People rightly point out the flaws in Seraph of the End. The middle of the show exhibits many high school anime tropes, some facets of the animation can be lacking despite the incredibly immersive backgrounds, the plot is not so straightforward, and it may be accused of being an Attack on Titan look-alike. However, with Attack on Titan, the story only dragged me along by way of suspense. After nine episodes, the only character I cared for was Mikasa, the world was too horrific to be loved, the society was filled with too many treacherous and cowardly people for me to root for their survival, and the bold lines of animation and still frames bothered me. With the exception of the use of still frames, Seraph of the End proved to be the exact opposite and provided some interesting ideas for me to chew on.
Recently, my friends introduced me to a fascinating book called The Way of Men by Jack Donovan. They had been prompted to recommend it by my article “The Post-Modern Fallacy on Manliness.” (A while back, I mentioned that I was contemplating an article on the topic of manliness, and the result of that meditation seemed to fit Aquilon’s Eyrie more.) Few works explain male psychology so well. In particular, Donovan displays a perspicacious degree of Classical learning (he quotes Cicero, St. Augustine, Livy, and others) and knowledge of psychological and sociological studies. Though, I will say here that his atheistic perspective gives an incomplete picture of man, and one wonders whether the tactical virtues of strength, courage, mastery, and honor are a good replacement for the cardinal virtues of temperance, courage, prudence, and justice.
Essentially, Donovan’s tactical virtues relate to the most important purpose of men throughout history: defending the perimeter from a nation’s enemies. Only a very small fraction of men in commercial society perform this role. However, men still dream about defending the perimeter. Even if their career happens to be sitting at a desk all day solving computer problems, they get home and play violent video games, watch action movies, or otherwise try to place themselves vicariously in the shoes of people who place themselves in harm’s way. These stories usually feature a small team. Usually, one can come to know only between three to five people intimately, about same number as the army organizes into a fire team. In primitive times, one would tend to place complete faith in such a team–think of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers.
Attack on Titan makes the viewer try to learn about too many characters at once for us to properly get to know them, while Seraph of the End is tightly focused on five very lovable characters–and nothing enables vicarious enjoyment like love! Furthermore, while Attack on Titan better reflects modern society with the vast numbers of people seeking their own safety, it does not carry the audience back to a time when men were forced to fight for their survival. What am I trying to say? That Seraph of the End is more archetypal, like a Norse or Greek myth. Adding to that archetypal sense, humanity’s population has been reduced to a smaller size and dwell within a curiously alien and untamed landscape–curiously alien because, though the cities and buildings are man-made, the heroes really have no connection to the modern, commercial society which begat them.
Actually, the vampires have more of a connection to the destroyed cities surrounding them than human beings. Why? Because the way they think resembles the worst school of thought to derive from modern society: Communism. In the Communist societies of the 20th century, we saw a sharp divide between the ruling class and the working class–much sharper than that seen in countries ruled by monarchies in previous centuries. After all, to the vampires, one is either a noble or livestock. No middle class exists in the vampire’s society! Also, Queen Krul Tepes gives human greed as the reason for making war on the free remnants of humanity, which reminds one of how communists accuse capitalists of greed. Then again, the vampires’ refusal to see the divine image in human beings, rejection of patriarchy, and considering themselves as the highest beings reflect the Marxist form of atheism. (Yes, the rejection of patriarchy stems from the rejection of God the Father. Though, the curious thing about heaven is that the best way to align oneself to the Father’s will is through seeking the aid and intercession of the Queen of Heaven, Mary the Mother of God.) Unlike human society’s enthusiasm for childbirth, vampires don’t seem to be able to reproduce. New vampires must come from human beings. This reminds me about how left leaning people tend to have fewer children on average. This impels leftists to try to gain control of education in order to subvert the children of conservative families away from the beliefs of their parents.
That sums up why I found Seraph of the End unique. Besides that, it was fun to watch Yuuichiro enthusiastically slaying vampires and to be immersed in a world which feels similar to I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. For what reasons did my dear readers keep watching this show?