Seraph of the End returns for some violent fun as the invasion of Nagoya commences.

The Japanese Moon Demon Company, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Guren, begins its raid on the vampire stronghold in Nagoya. The squads are organized in small groups to target individual vampire nobles, with Shinoa and Narumi’s squads partnered to take out noble Lucal Wesker. The entire company is prepared to suffer heavy losses as the mission is known to everyone to be not much better than a suicide mission. However, the battles have some initial successes for the humans before going south. Meanwhile, Mika arrives in Nagoya in search of Yu.

Coming off a relatively weak volume, I was hoping things would pick up this time around in the eighth volume for Seraph of the End. Fortunately, I was not disappointed as the raid on Nagoya proved to be an effective way of alleviating some of the writing troubles while being action-packed in its own right. Of course, that’s not to say that corny dialogue was completely absent in this volume, but the very serious, shounen-y “This is our fight!” kind of comments work a lot better when they’re said in a battle that actually warrants the level of intensity. The first major attack on a vampire stronghold, needless to say, provides an excellent setting for such suspense.

I mentioned that I felt that the writing was a lot better this volume, but that wasn’t just limited to the fact that the setting and tone of dialogue matched each other. Character dynamics were on point as the fight for their lives brought out some of the best in teamwork and emotions. Shinoa’s role as the leader of her squad has only recently been put under strain, but the first time in this manner of mission visibly puts her under significant stress. Of course, given her background and character, it wouldn’t be like Shinoa to just snap, but exploring the more serious side of her behavior made her the standout member of Yu’s squad in this volume. Character dynamics between pairings such as Guren and Shinya are frequent and effective in battle, and dialogue is just overall noticeably stronger in this volume than previously.

On the flip side of things, the vampire side of the war has managed to get more interesting as time passes. I wouldn’t say that the series is very good at handling grey morality, but that doesn’t mean that the ‘villains’ aren’t interesting in power structure. The concept of the primogenitures creates interesting relationships between the vampires, and it’s easily made apparent that the main reason humans are able to resist at all is because the vampires do not frequently cooperate with each other. The vampires in Nagoya are not completely on board with Krul Tepes, and the leading noble in the area, Crowley, seems to be a very independent force of his own. It’s not just the vampires’ interactions with each other that are interesting however, as the way they react to the humans’ attack is very telling of the way that they view humans. The shock that humans could harm them is one thing, but the way they react to human behavior is particularly telling. For example, when some of one squad commits suicide to avoid being forced to talk, one of the nobles just thinks they are all incredibly stupid instead of actually being strategic.

The art of Seraph of the End is usually of a high caliber, but I felt that this volume in particular did a good job of translating the action and emotion into illustrations. The fights are appealingly dynamic, and character expressions are dramatic and sincere. Much of the shading and boldness of lines in many panels featuring a particular character prominently stuck out to me as incredibly effective in aiding emotional portrayals. All of this couldn’t have been present at a better time for the series as many of the intense moments were improved upon with the aid of striking visuals.

Seraph of the End has risen from a recent low to a new high in its eighth volume. The quality of both the writing and illustrations was quite excellent for the most part this volume. While some campy dialogue made its mandatory appearance, much of the characters’ behaviors and interactions worked quite well in the setting of intense fighting. Additionally, the further exploration of the vampires and individual scenes between the opposing sides were particularly interesting. Fortunately for series fans, this volume delivers pretty well if you have been enjoying Seraph of the End previously.

What do our scores mean?

Seraph of the End Volume 8was published by VIZ Media on March 1st, 2016. Authored by Takaya Kagami and illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto, the series is currently ongoing and published by Shueisha’s Jump Squareimprint, as well as VIZ Media’s Weekly Shounen Jump in North America. Seraph of the End received an anime adaptation by Wit Studio in the Spring 2015 season and the Fall 2015 season. The 9th volume will release in English on June 7th, 2016.

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