Spring Anime 2015: Seraph of the End
Sure to win the "Best Copycat" award of 2015, as this looks...almost unreasonably similar to 2013's Attack on Titan. A bleak time in humanity's existence where most of society has been wiped out (there its the giants, here its a virus), with the remainder of the race being hunted by a powerful supernatural force, and there's a boy with an almost unreasonable amount of rage due to the loss of his family at the hands of said force. There are a plenty of differences present as well, but the similarities are so obvious that people are going to make the comparisons regardless. (They even have the same company doing the animation!) But aside from comparisons to a much more popular series, how does Seraph of the End stand up?
Decently enough, at least with its first episode. The main characters (for this ep) are a group of kids taken from an orphanage and herded into a secret location by the vampires where they are used like self-sustaining livestock until two of the boys concoct a plan on how to escape. Obviously, things don't exactly go according to plan, and only one of them--Yuichiro Hyakuya--actually survives an attack by the vamps. It's a simple enough opening that they manage to not insert any glaring flaws into. How the plot unfolds in subsequent releases could very well torpedo it--the main character already has the makings of a Gary Stu, which is a problem. But fortunately vampires aren't near the horrific force of nature that giants are in a modern time line where you can use science to overcome their natural advantages, so maybe it won't look completely unbelievable.
I do wish shows like these wouldn't make such obvious attempts to tug at your heart strings, though. I mean, you see a group of adorable rugrats like this in such a dark show:
And you know they're going to end up horrifically murdered. If anything, it would've been more surprising to see most of the group survive and then spend the rest of the series on edge wondering who would actually make it to the end.
Overall though, this was a very solid entry for a first episode. It told a simple story, ended at a logical point, was very well animated and had a beautiful song during the scene where the kids were trying to escape from the vampires. For better or worse, this is going to be a series that everyone ends up talking about, I think. Having done a bit of "research" on things, it's also got that ever-so-slight shonen-ai tinge that will set countless fujoshi hearts ablaze with the possibilities. (My mind boggles at the potential torrid fanfics that will be inspired by this show...)
That said, I am glad that the first episode ended in a time skip, because I don't ever want to see a scene like this again:
....Yeah. The fewer more pedophile-ish scenes of vampires with little children, the better, I think.
Result: I'll probably finish at least the first season.