Owari no Seraph – 04

Owari no Seraph - 04 -10 Owari no Seraph - 04 -19 Owari no Seraph - 04 -22

Owari no Seraph is one of the more frustrating shows of the season.

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.

Owari no Seraph - 04 -5 Owari no Seraph - 04 -6 Owari no Seraph - 04 -7
Owari no Seraph - 04 -8 Owari no Seraph - 04 -9 Owari no Seraph - 04 -11
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Owari no Seraph - 04 -18 Owari no Seraph - 04 -20 Owari no Seraph - 04 -21
Owari no Seraph - 04 -23 Owari no Seraph - 04 -24 Owari no Seraph - 04 -25
Owari no Seraph - 04 -26 Owari no Seraph - 04 -27 Owari no Seraph - 04 -28
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12 comments

  1. B

    Wait… there's yuri in there? Have there even been two female characters in the same scene? And the shounen-ai has been there from episode one. Why are the stupid complaining only now?!

  2. No, there's no yuri as far as I can tell. Did I seem to imply otherwise?

  3. D

    I think he thought "yuri hyprocrites" implied there was. I understood your point and glad you brought it up. As I see it, a series with shounen-ai or yaoi elements that isn't targeted towards a female demographic probably doesn't deserve an audience of such easily offended idiots. Shin Sekai Yori for example was one such great series.

  4. B

    It is as Drake said (also a slight jab at the show).

    Speaking of SSY, I could just taste the rage tears of bigots as their precious yuri was tainted by yaoi in the very same scene. This show had everything.

  5. N

    People like to compare this show with Attack on Titan, but I don't really see it. Vampires aren't titans, you can negotiate and develop a theory of mind with vampires.

    The mystery of just what the hell the Imperial Demon Army is up to intrigues me. They were quite clearly suspicious from even episode 1, and this (as well as the gloriously smug female human lead) is what keeps me interested.

  6. D

    I think it's the cast and the roles they play, not the base of the story itself, that makes people call it a rip off. But hell, I've encountered people who called Knights of Sidonia an AoT rip off too. Why don't we just also call Neon Genesis Evangelion a rip off while we're at it because everything apocalyptic and with monsters is an AoT rip off.

  7. C

    Eh, I really expected not-Tsukki to be a little more interesting or different but he's just Yuichiro 1.5

    Anyone else noticed grown-up Mika is Slaine? Guy just can't catch a break.

  8. M

    With Ferid the same VA as Trillram, I will laugh if at any point later in the series Mika kills Ferid. Really it does felt like Kensho Ono and Takahiro Sakurai just reprise their roles from A/Z, only the Asseylum here is Yuu-chan.

  9. g

    "OK, I introduced suicidal MC, showed tragic backstories of his teammates, gave them excuse to care about each other and cool weapons… FINALLY I can start the story!" – or at least what I've felt from reading manga.

    The comparisons with AOT probably exist because of MC's attitude but for me it's like reverse Aldnoah. Starts stupid (I cringed at loli queen and A-character almost became a dealbreaker) and cliche but grows into something enjoyable and meaningful, which is much more than I expected from first chapters.

    I especially like Yuu's development and how with several characters I can never be sure when they lie.

    Overall don't give up on the show yet, it may surprise you;)

  10. S

    While I agree with your points and I think you worded them well, I can't see why there as to be LN in there. Saying that something has "LN tropes" isn't in my eyes a con, its your explanation of those LN tropes that makes it evident that you mean: "Oh its set in high school, oh its got a Loli vampire girl in it" as the criticisms, which are valid criticisms.

    I don't think those flaws are inherently Light Novel tropes as you put them, since we've seen these tropes prevalent in Manga adaptions as well.

    Singling out an entire medium as tropey or inferior because you don't like certain elements doesn't seem like a strong critique IMO, and I feel like you could make these points just as easily without this weird medium bashing.

    The tropes in Light Novels and Anime are present because people like them, and not because they are defining features of one specific medium.

    I dunno, I generally love your nuanced critique and very eloquent writing, but this whole thing bothered me a bit. I respectfully disagree with that particular statement. :)

  11. K

    The school setting felt more like a shounen manga editor requiring it rather than an LN author wanting to include it.

  12. g

    Did I understand that last part of the episode correctly – that the vampire queen suggested that the humans making deals with the demons are the ones that triggered the pseudo-apocalypse in the first place?

    If so, that's a really, really interesting place for this series to go. You have the humans who are trying to develop weapons that can fight the vampires, but they have done more damage to humanity than the things they are trying to fight. I hope that's the case anyway – maybe I misread that…

    Either way, I like the show so . It is a little tropey, but that animation…esp with the demon, it's just so fluid…

    Good call on the Tsukishima clone too – that's exactly what I thought. It must be tough to come up with original character designs when manga is a medium that's gone on for so long, but damn…

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