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Anime / Seraphim Call

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Left to right: (top row) Yukina, Kasumi, Saeno, Shion; (middle row) Kurumi, Urara, Sakura, Chinami; (bottom row) Ayaka, Tanpopo, Hatsumi
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Seraphim Call is a 1999 anime series from the studio Sunrise, with character designs by Aoi Nanase. The anime takes the form of an anthology, telling the individual stories of eleven girls living in the then-future year of 2010 in the city-island of Neo-Acropolis. The anime is somewhat experimental, using different and sometimes unconventional storytelling techniques for each episode. For example, one episode has a fake ending, another is seen entirely from a stuffed toy's point of view, another features no other characters but the girl it's focusing on, etc.

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Tropes:

  • Bottle Episode: The second episode takes place entirely in Tanpopo's bedroom and is all from the viewpoint of a camera in one of her stuffed animals.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the first episode. After daringly riding to the rescue, miraculously overcoming her fear of talking to men, and expertly defusing a bomb with a minute to spare - all before the halfway point of the episode - Yukina wonders aloud if it was really okay to wrap things up so nearly before the commercial break.
  • Connected All Along: Each episode focuses on one of the advertised eleven girls, with no real hint that they have anything to do with each other. The last episode reveals that Urara knows Yukina, who knows Tanpopo, who knows Kurumi through a chatroom (and thinks she's a guy). Kurumi stalks Chinami, who knows Hatsumi, who knows Kasumi, who knows Saeno, who knows Ayaka, who knows the Murasame twins.
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  • Does Not Like Men: Yukina. So much so, that getting too close to any guy will cause her to faint dead away, to the point where she's invented an auto-deploying airbag to cushion her landing when this happens.
  • The Dutiful Son: Chinami suppresses her dreams of becoming a pastry chef and starting her own business to take care of her father, who's divorced from the mother, and her siblings. Everyone around her tries to convince her to go do what she likes, and at the end it seems like she'll do just that.
  • Filming for Easy Dub: The series relies a lot on limited animation, but the last episode goes out of its way to avoid showing the characters' mouths when they speak.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Ayaka, who spends her money frivolously.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Tanpopo, despite her age.
  • Good with Numbers: Saeno is a math genius, a fact that plays a large role in her story. However, her almost religious reverence for the subject led to her becoming an English teacher out of fear that she couldn't teach math to someone who didn't love it.
  • Humongous Mecha: Yukina uses one in order to avoid men.
  • Male Gaze: Most obvious in the last episode, with a lot of focus on the characters' chests and legs to avoid showing their lips.
  • Parent with New Paramour: An unusually realistic handling of this trope (and of a post-divorce family in general) is part of Chinami's episode, as she tries to deal with her mixed feelings on meeting her mother's serious boyfriend.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Shion Murasame and her younger sister Sakura.
  • Ship Tease: Kurumi tells Chinami that she likes her. Chinami is surprised, though she finds Kurumi cute, and later confides to Hatsumi that Kurumi's confession made her swoon.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Episode 3 "The Taste of Cake" contains references to Yasujiro Ozu's An Autumn Afternoon, whose Japanese title actually translates into The Taste of Sanma. They have similar plots, as both are about a father who believes he's holding his daughter back, and the daughter believes it's her duty to care for the father above all else. Scenes of the father and daughter talking are shot in a way identical to equivalent scenes in Ozu's film.
    • In episode 11, Urara's dead father manifests as a Spirit Advisor when she's at her lowest point, in a scene rather similar to the one in The Lion King with Simba and Mufasa.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The dilemma facing Kasumi, who has seen the legends about her grow considerably in just a few years.
  • Sweet Tooth: Chinami has one.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Episodes 5 and 6 are the same story (and largely the same animation), told from the perspectives of the Murasame twins. Episode 5 is from Shion's and episode 6 from Sakura's.
  • Tareme Eyes: One of the only ways nearly-identical twin sisters Shion and Sakura can be told apart.
  • Time Travel: A plot point in episode seven, when Saeno goes back in time to give a book about pi to her younger self.
  • Token Adult: Saeno is the oldest of the cast at 25 and Kasumi is implied to be college-aged. Other than them, all the girls are high school-aged or younger.
  • Tomboy: Hatsumi, who believes she can't possibly be feminine.
  • 12-Episode Anime: Used with purpose as there are eleven girls and episodes 1 through 11 focus on one of them at a time, with episode 12 being the one where they all meet.
  • Twenty Minutes In To The Future: The series was made in 1999, and takes place in 2010.
  • Twincest: Shion and Sakura; not explicit, but they repeatedly exchange declarations of love and kisses.
  • The Un-Reveal: The fourth episode initially ends with the viewer not seeing Miyabi's painting of Hatsumi, but then after the credits we actually get to see it.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of episode two, when it's revealed in the final scene that the stuffed animal acting as the observer's lens through which the episode's story is told really WAS observing - it was connected to a hidden camera.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Several of the characters have odd hair colors, such as blue, green, and pink.
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