Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 1 – Pity Party For One

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 1 Review

Taishou Otome Fairytale might potentially be the sweet and slow romance I am looking for this season, however it is going to have to move quickly to overcome some of the issues from this first episode. Actually, the biggest issue is main character Tamahiko Shima. Fortunately his ‘woe is me’ attitude is being balanced out by the resolutely cheery Yuzuki.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 1

Taishou Otome Fairytale has potential but didn’t have a spectacular opening act.

Overall this episode of Taishou Otome Fairytale establishes the premise that I presume will frame the rest of the series for this romantic, slice-of-life. Tamahiko’s family send him away to a villa in the mountains after an accident leaves his right hand crippled (also his mother dead). So that the family don’t have to take care of him, Yuzuki is sent to become his bride (to pay off her family debts).

While Tamahiko isn’t exactly welcoming Yuzuki, he’s also not cruel. When she arrives in the snow he warms her and shows her to her room. When she’s cleaning he doesn’t get in her way or interfere. While he hasn’t thanked her for her efforts yet he’s also not been a jerk to her, which at least gives the potential for a romance here.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 1

Yuzuki on the other-hand is one of those girls… you know the one who was told by her school friends she would make a good bride because she can sew and cook. She’s also excessively cheery and resolved to do right by her husband to be, including washing his back. I’d make a comment about this trope being dated except that Taishou Otome Fairytale is set in the Taishou era so obviously it is dated.

Despite that, Yuzuki actually was the best thing about the episode and I kind of hope her character gets fleshed out a bit more as the series progresses.

I loved her ‘worry’ and how she calmly deals with the situation she finds herself in.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 1

Though getting back to Tamahiko, he kind of annoyed me. Sure he lost his mother in a tragic accident and has injured his arm. Interestingly enough this is one of those anime situations where his arm is crippled and occasionally its even bandaged but it isn’t visibly scarred or misshapen. Taishou Otome Fairytale is also being pretty non-specific about the exact nature of his injury in fact. There’s also some inconsistency in whether he is moving said arm at all or whether it is handing limply.

More than that, while it was his dominant arm, it doesn’t really appear like anyone, Tamahiko or his family, considered any other option for a future for him. I mean, as far as debilitations go it is hardly a life ending one. Yet to here Tamahiko narrate it his whole world ended. He even makes a comment about school now being impossible. I guess we can put this in a Japanese context but it still feels like everyone gave up on this situation way too easily.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 1

Given I’m watching this after the first episode of Platinum End where yet another protagonist wanted his life to end because he saw no hope or point in moving forward I can’t help but feel that Taishou Otome Fairytale didn’t really want to spend too much time on setting up the premise and merely wanted to get to the two characters living together.

Which given it is labelled as a slice of life the technically could have just dropped us into the story well after the two had started living together and filled in the why later so perhaps once this anime has a few more episodes it will find its comfortable flow.

All things considered, I’m going to watch a bit more of Taishou Otome Fairytale before deciding.

Images from: Taishou Otome Fairytale. Dir. J Hatori. SynergySP. 2021


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Karandi James


Moriarty The Patriot Season 2 Series Review – The Lord Of Crime Less Interesting Than Expected

Moriarty the Patriot Season 2 Anime Review

Sequels are tricky things to get right and The Promised Neverland demonstrated in spectacular fashion how wrong a second anime season can go. Moriarty the Patriot hasn’t fallen to such a low point in this second season follow up but it also hadn’t risen to such lofty heights in the first place.

Season one of Moriarty the Patriot was a bit of a mixed bag and after a solid opening act seemed to struggle to maintain momentum or really capitalise on its strengths. However in season two we see those issues, and the issues the writers were clearly faced with in trying to write for not one but two super genius characters, cause the story, particularly in the mid-season to really flounder.

Moriarty The Patriot Season 2 – Not What I Signed Up For

Image from Moriarty the Patriot.

When the spring 2021 season kicked off I wasn’t really sure what I would watch and review though I ended up agreeing to review a couple of anime with Irina and then there were the series that were sponsored by readers. Moriarty the Patriot I decided to cover because I’d been looking forward to seeing the story continue and I’d hoped that I would be satisfied with how it went.

The opening episode of Moriarty the Patriot Season 2, with the heavy focus on Sherlock rather than Moriarty, wasn’t great but had some intriguing ideas. However, those who followed my episode reviews will know that by the mid-season I was pretty much over this anime and ultimately I stopped doing episodic coverage entirely, choosing instead to wait out the final arc and then watching in a single binge session.

As cool as that image is, it belongs in Dracula and not Moriarty the Patriot.

However it did make me wonder just what it was about this second season that really didn’t sit right with me. It wasn’t like it took a huge deviation from the set-up in season one. Though a lot of that set-up ended up feeling superfluous with the final plan really feeling kind of thrown together and not well thought out.

Going back through my episode posts, I realised episode 15 was where I more or less admitted I wasn’t really enjoying watching it and a large part of the problem was that our title character, Moriarty, wasn’t really the main character anymore.

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In season one, William James Moriarty was almost always in the centre of things and his plans were nicely detailed. He also seemed to be actively involved in their execution even if he didn’t deliver the final blow. The introduction of Sherlock during season one shifted the dynamic and as more and more cast members stepped up Moriarty’s role diminished.

And Moriarty is going to need to take centre stage again - Image from Moriarty the Patriot.

Despite this being the story of Moriarty and supposedly telling the story of him actually being a patriot and not just a criminal foil for a master detective, Moriarty’s presence becomes increasingly irrelevant. Sure his brother’s defer to him and his gang all revere him, but his own actions becoming increasingly less important – you know until the anime just kind of throws its hands in the air and sends him on an outright murder spree.

