Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign
Publisher- VIZ Media LLC
Release Date- March 3rd, 2015
Synopsis- “A vampire attack reunites childhood friends Yuichiro and Mika, though they now face each other from opposing sides of the battlefield. Mika begs Yuichiro to forget about the conflict between humans and vampires and escape with him, but Yuichiro is unable to abandon his new friends. Then, everything changes when Yuichiro suddenly transforms into a monstrous being with one seraphic wing.”
Mikaela and Yu finally reunite and boy, was it a hectic and emotional reunion. Seraph of the End volume 4 fully centers on Mikaela and Yu while revealing a monstrous side of Yu as well as making readers question Guren and Ferid’s true motives. We start the volume off with Team Yu making their way towards Guren. Shinoa hands Yu and the others pills that are meant to enhance their abilities as well as do at better synchronizing them and their weapons; Shinoa further explains that more than one pill will quickly kill them and the effects last for about 15 minutes and once those 15 minutes are up, they’ll be completely defenseless.
As Shinoa instructs them on the pills, Guren and Mikaela are fighting while Ferid watches in amusement. Mikaela believes he’s winning, when in reality Guren has been distracting Mikaela long enough to lure him into a trap set up by his team. Ferid saves Mikaela and delivers a heavy punch that sends Guren hurdling off his feet. This volume is not kind to Guren, who suffers multiple injuries, including more of Ferid’s hits and a stab wound from Mikaela, but that all happens later in the volume. Guren considers taking another pill, but doesn’t have a chance to because Mikaela is attacking him in a matter of seconds. Shinoa, seeing Guren in trouble, orders everyone to take a pill. Mikaela swiftly stabs Guren and Yu is quick to stab Mikaela. The two childhood friends finally come face to face as Yu’s blade pierces Mikaela’s chest.
Mikaela and Yu’s reunion is, hands down, my favorite moment of the volume. Yu is shocked to see Mikaela and can’t bring himself to understand Guren’s orders to kill him. Mikaela is quick to move away as Yu continues to stare at him. Guren hits Yu for not killing Mikaela and all Yu can do is stumble and stammer. Yu reveals the vampire he just stabbed is indeed Mikaela, much to the shock of Shinoa, Kimizuki, Yoichi and Mitsuba. Meanwhile, Ferid is having the time of his undead life teasing Mikaela about Yu and even refers to Yu as Mikaela’s “beloved princess.” After staring at Mikaela for what seems like an eternity, Yu finally addresses him and asks if he really is Mikaela; upon confirmation, Yu bursts into tears.
Guren deems Shinjuku lost and orders everyone to retreat. Yu refuses to leave Mikaela behind, especially since he just got him back. Lord Crowley arrives on the scene and with reinforcement now in place, Ferid launches his own attack against the humans stating all humans will be taken as livestock except Yu. Despite excluding Yu from the livestock label, Ferid still attempts to bite Yu, which leads to Mikaela cutting off Ferid’s arm. Mikaela swiftly picks up Yu and then carries him away from the battle, asking him to leave everything and everyone behind just to run away with him. The idea may be Yu’s dream come true, but with comrades currently on the battle field, Yu refuses to leave them behind. Of all the ways for Yu and Mikaela to reunite, it had to be amidst a battle. Although I’m glad Yu chose to go back for the others, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Yu had agreed to run away with Mikaela; part of me wishes Yu had agreed simply because I don’t want these two to separate ever again.
Yu rushes back just in time to see his comrades lose strength in the battle. Upon seeing his teammates in such defeated states, Yu transforms into a demon-like entity with one seraphic wing which confirms Mikaela’s suspicions about the humans experimenting on Yu; Guren anticipated Yu’s transformation and refers to him as “his ace in the hole” to Ferid. Yu’s transformation seems to be the result of experiments performed on him at an earlier age; not much is revealed about what was done to Yu except for Guren confirming to Shinoa that Yu has indeed been experimented upon. Mikaela saves Shinoa’s life from a demonic Yu and is quick to tell her he only saved her life because of Yu.
