When looking at SerVamp, I was expecting a more lighthearted look at fighting vampires. I was expecting something like Tokyo Ghoul but with a bit more comedy. What was to follow was something that is very confused in what story it wants to tell and is ultimately failed by the half season that it got to tell the tale. But does the short time and long story make it not worth watching? Let’s take a look at SerVamp and see.
Details: 12 episodes
Release Date: December 6, 2017 (Australia)
Languages: English 5.1, Japanese 2.0
Subtitles: English subtitles
Number of Discs: 2 (DVD)
Runtime: 300.0 mins (23mins per episode)
Distributor: Madman Entertainment (DVD)
Special Features: None
Rating: MA15+: Strong Themes & Animated Violence
Mahiru Shirota is a normal high school student who likes simple things. One day, on his way back home, he finds a black cat and decides to take care of it, naming it Kuro. The next day, however, he is surprised to find out that the black cat is, in fact, one of the seven vampires that represent the Seven Deadly Sins. His name is Sleepy Ash, he represents Sloth, and he turns into a cat when exposed to sunlight. By giving Sleepy Ash a name and a cat bell, and then calling him by his given name, Mahiru accidentally forms a temporary contract with him. The contract is finalized once Sleepy Ash drinks his blood, making him Mahiru’s vampire servant known as “Servamp” and Mahiru becomes his master called “Eve”. Following this, Mahiru and Sleepy Ash, now Kuro, encounter Tsubaki, a vampire who claims to be the Servamp of Melancholy and the unknown eighth brother of the other Servamps. Tsubaki intends to wage an all-out war against his seven brothers, while Mahiru decides to gather them to fight against Tsubaki and his group together.
Mahiru Shirota: Voiced by Takuma Terashima (Japanese) & Clifford Chapin (English)
He’s a freshman High School student who lost his mother to an accident at a young age. Having no father to take care of him, he was left in the care of his ever-busy uncle. Thanks to this, Mahiru grew up mostly alone and has developed many talents for household chores. Mahiru’s talent for housework has also extended into his school life where he often uses them for class projects and the like. After discovering Sleepy Ash as a cat and eventually becoming his Eve, he obtains a Lead (essentially a conjured tool for Eves) in the form of a Broomstick. Kuro later notes in irony that it is what may represent him the most due to Mahiru’s personality and that it was the first thing he used to hit Kuro with when they met. His Lead later changes into a Spear, giving Mahiru more physical prowess. Mahiru’s catchphrase is “Thinking simply, it’s got to be me!”
Sleepy Ash: Voiced by Yūki Kaji (Japanese) & Chuck Huber (English)
A Servamp, or servant vampire, of Sloth. The name given to him by Mahiru as part of their Servamp contract is Kuro, due to the color of his cat form’s fur. Kuro is the oldest of the seven Servamp siblings and, according to Mikuni, arguably the most powerful of them. This is contrary to Kuro’s lazy personality, and he can often be found dozing off, playing video games, or eating junk food in Mahiru’s apartment. So far, he is the only Servamp without any Subclass, because he doesn’t know whether a person wants to live longer or not and has so decided to have none. Kuro’s past is mired in mystery to Mahiru, as he is rarely ever willing to discuss it. The mere mention of his past was enough to make the usual lazy Kuro to become angered. It’s revealed that Kuro had a falling out with Lawless because he decided to kill the one who made them vampires after receiving the request from C3. The reason for accepting the request is because he thinks that the world doesn’t need “monsters” like them anymore. Following the request, Sleepy Ash killed his own creator, but this haunted Kuro who ended up regretting his action. The regret and grief made Kuro decide to not do anything unless someone tells him to, until Mahiru urges him to face his own mistake, which also significantly improves Kuro and Mahiru’s friendship. Kuro has two animal forms: the first being his usual cat form, and the second being a giant lion form. Kuro’s primary weapons are a pair of deadly, razor-sharp claws that can easily skewer targets.
Tsubaki: Voiced by Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Japanese) & Micah Solusod (English)
The vampire of Melancholy. This mysterious man introduces himself as the eighth Servamp and the youngest sibling, despite the fact that there are only supposed to be seven. Tsubaki has a psychotic and unstable personality, which is evident through his stated desire to “kill everyone who doesn’t know him”. His motives and past are currently unclear. Tsubaki commanded a sizable force of Subclass vampires until Lawless of Greed massacred almost all of them during their attempt to kill his Eve during a concert. His animal form is a fox. His primary weapon is a Katana.
Snow Lily: Voiced by Kazuma Horie (Japanese) & Jerry Jewell (English)
All of Love, also known as the Servamp of Lust, is the Servamp of Misono Alicein. The name given to him for his contract is Snow Lily or simply Lily. He is the second youngest of the eight known Servamps, and has a tendency to strip no matter the occasion. For generations, he has served the Misono family alongside Doubt Doubt, the Servamp of Envy. After Mikuni killed his mother to protect Misono years before, Lily manipulated Misono’s memory so he won’t remember the reason behind Mikuni’s banishment from the house out of fear that Misono would reject him for being the representation of lust. When Misono finds out Lily’s manipulation without knowing the truth, the bond between him and Misono becomes strained for a moment, giving Otogiri the opportunity to destroy his pocket watch that was also the source of his power, greatly weakening him. Since then, Lily is mostly bedridden and lost his tendency to strip as his body becomes weaker. His animal form is butterfly. His primary weapon is a conjured Scythe that can cut the “spirits” of its victims, rendering them unconscious.
