Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Vol. 1

By Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, and Daisuki Furuya. Released in Japan as “Owari no Seraph” by Shueisha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Jump Square. Released in North America by Viz.

I’m always a little bit wary when I see more than two names on a book’s cover, particularly when it’s a manga and yet one of the names is credited for ‘storyboards’. I checked to see if this is based off of an anime or video game property, but apparently not. Its author does specialize in light novels, however, most recently Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi, which got an anime. The artist seems to specialize in adapting light novels as well, having drawn Kure-nai for Jump Square as well. And now we get Owari no Seraph, which already has its own spin-off light novel focusing on the commander we briefly see being an ass to our hero. The manga itself, though, focuses on three core people.


Of course, they aren’t the three people that you might expect when you pick up this volume. We meet our antisocial hero, Yu, as a young boy growing up in an orphanage along with several other children. They live in a world where vampires have taken over after a virus killed everyone over the age of thirteen. Together with his strategist best friend, Mika, and his likely love interest, Akane, he will find a way to fight back against those who… oh wait, everyone except him just died. Nevermind. What this is actually about is Yu four years later, forced by the military that he hooked up with upon escaping to attend school in order to cure his jerkass tendencies and make friends. And perhaps kill a few vampires along the way.

It’s hard to read this series and not be reminded a little of Attack on Titan. The vampires aren’t nearly as impossible to kill as the Titans, but that’s made up for by Yu’s berzerker rage whenever he sees them – he’s not quite as bad as Eren, but it’s a close thing. He’s also part of a friendship trio, though they don’t have the strong bond Eren, Mikasa and Armin do – at least not yet. Shinoa, who seems to be his minder, exists mostly to point out when he’s being stupid and watch him do it anyway. Yoichi is the stock earnest, bullied character, whose idealism will no doubt contrast with the cynical viewpoint of the other two. They’re all likeable, or at least will be once Yu sheds a lot of the walls he’s put up around him, which I suspect will happen soon.

Amongst this background, there’s some interesting worldbuilding (the world’s population has been decimated, so everyone is encouraged to repopulate the Earth – this is mostly an excuse to have Shinoa get away with calling Yu a virgin constantly), some well-choreographed fight scenes (perhaps this is where the storyboarder came in), and some disturbing horror, as you’d expect from a series where the vampires are, for once, the bad guys. Though the cliffhanger for this volume makes me wonder how long that villainy will truly last. If you like Attack on Titan, or maybe Blue Exorcist, another series which this seems similar to, give Seraph of the End a try – it’s a strong, solid first volume.

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