In the near future, humans create a mysterious virus that kills everyone over the age of thirteen, providing the perfect opportunity for vampires to enslave the remaining child population—or so the vampires tell it.
Yuichiro has dreamed of killing vampires since their rise eight years prior to the present storyline. Through flashbacks, readers learn that Yuichiro was sent to the Hyakuya orphanage as a child, where he befriended another child named Mika. When the vampires took over, the Hyakuya children were forced to live underground in luxurious cathedrals created by vampires. With no life above ground, the children were not seen as threats, remaining free to roam under the condition that they willingly give their blood.
After years of plotting, Yuichiro and Mika finally make their move to escape, only to find themselves walking into a trap set by Lord Ferin, a vampire nobleman as beautiful as he is deadly. Yuichiro escapes, but not before witnessing Lord Ferin murdering the younger children in his and Mika’s care. When Yuichiro reaches the surface, he is shocked to see that the world looks exactly the same as it did, and he’s even more surprised when he is greeted by adults in army uniforms. Contrary to what the captive children were told, a large portion of the population was destroyed, but humanity began to rebuild itself soon afterward.
Taken in by the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, Yuichiro vows to join their elite task force that hunts and kills vampires. Unfortunately, Yuichiro’s obsession with revenge and his inability to trust others make him undesirable to military higher-ups. That’s how Yuichiro finds himself enrolled in school, hilariously mandated to do normal teenage things like making friends and dating—or else he will not be given weapons nor assigned to missions.
Volume one is split between the past, which provides Yuichiro’s backstory and establishes the setting, and the present, which focuses on Yuichiro as he fights vampires and tries to make friends. Yuichiro is a hard-headed but likable main character who has plenty of room to mature as the series progresses. As expected for a series opener, the vampires’ origins, powers, and weaknesses have yet to be addressed. For now, it’s the artwork that sets Seraph of the End apart from other series: expertly choreographed action sequences and movie-style close-ups will keep readers engaged, while black-and-white contrast throughout the manga lends it a striking and dramatic look.
Seraph of the End is another hit from Shonen Jump Advanced, and it will make a great addition to teen manga collections. Five volumes have been released at the time of this review.
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, vol. 1
by Takaya Kagami
Art by Yamato Yamamoto
Publisher Age Rating: T+