Doubt Doubt: Voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda (Japanese) & Christopher R. Sabat (English)
The Servamp of Envy, and bound by contract under the name Jeje to Mikuni Alicein. Jeje is the third eldest Servamp, and possesses a quiet personality. He rarely speaks and often mumbles when he does. Jeje used to serve Mikuni’s mother and has been protecting Alicein family together with Lily for generations. However, seven years before the start of the manga, Jeje’s power started to corrupt Mikuni’s mother, leading her to kill Misono’s mother. Jeje erased any evidence of the murder. She eventually tried to kill Misono himself but the attempt was stopped by Mikuni who killed his mother and took Jeje with him when he left the house. His animal form is snake. Jeje’s primary weapons are a pair of conjured fully automatic guns that are mostly hidden by his massive sleeves.
Old Child: Voiced by Ayumu Murase (Japanese) & Michelle Rojas (English)
Old Child is the Servamp of Pride and is bound by contract to Tetsu Sendagaya. His contract name is Hugh and he is the second oldest of the Servamp siblings. This is despite his tiny stature, being no taller than 2’6. Hugh’s most notable personality feature is his childish sense of pride, such as how he claims that Tetsu’s blood is absolutely gourmet. Out of all the Servamps, Hugh has the most Subclass, to the point where they are practically his information network; he often uses them to gather intel on Tsubaki or indulge in his obsession with other people’s love stories. During the group’s attempt to rescue Licht and Lawless, Hugh fell into Tsubaki’s trap and lost his power after being defeated. The result is the total change of Hugh’s character, going from being childish to a personality of an old man, having walking and memory issues.
Lawless: Voiced by: Ryōhei Kimura (Japanese) & Ian Sinclair (English)
Lawless is the Servamp of Greed and the fifth youngest Servamp, bound by contract to Licht Jekylland Todoroki. His contract name is Hyde, which coincides with Licht’s middle name “Jekylland”, referencing the story of Jekyll and Hyde and symbolizing their antagonistic relationship. Lawless’ personality is extremely unstable, as he has no interest in the value of human life and is often prone to brutally slaughtering anyone in his way. According to the Servamp of Pride, Lawless has a habit of killing his Eves if he gets bored of them. Licht, however, is an exception as Lawless enjoys his naive personality and his habit of calling himself an Angel. He used to be a Servamp of a princess named Ophelia, and fell in love with her. He was heartbroken when she married a prince from neighbouring country and was then executed, refusing to escape with Lawless because she wanted peace between both countries. Lawless’ condition worsened after he had a falling out with Kuro who decided to kill their own creator himself, leading Lawless to become the way he is now. After Licht helped him realize his true wishes, Lawless abandoned his previous view on life and finally reconciled with Kuro.
The Mother: Voiced by Ami Koshimizu (Japanese) & ??? (English)
The Servamp of Wrath and the only female Servamp. She always looks frowning, making people mistake her as being angry, though she’s only trying to act cool. She was married to her Eve and together they owned an apple farm. She was later confined in C3 Tokyo HQ along with her two Subclass, Gil and Ray, though she didn’t make a move nor had any intention to escape from confinement until Licht and Lawless free her. She reveals that a week before her confinement, her Eve died of old age. Lawless requests her to help stop Tsurugi, which she agrees to and saves Tsurugi when he was drowning after getting defeated by her Subclass who were trying to free her. She and Tsurugi are then trapped in the falling floor due to the impact of the prison break. To save both herself and Tsurugi, The Mother suggests that Tsurugi becomes her new Eve.
World End: Voiced by Junichi Suwabe (Japanese) & ??? (English)
The Servamp of Gluttony. True to the sin he embodies, he has an incredibly huge appetite, able to eat the whole restaurant menu. Unfortunately, he is broke and doesn’t have much money. He proclaimed himself as Sleepy Ash’s rival.
SerVamp is interesting in the fact that it’s a good show about Vampires, brotherhood, betrayal, and the redemption of one character. The characters themselves are all colorful and entertaining in their own right, with the highlight being Greed and his piano playing Eve. The exploration of all the different types of relationships and how they inspire loyalty and all that other good stuff is something that very few anime seem to be able to get across in 24-26 episodes let alone 12 episodes. Outside of that, the animation used is quite enjoyable to watch the fight scenes early on being a good highlight.
SerVamp has a problem with the way it tells its story. Given that it’s only 12 episodes it suffers badly with “Last minute exposition dumping”, and by last minute I mean in the final episode. It spends all this time building up a revenge plot about the man who created the Vampires and how he was killed but you don’t find out about this till about halfway through the series and then you don’t even understand anything by that time and even less when it all gets explained at the end. In the end, the whole thing just feels secondary to the love and friendship plot that seems to go through the whole series. If anything SerVamp required to be a 24 episode series in order to fully flesh out its characters and motivations. Another issue with SerVamp is that it doesn’t know what type of show it wants to be in the beginning; is it a comedy? a drama? a revenge fantasy? SerVamp doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be before going all drama in the ending.
To summerise, SerVamp is a decent anime if you like the bare bones plot about friendship and redemption. However if you want something a bit deeper like it thinks it is in the beginning, then SerVamp is for you. SerVamp at the end of the day is a simple anime that is hurt by not having enough episodes to properly tell the story it wants to tell.
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Show needs immortality to tell it's story
SerVampis a decent anime, but it starts out as a confused mess that doesn't get any clearer when it finally dumps the whole story on you at the last minute. Decent animation makes the fight scenes worth watching and the characters are colorful and vibrant in personality, but it's not enough to save it from what basically boils down to a plot about friendship.