OP: 「X.U.」by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Gemie
“Humanity After the Fall”
School Setting, Hit or Miss?
I, like many others, was very worried after last week’s premiere. We got a fantastic first episode set in an underworld city ruled by Vampires, only to return to high school in this episode. It looked bad, but let me tell you, it was just as good as last week, if not better. I tried to remain as positive as possible, praying that this wouldn’t erase every good thing we got from the first episode, and I’m glad I stuck with that outlook. This could have gone horribly, relying on tired tropes that are often shoved in our faces and would seem out of place in this series, but this episode was just as enjoyable as the premiere – sure, there was room for comedy, which lightened the tone, but it was done well. Nothing felt forced; the flow was an improvement, much more steady than last week (which felt like a rush at times). We learned that the apocalypse did happen… kind of – the vampires told the children exaggerated stories, in order to stop them from wanting to return to the surface world. In truth, humanity has been reduced to 1/10th of its former glory, but that’s still enough to build an army and keep the Japanese school system going! All in all, I thought the shift in sitting was a success. It could have been a disaster, but disaster was avoided.
Now that Yuu has stepped foot on the new surface world, we’ve got a few new faces to get introduced to. First is Hiiragi Shinoa (Hayami Saori), a snarky girl sent to watch over Yuu, who has been expelled to school due to his rash actions on the field. His punishment? Make a friend! As simple as it sounds, Yuu clearly has issues with attachment after what happened to his family, and then his fellow orphans (who he keeps dreaming about in a very positive light). Yuu’s friend-to-be ends up being Saotome Yoichi (Okamoto Nobuhiko), a timid boy who wants to join the Japanese Imperial Demon Army after his sister was brutally murdered by a vampire. Clearly, there are going to be many horrific revenge backstories to these characters, but for now they’re all being executed fairly well.
The new trio spend the episode bouncing off one another, whether that be their funny back-and-forths or trying to inspire each other to be better. Yuu needs to learn to open up, and Yoichi has to prove his strengths in order to get accepted, and by the end both of them managed those feats (resulting in a very long, affectionate hug – people have been bringing up the BL vibes that Owari no Seraph exudes, which aren’t showing any signs of going away any time soon). It’s worth nothing that the action sequences in this episode were sharp and well choreographed; the whole scene with Yuu against the freed vampire gives me hope for what Studio Wit are going to produce for the rest of the series. There may have been a few still frames here and there, but it wasn’t enough to drag the quality of the episode down, by any means.
Ichinose Guren (Nakamura Yuuichi) comes off as just as much a kid as the actual children – he made a promise to let Yuu join them if he completed the friendship task, and he did, so he has to fulfil his end of the bargain. Now that Yuu is back in his good graces, I’m excited to see where we’ll go from here. The setup for the Moon Demon Company has me curious – they seem like a bunch of chirpy yet badass colourful-haired individuals going by their introduction and the scenes in the opening. And what an opening that was. Best of the season so far, for me at least. It all came together nicely – both the opening and the episode itself – hinting at the characters and then action that is to come, as well as establishing just who the Japanese Imperial Demon Army are. It’s safe to say that Owari no Seraph is a quintessential shounen through-and-through. This isn’t trying to twist the clichés and throw out the rulebook like Hunter x Hunter does; this embraces the things that make shounen battle series so fun, and so far it’s delivering on all fronts.
Overview – What’s Next?:
It seems we’re still in school next week, but I’m not as worried as I was last week. We’ve got some impressive characters that can carry the show through its lesser parts – if it ever comes to that. I’m looking forward to some more action, more world-building, more vampires, and maybe soon we’ll be calling Owari no Seraph the next big thing.
ED: 「scaPEGoat」 by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Yosh