Do you ever have that one anime where you feel as though there was many things going on but still feeling like there was no impact to any of it? Anime that are of the action genre often come into this dilemma. Ones that have an overarching story that tries to make it grand and epic, only to squander it by not giving much to go on. It doesn’t help with a short 12-13 episode season. Considering that Owari no Seraph had a 2nd season in the same year in order to facilitate its story longer and still come off short is basically rubbing salt in the wound.
To go back on the first season for a bit, since I never reviewed it, my initial impression of the story was incredibly underwhelming. I thought the way it told a revenge plot involving a boy who wants to kill vampires who killed all of his friends was too simple and drab for me to take seriously. There are ways in which this could work but with Owari no Seraph’s case it comes across as predictable and hamfisted with the melodrama. Not only is the story itself nothing special, but the way it is presented is all over the place. Most notably the pacing is what drags it down so low. There are many places where the plot just rushes along in order to get to the next battle scene without any semblance of exposition to tell the audience what exactly is going on. This is very apparent in the last episode of this season where the last ten minutes felt like there should’ve been two more episodes to fill in to make it feel more like a seamless transition from scene to scene.
Writing is the key point to any story as well, and Owari no Seraph has probably the most boring dialogue of any shounen anime this year. It’s like the running joke in America where we think of Hollywood of just reusing cliched catchphrases we see in countless action blockbusters by putting there hand in a jar and pick whatever line is on a piece of paper. That’s what it feels like for some of the lines that lean on the “edgy” or “melodramatic” nature of Owari no Seraph. Many of the lines, even if you’re watching with the worst fansubs or know a little Japanese like I do, just reek of stale dialogue writing that even a high school student with a novice level of writing composition could do better. They can range from predictable to groan inducing on many occasions.
Unfortunately, most of the characters here are of the same level as the story is in terms of quality. They all fall under the category of forgettable and flat, with the exception of one character that is the one ray of sunshine of this entire anime. The character I am referring to is the lovely sarcastic lady, Shinoa Hiiragi. Although her character development is on par to the rest of the bland cast, her snarky demeanor and voiced wonderfully by Saori Hayami, who does her lines a cut above the rest. Without her, I don’t think I would’ve sat through all 24 episodes of season 1 and 2; in fact I would say the only reason I bothered to continue this was just to see more of Shinoa. Her presence in season 2 is just as good, albeit a little more serious than in the previous one which kind of disappointed me but I’ll take whatever Shinoa I can get at this point.
Yuu proves himself to be the stereotypical edgy protagonist who shouts most of his lines and blurts out predictable vengeful lines and promises to stick with his friends lines. Admittedly, I do think Mika, Yuu’s other friend who gets turned towards the vampire side, was probably the least bad out of the suck bunch in the cast. Only because he at least had a role that was kind of captivating to see where he has to battle out his friend’s other friends in order to reunite with him. In fact, all three of these characters are the only ones I even remember. As much as I rag on Yuu’s character, at least I can remember his name and the dumb lines he spout out. You could quiz me on the rest of the characters and I will guarantee you that I would not make more than a 20% grade percentage. This being the problem of how so little development any of them have despite being in the same armed forces as Yuu and Shinoa or the vampire clan they are fighting against. The only thing we have to go on is that they are fighting an enemy that threatens their way of life, that’s about it. Whoopee.
It is weird to analyze the technical prowess of Owari no Seraph because I do love the artwork of the characters and even some of the backgrounds look nice to look at. However the animation is very hit or miss. No where is this more evident than in the fighting scenes where there are some episodes where the animation just takes a nose dive and seems so obvious that the animators were cutting corners, possibly due to budgeting issues or whatnot. When it isn’t at such low quality, it is serviceable to the eyes and compliments the artwork. Other than the animation being a mixed bag, I genuinely love how colorful the characters look. As a matter of fact, if the characters didn’t have very distinct colorful features to their hair or skin, I think my opinion of them being forgettable would be even lower than it is.
Vampires and humans battling out each other can be something fun on paper but rarely has there been any that succeed in reality. Had the writers took their time to develop the characters and story slowly for me to get a sense of the world, I think this could’ve been pretty good. What I got out of Owari no Seraph after finishing its 2nd season was just the biggest meh that has ever meh this year of 2015. All I got out of it was more Shinoa fanart to gaze upon with my own eyes. At least great things can come from average places.