The series begins with a mysterious virus suddenly infecting and killing the adults. A group of vampires suddenly appears and says that anyone over 13 has been killed by the virus and that the children will be taken under the “protection” of the vampires. Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign focuses on a group of kids from the Hyakuya Orphanage, and specifically on two characters named Yuichiro and Mikaela (who goes by Mika for short).

It was interesting to see how differently this was portrayed from the manga. First off, it’s shown to the audience in real time instead of as a flashback. Also, what the kids are doing when the orphanage director succumbs to the disease is very different between the two tellings of the story. After comparing both tellings, it’s clear that the anime portrays the setup a little better. In the anime, it appears that Yuichiro has been at the orphanage long enough to at least start getting to know the other orphans, even if he tries to distance himself due to his views on the concept of family. In the manga, these events take place when Yuichiro first appears at the orphanage, so what transpires later doesn’t work as well in the manga and is actually stronger and more powerful in the anime with the way the setup for the series was handled.

The story then skips ahead four years, and we get to see how the children are simply treated as livestock for the vampires to feed on. Yuichiro tries to stand up to the vampires, but he isn’t strong enough to do anything about them. Mika, on the other hand, gets in the good graces of a vampire noble named Lord Ferid. This rubs Yuichiro the wrong way at first, but it’s through this friendship that Mika has to Lord Ferid that he’s able to get the map and gun that they need for the orphans to try to escape. At this point, it’s made clear that Yuichiro and Mika are polar opposites of each other, but in the end have the same goal in mind.

When the orphans try to make their escape, they are met by Lord Ferid at the exit from the vampires’ city to the outside world. Unfortunately, all of the other orphans are slaughtered in front of Yuichiro and Mika’s eyes. In the end, Yuichiro is able to use the gun to shoot Ferid, but Mika appears to be on the verge of death at this point. There’s a scene in here where Yuichiro realizes that he does think of Mika and the other orphans as his family, and is extremely upset when he realizes that he can’t take Mika with him when he escapes. This part never played as well to me in the manga, but it worked a lot better in the anime because the emotions felt more genuine and less forced in this telling.

Yuichiro is forced to flee on his own, and he’s met by three people who say he was prophesized to escape from the vampires and that he is going to be used to help get rid of the vampires. Right at the end, there’s another four year timeskip, and Yuichiro is seen wearing a uniform.

Before going into the story, it has to be said that the animation in Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign looked really good. While it may not have been anything new or revolutionary, it’s obvious that the animators are really going to a lot of care with this production. Hopefully the animation can keep up this quality throughout the run of the series.

Overall, Episode One of Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign did a great job establishing the two main characters, as well as the concepts that will be propelling the series forward. While there are a couple of four year timeskips included in this episode, this comes directly from the original manga source material. And the timeskips were needed in order to move the story forward so Yuichiro could escape from the vampires’ city at the end of Episode One.

So far, the anime seems to be doing a good job of adapting the Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign manga and the few changes that were made to the anime strengthened the characters and the storytelling. Hopefully, the anime will be able to continue to successfully tell a compelling story while trying to remain as close to the original manga source material as possible.

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