When it comes to vampire stories many of them exist but few finding themselves among the Shonen Jump tag. Takaya Kagami epic Seraph Of The End however finds itself comfortably over 100 chapters within the publisher. A story about the fall of man and the rise of vampires, eight years ago a tragedy befell the world, all humans over the age of 13 died allowing vampires to rise claiming their cattle once again.
I have mentioned a few times in different posts I really like vampires, I think they’re cool in every way possible. It is also no secret I am a massive fan of Kagami’s earlier work, A Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives. So Seraph has always been on my list to eventually crack into. Though it’s not a completed series, it had enough for me to get the general idea of how the story will play out, having 103 chapters thus far published in the states by Viz. And well, this is what I thought of it.
Seraph follows Yuuichirou, an orphan he as well as the rest of the orphanage was captured by the Japanese sect of vampires, forced underground to live as food for the bloodsuckers around them. In Krul Tepe’s domain, Yuu and his best friend, Mikaela live out their lives plotting to escape this fate, returning to the overworld once again. This plan goes into action however has Mika befriends a noble Ferid Bathory, stealing a map and a pistol from his manor they spring their escape into action.
Then Bathory pops up and kills all of them but Yuu and Mika gets turned into a vampire by Krul, all really neat stuff to be honest. Barely escaping with his life Yuu finds himself free from the vampire’s control, but straight into the midst of the Demon Army, more specifically Guren Ichinose a Lieutenant Colonel in their ranks. Guren takes Yuu under his wing, promising that the army would train and teach him how to kill vampires, giving him the revenge Yuu so desperately desired.
At this point in the book, I was really digging the vibe. The world had ended, vampires and humans were at war and everything for humanity looked bleak. Yuu was annoying as fuck as was most of his squad minus the adorable jester Shinoa Hiiragi. One key takeaway from this story right away is most of the main male protagonists suffer hardcore from Shonen syndrome. All of them are in the army to either get revenge or help someone in their family. They grow close as a squad stating all of them are a family which allows Yuu to go berserk anytime one of them is in danger to a stupid degree.
Even Guren, the so-called adult counterweight has the same motive, it is just strange to read. The power of friendship is a very common thing within this genre but I have never seen 5 characters have it as their main driving factor, it is whimsical and lazy as most of the main squad I felt little to nothing for. I get you want to protect your friends sure but you have to give me more than that, it alone isn’t enough to drive a narrative and is hard to pull off when one of the mains has this feeling but to have 5 do, it’s complete nonsense.
With that being said, however, it wasn’t a total wash as a whole. Where Seraph really shines is within the world itself. The Demon Army for example allows themselves to get possessed by demons to fight the much more powerful vampires. The vampires have plenty of political infighting in their own right and I really enjoyed learning about how each world existed and interacted with the other.
The dive into what happened to trigger the disaster, the discovery of the great mortal sin, and what exactly the Seraph is all allowed the world of Seraph of The End to start with this real gritty, dark, chaotic nuance that is sadly lost as the chapters go on. As of writing this, the series is not done, 103 chapters have been published by Viz officially and have been unlocked on the Shonen Jump app. It is within these 103 chapters I have felt excitement, boredom, anxiety, and just the general feeling of whatever. The story turns from this human vs vampire tragedy shrouded in mystery into this odd, one-off, no one can die comedy.
Bathory plays a major role in this transfer. A royal vampire, direct son of the second vampire, and plenty powerful in his own right. He is the second-highest-ranking vampire in Japan only behind Queen Krul who ranks third. Murdering Yuu’s family in front of him, one would think that he is the worst of the bad guys. Someone who wouldn’t end up actually helping the humans, being an ally of not only Yuu but a master planer to overthrow the first, surprise he is.
Partnering with another noble he had turned, Crowley Eusford, Bathory teams up with Shinoa’s squad after they were deemed traitors by the Demon Army. In a strange jesting way, he claims that he wants to help the dear humans, and he hopes Yuu can look beyond the little murdering his whole family bit to work with him. And, well, he does.
Bathory is one of the strangest characters I have ever seen in storytellings. Though he starts off as a villain he becomes this strange, master planning joker who would rather crack bits about his father and how dire of a situation they are in than actually help. He stages this strange coupe to overthrow Krul only to actually be helping Krul overthrow the first all the while he, Crowley, Shinoa, and her dead sister Mahiru make stupid jokes that everyone around them dismisses if not straight up ignore.
Add the fact Yuu becomes that much more annoying in later chapters the series really starts to lose its footing, falling down the worse hole ever, making me not care. Around chapter 60 I found myself going through most of the pages not giving two shits about what was going on. I didn’t care about Yuu or his new partnership with Bathory. Though I thought his jokes were funny even though they were strangely placed, doing little to add to the importance of the scene or the gravity of their situation. Mikaela from the start was just thinking of ways to kidnap Yuu from everyone else only to be tricked by Yuu being too stupid to remotely understand what is the best for him.
Oh, then Shinoa falls in love with him because why not.
I really wanted to love Seraph Of The End, it had all the workings to make a series that not only fills a hole within the vampire world but doing so on the most popular page, Shonen Jump. I plan on finishing the series, I am not sure how many chapters are planned but as they roll out in English I am curious to see how this great vampire epic will close, irrelevant of what I’ve thought so far. I’m also not sure how the ending will make me feel overall but as of right now Seraph Of The End is a story that overstayed its welcome. It undid all the things that made it wonderful creating this murky, weird mess of conflicting plot lines and dumb characters, and it is a real bummer.
I really hope more and more vampire stories break into these mediums since for me, they are the best of both worlds. Even better I hope more of them find mainstream success such as Seraph has but I will say, in my opinion, Seraph isn’t a bad vampire manga, but it is something that can be done much, much better.
As always thanks for the read!