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.
I have often commented that for a blog to be successful the blogger must read more than write; so, one can only expect that yours truly has broken this rule many times. This season of anime, my opinions feel rather isolated despite at least three popular shows appearing in my lists. Yet, I think that I have read plenty of blogs over the past few months. Perhaps I have not read the right blogs? But, I thought that I only followed like-minded people! Shikata ga nai. Angryjellyfish has six of these shows on his watch list (just missing Danna ga Wakaranai), but I cannot find another blogger with as similar of a list. The end result is that the following opinions of mine feel more shallow than usual, as there are fewer sources of opinion from which to glean ideas. Well, there is always next season, and my dear readers can satisfy my curiosity as to which of the following shows wound up as their favorites this season.
A combination of factors leads me to write this Quick Takes article: 1) it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here; 2) I’m rather ill; and 3) because I am rather ill, my ability to focus has gone down the tubes. Some of these points deserve their own article. At any rate, let me begin.
Arslan Senki reminded me of the curious fact that non-believers often try to paint God like Allah. What brings up the comparison? The high priest of the Lusitanian religion decides to torture the captured Lord Shapur to death and remarks how unbelievers deserve this. Then, Lord Shapur gamely defies the high priest by saying that he hopes to see him burning in hell with his evil god. I am forcibly reminded of a scene from Muhammad’s life, where he kills all the pagan Arabs he captures after a battle–the last pleading for his life for the sake of his only daughter–and then burns the bodies of the slain. Muhammad then remarks that the smoke of burning heretics is pleasing to Allah.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Seraph of the End besides its scenario–a post-apocalyptic world with man vs. vampire (Well, that was done in Trinity Blood, but this setting feels different.)–is its emphasis on human relationships. Our hero, Yuuichiro, loses his parents to join another family in an orphanage. He loses this family while leaving the vampire held city were he was taken following the plague which broke out. The head of the anti-vampire unit, Colonel Guren, demands that Yuuichiro gain a friend or a lover before he may join this unit. In the last episode, Yuuichiro is forced to pair with another person having trouble forming human relationships. One might list more examples of how this show focuses on the importance of relationships.
However, a few remarks of Shinoa’s I found particularly fascinating: “Virginity is evil” and the above comments. (Just seeing the words on screen does not do justice to Saori Hayami’s delivery.) In another article, it might be worthwhile to compare the idea of virginity and loneliness, but I want to focus on her hearty exclamation above. It seems to me that Shinoa states two mutually opposed ideas: breeding and illicit sexual realtions. It is important for the decimated human population to repopulate the world, but that can in no way be accomplished through illicit sexual relations.