Review: Seraph of the End Season One Part One

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WIT Studio, the team behind the Attack on Titan adaptation, is back with their adaptation of popular Jump SQ (Jump Square) title Seraph of the End. Bringing Seraph of the End Season One Part One to the UK is none other than Universal Pictures UK.

91OQexZkH1L._SL1500_Release Date: 23rd May 2016
Format: Blu-ray / DVD
Studio: WIT Studio
Publisher: Universal Pictures UK
Certificate: 15
Language: English / French / German / Japanese
Subtitles: English / French / German / Netherlands
Episodes: 1-12 + Specials
Discs: 2
Run Time: 264 Minutes

A man-made virus ravages through the global populations leaving only those over the age of thirteen untouched. It is at this same time that Vampires emerge from the shadows and quickly claim earth’s last surviving remnants of humanity, leading them underground to safety but also to become livestock. Safe from the horrors that now roam the surface, humanity is left with no choice but to offer up their blood in exchange for their protection. Yuichiro and Mikaela plotted to escape their captors along with the other children from the Hyakuya Orphanage. Seizing their chance, however, soon results in their deaths and Mikaela sacrificing himself for Yuichiro to escape alone. Saved by the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, Yuichiro then dedicates his life to destroying the Vampires for murdering his family.

Tales of humans and vampires have become a rather popular trend again in recent years, as have stories set in a post-apocalyptic world; Seraph of the End combines these two effortlessly. This creates a story that is both engaging and tense from start to finish. Humanity’s primal urge to survive is at constant war with their strong desire for revenge against the vampires. The series has a lot more hidden beneath its premise than we have seen within part one. There’s definitely a sense of foul play afoot throughout the series and the tease at the end really hooks you for what’s to come. The series also manages to balance its serious plot elements with little comedy routines rather well. They never feel too out of place and are always contained within the right situation. Seraph of the End should definitely appeal to a wide audience and you’ll not be disappointed with what it has to offer.

I love the traditional animation style backgrounds in Seraph of the End. It’s become somewhat of a rare sight within today’s anime but really does look fantastic when studios choose to do it. Seraph of the End goes even further with its city scape backdrops that showcase a decimated and derelict Tokyo which really stands out. Character designs also look great and positively jump out in contrast to the series’ beautifully realised backgrounds. The series makes great use of vibrant colours with green being a recurring theme throughout. The contrast between the black uniforms of the humans, the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, and the white clothing of the vampires really muddies the line between who’s good and evil. All of these points are made even better when viewed on Blu-ray but the DVD version still holds its own.

The soundtrack is fairly subtle throughout the series but if you really stop to listen to some of the tracks you’ll find they’re quite odd. These abstract songs are far from bad however and I regularly found myself enjoying the tension that they brought to the story. The man behind the soundtrack is Hiroyuki Sawano (Aldnoah.Zero, Blue Exorcist) who also worked on the opening and ending themes “X.U.” and “scaPEGoat”, respectively, with Takafumi Wada, Asami Tachibana, and Megumi Shiraishi. Both songs were performed by Sawano’s vocal song project SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]. The opening “X.U.” actually reminds me of A Certain Scientific Railgun’s opening which is a little odd for this type of series but after a few listens you really get into it. Interestingly this release features not only an English dub track but also French and German options, as well as subtitles for those languages plus one for Netherlands too.

On-disc extras come in the form of Trailers, TV Spots and Music Clips, basically clean opening and ending themes, on disc one. Disc two features the specials “Seraph of the Endless” which is the same across both Blu-ray and DVD versions. The biggest draw extra-wise for this release is the shear amount of physical extras such as a poster, art cards, visual guide and more. While it’s not listed as a collector’s edition set both the Blu-ray and DVD sets are clearly that and are more than worthy of the £39.99 retail price tag. The quality of the finished items included in the set are very high and quite possibly better than those from rival companies. For more details on the actual set check out our unboxing article that features tons of pictures here.

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Verdict

80% Very Good

Seraph of the End is definitely a series that comes with a lot of appeal, the story is engaging and full tension of throughout not to mention it comes from the people behind the Attack on Titan anime – WIT Studio. Universal Pictures UK have really made a huge impact with this release as the overall quality, both on-disc and physically, is really outstanding. If you’re looking to pick a something new then Seraph of the End Season One Part One is definitely worth the purchase price!

This title was reviewed using a Blu-ray / DVD review copy provided by Universal Pictures UK.

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About Author

Co-Founder & Writer of @JapanCuriosity / Writer for @MangaUK. Lover of Anime, Manga and Games. Current obsession - Metal Gear Solid!