Here’s another series that’s pushing up against the make-or-break point as far as blogging is concerned. At this point I’m inclined to say probably no, though there are individual elements here I really like a lot. Seraph unfortunately airs on the busiest day of the season (or any season for a while), but even more concerning is that there’s a certain “to think own self be true” quality in Kagami Takaya’s writing that always emerges.
The thing is, Seraph may be a manga but Kagami is a LN writer, and his fondness for LN tropes always manages to poison the broth. The whole school setting is, to me, a concession to his reluctance to leave the security blanket of formula behind and truly explore the fascinating and distinctive world he teases here. The presence of a goth-loli vampire princess, Tepes Krul (I love ya, Yuuki Aoi, but…) is a classic pandering move. And the interactions among the characters in the stifling school setting just aren’t very interesting.
The reason I’ll keep watching (at least for a while) and that I can’t rule out continuing with Owari no Seraph is that all the parts that don’t involve the LN tropes are quite interesting. I love the art design, you’ve got Miyu Irino as a lead, and I’m intrigued by the developments for Mika. Yes, he’s a vampire now, but he retains his memories and (seemingly) his loyalty to Yuu. Also, we have a complex dynamic where we have demons and vamps operating seemingly not just independently, but in opposition (at least the humans are using the demons to oppose the vamps) and the vampires are seen as saviors by a certain desperate section of the human survivors being tormented by demons and getting no protection from the army.
It was interesting to see the long knives finally come out as the yuri-loving hypocrites finally turned on the series for having a hint of shounen-ai – frankly, I’m surprised it took as long as it did – and we’ll see if that hint bleeds into the relationship between Yuu and Kimizuki Shihou (Ishikawa Kaitou). His situation (fighting to try and save a sick sister) and coltish rivalry with Yuu could hardly be more generic, but at least the fact that he’s an absolute dead-ringer for Tsukishima from Haikyuu!! lends a WTF factor. If nothing else Kimizuki’s hard-core intransigence seems to have made Guren appreciate Yuu’s good points, so perhaps we’ll see some progress with his storyline soon. The sooner it gets out of this high-school rut it’s in the better, but the question – especially with two cours to come – is whether things move forward quickly enough to keep me hooked.