Review: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign: Episode 12 – “Everyone’s a Sinner”

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign starts off with vampires infecting people over 13 with a virus and killing them off. With the adults gone, the vampires take the children into their “protection” and use them as livestock to feed on. Four years later, Yuichiro, Mikaela, and the other kids from their orphanage try to escape from the vampires; however, Yuichiro is the only one who succeeds. Yuichiro is found by Lieutenant Colonel Guren of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and is offered a chance to join them so he can kill vampires and get his revenge. It’s also revealed that humanity wasn’t exterminated like the vampires had told Yuichiro. Instead, the world’s population was reduced to 1/10. Also, thanks to the Trumpets of the Apocalypse, weird creatures began roaming the earth.

Episode 12 takes place in the aftermath of the fight in Shinjuku between the humans and the vampires. This was a little disappointing, since Episode 11 ended with reinforcements from the Japanese Imperial Army showing up and seemed to hint that we would get to see the ending of the battle. We only end up getting to see bits and pieces of what happened with the remainder of the battle through a small handful of flashbacks that appear in the episode.

We learn that at the start of the episode, Yuichiro has been in a coma state for five days. A concerned Shinoa goes to confront Guren about what happened to Yuichiro on the battlefield and eventually gets some truth out of him by the end of their conversation. What Shinoa learns had been hinted at to the audience earlier in the series, but this allows us to see that Shinoa now knows this information as well.

The episode also shows Mika interacting with some of the other vampires other than Ferid. Through these interactions, we see that the other vampires view Mika as Kruel Tepes’ pet and don’t necessarily think very highly of him. But as we see in this episode, Mika is definitely torn and confused; on the one hand, he hates the vampires for enslaving him and the other kids from the orphanage, but on the other, he now hates the humans because he’s learned about the experimentation that’s been going on. The story seems to be setting Mika up for confusion as to where he ultimately belongs.

Much of the second half of Episode 12 focuses on Yuichiro waking up from his coma state after seven days. This lets the audience see him interacting with Shinoa and the others, and we get to see that Yuichiro has truly come to think of the others in his squad as his friends. That’s a major step forward for Yuichiro, and hopefully this development will continue going forward.

In a lot of respects, this ended up being primarily an exposition episode with very little action involved. Since this is the last episode for this season before Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign goes on a break until Fall 2015, it ended up feeling a little anti-climactic. The episode ended with something that will make the audience wonder what they saw, but this isn’t quite the dramatic ending that I had anticipated before stepping away from the series for about three months.

Even though this episode of Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign didn’t end on quite the note I had expected, I’m still planning on coming back to watch the next cour in October 2015.

Review: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign: Episode 11 – “Reunion of Childhood Friends”

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign starts off with vampires infecting people over 13 with a virus and killing them off. With the adults gone, the vampires take the children into their “protection” and use them as livestock to feed on. Four years later, Yuichiro, Mikaela, and the other kids from their orphanage try to escape from the vampires; however, Yuichiro is the only one who succeeds. Yuichiro is found by Lieutenant Colonel Guren of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and is offered a chance to join them so he can kill vampires and get his revenge. It’s also revealed that humanity wasn’t exterminated like the vampires had told Yuichiro. Instead, the world’s population was reduced to 1/10. Also, thanks to the Trumpets of the Apocalypse, weird creatures began roaming the earth.

Episode 11 sees the reunion between Yuichiro and Mikaela take place, but it’s not the reunion that either one of them was expecting. The confusion that takes place between these two is very realistic, and it adds just the right layer of tension to the battle that’s taking place around them. When Yuichiro realizes that Mikaela is now a vampire, he blames himself for it. This realization, in addition to what takes place in the battle, causes Yuichiro to start losing it. He begins transforming, but it’s not because the demon in his Cursed Gear is causing it. It had been hinted earlier in the series that Yuichiro was being tested on by the humans, and this unexpected transformation becomes proof of that this was indeed happening to him. It makes the viewer realize that the humans aren’t clearly the “good guys” in the series, and that the situation of the humans versus the vampires isn’t as black and white as it originally appeared.

Unfortunately, this transformation ends up not being a good thing in the long run. In this new state, Yuichiro seems to lose his consciousness and can’t tell the difference between friend and foe. But in the end, it comes down to a tried and true trope to cause Yuichiro to return to normal. It’s a trope I’ve seen before in anime, as well as in American series like Avatar: The Last Airbender. When Guren told Shinoa that she needs to do something to stop Yuichiro, I had guessed that this trope would be used, and sure enough, I was right. And right near the end of the episode, it appears the cavalry has arrived to save the day. An order is given to launch an attack, and then the episode ends; but this was done in a way where it didn’t feel like a sudden or abrupt ending.

