Servamp is one of the animes I was looking forward to this season. While the plot may not be the most original, it is extremely enjoyable.
Servamp is an anime about vampires and their contractors, or Eves. Not much of the Servamp world is explored in the first episode, and not a lot of information will be revealed in the next coming episodes. A majority of the major characters have not been introduced and when they are it will be very briefly. Servamp (if it follows the source material) will be more of an ‘acquiring your party’ type anime. Mahiru has to gather all 7 Servamps and their Eves to fight an enemy. Of course this mission is self-bestowed by our main character, Shirota Mahiru.
Servamp reminds me of 07-Ghost a lot, with a boy being tethered to a supernatural being and battling while collecting items. It is also close to Nanatsu no Taizai, in that we may not be introduced to all of the characters of the party. Some have not been introduced in the manga yet so we may not meet all Servamps for a while.
The episode covers how Mahiru came to be Sleepy Ash’s Eve, and takes them through their first battle.
The actual events of the episode are reordered in a different sequence from the manga. The manga begins when he picks up Sleepy Ash in his cat form, and names him Kuro. In the anime, it begins with Mahiru being taken in by his uncle. All of the events are covered, just in a different order. It also skips over the actual picking up of Kuro. Its just a couple frames but it felt awkward.
The memory of being taken in by his uncle is replayed 4 times within this episode. In each replay there is a blurry, sepia-like filter over the scene, with a well placed light covering Mahirus uncles face. The relatives who rejected the responsibility are ‘remembered’ in a shadowy way.
The backgrounds change according to the mood of the scene or character, and the type of animation used also changes based on a characters mood. Kuro, or Sleepy Ash, is an extremely apathetic character, slouching and generally going limp when he has been tasked with something. This results in a drawn out ‘mendoksaiiiii’, and the animation appearing simple. It works because it reflects Sleepy Ashes lazy mood. When he is serious, the details come back, the shadows deepen, the scene looks and feels amazing. But half a second later he flops to the ground in ‘Chibi’ mode. When Sleepy Ash does become serious and joins the battle, injuring Belukia, the background changed. It seems whenever blood is drawn the background changes to a red fade to black background and the characters become nearly all black. I don’t know if this will continue, because there are frequent battles, but it was a nice surprise coming from Sleepy Ash, the Sloth.
Classmates of Mahiru also look less detailed and simple when happy. What wasn’t simple was the curtain in Mahirus room. Like crap that curtain was a moving object, but was shaded and toned and was the Mona Lisa of curtains.
A continued animation theme that was held throughout the episode was selected blur. Characters that were not important, like people passing Mahiru on the street, were blurred while Mahiru remained in focus. In a battle scene on a slanted close-up of a characters face, the face was slightly blurry while the eye remained hyper focussed and detailed.
Another interesting animation I enjoyed was during a simple conversation between Mahiru and his classmates. The ‘camera’ panned super wide, and moved horizontally slowly like in a videogame. The characters, who were far away and not very detailed, were moving across the screen in a slow pace. I don’t remember that being used in an anime before.
Each Servamp and vampire has 2 forms, human and small. Sleepy Ash is the adult form, while Kuro is the cat form. Both forms have their own distinct voice. Other vampires we were introduced to had 2 forms and distinct voices as well.
The small sound effects are used a lot, with motion/pointing swishes used in the ‘simple’ scenes. Sighs, stress mark sounds and groans are plentiful around Sleepy Ash.
Servamp has done some really interesting things in their first episode that I hope they continue. The story is really fun and the different personalities of each Servamp and their Eve are so entertaining. Majority, if not all clash superbly.