Thursday, June 5, 2014
Review: SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN Volume 1
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia
STORY: Takaya Kagami
ART: Yamato Yamamoto
STORYBOARDS: Daisuke Furuya
TRANSLATION: Adrienne Beck
LETTERS: Sabrina Heep
EDITOR: Hope Donovan
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7150-8; paperback (June 2014), Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S. $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign is the latest VIZ Media release under its “Shonen Jump Advanced” imprint. The series focuses on a teen orphan who borrows demonic power so that he can battle the vampires that rule over the Earth. The series is illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto with story by Takaya Kagami and storyboards by Daisuke Furuya.
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign is set on an Earth ruled by vampires. The vampire reign began in 2012 after the trumpets of the apocalypse proclaimed the fall of humanity. A mysterious virus kills almost all adult humans, sparing those younger than 13 years of age. Vampires arise from the shadows to rule the earth and to enslave the children as livestock for food. In 2016, the orphan Yuichiro “Yu” Hyakuya steps forward, determined to kill all vampires.
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 3) opens in 2016. It finds Yuichiro unhappy with his circumstances as an orphan, but his foster “brother,” Mikaela “Mika” Hyakuya, won’t let Yu be alone. Together, Mika believes, the orphans will survive their world.
Four years later, Yu is a student at Shibuya High School #2, but he doesn’t want to be a student. He wants to be a member of humanity’s most elite Vampire Extermination Unit, the Moon Demon Company. But he will have to prove that he is willing to work in a team, which is the last thing he wants.
I am a big fan of vampire manga (although I generally have not really cared for American comic books featuring vampires). The Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign manga is a thoroughly enjoyable read, although I did not think much of it when I received a review copy of the first volume from VIZ Media.
From what I can tell, it seems as if the vast majority of the series’ internal mythology is still unrevealed by the end of Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume 1. Apparently, “Seraph of the End” is an actual thing or entity that may not be revealed for several chapters (or volumes).
That aside, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign is like the television series, “The Walking Dead,” a post-apocalyptic character drama and soap opera set in a horror-fantasy scenario. Both are filled with genre trappings or, to use new terminology, full of stuff from the horror-fantasy wheelhouse. However, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign works best when seen through the characters’ hopes, dreams, desires, motivations, and conflicts. So far, all of that seems genuine and honest – in a fantasy context, of course. Judging by this first volume, I would call Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign a success.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux
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