Episode 11 was full of tension, and it was obvious as it progressed that this story is quickly reaching its climax. As a viewer, I was satisfied to finally see Yuichiro and Mikaela reunite with each other, since it was obvious that the story was headed to this point rather early on in the series.

So far, it appears Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign has found a spot to bring the first cour of the series to a close when Episode 12 concludes. I’m looking forward to seeing how this storyline will be wrapped up in the next episode and on what note the series will end on before taking a break this summer.

Review: Weekly Shonen Jump (June 8, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for Toriko, One Piece, Food Wats!, Black Clover, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Devilyman, Bleach, Nisekoi: False Love, My Hero Academia, One-Punch Man, and Blue Exorcist. This issue also includes the sixh chapter of the Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring mini-series the finale for Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, and the first chapter of Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac (which is the latest title to be featured for the “Jump Back” initiative). And at the back of the volume, there are some cosplay photos from Fanimecon and some fan art for My Hero Academia.

For the series that carried over from previous issues I’ve read, I tried to put a little more focus in my write-ups about the progression of the story from the previous chapter. I will warn you that these write-ups will more than likely contain spoilers.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at VIZManga.com.

Toriko CH:326

This chapter introduces Gold Chef Jiji. In addition, Toriko confronts Starjun, and Starjun says he heard about Toriko acquiring pair. He also drops a hint to Toriko about something Midora said to him about pair. Komatsu approaches Gold Chef Jiji and asks if he’s the one who wrote the cookbook that he found in Gourmet Pyramid. It turns out that Golf Chef Jiji has a little bit of knowledge about the locations and capture methods for the remaining dishes in Acacia’s full-course meal. He says he’ll tell, but that he’ll be the one to decide who goes where. He decies that the majority of the members will remain in Area 6 due to how difficult capturing the course there will be. He assigns Zebra and Brunch to go to Area 5, Sunny and Live-Bearer to Area 4, Coco and Tylan to Area 3, and Toriko and Starjun to Area 1.

The purpose of this chapter is set up what I suspect will be simultaneously running storylines that will make this story arc last a while. I find Toriko and Starjun to be an interesting pairing, since they’re rivals being forced to work together. Hopefully they’ll be able to work together for the good of the world. It’s going to be interesting to see how the story progresses between the various groups that are out trying to acquire the remaining dishes for Acacia’s full-course meal before the eclipse.

One Piece CH:789

We see that the center of the birdcage is just about to burst. However, they insist on still trying to push it to try to slow it down. Meanwhile, Rebecca is trying to stop Viola from fighting wity Doflamingo. Doflamingo takes control of Rebecca and tries to make her kill Viola. The announcer from the colosseum comes out and starts talking about Luffy, and then starts addressing Doflamingo as a way to distract him and get him away from Viola and Rebecca. At the same time, those who were healed by Princess Mansherry’s tears begin collapsing. Just as Rebecca is about to kill Viola, Luffy recovers and jumps in between them.

Oda spent this chapter building up to Luffy’s recovery, and sprinkled in some danger for Viola and Rebecca in the process. He also made sure to make the whole situation seem like it could be lost prior to Luffy getting back up. It looks like the scene is being set for Luffy to resume his battle with Doflamingo when the next chapter is published.

It should be noted that One Piece will be off next week.

Food Wars! CH:121

After his meeting with Kuga, soma finds himself wondering what he’s going to be doing for the festival. Hojo points out that there’s one more thing that Kuga has Soma outdone by a long shot: name recognition. When talking with Mitsuru, he learns that the journalism club is responsible for putting together the festival guidebook that is handed out to all the guests. When he returns home to Polaris Dorm, he is approached by Isshiki about the idea of the dorm doing a booth for the festival together. Soma still wants to do his own booth, though. Fortunately, Isshiki is willing to explain the application form to Soma as well as what Kuga’s plans are for his booth location. We then move ahead in time to the last day of booth applications. We see that Soma has requested the space directly in front of the Chinese Food Research Society’s booth. Right at the end of the chapter, Soma learns that anyone whose booth on their own will be expelled if their booth ends up in the red.

