3 Episode Rule – Mars Red

3 Episode Rule is a series in which I watch the first three episodes of a new anime and decide whether to stick with it or drop it based on those three episodes alone.

An anime based on a stage play? This is a new one for me. I just saw period vampire anime and thought I’d give it a go. It’s a little different to what I was expecting as well. I struggled to find where writer Bun-O Fujusawa got his inspiration, but I feel like there is some influence in there from other anime I’ve seen.

Having watched the first three episodes, as it my tradition for this series, I kind of feel like the show still seems a little directionless. At least, the main brunt of the story hasn’t got going yet, if it indeed gets going at all.

The first episode sets up this world; 1920s Japan, in which Vampires exist. The general public don’t seem to know about them as far as I can tell. In the first episode, we follow Yoshinobu Maeda. A man whose fiancé (whom he has never met in person) has been turned into a vampire and taken into custody by the Japanese government.

Oh, he also happens to be one of Japan’s leading military experts in hunting down vampires. He is also one stoic mother fucker. Having watch his fiancé, finally come out of her trance from the trauma of being a vampire only to turn to dust when the sun shines upon her. He barely shows any emotion.

But you know he cares because he leaves some flowers at the site of her death.

The second and third episodes give a better indication of what the show is going to be like going forward. It focused on Zero Squad, the Japanese government’s secret project to make a unit comprised of Vampires and Vampire hunters. Which seems to be there for the purpose of either hunting down other vampires who are attacking civilians or bringing them in to join the unit.

We meet the personality of the series in Zero Squad and it’s four vampire members. The wide eyed kid (who just so happens to be super overpowered), the grumpy middle aged guy, the kooky, pink haired scientist character who just loves experimenting and the edgy teen who is hundreds of years old. And I’m utterly shocked that last one isn’t a girl.

In fact, I’m shocked none of the unit are fan service. But then again, this doesn’t seem like that kind of show. While the vampires themselves seem a little more lighthearted, the rest of the world is grim and solumn and very political. We get a pretty extended scene talking about the world politics and how Japan is woefully behind England in their militarised Vampires.

Which just makes me wonder if this is just happening on the other side of the world as the 1920s version of Hellsing in England. This show’s interpretation of vampires is strange to me though. It simultaneously treats vampires as this dangerous menace that can teleport around and rip you neck out in the blink of an eye.

But also makes them seem like these fragile creatures that many in the higher military see as nothing more than pests that need to be brushed aside. By the end of the third episode, we haven’t actually seen that much vampire action. For the most part it’s been pretty character and exposition heavy, talking about how vampires are perceived and what it’s like to have to survive as one in this world that is totally hostile towards you.

Verdict: I’m tentatively intrigued 

I think I will keep watching this one for a while. The post world war 1 setting is pretty cool and the displays of power from the high rank vampires have been really cool the very few occasions the have shown up. I’m not super ingratiated to the characters yet either. So I’m just going to chock it up to the series having a slow starter and seeing where it goes for another few weeks.

But. One thing that really bug me is that this is a series about Vampires, so why is all the blood censored? When people are shot or bitten the blood is this black ooze instead of being red. When the characters hold up vials of blood or vials of substitute blood that the non hostile vampires drink to avoid attacking people. It’s also black…

Come on guys, it’s like making a series about samurai and censoring all the swords…

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