As is so often the case in a post apocalyptic setting, the world can prove to be a less than friendly place. Pack all the weaponry and gear you want, but the creatures that dwell in the darkness of a broken planet will not back down easily. Be they horrendous abominations that stand as tall as skyscrapers, or humanoid foes that hold a mirror up to humanity, even trained soldiers would have their work cut out for them. However, one must also be wary of the demons that lie within the souls of man, lest they be played for a fool and taken by surprise.
Well, we all knew this was coming. Since the very first time we saw little Mika all grown up and vampirised, we knew he and Yu would eventually come face to face with one another. As we also knew, it was not to be the happiest of reunions, what with the whole “abandonment of humanity” thing. Well, it is what it is and I have to say that Yu took it a lot better than I thought. Whilst this did a pretty decent job of showing just how shocked and uncertain he was after having learnt his best friend survived the massacre all those years ago, it also allows us to witness some dialogue from Mika’s perspective. The main purpose of said dialogue, as far as I can tell, is to implicate that Mika has lived through some less-than-ideal circumstances over the time skip, most assuredly brought about by some less-than-ideal influences, namely Ferid. Oh how I dislike him. As such, Mika’s overall worldview has taken quite a divergence from that of his younger self, putting him at odds with not only himself, but with the humanity he once belonged to.
Though it is made strikingly obvious throughout the volume, I still think that it is worth noting the duality of story that Seraph is setting up. With the brash, undisciplined Yu squaring off against the calmer, more reserved Mika, the entire vampire v human setting is being filtered through a more personal conflict and in doing so is given a more intense emotional weight. It sounds bad to say that millions upon billions of people dying isn’t emotionally heavy enough, but story wise it does make it more relatable to have such a narrow scope. But I digress. The Yu/Mika conflict mainly serves to showcase how two people with the same starting point can travel down to vastly different paths. It also provides us with a more definitive goal for the story than stopping the war, noble as it may be, it does have a tinge of vagueness to it. Will Yu manage to sway Mika? Will he be forced to kill him? Who knows? We already know Seraph isn’t above killing Yu’s friends, so Mika isn’t above reprisal.
On the subject of story themes, this volume also seems to be rather intent on showcasing humanity as greedy. Sure it’s through the vessel of Ferid, but the concept is brought up quite a lot within these few chapters. The poster boy for this belief also seems to be Guren, who is shown under a less-than-favourable light this time around. One might go as far as to put Guren and Ferid on the same plane of duality as Yu and Mika, with both being shown as manipulative leaders, who still aren’t quite at the top of their respective sides. Interesting to be sure, but I do expect a lot more “necessities of war” conversations to sprout up in the future, especially when there are so many idealistic youths populating the Imperial Demon Army.
Overall, Volume 4 presented a nice amount of story progression and thematic development. Yu and Mika’s meeting sets us up for some future clashes of sword and ideology, whilst Guren and Ferid promise that the war will intensify exponentially as it continues. I do hope that more information will be revealed about the various other players in this free-for-all apocalypse, as the demons still remain vastly underexplored. Though, having just recently gotten a glimpse at the true meaning of “Seraph of the End”, I do not doubt that the revelations will continue to flow…whatever they may be.
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