This chapter is all about setting the stage for the forthcoming school festival. As the chapter goes along, it appears that Soma has actually thought ahead and was being clever. Unfortunately for him, he learns after everything is set in place that he has the potential to be expelled if his booth ends up in the read. So now the stress and stakes are even higher than he thought they were. It’s going to be interesting to see how he’s going to pull this off, especially since Soma’s going head-to-head against one of the members of the council of 10 and doing the same kind of food that Kuga is renowned for making.

Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring CH:006

This chapter opens with Sasuke battling with Shin and the freaky-looking mystery man. During the exchange, the mystery man reveals his intention to revive the Akatsuki. Sasuke asks Naruto to protect the children, but then suddenly Sasuke’s sword ends up in Naruto. It’s revealed that the mystery man has an ocular power that allows him to manipulate weapons. The mystery man launches an attack on Sarada, but Sasuke jumps in the way to protect her. But just at that moment, Sakura shows up and gives the mystery man a very powerful punch. Sakura and Sasuke talk about Sarada, but then the mystery man uses teleportation and takes Sakura with them right into the heart of enemy territory.

This chapter reveals some more about the mystery man, but still not his name. It was bittersweet to see Sasuke, Sakura, and Sarada reunited for such a short time. But it looks like Sakura will end up playing an important role when it comes to Shin and the mystery man as a medic ninja. It’s going to be interesting to see where the mini-series is going to progress from here.

Black Clover CH:016

Luck and Asta’s enemy decides to make a break for it instead od trying to stick around and continue fighting. We then return to Golden Dawn’s battle with their opponent. Yuno and his teammate, Klaus, keep trying to exchange blows with their opponent, but nothing seems to work. Yuno has a flashback of him and Asta fighting each other when they were younger, anf Asta declaring he’s not going to quit until he hits Yuno. Yuno channels that memory and declares to his current opponent that he’s not going to stop. move, or give up. Asta then shows up with his sword and declares that Yuno is his rival. At the end of the chapter, it turns into a contest between Asta and Yuno as to which one of them will be the first to take down this opponent.

This chapter seemed like it was going to be Yuno’s turn to shine, since it appeared that he was about to launch a major counterattack against his opponent. But I should have guessed that the loudmouth protagonist would jump in and try to upstage his rival. This is one of those dynamics that reminds me very heavily of how just how inspired by Naruto that this series is. Of course, it didn’t help that I had just read the Naruto mini-series right before I read this chapter. And I expect that the next chapter will be focusing on Asta and Yuno’s competition.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:034

Yuichiro asks Asamaru to give him power so he can rescue Guren. Asamaru says that while giving power isn’t a problem, it’s the pills he took that is. Asamaru then says that Yuichiro should be dead, but the power of the angels is forcibly keeping him alive. Yuichiro sees a trumpet and thinks that he wants it. Asamaru says he shouldn’t take it because angels can be nastier than demons. Asamaru then tries to heal Yuichiro and comments that he can’t be put back to normal because he’s lost more of his humanity. Yuichiro demands Asamaru’s power and says that the power is his; three pills’ worth of the drug is in effect, and he can use all of Asamaru’s strength for 2-3 minutes without becoming a demon. In the battle, Yuichiro revives and uses his demon strength to go after Lord Crowley and demands that he gives Guren back. Guren tells Yuichiro to get out of there, but Yuichiro is too determined to go after Crowley. Yuichiro demands more power from Asamaru, and now that the pills have worn off, Asamaru tempts Yuichiro to let his desire swallow him in order to obtain power. Kimizuki then arrives on the scene to rescue Yuichiro from being possessed. After retrieving Yuichiro, Kimizuki and the others start to run. Right at the end of the chapter, we see that Mikaela is determined to get Yuichiro back.

This chapter ended up being very intense. First, its the intensity of Yuichiro as he’s interacting with Asamaru and trying to acquire more power. Then, it gets intense when Yuichiro acquires more power and tries going after Crowley. The intensity builds to Yuichio being possessed by Asamaru, and Kimizuki doing what he can to try to save his teammmate. It was a little disappointing to see that Guren ultimately had to be left behind so the others could escape. Hopefully Guren will be able to make it through this without being killed. And the final words of Mikaela’s show that he has every intention of getting Yuichiro, and I suspect that the next chapter will focus on him fighting with Yuichiro’s teammmates.

