Anime: Servamp (Complete First Season Combo)
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Retail Price: $84.98
The series Servamp began as a serialized manga in 2011, telling the unconventional story that looks to mix elements such as supernatural, comedy, and a love for animals into one larger tale of mystically themed misadventures. While it plays on some of the more predictable anime fanservice tropes, it does find success amongst fans for creating a series that most think accomplishes a story with character development and an overarching growth that makes people come back for more. Just what is the series about? Well to be blunt, Servamp is in fact a tale about a servant vampire, making its title self explanatory.
We begin Servamp by following Mahiru Shirota, a fairly young man who purely desires and strives towards an easy life. If it can be avoided - Miharu will do so, trying to keep by his way of life that suggests he would rather regret not doing something than do it when it is necessary, embodying a true slacker in every way. One day on his way home from school, Mahiru discovers a small stray black cat that catches his eye, leading the protagonist to claim the feline and take it home, not realizing the moment would soon change his life entirely. The 15 year old boy names his new companion Kuro, but as he quickly discovers that cute little Kuro is actually something a little more menacing - well, kind of.
One day, Mahiru arrives back home to discover that his little friend Kuro has transformed into a mysterious young man who isn’t looking like your average human or kitten. Once he touches sunlight again and transforms back into the kitten form, we learn that the creature is named Sleepy Ash (still goes by Kuro too) a vampire with little to no motivation. Initially, Kuro’s stay is temporary until one too many instances lead him to work with Mahiru and offer himself as his supernatural servant by contract - much like Black Butler, except this adds an actual leash going a little far down the fanservice path. With Mahiru being thrown into this almost new world he wasn’t aware of, the battle against other servants and their leaders begins to unfold.
While partnership is certainly key in Servamp, it is still Mahiru who plays the lead role or is the clear focal point of the anime series. We begin to learn about his life as it progresses, showing that the loss of his mother as a child deeply impacted who he has become. Having no father to play that male role in his life as well, he was at a low point but was fortunate enough to have his uncle step in and raise the young orphan. His characteristics are a little more on the generic shounen ai side because of his frailness, homemaker ways, and occasional dependency issues, but they do manage to increase the stakes. As the series progresses, he is brought out of his comfort zone enough to become more reactive than stagnant, but that is also in large part due to his vampire partner Kuro.
Kuro is very similar to Mahiru, except for the fact that he is the more blunt and a lot deadlier than the human boy. From the first moments, he proves to be a comedic entity as well which doubles down and makes Kuro an easy fan favorite character from Servamp in either the manga or anime. His ability to quickly change the tone of the series is what carries the anime, which is ironic given the fact that he is second fiddle to Mahiru intentionally. The animation quality of Servamp is above average, trying to add some over the top attributes to the vampires, or even as simple as the students varying hairstyles - but overall, not insanely memorable either. The english dub cast of Servamp stays true to a Funimation dub, with Chuck Huber still being an insanely talented voice actor after years of experience to show his consistency. Servamp likely has something that every anime fan would appreciate whether blood, drama, comedy, or just an adventure. It might not fulfil each of those roles as much as I personally would like because of the more standard anime direction along the way, but Servamp is a series that I can see being adored for a long time.
Overall Score: 7/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- It felt like a vampire version of Karneval.
- The shounen ai traits of the series could have been integrated much better than they were.