I’ve got some new anime for you to try this week!
Seraph of the End
This one was a pleasant surprise for me. I didn’t have high expectations (judging a book by it’s cover, I guess) but it has actually turned out to be really interesting thus far.
The premise: It’s the year 2012. A man-made virus sweeps across the globe, wiping out 90% of the human population and only leaving children under the age of 13. The vampires, who have remained hidden until now, decide that with their food source at risk they must take action and quickly rise up and develop livestock farms for the remaining human children. The vampires provide food and shelter and allow the children to live in small tribes while taking their blood and treating them like second-class citizens.
Two boys plot to escape, and one actually makes it out alive. He discovers that not everyone was killed by the plague, and in fact there’s a human faction working to fight the vampires and take back the world. But how does one defeat such immortal creatures? What sacrifices must a human make to even fight on the same level as a powerful being like a vampire? And are the remaining humans prepared to make these sacrifices?
I think I was so apprehensive about it initially because it’s about little kids at the beginning, and I definitely steer away from the more child-centric animes. However, there are several time skips in the first episode and the main characters become teenagers so it was more aligned with what I usually like to watch. Plus, I’m definitely a sucker for anything vampire related, and this even has a touch of philosophy too which makes it extra interesting.
Gate was basically described to me as “Stargate in anime form.” I don’t know if I entirely agree with the description, but it’s definitely not hard to see some initial parallels. Gate follows a Japanese soldier, who is a hardcore otaku in his free time and loves reading doujinshi, when a portal to another world opens and he is sent in to make contact. It turns out that the other world is practically a dream come true for him; magic is real, there are dragons, elves, demons, and all kinds of fantastical creatures on the other side.
The premise of Gate would normally bore me, to be honest. It’s just not that original. But, there’s some charm in the execution here that I really enjoy. The main character, Yoji, is generally unenthusiastic about his job and is just kind of really bummed he can’t spend more time reading doujinshi. However, he’s actually an at least decent soldier, and is especially adept at dealing with the new world because of all of his time spent on his geeky hobbies which ends up garnering him a ton of military honors that he isn’t really excited about. There are some tongue-in-cheek funny things in the series too, like the princess of the other world is named Pina Co Lada. I enjoy that the series takes itself seriously like 90% of the time and then has fun with the last 10%. It’s pretty good stuff.
Following in the footsteps of many a successful gaming anime, Overlord’s premise is also not very original. An adept gamer of the popular Yggdrasil MMORPG in the year 2138, Momonga decides to log in on the day of the game’s retirement and enjoy one last day of play. However, after his friends all leave and the servers should be shut off, he finds himself somehow integrated with the game’s world and unable to log out. Furthermore, the world around him has changed; he can no longer interact with some of his gaming interfaces, the characters see him as real and the dungeons of Yggdrasil seem to have been transported into a new world with many towns and warring factions.
Overlord is a fun show to watch because it takes a very different approach from other gaming animes. Momonga is actually a wraith character and is not necessarily interested in the overall common good of the world as much as he is securing his place as the world’s major power and trying to find out if any other players are stuck in the game like he is. It’s not so much that he’s losing his humanity as it is that he never really saw anyone else in the game as human in the first place, so he’s inclined to live a little differently in this world.
There are some annoying characters (the hamster is really annoying) and anime cliches thrown in, but all in all I find myself looking forward to watching Overlord to find out what’s going to happen next.
Wagnaria Season 3
I absolutely love Wagnaria (also known as Working!!) It’s the kind of show you can watch after a long day when you need a few chuckles and it doesn’t take too much brain power to follow. If you’re not familiar with Wagnaria, it follows a 16-year old boy and basically his life at his part-time job working in a Denny’s/diner type restaurant. His coworkers are really eccentric (actually so is he) and get tangled up in all kinds of weird and hilarious situations.
Season 3 has definitely taken a more drastic turn in that some of the plot progressions are surprisingly serious and more in-depth than I would expect of a show like this. I expected the anime to stay more or less in shounen territory, but there’s a fairly deep romance between two characters this season as well as dealing with some other matters that aren’t so lighthearted like Sota’s sister’s ex-husband trying to win her back. That said, the show never loses any of it’s charm while it’s stretching itself.
Stay tuned for my next roundup where we’ll discuss the finer points of each one of the 712 episodes of One Piece! Kidding, kidding…