Devilyman CH:003

A woman is trying to rescue a cat, but she ends up falling and landing on a sleeping Madogawa. Her name is Ruri Kururi, and she’s a police officer trainee. Aeru tells her his hands are cold and asks Ruri to warm them up for him. But Aeru discovers she doesn’t have anything he can hold over her when he looks into her mind. When Ruri discovers the cat in here, she starts making a mess in Aeru’s place, which angers Aeru. Ruri is kicked out. When she tries to go back in so she can take Aeru home to his parents, Ruri discovers that he’s gone. When Ruri returns to the police station, she is given a new case: she has to go back to the tent city and make the homeless all pack up and leave. It turns out filming is being done for a show called Police 24. Ruri was accompanied by her boss, Officer Miyoshi. Aeru returns and manages to touch Miyoshi’s hand, and he managed to see something juicy in Miyoshi’s mind. Later, while Miyoshi is in the bathroom, papers starting floating into the stall which detail the shady practices he has engaged in. Aeru locks Miyoshi in the stall and starts trying to negotiate for the squatters to stay.

So this chapter brings in a corrupt member of the police force, and it appears at the end of this chapter that this character and storyline will be continuing, at least for the next chapter. Unfortunately, since this is the last chapter being run as part of the “Jump Start” initiative, we won’t know whether or not my assumption is correct.

Devilyman didn’t grab me with its first chapter, but the series has slowly started improving. While I wouldn’t say that this is a bad manga, I also wouldn’t call it a great one, either. It’s not bad for what it is, but it’s really not the type of manga that interests me for the most part.

Bleach CH:629

The contingent that has reached Reiokyu start heading toward the castle, but Urahara tells them to wait and asks where Kurotsuchi went. We then see what Kurotsuchi is planning on doing; unfortunately, his plan is suddenly thwarted by seeing that Kenpachi and some of the other Soul Reapers are still around. It appears to be hinted at that this group is planning to do something on their own. We then return to Reiokyu, and we see that this group discovers someone standing out in the distance.

So it appears that Kubo is trying to establish two storylines taking place. The main one, of course, is Ichigo and the others making their way through Reiokyu and getting to Yhwach for a rematch. I suspect the other storyline will see Kurotsuchi and the others who ended up being left behind going after Aizen. While it was never outright stated, that’s the only thing I can think of that they’re planning to do since we know he’s back. And let’s face it, quite a few of the Soul Reapers didn’t seem to be terribly thrilled by Aizen’s appearance. But hopefully Kubo will return to making some noticeable progress in the story sooner rather than later.

Gakkyu Hotel: School Judgment Finale

We see that Abaku has summoned Tento to the site of the Bloody Session, and he asks Tento if he is Red Ogre. We learn that Kijima has gotten her memory back about the incident, and she and Sarutobi also appear in the classroom. Tento admits that Abaku has guessed correctly. The three tongues realized that the truth of the situation was that the perp must have been an adult, and that the only adult in the classroom at the time was the teacher. We see in a flashback that Abaku learned some details about their teacher that definitely back up the idea that she was the culprit. And in the end the teacher killed herself after realizing what she’d done. And the truth about why the three tongues had been sent to Onigashima Elementary and about Red Ogre are also revealed. We then learn that Sarutobi snuck into a hospital and grabbed a chart of Tento’s. It turns out Tento was absent from school that day because he was sick with a cold. Because he hadn’t been in class that day, he wasn’t sent to Onigashima and was instead transferred to another school. It’s also revealed that there was an operation to reveal the truth to these survivors by setting a stage to solve the mystery of Red Ogre by their own hand. Basically, every case we saw in the series was part of this plan.

We then move ahead to Tenbin Elementary’s graduation, and it’s been a half a year since the truth was revealed in the previous scene. There’s narration that explains what happened during those six months, and then the story is brought to a close.

I’m glad that the English version of Weekly Shonen Jump decided to publish the final piece of the story after it had been released in Japan. There’s so much exposition included here that brings absolute closure to the series. With the way this chapter ends, there really is no way or reason to bring this series back in any way. The overarching story has been resolved, and everything has been brought to as happy of an ending as it could have been.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:173

At the temple, Chitoge suddenly comes running up to Raku and starts yelling at him about his “close friends” comment from an earlier chapter. He also senses a spooky vibe coming from the other girls. Shu shows Raku a cup with sake, and it makes Raku remember the girls getting drunk on whiskey bon bons during the previous New Year’s holiday. Shu tells Raku to run, and when he does, the girls follow him. It appears the girls somehow got drunk again and are chasing Raku and putting the moves on him. Raku finds Paula, who didn’t drink the sake, and tries to get her to help him. But at the end of the chapter, we see the girls waking up and not remembering what happened, which is what happened to Raku after this same getting drunk plot point happened to him the previous year.

