Seraph of the end is a show that has just started airing in the Spring 2015 anime season. It is a show that will have two, twelve episode parts and is animated by the same studio that animated Attack on Titan, Wit Studios. The manga is rated rather positively and as such, the initial ratings for the anime have been generally positive as well. As this hype train continues, I'd like to jump on for a few seconds and spread the word that this show, in my opinion and based solely off the first episode, is ridiculously overrated.
This article will spoil some of the first episode.
The first thing I'd like to note is that this show does not have the "outstanding" animation that some people claim it has. This is proven within the first five seconds by the corner-cut translational movement, and the lack of perspective of the following shot of a flying plane:
This left a bad taste in my mouth and may be the initial catalyst for my disliking of the episode. For the most part, the rest of the animation gives off this same translational feel, almost as if depth change is purposefully ignored. In any case, it would make more sense to me if the people claiming this meant that the character design and art were "outstanding" because these aspects typically cater to personal preferences, and there's nothing wrong with that. To say this is a masterpiece on a canvas, however, is a big stretch.
Continuing this rant, "dark and gritty" is an atmospheric theme that takes careful attention to be portrayed correctly. If a show induces true, spirit waning emotions in the viewer collectively through all aspects of the show, it's on its way to becoming truly dark and gritty. The aspects that make it this way have to extend far beyond just killing a whole bunch of people or adding mindless gore to attempt a creation of this feeling. Otherwise you simply have a show that makes itself seem silly because it thinks it can rope you into its grasp using overused techniques in an unexplained manner. Case in point, Seraph of the End.
In accordance with death, I understand that it is a serious topic, especially when it happens to those in their preteens, but Seraph's depiction of death has a ton of problems. "But Stan! They killed everyone off and that's unbelievably original/heartbreaking/unexpected/ect!!" Thanks for your input, but let me reiterate that killing people off doesn't automatically make a show dark or outstanding, so take Seraph off its pedestal.
First and foremost, it was imminent from the beginning of the show that kids would die. They already killed off everyone older than thirteen with some unexplained disease, so children are the only people left to kill. What do you do with cattle that don't cooperate, (and don't say this came out from nowhere) you kill them, just as the vampires likely do to kids acting the same way. Secondly, these kids that did die were hardly characters. How am I supposed to care about a handful of children who have zero important lines? The MC may have a reaction to his friends dying, but as a viewer, I couldn't care less! Let me just mention this before you say, "well what about the blond kid? He was important and had many lines," that blond kid is on the cover of the show. I have no knowledge as to why, but I guarantee this means he's not dead, and that vampire, he's not dead either.
On an opposite note, even if there are many disconnects from the viewer's perspective, the MC justifiably has reason for ambition, determination and vengefulness after this trial. If this was the sole purpose of the first episode, then they succeeded. I hope this is the case because I really can't go with the whole, "The world is ending because of an unexplained disease and vampires, but that's all you need to know. Here are some kids that you're supposed to care about with no drawing necessary… and now they're dead," idea. The lack of exposition here is just too off-putting.
Even if this episode could be justified, it would've been much better portrayed as a flashback. Say they started at the mentioned point, "eight years later," and just said, "eight years ago this happened and now we're here," then they had a flashback episode or something along those lines. This would've been played off so much nicer than how it actually was. It's like they amalgamated a crappy cast with a crappy setting and a crappy plot, then threw it all out the window after 24 minutes (though this is probably a good thing). The show's first episode was so riddled with fallacies that I can't even recall if the music was good or not.
Despite the apparent problems that I have with Seraph of the End, the future is vast and I understand that anything can happen with this much airtime (just look at Cross Ange). I can't imagine that everyone is satisfied enough with the first episode to give this show its very well initial rating that it's been given; this hype must stem from future events in the manga, right? I'll just conclude by saying that this first episode will either stand as a lame start to a lame series, or a purposefully unexplained episode to a series that presents it's intelligence at a later date. As it stands, It is a prologue that didn't captivate me, but my eyes will be kept open and my opinion left free to change. With just the first episode to back my opinion, however, this hype train won't see my ticket.
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