Seraph of the End (Vol 1): Vampire Reign by Takaya Kagami
Seraph of the End is an exciting shonen manga with some creepy post-apocalyptic elements combined with the vampire genre. This is the third vampire book I’ve reviewed in the past few weeks, and I’ve never been drawn to vampire stories to begin with. I do enjoy many vampire stories — from Dracula to a few by Rice, and I love Buffy — but I don’t actively seek them out. AND I generally dislike post-apocalyptic tales. Yet, even though I was prepared to not like Seraph of the End, I was pleasantly surprised by the story and how much it pulled me in.
The story starts by giving us some basic background information: Everybody over the age of thirteen has mysteriously died from a fatal virus and the world has been taken over by vampires who have created a new vampire paradise underground where they rule over the children, syphoning off their blood daily as needed in a very organized fashion.
The main characters are the best friends Yu and Mika who, like all other kids, must wear collars with permanent access points for easy blood withdrawal. Yu dreams of revolution, but Mika gives himself over willingly to the head vampire, Lord Ferid, in order to get extra gifts of food. However, he does so as an act of sacrifice: The food is for Yu and the other kids with whom they grew up. In other words, Mika acts as head of the family of kids who are at the “orphanage” underground.
At this point, I must give a minor spoiler to tell you the rest of the premise, so perhaps some of you may want to know only the following and no more: Yu escapes and decides to spend the rest of his life fighting the vampires. But if you don’t mind a spoiler, read the next paragraph to get the basic premise for the entire series.
It turns out that the vampires lied: There are still plenty of adults alive out in the real world. Once Yu escapes — Mika does not escape — he joins the Japanese imperial Demon Army. In particular, he becomes a part of the Moon Demon Company, the most respected and feared group of the Vampire Extermination Units. Even more intriguing is that this battle told in Seraph of the End isn’t just between human beings and vampires; it’s a Battle at the End of the World between vampires, angels, demons, and humans.
I enjoyed this book enough to want to read the following stories which have been written but not published in translation officially yet. If you enjoy shonen manga with a lot of fighting, vampire stories, and post-apocalyptic tales, you won’t want to miss Seraph of the End (Vol 1): Vampire Reign.