You know how I kept saying that Mars Red is theatrical. Well, I did for like the two first episodes. I looked it up and it’s supposed to be theatrical. Although there is a manga, Mars Red is actually based on a stage reading play written by Bun-O Fujisawa. This explains so much about the set pieces and the pacing. I’m surprised at how well it works in anime form. 

That’s my random facts about Mars Red for the week.

You know, Irina, I wasn’t even vaguely curious about the manga until your comment last week and now I’d love to read it. I didn’t think I needed anything else added to my read list, but there we go. And after watching this week’s episode I’m kind of thinking this would work well in manga form.

I’m also kind of wondering if there are other anime based on play’s given so far Mars Red has quite a distinct feel to it, probably because of this source.

Mars Red has undergone quite a few changes since episode 1 and I think I can confidently say that for me, the show works best as an ensemble piece. When the entire Vampire unit is together is when I find it most appealing and fun to watch.

Not that the other scenes were bad. I liked the opening tag with Maeda teaching Kurusu to be a soldier. The payoff, later on, was nice. And I enjoyed discovering more about Suwa. But I found it hard to care about military budget issues. 

The military higher-ups and the ongoing issue with the budget and grand plans are definitely the weaker aspects in this narrative. Yes, they give us some context for a vampire military unit and a bit of world building but really they aren’t interesting and I’m not sure I care whether the grey haired guys plans come to fruition or not.

Maeda and Kurusu training together was good and as you said, there was the obvious payoff later in the episode from that sequence. I also really liked Yamagami this week and his reaction to being sent out alone. This episode also added a bit more detail to Suwa’s character so overall it was a nice addition to the story about this vampire unit.

There is a bit of lack of setup for certain moments I find. I remember being quite confused about “why mask-guy is topless”. And then he went to a brothel and I was like, oh that’s why he’s topless! Why did he go to a brothel? Don’t get me wrong, he could just have gone to a brother but we never established that it was in his character and since it wasn’t set up in the episode either, it just came a bit out of the blue. 

I figured the brothel and hair pin thing would have to play a part later on. I didn’t think it would be so soon though.

I kind of liked the whole dead body in the district story. It’s kind of a classic where there’s a mystery behind the death of a prostitute. For me, the transition between finding that body and then seeing Suwa and the other’s heading into the red-light district didn’t seem overly jarring. I was more thrown by the random European guy and the sheer number of vampires that ended up being present in the story. It felt like there was no way it would still be a secret if this many people were turning into vampires.

The one part of the story I’m not vibing with as much, aside from the budget meetings, is the reporter girl. She’s fine in isolation although for the moment she’s barely a character but it’s like she doesn’t quite fit into the story… Not yet at least. She serves no real practical purpose to the plot (I’m betting she’s going to be a future damsel though). Her relationship with the little vamp is intriguing but again so far it has no impact. And her entire character is a clash with the others. She’s much more modern in personality and viewpoint than any other character in the show, not just the century-old vampires. 

You know how in some movies the director decides to cast his niece or something in a pretty important part. And you realize that she is completely out of place surrounded by real actors. To me, that’s the impression I’m getting from reporter girls. Except she’s not a bad actress, she just got a character that belongs in another show.

I’d agree with that observation, particularly when watching this dubbed. I’ve kind of alternated between subs and the dubbed version so far for the four episodes and the reporter girl’s English dub feels off (I get she’s maybe meant to be from the country and having moved to the city to be a reporter but she still doesn’t quite fit with everything else). That said, I kind of feel she’s necessary as she’s the only non-vampire civilian face we really have in the story and she provides the perspective of the outsider. 

What I don’t get is how she can be talking to Colonel Maeda while he’s in uniform and not realise he’s a ‘big-shot’. And more importantly, when another soldier tells Maeda there’s another ‘vamp victim’ right in front of the reporter she doesn’t react or even seem to have heard. Not sure that is possible given Maeda didn’t move away from her and the soldier wasn’t exactly subtle.

