Welcome back to our Mars Red review. I have to admit, it took me a minute to get my bearings on this episode but once I was all caught up, it worked out well. But before we jump into it, how are you this week Karandi?

Busy as usual but otherwise fine. All things considered it was actually a great week. Hoping yours went well.

I get that Kurusu was separated from the others by the earthquake but I still think the transition was a bit messy. Like for the first half of this episode, I kept wondering if I had missed a time jump or something. 

It is kind of cool that the historical setting allows for these types of complications. Like they can’t just simply call each other and meet up because no one has a phone. On the other hand, I was wondering why they didn’t have a rendez-vous point or a backup in case their base ever got compromised. 

There were a few questions this week that just felt a bit on the messy side. I mean, they are an army unit so having a back up rendevous of a main office to return to just makes sense. Kurusu didn’t really make a huge effort to reconnect with the military other than one encounter with normal soldiers but realistically he should have been reporting back to somewhere during the crisis.

Also, at one point they mention the quake was ten days ago. I get Kurusu fell and then apparently got washed away but it really feels like there hasn’t been enough progress for ten days in terms of organising the refugees or the clean-up. And this vampire plague plus distributing vaccine story just kind of came out of nowhere.

I was also confused as to what exactly Nakajima’s plan was at this point. He has his unit, why are they turning everyone else into vampires? To prove the unit’s efficiency? For someone all about protecting the youth and future of the nation, that’s a heck of a lot of kids they just butchered.

Yes… I’m a little concerned about the overall plot now. I mean, Nakajima was obsessive and kind of an interesting potential villain as he was committed to seeing his vision realised but now he’s just kind of being random. What’s the point in turning your own population into vampires? There’s a lot of unnecessary death and chaos right at the moment that doesn’t seem to be serving any purpose.

It makes a stage for a potential finale with the characters we have kind of grown to like somehow settling all of this but it just makes little sense for his character. And what does the lip licking blonde vampire get out of it? (Again, with the trope of unhinged crazy people sticking their tongues out.)

Finally, what are the vampire rules? Why were those nice vampire kids getting attacked by a ton of other vampires but the vampires weren’t attacking each other. Is there a biological difference between those that go nuts and those that keep some sort of sanity? Is it just for plot convenience?

Plot convenience is the only answer I am coming to. The hordes seem more like zombies than vampires and yet we have other characters who seem just like actual vampires. I know they mentioned that there are different levels within vampires and Kurusu is really high up but does it make any sense for these mindless masses to work together but not mind attacking other vampires. Surely they’d target people.

I noticed all these little things and wrote them down, now I’m sharing them with you but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. The revisionist historical vampire anime has a few plot inconsistencies. Yup… Let’s talk about what worked instead.

I found the scene of Kurusu visiting Yamagami’s widow rather touching. It didn’t pour it on thick or go on for too long but it made me miss the character in a way I hadn’t anticipated.

It is amazing how much impact Yamagami has had on this story when you consider how few scenes he really had. Even now, as I saw him in the opening of this episode, I feel he’s a character I’m quite attached to even though he is no longer in the story. And yes, this scene worked well, plus made it pretty clear that Maeda is still around. I wonder what he’s actually up to.

I liked Kurusu getting to play hero again and Tenmaya having a vampire refugee safe house. I found it to be a nice twist and a way to inject hope and warmth into the action. I’m still not 100% clear on why Tenmaya is doing all this but I’m glad he is.

Tenmaya’s character seems to just be there so the plot can happen. Tell the main characters and the audience just enough info early on to keep things moving. Now create a base to take the extras to as well as send Kurusu to the next fight scene. His actions make little sense outside of narrative convenience. That doesn’t mean I don’t like him. He’s a fun character and I enjoy his scenes. However, outside of the story it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I would also like to say I liked the reporter girl seeing Kurusu and both of their reactions to the very brief encounter. It gave a little more weight to the flashback they threw in during the previous episode and while they still haven’t actually ‘met’ the connection between them is a little stronger making the reporter girl’s presence in the story feel a little more fitting.

By the end of the episode, I had gone from mildly confused to jazzed. Like the confrontation with the vampire, legion was tense. And I’m glad they got away so easily. I also just like the setup. Now the rest of the unit has to find each other and… well I’m not sure. Maybe subdue Nakajima and his unit? Set up a more long-term social integration program for all these new vampires? Create a separate vampire utopia for all of them? 

I’m looking forward to the first part. I want them to meet again. I don’t know when I got invested but I would feel relieved if they had each other to lean on once more. 

As for what comes after, just the fact that I can think of a bunch of options is a good sign. I hope it’s not a sad ending.

I’m going to be honest, I had the opposite feeling at the end of this episode. Up until now I’ve really enjoyed Mars Red and been fairly confident that it knew where it was going. Right now, I’m not so sure. A number of things felt like they were unravelling for the story this week and losing the ability to really see Nakajima’s plan as a plausible and laid out plan is really hurting my overall confidence in the flow of this. I would still firmly place this one at the top of my favourite shows of the season (outside of Fruits Basket which kind of wins by default at this point), but honestly I’m not as sure this one will stick its landing as I was before the events in this episode.

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3 thoughts

  1. Hm, things made perfect sense for me, actually.

    First, it wasn’t a surprise that some vampires retained their sanity while others didn’t. After all, Maeda’s first question to Kurusu on being led to Misaki was about her mental state, so I kind of expect people to take differently to being turned. In terms of physiology, I have no idea. Maybe it’s brain damage? Maybe it’s rhesus factor compatibility? I’m fine not knowing.

    As for Tenmaya: that line about the two options vampires have has always seemed very military for me, so there would some form of civilian resistance, and some of that would have to be tolerated, if only because they need informants (but also if you can find a certain balance, you have a more stable situation). And it has always seemed to me that they’ve investigated the rival product with concern that was… more than just commercial.

    I find the world building pretty solid, here, actually.

    Also, looking over the screenshots this week suddenly reminded me of Shin Sekai Yori, and I don’t really know why. The colours, and the way the characters can look like cutouts before the scene, but still blend well? I dunno. I’m not good at figuring out visuals. I do know I’ve always liked the shows look (and sound, too).

    The show’s definitely grown on me. I’m liking it quite a bit, more than I expected early on. But I can still think of lots of shows I like better. It’s an amazing season. I don’t remember when had this many high-quality shows to watch. Mars Red would have been near the top in nearly every season last year.

    1. I agree, it makes perfect sense that some vampires retain their sanity I was more curious as to why those that don’t retain their sanity don’t attack each other.

      The show has grown quite a bit on me as well. I’m having a good time with it.

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