Owari no Seraph Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

 

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 PLOT:  Suddenly one day, the world was destroyed by an unknown virus. The children that survived, were taken away by vampires who appeared from the abyss. 4 years later. Yuichiro and Mikaela are living in “Sanguinem”, the city of vampires with the family of the “Hyakuya Orphanage”.


Hiroyuki Sawano’s is well-known after his break out soundtracks from Guilty CrownShingeki no Kyojin and last season’s Aldnoah.Zero and Nanatsu no TaizaiSeraph will be a great step forward for him in looking at other styles of music to explore.  Takafumi Wada [Higschool of The Dead and Rideback‘s soundtracks] writes scores that are slow moving without any sort of intensity like Sawano often does.  We get a group of shared inspiration from one prolific anime composer to a live-action drama music artist.  This should be good for both of them especially when considering the content that this show will be:  humans and how they struggle with surviving under vampire rule.  I enjoyed this episode quite a bit.  It has good visuals especially with those background designs looking like paintings.  Reminds me a lot of Aku no Hana  Animation Studio Pablo really brings this show to life with the contrast between Satoshi Kadowaki’s character designs!    The story sets itself up nicely to be very similar in the way 2006’s Kozuki Akane’s Noein had been–  kids at the forefront without any special abilities.  The manga basically narrates everything in the beginning while this adaptation unfolds through some stunning visuals and a powerful music score.

As the kids they try to live an ordinary life but here is where unnatural circumstances come into play that makes investing time into this series well worth it.  Yuichiro Hyakuya holds a hatred for the vampires that have taken their happiness away from them.  The very beginning portrays this human extinction card wonderfully however it is foreshadowed that nothing good can come of living in a confined city with a community reigning over you with a thirst for blood.  The first half of this episode shows the daily struggle these kids from Hyakuya orphanage go through–  their lives are turned upside down and Akane the cook of the family tries to make the best of these hard times in any way possible.  Mikaela Hyakuya if I hadn’t been spoiled in the trailers would have imagined he died by Ferid Bathory considering how this ends with a slaughter.

A good beginning to a harsh life for Yuichiro, his arrival on the outskirts of the Sanguinem and his fated encounter with Colonel of the Vampire Extermination Unity of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army should be the driving force to make this a solid dark fantasy drama series.  Let’s hope it doesn’t ruin it with too much flakey fan service:  the women in this show look surprisingly bright for such a grim anime.

So many anime suffer from information dumping the story to its viewers that this is illustrating Seraph‘s plot and its characters is much more eye-catching and out-of-standards than what even I would have expected.  Smart move on what to omit from the manga for the sake of runtime.

Daisuke Tokudo [episode director: Shingeki no Kyojin ep. 17, 25 and Tokyo Magnitude 8.0‘s ep. 2, 5] is having his first run in the director’s seat with Seraph and I expect great things from him.  Let’s just hope we don’t get a generic shonen series with this adaptation.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10

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