Oh, dear God. Komi had to reuse his drunk plot device from the previous New Year’s story. It was stupid the first time, and it was just as stupid this time. Why does Komi feel a need to recycle his plot ideas as often as he does? Has he started running out of story ideas? If so, maybe it’s a sign that it’s time for him to wrap up Nisekoi: False Love. The chapters where he recycles ideas he used in an earlier chapter of the series don’t interest me, and they end up annoying me.

My Hero Academia CH:045

Two days after the sports festival, someone on the train Midoriya is riding recognizes him from the sports festival, and then other nearby people realize who he is and start complimenting him. As he’s reaching school, he runs into Ida, who says his brother is OK and apologizes if either he or his brother caused Midoriya any undue concern. In class, the students start sharing that they had similar experiences to Midoriya’s on the train. In their Hero Informatics class, they are assigned to come up with their hero aliases. Before they get to that, though, their instructor shares the complete pro draft pick numbers. We see that Todoroki came in first, followed by Bakugo in second. Ida is in fourth. Midoriya is nowhere to be found on the list. A hero named Midnight comes in to assess the sensibility of the hero aliases that the students pick. The first couple of names are shot down by Midnight, but then better ones start coming along. Midoriya surprises everyone by proposing “Deku” as his hero alias, but he explains that he’s the deku who gives it his all. Right at the end of the chapter, All Might sees a pro pick for Midoriya, and is surprised by what he sees.

So this chapter is basically here for the students to try to come up with their hero aliases. It also establishes the pro draft picks and the idea that the students will soon be accompanying heroes and be mentored by them. Some of the names the students came up with were rather hilarious, even though most of those were shot down by Midnight. Overall, this was a light chapter, except for the brief flashback Ida has of visiting his brother in the hospital and learning that he has lost the feeling in his legs. And with the way the chapter ended, it looks like the stage is being set to reveal which pro has expressed interest in Midoriya.

One-Punch Man CH:044.2

A hero going by the name of Handsome Kamen approaches Suppon and fights him. The fight doesn’t last long, and the hero wins. Meanwhile, an attempt is still being made to get Saitama to join with a hero faction, but he refuses. Just then, King comes in and asks Saitama if he borrowed his video game. The woman who came to visit is surprised to see the two of them interacting, and she wonders if she could join them. And then we see the Hero Association assigning hero names for Genos and Saitama. We see that Genos is to be called Demon Cyborg, and that Saitama is to be called Bald Cape, and they think these two will be overjoyed with these suggestions.

This chapter is basically a hodgepodge that shows pieces of at least two or three different plot points. The section with Saitama seemed to last the longest, but these scenes barely get going before moving on to something else. Hopefully this series will soon show us what overarching plot point it’s ultimately heading for, because right now, there’s not much happening to truly advance the story.

Blue Exorcist CH:068

Yukio finds himself wondering if he should seek advice. His thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of Rin. A tense Yukio tells Rin that he’s going out and will be home late. We then see Yukio visiting someone in the hospital, and they start talking about whether or not they can trust Shima and Lord Pheles. We then learn that Mephisto gave Yukio tickets to a bath house as a reward for the fighting they did, and everyone ends up going. This also includes Shima. Then the chapter starts seeing various characters heading into the baths and spending time in them. While they’re there, Yukio asks Miwa if he really trusts Shima. Miwa says he does. We then see that Shima is perv and is determined to see the girls in their bath. Rin stops him, though. And then on top of the wall they see the three wise monkeys, and anyone who goes near them wants to see, speak, or hear secrets. Yukio realizes that he can’t let himself be possessed and reveal what’s in his heart. Bon uses a simple ward to get rid of the demons. But somehow, the wall dividing the two baths collapses, and both groups can see the other. Later, Rin talks to Yukio and says that he seems to be worried about something. But all Yukio says is that he’s tired.

The majority of this chapter seems to be here to provide fanservice and some light-hearted fun. I guess this is to help lessen the heavier mood that has been in the manga for a little while, as well as to provide a short break before truly getting the next story underway. From what I’m seeing, it appears that Yukio will be the focus of the next story, and his desire to want to be stronger.

Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac CH:001

Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac is the next title to be featured for Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Back” initiative. There will be a total of four chapters of this manga to appear over the next four weeks.

