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Seraph of the End / Owari no Seraph +Brutal Review
05-19-2015, 07:58 PM,
Post: #1
Seraph of the End / Owari no Seraph +Brutal Review
I'm watching the animoo right now; I haven't read the mangoes . I decided to start giving absolutely brutal animoo reviews with this one. I'll try to abstain from spoilers, but I won't guarantee there are none for Shingeki no Kyojin (SnK, or Attack on Titan for some), which overshadows it immensely as Studio Wit's first animoo -- many assets of which are shared with Owari no Seraph.

It seems like this is the time to start watching Owari no Seraph. I've been watching since ep1. Straight to the point, this animoo has its merits but will forever be bound in our minds to its more popular cousin. If you want to watch this, you probably just want something somewhat similar -- but don't watch it for that. The premises are the exact same but with giants replaced with vampires. The first episode is also literally going to assault your mind with pictures of Eren, but don't let it fool you. For one, most of the characters in the show are older than the Walls. As well, humanity is not at threat of extinction -- the "humans as livestock" analogy for the Walls from SnK pretty much replaces it. These two combine so the post-apocalyptic aspect of the show is very much more apparent rather than "We could face Apocalypse." in SnK.

I'll start with the best things, since I really make these sorts of things awful. The last thing is the worst. There are some areas I don't think I'll cover because they would probably end up looking copy-and-pasted from a SnK review -- for instance, the soundtrack pretty much shoots "I WAS MADE BY THE SAME STUDIO!" at 300kmph right into your face in the second scene of the show. (opening)

It's great art. The characters are pretty well-drawn, the uniforms look pretty awesome, and the backgrounds are top-notch. I'm trying to withhold going on about glorious pastels and brilliant attention to detail but it's some of the most well-done outwork I've seen in an incredibly long time. They're better than Studio Wit's work on backgrounds in SnK. This is literally outstanding and I'm certain there are people who are watching it for this even though I usually don't care as long as it's not actually bad enough to make me not want to watch. However, on the downside, Studio Wit definitely takes notice. In my hobby of taking screenshots of animoo, I noticed some of these scenes literally had nothing but background detail outside of the ~33% area in the center screen. However, it really doesn't take from the animoo, and there is only one scene in which I genuinely felt this was a problem, for a total of two frames in episode five.

The characters are pretty neat. The protagonist, Yu (Yuichiro Hyakuya), is a pretty cool guy. He wanted to revolt and liberate humanity from being kept as livestock for vampires -- but gradually, by the time we reach the main story, he just gets engulfed by an overwhelming desire to kill all vampires. He's not a very sociable person, and had it not been for a major downside of the story (next section), he would be a much less enjoyable character.

Lt. Col. Guren is also a pretty well-done character. He's the equivalent to Commander Erwin, essentially, but he also appears frequently in public, possibly due to there being less people now.

I'll skip the vampires since, quite honestly, they haven't really been given enough characterization at this point, and likely will not be characterized enough until around halfway through the series -- maybe then I'll do a spoiler-hidden edit.

Yoichi Saotome is a physically weak, but intelligent character, and friend of Yu. He's basically Armin with a somewhat sturdier psyche.

Shinoa Hiragi is a very confusing character. I genuinely do not know if I like her or not. On one side she seems to be a total slut. This literally seems to dominate her portrayal. On the other hand, she genuinely is an entertaining and likeable character, and has her moments of greatness.

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There's a few others who are a little bland but still good enough, for instance this one guy joined the army to help his little sister. However, I genuinely don't think any of them are even worth discussing.

Notably, episode six really does well showing the bonds of the characters, and I can't say it felt very contrived -- all the characters except to some extent Shinoa felt well-written, although Shinoa's case can be explained, if you think about it when you finish watching.

The relationships between the characters are also well-done, and in some cases actually quite excellent, aside from the somewhat stupid affection Shinoa seems to be developing towards Yuichiro.

However, given the amount of animoo with shit-tier romance and annoying girls, I really don't care much. It is still far better written than any romance in any military animoo since Gundam 00 and Code Geass, with the exception of SB Yamato 2199 because that's a remake. Also, there's only been one fanservice scene so far, and none of the girls look like they've been drawn to compensate for low quality. Also I'm getting the sense all the girls will do the animoo protagonist gravitation, but I hope not.

Plot, Overall
Really it hasn't started for the most part and the largest issues are addressed separately in the next section. Overall it really feels slow because they've taken ages to get to the main story. This is the largest problem. The first episode was perhaps even better than the first episode of SnK. Then they had an arc where my level of interest collapsed. It absolutely did not belong in the story and served entirely to characterize Yuichiro. It was brief, in the same way Sword Art Online fucked its entire premise for a few episodes after ep2. It reveals Yu is pretty much traumatized by the events of the first episode, shows his inner psyche quite a bit along with the psyches of his friends to lesser extents, but for the most part it is pretty much begging for you to get to the damn story. It would probably be acceptable if this were a dark fantasy animoo more along the lines of Akame ga Kill (strong and gory action orientation, minimal philosophy, drama mostly from character death) than Shingeki no Kyojin (regular-action-genre but somewhat gory action orientation with vastly more captivating animation, mid-range philosophical exploration, mostly political and psychological drama -- based on the animoo, not the mangoes ), but this animoo is trying to insert drama and action together with horrible pacing, like they're segregated instead of integrated. For reference, Owari no Seraph feels like "weak action orientation, some philosophy, and mostly psychological with some political drama" is the goal, but ends up feeling "little but not minimal action, low-level philosophy (not as much as Akame), animoo school genre, and mostly psychological drama with a little bit of political drama pushed off to the side". That said, I must emphasize, it does feel like the plot is picking up, and by episode 10 it should be on track action-wise.

Pacing and Tension

This is by far the most controversial thing about Owari no Seraph. Its pace is not particularly slow compared to most animoo, but the size of the "low-interest" arcs at the beginning are far too great. The first ep is perhaps even more fast-paced than Shingeki no Kyojin -- think the first two eps, plus a lot of backstory that was covered elsewhere. However, as of episode seven, it still has not reached its Trost moment, when the series seriously begins packing a punch in terms of interest. It's like opening clickbait every time, with little interest combined with cliffhangers that always indicate the Trost moment will be the very next episode, diminishing my level of interest greatly every week with the exception of episodes six and now seven.

If you saw SnK, you know it's pretty good at the start but then slows down a bit because the protagonist group needs military training -- same thing in Owari no Seraph, but it takes another two episodes, annoyingly. The pace is truly the worst thing right now. I'll probably go on about this all the way to the end of the review, but it's too slow-paced.

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However, last Saturday they broadcast the first episode of the main story. They're not to the level SnK reached at ep5-7 unfortunately. By the time you get to this point, it's pretty much what you expect out of the episode. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt here because it does live in a shadow, however. At this rate it looks like they might have a good next episode, but it's uncertain, similar to Mekakucity Actors: The preview is an actual scene at the end of the episode with some drama. The last episode foresaw two things: They're going to fight, but they might back off. That's right. They might sissy out.

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