Well that was a lot of words for a very random observation. Now I’ll make an actual pertinent observation in one line. The animation is not very good. In Kurusu’s action scene we got a glimpse of what was not only very minimal animation but also rather uneven. 

Not that it matters to me. I like the fact that Mars Red is a very still show. I think it adds to the stage play feel of it. 

As much as there is some action in the anime, I’m very sure they aren’t trying to sell this one of the strength of its fight scenes. Kurusu’s action scene was a great character moment and was the payoff for the earlier scene but it wasn’t exactly a visual spectacle. Nor was I expecting it to be. I like the look of Mars Red and the detail in the setting but as you said, it’s a very still show a lot of the time and it works.

Once again, I quite liked the episode and I’m looking forward to more.

I’ll second that. So far Mars Red has kept me very intrigued and I’m really starting to like these characters. Plus I want to know more about what they can do as vampires. The ultrasonic communication thing was kind of cool and I’m not sure what Suwa did in the alley but I would love to learn more about it. Definitely looking forward to more.

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11 thoughts

  1. And more importantly, when another soldier tells Maeda there’s another ‘vamp victim’ right in front of the reporter she doesn’t react or even seem to have heard.

    It’s probably a translation issue. “Kyuuketsuki” is the Japanese word for “vampire”, but the army guys prefer to use “marukyuu”. I’d never heard the term before, it roughly translates to “O9”.

    The military seem to have taken “kyuu” from “kyuuketsuki” — “kyuu” meaning “9” — and attached it to “maru” — which can mean “circle” or “O”, possibly a reference to the circular symbol all vampires seem to share.

    In conclusion, I think the reporter just heard some random lingo, rather than an obvious abbreviation like “vamp”.

    1. I really have no clue what her role actually is yet. I hope we’ll find out a bit more tonight!

  2. I’ll have to watch this one as I’m generally a fan of anything Vampire! I’m currently watching Blue Reflection Ray because I loved the video game!

    1. It’s a very different sort of anime and I have a feeling that it’s going to be love it or hate it for a lot of fans. But it’s worth a look just because it’s unique so if you like it, it’s not the type of show you often see come out.

  3. Mars Red is on my keeper list for the spring.

    The whole budget battle may feel like it is the least interesting part of the show. As far as the unit’s functionality in the future it could become the most important. Budget woes might lead to could lead to desperate actions to stay afloat. Maybe their disbandment or elimination. At least it gives some context of the unit in the great scheme of things.

    Or it might get tossed aside as a meaningless side trip. It is the kind of thing I wait to see if it develops and hold off on judging until the end is near.

    1. To me it looked like an obvious stage fight. One where you can see that the sword is actually 3 inches away from the other guy and the fall very carefully not to hurt themselves. I’m not going to pretend it’s what the production was going for but for me, it was kind of charming. I kind of added to the whole so if it remains that way, I’m happy with it

  4. An anime based and paced like a play sounds interesting.
    I like watching each art form pushing the boundaries, but it is also interesting when it confines itself to the limits of another art form as well.

    This is something entirely different, but I just discovered “Home Movies: The Princess Bride” A bunch of celebrities reenacting the entire film of The Princess Bride on iphones.
    I love things like this- especially the Lego scenes

    1. OK, I now have to spend the entire day watching “Home Movies: The Princess Bride. That sounds amazing and Maica you’re the best for letting me know!

  5. I’ve been trying to find anime based on plays, but other than the one I already knew about (Oh! Edo Rocket) I come up empty. There’s an anime called Romeo X Juliet, but it’s not a straight adaption, being set in a fantasy world (more like Gankutsuou:Montechristo, I suppose? I haven’t seen either).

    For what it’s worth, Oh Edo Rocket has its own unique feel, too, but it’s distinctly anime. Of course, some of the events therein I could actually envision on stage just like that, so who knows. In any case, this is a straight-out recommendation. Watch the show if you can; it’s good.

    1. Gankutsuou is very loose canon. Although I do like one of the changes a lot. I think it actually improves the story…
      So far your recommendations have been a delight. It seems Oh Edo Rocket is on Funimation so on the list it goes

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