Sunday, July 26, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: SERAPH OF THE END: Vampire Reign Volume 16


STORY: Takaya Kagami
CARTOONIST: Yamato Yamamoto
STORYBOARDS: Daisuke Furuya
TRANSLATION: Adrienne Beck
LETTERS: Sabrina Heep
EDITOR: Marlene First
ISBN: 978-1-9747-0397-5; paperback (March 2019); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
184pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

Seraph of the End is a Japanese dark fantasy manga series written by Takaya Kagami and illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto, with storyboards produced by Daisuke Furuya.  It has been published in the manga magazine, Jump SQ, since September 2012.  VIZ Media has been publishing an English-language adaptation of the manga as a paperback graphic novel series, entitled Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, since June 2014.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign is set in a world in which the trumpets of the apocalypse proclaimed the fall of humanity in the year 2012.  Vampires rose from the shadows and began their reign over the Earth.  A mysterious virus killed almost all adult humans, sparing those younger than 13 years of age.  The children were subsequently enslaved as livestock for vampires.  In 2016, the orphan, Yuichiro “Yu” Hyakuya, stepped forward, seeking revenge; his goal was and is to kill each and every vampire.

As Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Vol. 16 (Chapters 60 to 63) opens, the battle to save the vampires, Lord Ferid Bathory and Krul Tepes, begins in full force.  They are undergoing exposure torture (via sunlight) by the “Fifth Progenitor” vampire, Ky Luc.  The plan is for Lt. Guren Ichinose and the “Shinoa Squad” to launch a series of diversions at the nearly unbeatable Luc.  That will allow Yuichiro to unleash the Seraph inside himself and to use it to overwhelm Luc.  But can Yuichiro keep himself in control long enough to do the job?  Is his power enough to defeat Ky Luc?

Later, Yuichiro is confronted by memories from his past, and even Asuramaru, the demon spirit of his cursed katana, cannot access all those memories.  What else exists inside Yuichiro, and was he part of Lt. Guren's experiments?

[This volume includes a bonus chapter, “The Demon Army of Ikebukuro;” an “Afterword;” miscellaneous text, and a full-color mini-poster insert.]

THE LOWDOWN:  The Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign manga always delves in intrigue.  It is one of my favorite vampire comics.  With its tales of military politics and demonic possession, this series is as much a dark fantasy as it is a vampire manga.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Graphic Novel Volume 16 is a pivotal volume in the series.  Like previous editions, Vol. 16 digs deep into the secrets and lies of this narrative and of its cast.  This time, however, creators, artist Yamato Yamamoto and writer Takaya Kagami, open up the can of worms that is its star character, Yuichiro Hyakuya's lost memories.  I would say that Kagami and Yamamoto have given readers another reason to keep this series close to their hearts and in their blood.  Despite Yu's blasé attitude about his memories, they hold the potential for riveting storytelling.

Adrienne Beck's translation ably serves this volume which offers a lot of dialogue in terms of revealing conversations.  Sabrina Heep's lettering conveys the intense sounds (especially the yelling and the grunting) that shape the intense battle against Ky Luc that dominates the early part of Vol. 16

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of vampire manga will want to try of the “Shonen Jump Advanced” series, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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