I’m sort of in survival mode right now which is fitting with a show like Mars Red. I know everyone is quite busy at this time of year but it seems like everything is just happening at once. Can’t wait until fall!

How about you, Karandi?

Things have sort of been more settled for me this last week, though I know it is just a temporary lull before they go crazy again. I’ve got a few more business trips coming up soon and that always adds to the workload. Then again, it feels like winter is most definitely coming here so mostly all I want to do is curl up in a blanket and read with my cat.

But, watching anime is also good for a cold morning.

Thankfully, the Japanese track was available this week. I’m not sure how I would have enjoyed the episode if I had to listen to it with the English cast. Especially with how present the reporter lady was.

I know that a journalist character is a fantastic way to fit some exposition more naturally into your story but I still think she’s out of place. Her boss too actually. She seemed genuinely shocked that vampires were involved. I mean, great reporting work there!

I was a bit surprised by her reaction as well. I kind of expected her to be all “I know…” but instead it was like the first time she’d even considered it (which again, considering Maeda’s subordinate definitely talked about vamps right in front of her makes it seem like she’s really bad at her job). I did watch the episode in English and her accent didn’t seem as over-the-top this week (still out of place) but the blonde vampire guy’s accent was all over the place. Sometimes it felt Eastern European and other-times it was just whatever.

But I’m going to stop worrying about the accents and worry more about just how much changed over the course of this episode because there was a lot happening.

We also learned a heck of a lot about Misaki in under 5 seconds. She’s a character whose presence has been looming over the story since the very start and yet she remained mysterious. And now Nakajima just casually throws out there, that she was both Maeda’s fiancé and his daughter. And then business as usual as if nothing special was said.

That type of beat is odd in an anime. Or in a movie for that matter of fact. But it does fit in a play. It also explains a lot of the motivation behind Maeda’s actions. I’m not sure I like it better than leaving it a puzzle!

I did like how casual they were about this. After all, the characters knew all along who she was and it is only the audience catching up and we were given a fairly big hint about this last week. I also like it when audience reveals occur without fanfare because it makes it feel less like the story is being smug about how clever they are and more like just another step forward in things coming together.

That said, I’m still a bit fuzzy on Maeda’s motivations. Is he supporting Nakajima or is he opposed because Misaki asked him to stop him? I guess that question still needs to be answered because this episode gave us evidence for both potential outcomes. I really do wonder what Maeda will decide to do, though clearly his choices aren’t exactly infinite given where this episode left him.

I did enjoy that Suwa’s example of “no expenses spared” where the nametags which really looked like a piece of painter’s tape with a name written in sharpie on it. I know he’s from a different era but still, I think they can do a little better than that!

It was such a Jurassic Park moment with the spared no expense line. In that movie they spared no expense but couldn’t be bothered to hire an actual team to run the park and left pretty much everything in the hands of one disgruntled computer programmer. Here, as you said we have name tags that just looked slapped on and they also look like they would break every time someone opened one of the cases. I mean, do they relabel them after deployment each and every time? Or do they vampires not get their own box? Like they just go into the closest one and then someone sticks a name tag on it?

My review is a little all over the place. I’m not doing the episode justice. Up until the final sequence, it was actually one of the most straightforward episodes of Mars Red to date. We got a lot of clear information on everything that’s going on and why. I even appreciated Nakajima’s speech. We now know that he’s an ideologue villain and that his views aren’t exactly difficult to sympathize with. Those are the worst villains! And also the best.

I can appreciate Nakajima’s point of view but as usual just because his end goal of not sending more young men to their deaths is kind of noble, it doesn’t justify the means he is using to get there or his increasing conviction that just because he has an end goal that makes sense he can do whatever he wants to achieve it. I like villains like him when narratives are set in the real world because they are much more realistic then someone who is just a cackling ‘I want to destroy the world’ style villain, but he’s also got very little flair which is keeping this story fairly low key. 

Then again, the blonde vampire guy might be wanting to shake things up a little so maybe the two will balance each other out.

The last sequence was a little disjointed for me. First Meada jumped from one personality to the next and back again, a bit too excessively for my tastes. Second I was wondering why a sword to the stomach would kill a vampire the entire time and then Kurusu just kind of disappeared. There were a lot of things in that scene that just didn’t quite come together.

However, and I’m surprised to say this, I think it worked in the end. And I do believe the noble sacrifice is what saved it. (Ha). I have mentioned this before but I am not a fan of The Noble Sacrifice as a plot device in fiction. But I liked it here. To me, it looked less like a sacrifice and more an act of reclaiming one’s mortality on their own terms. I’m trying really hard to not be a complete spoiler here.

I really liked the end of this episode. As you said, Maeda’s a little all over the place and this is probably the most emotional this show has gotten yet (even Misaki’s death had less fanfare to it). Kurusu being removed from the scene was way too plot convenient but essentially necessary for the final act and honestly the whole sacrifice part was kind of interesting. Largely because we know the character in question hasn’t been happy as a vampire so it was kind of hard to tell if he was actually being noble or if after everything else that had just unfolded he genuinely realised he didn’t want to keep on being one (as you said). It was all a bit interesting and leaves you wondering what impact his actions will have on the rest of the story.

Equally, the act took me by surprise because so far Mars Red has been pretty low-key for a military story involving vampires and I wasn’t really expecting a main character to go out in episode 6. And again, there wasn’t a lot of build up and despite it being more emotional than any death previously, it was still pretty understated compared to most anime deaths. Yeah, I liked this but it was definitely doing its own thing.

For a second I thought they might actually kill off most of the main cast in the middle of the season. That would have been very impressive. This said I’m sort of glad they didn’t. I want to see where this goes. 

Likewise, I really do want to see what comes next here. Very curious.

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7 thoughts

  1. I should’ve noticed it earlier, but the OP shows us a young girl in a pink kimono in two occasions. So I always thought that was Misaki, but she’s paired up both times not with Maeda, but with the young vampire. That girl could be the reporter. Now, what little Japanese I know comes from watching subbed anime, so take the below with a grain of salt.

    In the first occasion, the girl scrambles in despair to see the boy, in his military uniform, fall to his knees on a snowy wasteland. In parallel, the singer says something about “not wanting my precious heart to be erased”. In the second occasion, we see a view of her back flashing through the boy’s mind, as the song brings up “hugging cherished memories”.

    I wish I knew anything about flower language, because we see some on both occasions. Anyhow, this show has made it a theme to have (tragic) reunions between lovers. The theater troupe plays Salome, as well as Romeo & Juliet. Maeda meets with Misaki before she dies, the older guy meets with his wife who thinks he’s dead (and he dies later anyway), Suwa meets with the prostitute as she lays bleeding on the street.

    There ought to be something there.

    1. I seem to remember the reporter lady asking Maeda about a “fallen soldier”. I don’t remember the details, but the scene ended with her proclaiming belief that he’s not dead. I had the impression she was talking about Kurusu. Do you know which scene I mean? My memory is spotty; I don’t even remember if it was this week or last, or even the one before. So I wouldn’t be surprised.

      1. Damn, I do vaguely remember something of the sort! This is one of the shows I tend to watch with a football game in the background, so I can’t for the life of me remember when it was said. But I think you’re definitely onto something.

      2. I think I remeber that scene as well. I want to say it was when he was bringing flowers to the sport Misaki burned up

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