A review by Teen Blogger, Timothy
Have you ever wondered just how far the roots of lust and greed have grown in humanity, or how far some people are willing to go just to gain fame, money, and power?
Well, for those of you who are curious, let me explain…
In the year 2012, a deadly virus is spread across the corners of the earth, leaving a wave of destruction in it’s wake. At first, there is nothing known about the deadly virus - except that it kills anyone over the age of thirteen who comes into contact with it. To make matters worse, an ancient race has seized the opportunity to enslave the children who are untouched by the deadly sickness, and build mighty empires throughout the world, free of their long captivity underground. The deadliest of them all. Vampires.
Seraph of the End by Takaya Kagami follows the lives of Yuichiro Amane and Mikaela Shindo the two oldest at Hyakuya Orphanage when the virus strikes, leaving them defenseless to the vampire invasion. At the time they are eight years old, and they do their best to protect the younger children while in captivity. Mika is shown to be very sneaky and knowledgeable, whereas Yu mirrors him, as he is stubborn and reckless. The young kids stay in captivity for four years, until one fateful night, they try to escape. However, Ferid Bathory (a sadistic Vampire Noble and leader of that district) catches them, praising Mika for his cunning skill, but that’s when everything goes horribly wrong.
Yu manages to escape, and falls into the arms of Guren, a human who should have died from the virus. It is at this point that the reader starts to discover that humans have been hiding secrets from each other, dabbling in dark arts and experimentation.
Meanwhile, Krul Tepes - the Vampire Queen - shows up and knocks some sense into Ferid, annoyed that he would let one of her precious children escape to the human world, foreshadowing the war between vampires and humans. As the story progresses, Yu is now sixteen, and has joined the Moon Demon Company, a military group started by powerful families prior to the apocalypse. The main goal of this organization is to eliminate all vampires, no matter the cost. During Yu’s time in this organization he meets new friends, and they become a ‘squad,’ fighting side by side on the battlefield. However, some members of the team find this challenging as they let their pride and ambition take over, but with time they prevail.
However, this is where the story takes a dark turn: Yuichiro learns that to fully 'destroy' a vampire, they must use weapons that bind and control the powers of demons. To do this, the user's heart must be pure and empty of greed and revenge, as demons feed off of these emotions, and will use them to control you and take over. As time progresses, Yu learns that humanity has dabbled even further into dark arts, doing horrible things, including human experimentation, but at what cost? With the end of the world coming closer with each passing moment, the ‘Trumpets of the Apocalypse’ sound, releasing a force more terrifying than a demon, threatening to destroy everything in it’s path, including humanity itself.
Seraph of the End is a very dark and serious story, as it deals with many dark topics, but can also teach us life lessons in the form of an allegory. Something really important that this story can teach us, is that since humanity first began, we have always had dark emotions like lust, greed, and revenge sewn into our hearts; this is why people strive for power, and will do anything to achieve their goals, even if it means sacrificing innocent lives for the 'Good of humanity,' A prime example of this is when the British settlers first discovered North America, and claimed it as their own, pushing the people who originally lived here out into the open, leaving them completely defenceless. Some of them had not only been removed from their homes, but had horrible things done to them. In World War II, Hitler would often have prisoners experimented on to develop medical practices, as many others have done throughout history, claiming it was for humanity, and science, and that sacrifices must be made to achieve a higher form of existence. It also teaches us that certain things have boundaries that we do not cross because we see them as 'forbidden,' or ‘taboo.' Many of those things are labeled as such because people were either afraid of them, and the power they could grant; that if they dabbled in those 'forbidden arts,' the world would be destroyed. An example of this was when Galileo began studying the stars, bringing forth a ‘new power’, one of which many people were scared of during his lifetime.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that Seraph of the End does have many parallels to ‘The Book of Revelation’, as it’s story follows the end times after humanity's fall from glory, and time leading up to the end of the world. Also, many of the characters share similar names, and traits from parts of the Bible, as Michaela was the name of a fallen angel. However, just because this series does include various religious aspects, that does not make it a “religious book”, so please do not be quick to judge it as such before reading it for yourself.
Similar to Tokyo Ghoul, Seraph of the End is not a series for the faint of heart as stated above, as it does deal with some dark and serious themes, and is meant for mature teens. However, don’t be afraid to read the first book, and if you enjoy it, the series is currently up to 12 books, with a total of 15 to be made, along with 4 ‘Catastrophe at Sixteen’ novels which follow Guren’s life previous to the apocalypse, and 3 ‘Vampire Michaela’ novels, detailing the history of the vampires, all of which are written by Takaya Kagami and illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto.
“Love and greed intertwined. What an incredible contradiction. This is why humans destroy the world.”