A couple of tourists visiting some ruins in Greece are startled by a loud noise and finding a young man covered in wounds lying on the ground. When the young man awakens, he asks where a woman is. Before they can answer, the man senses that the person he’s looking for is nearby. When the two tourists see who the young man is looking for, them become scared and run off. We learn that the young man’s name is Seiya. The woman is Marin, and she’s apparently training Seiya. Apparently, Seiya is supposed to battle against a ferocious opponent named Cassios the next day. Marin insists that Seiya prove to her that he can beat Cassios before she’ll stop training him. The tourists then see Seiya and Marin disappear, and find a crater where they had been. When they return to town, they learn that Seiya and Marin are the Knights of Athena, and they, along with a reader, are provided an explanation of what the Knights of Athena are.

The story then shifts to the battle next day between Seiya and Cassios. They are the last two warriors remaining, and the one who wins will become one of Athena’s honored knights. But before the battle takes place, Shina says there’s a rumor that Seiya left Sanctuary the previous evening, and he and Marin try to fight the accusation. The master in charge says that Seiya can still fight, and the battle begins. Cassios grabs Seiya and starts toying with him. But it turns out that Seiya manages to rip off Cassios’ ear. And from here, Seiya continues to get the upper hand. As the battle goes on, Marin has a flashback of when she first met Seiya and the training she has done with him over the past six years. In real time, Cassios seems to be getting some of his momentum back. Seiya has a flashback of something Marin taught him. And right at the end of the chapter, it appears that Seiya has landed a major blow on Cassios.

This chapter spends a lot of time establishing the concept of the Knights of Athena, as well as providing backstory for both Seiya and Marin. This first chapter also includes a major battle, so there’s action mixed in with the exposition; this helps to keep this an interesting read as well as keeps the exposition from bogging down the story too much.

When it comes to the art, it’s obviously an older manga just from the look and feel of it. And as the introduction to this Jump Back feature explains, this manga was originally drawn over 30 years ago, and was done in such a way that it was meant for print publication. Because of this, there will be white spaces on the pages where a panel covers two pages. Fortunately, I didn’t see this very often in Chapter One. But even when I did notice that was there, it really didn’t distract me that much from what I was reading.

Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac is off to a good start, and I’m interested in seeing where the story will go next.

Review: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign: Episode 10 – “Results of the Choice”

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign starts off with vampires infecting people over 13 with a virus and killing them off. With the adults gone, the vampires take the children into their “protection” and use them as livestock to feed on. Four years later, Yuichiro, Mikaela, and the other kids from their orphanage try to escape from the vampires; however, Yuichiro is the only one who succeeds. Yuichiro is found by Lieutenant Colonel Guren of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and is offered a chance to join them so he can kill vampires and get his revenge. It’s also revealed that humanity wasn’t exterminated like the vampires had told Yuichiro. Instead, the world’s population was reduced to 1/10. Also, thanks to the Trumpets of the Apocalypse, weird creatures began roaming the earth.

Episode 10 sees Yuichiro and Shinoa becoming separated from the others after a cave-in, but that the others have a way to get out. Shinoa orders the other three to go on ahead to the defensive line while she and Yuichiro take a corporal to an above ground base for medical treatment.  At the above ground base, Shinoa and Yuichiro learn that they are supposed to meet up with Guren, who is engaged in major combat with the vampires’ forces. But after they overhear that their teammates are potentially in an area where the human forces are being annihilated, Yuichiro decides to go to the defensive line first.

The scene where Yuichiro and Shinoa argue over getting to their comrades or following Guren’s orders highlights one of Yuichiro’s major traits. We’ve seen and heard throughout the series so far how Yuichiro refuses to abandon friends or teammates after his experience in the vampire city, and this scene helps to reinforce this personality trait. This leads to Yuichiro and Kimizuki having a heated discussion after the last of the vampires is defeated. Kimizuki wants Yuichiro to trust his teammates more, and Yuichiro says he doesn’t distrust his teammates; it’s just that his experiences make him want to come and help when he hears that they’re in a pinch. This scene also highlights the conflicts that Yuichiro and Kimizuki have with each other.

Episode 10 also features the battle between Guren’s forces and the vampires’ forces. Guren finds himself going up against Mikaela while many of his subordinates are fighting against the other vampires. When the fighting first got underway, this series briefly relied on a trick that World Trigger has used somewhat regularly: instead of animating action, still images are drawn and the camera moves around to give the viewer an illusion of motion. While this cheat was probably done to cut some corners on the animation for this episode, at least this only lasted for at most two or three seconds.

This battle is very action oriented, and it looks like things won’t be going Guren’s way when Ferid jumps in to help Mikaela. But right near the end of the episode, Yuichiro and his squad arrive on the scene. I really liked how Episode 10 ended, because the viewer is just as shocked as Mikaela and Yuichiro when the final action of the episode takes place. While I will say that Mikaela and Yuichiro reunite at the end, I’m not going to say what the shocking action is. You’ll have to watch the episode for yourself to find out.

