Hello Everyone, I hope you’re all doing great! K, I hope you’re good as well! 

You know, for a second there I thought this was the last episode and they were just going to finish it like that. And I didn’t hate it. I’m glad we’re going to see the resolution but I think it would have been a gutsy and theatrical move to just fade to black on a standoff and leave us all gawking!

I’m good, Irina. Hope you’ve been well. 

Honestly, I just kept thinking that they are really working to set up a tragic ending for Kurusu. I mean, maybe, as Dawnstorm predicted in the comments of our last post, they are setting him up to live and be the next generation but really I’m just seeing tragedy looming. Every reference they’ve thrown in has pretty much been to a literary tragedy and honestly with Aoi running to him it was almost like they were waving the flag of his imminent death.

It makes for a tense episode when you are waiting for your favourite character to bite it and then they end on that kind of incomplete note. Fortunately there is one more episode so I guess all our speculation can soon be resolved.

Before we start, I just discovered that there’s a Mars Red mobile game. I played just a tiny bit. It’s the same universe and the same characters but a completely different storyline. One that doesn’t work with the events of the anime at all. So it’s interesting. And I gotta say, it’s a very pretty mobile game. I’m going to play more! That was just a little random Mars Red aside for you all. On to the episode.

I’m going to avoid the game for the simple fact that I do not need another addiction in my life right now. Mobile games have a tendency to suck me right in and just suck up my time. 

Let me spoil it right from the start. I loved this episode. In fact it may be my favourite of the season. I’m not sure if that means that K hated it…

That’s not always true. 

And actually it isn’t in this case. I quite liked that they are resolving so many plot points and it feels like we’ll get a resolution in the final episode. While I might nit-pick and a few of the choices here, as a penultimate episode it delivered more or less what I would have asked for.

Right from the first act, with the vampire unit massacring everything in their path and Rufus gleefully leading them on. There was a heavy use of stills and eccentric angles all set to a lavish classical score. I wasn’t always quite sure how we got from point A to point B. It was more of a montage. But it was great. I personally thought it was brilliantly evocative and the truest to that stage theater aesthetic that makes the show so unique. I’m not sure how narratively coherent it was but as a set piece, it was great!

It felt a little like we had jumped a bit. Last episode Rufus is seizing control and now he’s kind of publicly wielding his power all over the city. I mean, the point got across and seeing him ploddingly building up that kind of position would have been pretty dull, and honestly the tone here worked. It is one of those cases where the atmosphere and intention carried through so minor issues like timelines and geography kind of became less important.

I also really liked Glenn here. In fact I enjoyed his character tremendously this week. It feels slightly unearned. Like where was this guy all this time? I wish we had gotten this Glenn earlier on. But you know, I’m just happy we got him now!

This is where I’ll disagree. Glen is such a weak point in this story and his sudden spiralling into cocky and cackling villain absolutely sure of his supremacy seemed really too over the top and too quick a transition for a character who hasn’t made much sense. 

Heck, we even got glimpses of the insane Disney ending I was imagining last week. Suwa is sailing off into the sun..rise with his lady love. Takeuchi is having a blast playing daddy, or at least big brother. The vampires are all ok and Kurusu and Aoi are in love again.

I even found Aoi charming this week. No I’m not drunk.

Points to Aoi’s character. From someone who seemed a little out of place in the narrative to such a key player in the final act she’s actually working really well and seriously I do want her and Kurusu to get a Disney ending but honestly I don’t see it happening. That said, I’ll happily be proven wrong if it means those two get to spend Aoi’s lifetime together.

Sure, there were a lot of moments where we clearly missed something. How did Defrott get away, how did Aoi get better, exactly what went down with the betrayal.. Obviously time kept on moving between episodes. I guess that could annoy some viewers but I thought it fit this story perfectly.

It also solidified my belief that as a whole, Mars Red’s biggest weakness is pacing. Episodes like this one show that the production team can clearly create an entertaining and satisfying episode, even with some plot holes and uneven narrative going on, but they just weren’t able to do so consistently. And in my opinion it’s because they stretched out some parts way too much and didn’t give enough time to others. I could be wrong.

Pacing is absolutely an ongoing issue. Not enough to stop this from being enjoyable because there’s enough feeling that the story has intent and the overly tone and mood are pretty solid. But enough that it feels a little less than polished and at times a little rough around the edges.

I still kind of feel like Defrott’s character isn’t really explained or essential in this overall story. Like we could have left him and Glen out and so far mostly we could have had the same story with Nakajima and his vampire units causing havoc and Code 0 trying to pull things together and save the vampire kids.

That and Glen’s ending just felt too casual and more like the story was over his character and just wanted him gone. If they’d built Glen and Defrott up a little better and the relationship between the two, it may have felt somewhat satisfying. Instead it just felt necessary, like tying up a loose end so we could get back to the characters we felt attached too.

Well, there’s just the grand finale left now. Care to make some predictions?

I really do think Kurusu is either going to beat Maeda or somehow convince him to stand down (though given we’re not sure what Maeda wants I’m not sure what that entails) but I’m pretty sure he’s going to be mortally wounded in the process.

Worse, it will probably be because of Aoi’s arrival at the scene.

But it would be nice if all the vampire kids get out of the city and find safety.

Previous Posts

3 thoughts

  1. Well, I said Kurusu will survive, because he’s the new generation, but it’s bound to be tragedy in the long run. I mean it’s history.

    Imagine the following post script:

    A very old Nakajima: It has taken us 22 years to develope a control mechanism, but we’re finally ready to overrun the world with the vampire troops from our secret facilities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

    Americans: Oh how very interesting. Let us show you what we’ve been working on. (It’s swords vs. guns all over again – on a larger level.)

    Defrotte, I think, is the most powerful vampire in the show. He said, as long there are clouds he can take a little sunlight. He’s also really old and not very interested in power. I imagine he’s leaving Japan because he can see it’s not going to stay peaceful for very long. There are other places to stage plays in (though the coming war’s going to be a tad harder to evade than the earlier ones…).

    I think the main idea behind the vampire perspective in this show is as witnesses of history. And early Showa is a time of Japanese expansion attempts into China that eventually leads into World War 2, and we all know how this ends.

    1. There’s nothing to say Kurusu couldn’t still be alive and happy today… with Defrotte! They can visit Suwa in the new world

Leave me a comment and make my day!