「心に棲むオニ」 (Kokoro ni sumu oni)
“Demon in the Mind”
Author’s Note: Samu is on hiatus for a few days – he’ll be returning with Owari no Seraph next week…
Sometimes, the three-episode rule just isn’t enough.
I’m still not sure where I stand with Owari no Seraph. On the downside, it does seem to be getting progressively more conventional with every episode. But there’s a creative spark behind the series that I find quite appealing – the art design and cinematography is really interesting. Also interesting is the vaguely shounen-ai vibe that’s reminiscent of shows like Pandora Hearts or 07 Ghost – something that was a lot more common among this sort of series 5-10 years ago than it is today.
As for the story, well – I’m still on the fence there too. At least we got an explanation for why the series has settled (for now) at a school – the whole thing is a human experiment being run by the Demon Extermination Army. I don’t think it’s an especially good explanation though, nor the setting an especially interesting one. I hope the series stops teasing us that the story is going to move on and actually moves it on, because there’s a bit of a treading water feel to what it’s doing now.
After opening with an explanation from Shinoa about why virginity is evil (I’d avoid repeating that in Akihabara) we quickly segue into a development that’s a pretext to get Yuu to the next stage. The bullies from last week are back, and one of their number has gotten himself trapped inside the “Forbidden Chamber” – actually a kind of training ground for the D.E.A. (that means something different in America) that containing a demon. The whole idea here is that the power in the “cursed gear” comes from a contract with a demon – and anyone who enters the chamber unprepared (as decided by the army) is taken over by said demon.
That’s a very standard way of going about a mythology like this one, but again the execution is pretty well-done. When Yuu – arrogant to the last, but seemingly able to back it up – defies Shinoa’s orders and tries to claim the axe from the possessed Yuji (I assume he’s a goner, but we’re never told), he’s transported to an illusory world inhabited by his deceased family. He’s strong enough to resist the lure of possession (which is apparently pretty rare), Mikaela’s urging to seek revenge being the tipoff that something was off.
So is now the time when Guren is going to finally acknowledge Yuu and let the plot get to the next stage? We’ll see, but at the very least Mikaela is back in the story for reals. As expected, there was no way Ferid or he were actually dead, and Mikaela is now a vampire – though whether that means he’s lost himself and become a willing ally of Ferid is hard to say. Again, I would say this angle is pretty reminiscent of sci-fi/fantasy anime from the mid-late 2000s – I’ll be interested to see where Owari no Seraph takes it, but I do hope it takes it wherever that is a little faster from this point forward.