I thought that Episode 10 of Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign flowed very well. I found myself engaged with what was going on and wanting to find out what would happen next. When Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign gets the action moving, it keeps the momentum going and is very effective.

I’m looking forward to seeing Episode 11 in order to find out what will happen to both Mikaela and Yuichiro in the wake of the shocking action that took place at the end of this episode.

Review: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign: Episode 9 – “Vampire Attack”

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign starts off with vampires infecting people over 13 with a virus and killing them off. With the adults gone, the vampires take the children into their “protection” and use them as livestock to feed on. Four years later, Yuichiro, Mikaela, and the other kids from their orphanage try to escape from the vampires; however, Yuichiro is the only one who succeeds. Yuichiro is found by Lieutenant Colonel Guren of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and is offered a chance to join them so he can kill vampires and get his revenge. It’s also revealed that humanity wasn’t exterminated like the vampires had told Yuichiro. Instead, the world’s population was reduced to 1/10. Also, thanks to the Trumpets of the Apocalypse, weird creatures began roaming the earth.

Episode Nine focuses on the war between the vampires and the Japanese Imperial Demon Army that erupts in Shinjuku. Yuichiro, Shinoa, Yoichi, Kimizuki, and Mitsuba arrive right in the middle of it, and at first, they’re observing and commenting on what they’re seeing. To be honest, I thought this was a little odd. Yes, they need to take in what’s going on and try to figure out how they can help, but they only started moving when one of the vampires’ helicopters started firing in their direction.

After they help take down the vampires in their location, Yuichiro and his squad mates are sent to the defensive line in the west, where the army is having a harder time keeping the vampires back. On their way, Shinoa gives the three newbies a quick training session by giving them pills and explaining that they can help them synchronize with the demon in their Cursed Gear. Of course, it’s not a miracle pill; it only lasts for a certain amount of time, they can only take one pill at a time, and when it wears off they’re vulnerable. Near the end of the episode, the vehicle carrying them is shot at, and they’re ejected as it rolls over. This event sees the squad getting split in two, and it appears the next episode will see the two groups heading to different locations.

Even though much of Episode Nine focuses on the war and on the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, we also get to see an important scene with Mika. We see that he has an aversion to drinking human blood, and a flashback to four years earlier shows how Mika came to rely on the blood of Krul Tepes, the queen of the vampires. And after the flashback, we see that Mika is carrying around vials of Krul’s blood in a pouch. With this scene, we see that while Mika may be a vampire, he still seems to have retained enough of his humanity to avoid feeding on human blood. There had been one or two scenes that hinted at this earlier, but this particular scene really emphasized this particular trait.

Overall, Episode Nine did a good job of establishing the war that erupted in Shinjuku, and it has also laid the foundation for progressing the story. From the preview, it looks like Mika is going to play an important role in Episode 10. It’s been made very clear from the opening credits that Yuichiro and Mika are going to reunite, and I expect that reunion will be coming up very soon. I’m interested in seeing how this reunion will be played out.

Review: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign: Episode 8 – “First Extermination”

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign starts off with vampires infecting people over 13 with a virus and killing them off. With the adults gone, the vampires take the children into their “protection” and use them as livestock to feed on. Four years later, Yuichiro, Mikaela, and the other kids from their orphanage try to escape from the vampires; however, Yuichiro is the only one who succeeds. Yuichiro is found by Lieutenant Colonel Guren of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and is offered a chance to join them so he can kill vampires and get his revenge. It’s also revealed that humanity wasn’t exterminated like the vampires had told Yuichiro. Instead, the world’s population was reduced to 1/10. Also, thanks to the Trumpets of the Apocalypse, weird creatures began roaming the earth.

Episode Eight sees Yuichiro, Shinoa, Yoichi, Kimizuki, and Mitsuba following the information given to them by the little girl they rescued in the previous episode. At first, nothing seems to be amiss. Yuichiro manages to take down two vampires by himself, so they believe there’s only five more left. But they get a surprise when they discover there are more vampires than they were led to believe. While Kimizuki thought something seemed odd when they first entered, Mitsuba had an explanation that seemed very believable. Unfortunately, FUNimation’s description of the episode gave away that this was a trap, so the surprise factor for viewers who hadn’t read the manga was completely gone.

