The Final Addition:
It shouldn’t be too surprising for me to say this, but boy, am I glad to see the back of that school. Looking back, the first episode of Owari no Seraph is still the best – even if the second turned out better than I anticipated – but since then it has felt like we’ve been going down a bad road, chaining ourselves to a setting that is so vanilla compared to what else there is to offer. Thankfully, we didn’t spend a moment in that school this time around; instead we saw Yuu and the others back in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. I expected it based on the premiere, but our final main character got introduced as well. Sanguu Mitsuba (Iguchi Yuka) is as much of a tsundere as we’ve seen done time and time before, and by the end of the episode she was already starting to irritate me – and then we saw her backstory.
I liked that her own traumatic experiences when on a previous mission gone wrong are what shape her stance and approach when it comes to vampire tricks. It makes sense why she would hold Yuu back from doing what his instincts tell him, and Shinoa hits the nail on the head: Mitsuba has been given a duty, and even if she’s showing her tsun side, she’s just trying to keep everyone safe in case something goes horribly wrong and bloody all over again. Suddenly, a character that I thought I was going to hate has become so much more interesting. However, I expect she’ll revert back to tsundere antics next week, so I don’t know how long that will last.
The Likeability of Hiiragi Shinoa:
The vampire action was nice this week, but I think the highlight of the episode was undoubtably Shinoa. It would be easy to assume she’s the favourite character of most watching Owari no Seraph, and that’s easy to see why. After six episodes of her casually interacting with Yuu and the others, I’ve finally realised what makes her such a good character. First off, she’s fun – plain and simple; whenever she’s not serious, she’s sly and jolly at the same time, delivering plenty of funny moments.
Secondly, credit has to go to Hayami Saori for being the standout seiyuu of the season. Not only is she’s doing a great job as Shiraishi in Yamada-kun, but she’s making Shinoa even more enjoyable. This is one of those cases where I almost can’t imagine any other voice actress doing as fine a job as she has been doing thus far. All of Shinoa’s mannerisms (like the way she walks down stairs) are so very entertaining to watch, and whenever anything comes out her mouth I can’t help but love that voice of hers.
The third reason why Shinoa works for me is because she isn’t a typical character archetype that you’d expect to find here. Owari no Seraph loves to embraces stereotypical characters, as well as the positives and negatives that come with them. Yuu is hardheaded and just wants to fight, Yoichi is shy and emotional, Shihou is the determined rival (albeit a very flat one), and now Mitsuba is the blatant tsundere. When you look at these four characters, and then look to Shinoa, it’s hard to pin a trope on her. She’s far too self-aware to be a yandere, too confident in herself to be a tsundere, and has shown plenty of moments where she’s displayed how level-headed she can be when demons are involved or things get serious. To put it simply, I’ve not seen many characters like Shinoa before, especially female leads. It’s refreshing, and the more we see of her, the more I’m liking her.
A Lesson in Art Direction:
Even in it low points, the art direction of Owari no Seraph never dipped for a second. There aren’t many battle shonen anime where the vision of the world, the painted backgrounds, and the all-encompassing panning shots are this noteworthy. Not only was it great for the story to return to the battlefield, but visually it was so much more exciting as well. I loved the little details of the broken buildings and the hints of it once being inhabited. Much like Shinoa, the more we see of this ravaged world, the more I like it.
Overview – What’s Next?:
A much better episode than what we’ve been getting lately. I was worried about our last addition, but after her backstory, I’m more positive about Mitsuba’s addition. We’ve now got our 5-man team, and I like what each of them have given us so far (well, except for Shihou). Not only that, but we have five different weapons types to be used, so there should be enough variety in the action department to keep us hooked (so far I’m liking Yoichi’s bow and arrow the most). Now I just want Yuu meet Mika again and see what happens. Also, Yuu’s showing a rather demonic side to him thanks to him accepting Ashuramaru’s powers, so I expect that to become a big deal down the line.