is just the vampire villain reminding Mika that his motivation is to save his “beloved”. There’s more actual chemistry in the cold open of the premiere of Boeuibu than there is in this entire show or Blood Blockade Battlefront episode 5’s cold open than there is in this entire show.
Edge: OW THE EDGE
You know what this show never failed to deliver on, however? The good ol’ edgy. Edge is present in every facet to the show, from its art, to its story, to the characterization, to the humour, to the very dialogue. There is so much edge oozing out of this series, this is where Gilette supplies its razors. This is so edgy, Wit animators have to use eagle gloves when drawing key frames. This is so edgy, my TV died out when I casted this show, although that may have been my TV not-so-subtly advising me to watch better shows.
You know your show’s in trouble when I can dismiss it as being as “an AoT ripoff where edgy teenagers and tryhard adults fight other edgy teenagers and tryhard adults in battles animated in PowerPoint”. I can’t help but be amused at this show’s sheer storytelling incompetence, yet be simultaneously enraged by its potential. And because I eventually got bored of this that I fell asleep somewhere during the finale, this show is dead to me.
To me, it ended with everyone bored when suddenly Shizuo went on a rampage and there were no survivors. And it was glorious.