Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign
Takaya Kagami and Yamato Yamamoto, Illustrations
Daisuke Furuya, Storyboards
Viz Media, 2014
Seraph of the End is a multimedia story including light novels, an anime series, a PlayStation Vita strategy game, and, most pertinent here, the manga series. Actually, two manga series; this review deals with Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, however the light novels, Seraph of the End: Guren Ichinose: Catastrophe at Sixteen, are scheduled for a manga adaptation later this year.
The story is set some years after a magical plague wipes out 90% of the human population, targeting primarily adults. The remaining humans are hunted by demons and enslaved by vampires. The story follows Yuichiro "Yu" Hyakuya, an orphan who has been captured by vampires, who feed on the blood of him and his friends. Yu escapes, and joins a remnants of the human resistance, a series of military enclaves that contract with demons to fight the vampires.
Unfortunately, Seraph follows the cardinal rule of manga: always assume your core audience is 15-year-old boys. This manifests, almost universally, as spurious, sidelong references to sex and lots of violence. In this case, it also manifests as two-dimensional characters, whose character development is derived entirely from slowly revealing their tragic backstories. On the plus side, the art is pretty good, and the setting and overall aesthetic are well-done.
Overall, this is a polished and aesthetically pleasing post-apocalyptic world, with lots of fighting and short skits. It is a nice counterpoint to the Western tradition of melodramatic vampire romances, but it is no less hokey, and you really have to be into either vampires or manga to make it worth your time. Onthe other hand, if you are into those, this is a well done manga, with a good balance of dark magic and light humor, good art, and a well-developed world.