My thoughts on the twelfth episode of Owari no Seraph.
Well, after finally arriving at the 12th episode and the end of the first cour of the show things don’t seem to have changed much and while I at least plan to watch the remaining episodes, this first season felt pretty bad and I’d feel more than modest in calling it average.
Before I say anything negative about this episode I first want to commend it for doing something right – and if not right, then interesting. Yuichi’s demeanor, as he laid in bed and was visited by his fellow team members, was drastically different than it has ever been throughout the show thus far. While this came on a little strong, the way they rolled it out was done well enough that we could directly see his shift in attitude as a result of knowing Mika was alive – the effect was very clear. I got a genuine sense of relieve from the character and whether it was Irino Miyu’s voice acting or the way they framed his interactions with his friends, it was one of the better things I have seen from the show.
This all being said, I am horrified that the show will undermine this change in the episodes of the next cour and return to Yuichi being annoying, ignorant, and cocky and forgetting this development entirely. This is not to say that I don’t expect him to be those things, or even that he shouldn’t be – they define the character up until now and should continue to do so (even though it pains me). I simply wish for the show to pay enough attention to the feeling of relaxation that he displays this episode and minorly adjust his character accordingly, perhaps making him more reserved in certain scenarios or perhaps 30% less mind-bogglingly irritating. And as a brief note to go alongside this positive reflection – the music at the end of the episode to wind things down felt memorable and was well enough done even if it was anti-climactic.
With all of that out of the way, this episode also had its fair share of negative moments. I have to say, while I don’t overly care for the character of Shinoa, seeing her dote on Yuichi and vocally question herself whether or not she has ‘fallen for him’ felt pretty awkward and somewhat hurt the character for me. In a show that is chock-full of stereotypical deliveries and dynamics, Shinoa at least separated herself from the rest at that level – her famously smug attitude and method of interacting with her team and others felt new and unique to her and so to bring her down to the trope-filled level of everyone else by having her so overtly fawn over him felt kind of awful. Not to say that the show hasn’t played upon the romance element of their relationship before however the obviousness of this along with the constant blushing was a little too much for me.
Another character, who by this point I am just dumbfounded with, is Guren. The end of the episode somewhat insinuated that he was in contact with Ferid and that they (or someone) was swapping information or some such deal however I feel that this was a red herring and that the rooftop stranger was someone else entirely. Furthermore, I refuse to believe that Guren is at the level of awful that the show makes him out to be – which is to say: I’m not buying it. He is at odds with Yuichi and has made some crude choices in the past however he’s never been downright evil or anything which contrasts with his involvement with human experimentation and his exchange with Shinoa this episode.
If I had to guess, the show is painting him as a bad character, as evidenced by the final scene of the show and his indifference to Yuichi’s condition and Shinoa’s interests in the matter, however he is in fact only dabbling in these things for some greater good and will ultimately prove to be a perfectly fine person (perhaps with his own complications that disallow this image to be painted so black and white). Having said that, the way in which the show is going about depicting him feels incredibly manipulative of the viewer and overall I just kind of hate him for it.