Mitsuba is grabbed by one the vampires and we see Mitsuba and Yuichiro’s conflicting philosophies come into play. Mitsuba doesn’t want to be rescued after someone was killed rescuing her prior to the start of the series, but Yuichiro doesn’t believe in leaving anyone behind after his experience escaping from the vampire city. It was interesting to see how this conflict ultimately played out, and how Mitsuba finally learns why Yuichiro acts the way he does. Obviously, there’s still conflict between these two characters by the end of the episode, but at least Mitsuba has a better understanding of why Yuichiro acts the way he does. My only complaint about this section of the episode is that we never actually get to see the group finish off the fight with the vampires. Instead, the story jumps ahead to the children who were being held captive being freed by Yuichiro and the others. This obviously means that they prevailed over the vampires, but it would have been nice if we could have actually seen what happened.

Near the end, the group encounters Lord Crowley, and it appears a major fight is going to break out. But two of Crowley’s cronies show up and tell him that Ferid is waiting for him in Shinjuku. So Crowley leaves, which allows the others to avoid another conflict. The episode ends with Yuichiro and the others heading for Shinjuku.

There was a humorous portion in this episode, when Kimizuki hotwires a vehicle. Yuichiro tries to drive it, but manages to crash into a utility pole. Shinoa tries to drive, but she’s too short to see over the steering wheel. With how serious and action oriented Episode Eight was, including this humorous scene helped to lighten the mood a little and provided viewers with a brief respite from the serious tone of the episode.

Overall, this was a pretty decent episode of Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign. While this may have kept the story from getting to Shinjuku, this stop was necessary in order to help develop Mitsuba as a character. Yuichiro received a bit of focus as well, but the main point of this episode was to develop Mitsuba. I’m looking forward to seeing Episode Nine in order to find out where the story is headed to next.

Review: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign: Episode 7 – “Mitsuba’s Squad”

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign starts off with vampires infecting people over 13 with a virus and killing them off. With the adults gone, the vampires take the children into their “protection” and use them as livestock to feed on. Four years later, Yuichiro, Mikaela, and the other kids from their orphanage try to escape from the vampires; however, Yuichiro is the only one who succeeds. Yuichiro is found by Lieutenant Colonel Guren of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and is offered a chance to join them so he can kill vampires and get his revenge. It’s also revealed that humanity wasn’t exterminated like the vampires had told Yuichiro. Instead, the world’s population was reduced to 1/10. Also, thanks to the Trumpets of the Apocalypse, weird creatures began roaming the earth.

Episode Seven introduces a new character named Mitsuba Sangu, a girl added to Shinoa’s squad. Mitsuba becomes angered easily, and she and Shinoa don’t appear to like each other. As the episode progresses, Yuichiro is quickly added to the list of people that Mitsuba can’t stand, because he’s reckless and does things that potentially put other people in the squad in danger. As we learn later in the episode, Mitsuba used to be like this, too, and saw severe consequences for her actions. So we now have Yuichiro and Mitsuba, who both have dark pasts, who clash with each other due to the lessons that they came out of their experiences with being almost polar opposites of each other. That now brings Yuichiro up to two people who don’t really get along with him; it seems that Yuichiro can easily make people dislike him for one reason or another.

Shinoa, Yuichiro, Mitsuba, Yoichi, and Kimizuki are sent on a mission to go to Harajuku and find a settlement that the vampires have been using to hunt humans in order to make them livestock. When they get there, they find a little girl being chased by a Four Horsemen of John; this is a common trick the vampires use to lure other humans out in order to hunt them. The vast majority of Episode Seven focuses on a fight with this monster that leads to fighting with three vampires who have followed it. And it’s during this section that Yuichiro and Mitsuba’s conflicting philosophies really come into play and has the potential to derail any possible teamwork between the five team members.

While everything turns out decently in the end, the relations between Mitsuba and Yuichiro remain strained. But from rescuing the little girl, the group receives important information from her regarding the vampires. Right at the very end of the episode, we see the five-man group getting ready to face the vampires. I thought this made for a great stopping point for the episode, because this makes the viewer want to come back for Episode Eight in order to see what will happen to the five of them as they undertake this next phase of their mission.

So far, I’ve been appreciating the pacing of the storytelling in Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign. I have yet to feel like the story is being stretched out or that scenes have been thrown in simply to fill up time. Also, I haven’t seen any of the tricks that I’ve seen World Trigger relying on, such as extended recaps, panning over still images, or overusing flashback sequences. The story and action in this series seems to be moving at a natural pace, and it’s hard for a viewer to become bored while watching it. I hope that Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign can continue being an enjoyable watch with each episode that airs.