Shinoa, thanks to Guren’s advice, is able to snap Yu back to normal via a tight embrace; the Hiragi Clan arrives just in time with massive amounts of reinforcements to back them up causing the vampires to retreat. With Yu now unconscious, Mikaela is forced to escape by Ferid, cutting the lovely reunion between childhood friends short. As Yu is carried away to safety, Mikaela declares his hatred for “the filthy humans” and vows to free Yu from their clutches. Mikaela’s current hatred for the humans Yu resides with is quite understandable because they are indeed experimenting on him and have turned him into a demon even Asuramaru is afraid of.
Yu remains unconscious for a full week much to the concern of his friends and comrades. With Yu unconscious, Shinoa decides to do some research of her own and finally confronts Guren on the matter of Yu’s transformation; Guren basically confirms Shinoa’s suspicions and does so in a completely rude and nonchalant manner. I’m not pleased with the way Guren spoke to Shinoa or how he seemed to disregard Yu and his health. Guren clearly has an endgame of his own and although Guren does indeed care for Yu and Shinoa, his blunt attitude and manner of handling things has set me on edge and made me a little wearier of his character. When Guren’s attitude is emphasized on in a non-comedic moment, it makes me realize just how uncaring of an individual he appears to be on the surface. Down the road, it would be nice to see an “open” Guren, who readily and freely admits his affections for his subordinates. I wonder, if that day will ever come?
Guren’s conversation with Shinoa reveals to readers that Shinoa’s deceased sister Mahiru was responsible for inventing cursed gear; the conversation also alerts readers on Shinoa’s evolving feelings for Yu. Guren teases Shinoa by asking her if she’s fallen in love with Yu. Shinoa ponders upon this while waiting for Yu to wake up and its clear to see she’s slowly but surely developing feelings for Yu. Before Yu regains consciousness, the manga shifts over to Mikaela who has just undergone curse detoxification along with Lacus and Rene. Lacus and Rene are discussing Yu’s transformation and comment that it’s the result of the humans performing forbidden research that could end up destroying the world; it’s also confirmed that the mission’s sole purpose was to capture Yu. Mikaela is summoned by Krul Tepes and the manga switches back over to Yu, who has finally awoken from his weeklong coma. Yoichi embraces Yu before heading off to tell the others he’s awake. Yu begins to cry tears of relief and joy once the realization sets in that Mikaela is indeed still “alive”. Shinoa confirms that Mikaela did manage to escape and that he was physically forced to leave Yu behind because of another vampire; Yu seems comforted by the fact that Mikaela didn’t choose to leave him behind.
Shinoa’s growing feelings for Yu are touched upon once again as she begins blushing profusely after Yu touches her neck in order to enquire about her injuries. It was nice seeing the normally unfazed Shinoa so flustered by Yu’s actions. Mitsuba, Kimizuki and Yoichi finally arrive and proceed to fuss over Yu. Kimizuki claims he wasn’t worried about Yu yet Shinoa reveals that Kimizuki consistently tended to Yu while he was unconscious. In a moment of genuine tenderness, Yu thanks everyone and apologizes for making them worry. As they proceed to talk and joke, Yu’s mind drifts to Mikaela and volume 4 of Seraph of the End comes to a close with Yu and Mikaela both promising to save one another. Oh and we get a glimpse of Ferid talking to a mysterious individual, who he claims is his partner; he then hands said partner research reports, posing the question just who is Ferid’s secret ally and where does Ferid’s allegiance truly lie?
My favorite moment this volume, other than the reunion, is when Yu wakes up and soon finds himself surrounded by his worried comrades. I really loved this moment because it’s plain as day just how clearly these five care for one another. Yu chose to go back and attempt to save them instead of running away with Mikaela; that goes to show just how deeply Yu cares for his new family. Just because Yu has a new family doesn’t mean he’s forgotten about Mikaela which is another aspect of Seraph I greatly appreciate. I’m currently 4 volumes in to Seraph of the End, with only one more left to read till I catch up, and it has yet to let me down. Each volume entraps me further and further into the world of Seraph and I’m pleased to say it’s become one of my favorite manga series.
+Pros: The reunion is a major upside to this volume along with the heavy character development. This volume hardly had any humor in it and I consider that a pro because Seraph didn’t attempt to be humorous when the occasion called for some seriousness.
-Cons: Despite their touching reunion, Yu and Mikaela were bound to separate, but having them separate so soon definitely broke my heart and I wished the volume kept them together longer.
Overall Score: 9/10
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