Given a lot of the appeal for me in season one was his character and how much I enjoyed seeing the reframing of his villainous acts, season 2 of Moriarty the Patriot just felt like it wasn’t giving me what I wanted from the anime.

And a lot of what we were getting felt like bloat just to stretch out the conclusion of a story that really could have been told in a single twelve episode season without all the unnecessary additions and complications that ultimately added nothing.

Let's get to the point indeed Sherlock - Image from Moriarty the Patriot.

Whether we are talking about Irene’s character arc and conversion into one of the gang or the entire Jack the Ripper near rebellion incident, neither of these ultimately contributed anything to the end story and really we could have got to the same place faster and felt a better connection with the central players without it.

Likewise, an attempt to bring in a third player who could rival Holmes and Moriarty, Milverton, proved just another distraction and ultimately he and his plots amounted to nothing. Admittedly, at least his interaction with the main pair forced the main plot into action but again, it just felt like he existed to give Moriarty the Patriot another handful of episodes before we limped over the finish line.

However, if I wasn’t going to get more of a character I loved, I was hoping at least that the plot would hold itself together. Yet season 2 of Moriarty the Patriot more or less doubles down on the same issues that plagued season one with the mob characters, both nobility and commoners, being particularly stupid and the schemes of those manipulating the masses being pretty transparent and poorly executed.

I really wish it had been fun, Albert - Image from Moriarty the Patriot.

There’s little joy in seeing a plan succeed when it seems so incredibly weak.

Moriarty the Patriot wants to delve into serious issues of class warfare and seems to want to explore the character of individuals when placed under duress. Yet at no point does it have the ability to really write these scenarios in a way that makes them feel anything more than a superficial nod to themes that are kind of essential for the story to hold together.



From start to finish my main complaint about Moriarty the Patriot season 2 would be that I wanted more. More from the characters I liked, more from the writing, and more intrigue from the plot. It all just fell that little bit short leaving the viewing experience feeling lacking.

It was always watchable. At no point does this anime derail and become a terrible incomprehensible mess. At no point are the characters so stupid that watching them another minute would be painful. But there’s little joy in watching it either. It just kind of is and the most disappointing thing is the potential that is in this premise and plot that feels like it was just missed.

Moriarty the Patriot

What I will say is that at the very least we were given a conclusion. It is as satisfying as could be expected from the series given how the second season plays out and while there’s room for a follow-up any such attempt would undermine what little good this season did bring to the characters (so let’s hope this is the end).

It is kind of tricky because this anime isn’t all that bad and I’m sure that there will be some people who quite enjoyed it for what it was. I can’t personally recommend it because ultimately I feel that Moriarty the Patriot just squandered too much of its own potential leaving me feeling more frustrated while watching than anything else. Still, there’s certainly worse anime out there and at least this one finishes.

Images used for review from: Moriarty the Patriot. Dir. K. Nomura. Production I. G. 2020.


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Karandi James


Mars Red Series Review – Historical Vampires and Admirable Theatrical Performances

Mars Red Series Review

Vampires in the military set in historical Japan? I am so there. That was about the full amount of thought I put into Mars Red before agreeing to review the anime with Irina during the spring 2021 anime season. Not that further reading of the premise and the like would have done me any good (much like the one trailer I watched didn’t really help) in terms of figuring out what to expect from Mars Red.

Largely, that is because both the premise and the promotional video, plus the action tag this one has on MAL set Mars Red up to be a very different anime to the one that is ultimately presented. And while I actually quite enjoyed most of what was on offer, I feel that the low scores this anime has received may very well be in part because the wrong audience thought this anime was for them.

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Maeda taking a rest - just not a permanent one. 
Image from Mars Red.

Mars Red is a slow burn.

Rather than a thrilling action piece of vampire against vampire, what we get in Mars Red is by and large a slow story told in a suitably dramatic fashion where we follow Colonel Maeda and the four vampires in the unit under his command as they investigate and then stop other vampire attacks. That’s at least before various military conspiracies, natural disasters, and a terrible antagonist muddy the waters in the weaker second half.

Episode one largely involves only Colonel Maeda attempting to interview a newly made vampire. It has a narrow focus and is full of dialogue and lines from a play that the vampire had been performing prior to her ‘death’. There’s a focus on emotional nuance and the audience is aware there is more to this relationship than is being let on but it won’t be until mid-way through the anime’s run that we’ll be let in on the details.

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Honestly, the whole premise is actually a pretty reasonable consideration of vampires living in any kind of society and how they would fit in, or not, into the modernising world. Compared to so many fantastical stories of vampires living as they pleased or conquering the modern world the frail and brief lives of so many of the vampires in this story has a real credibility and the lore remains fascinating throughout the run time.

Misaki moves against Maeda- Image from Mars Red

While some viewers may have been put off by the slow and deliberate pacing and calculated direction of the earlier episodes, this consistency of them and coherence of the story during the first half were a real draw for me. I loved the atmosphere created and while it wasn’t exciting or action packed, Mars Red was compelling viewing.

Then we passed the half-way point and unfortunately the anime began to suffer from bloat.

It isn’t so much that anything in particular in Mars Red is bad so much as there seem to be a range of ideas and characters that appear and eat up screen time but don’t contribute enough to warrant it. The story was more engaging when it kept its smaller and tighter focus on the four main vampires and Maeda and their interactions. The larger scale conflicts that are crafted later aren’t anywhere near as nuanced or interesting and don’t make very much sense when you actually think them through.

Glen you are a terrible villain - Image from Mars Red

Part of me wonders if Mars Red would have been a better anime if allowed to only be 8 episodes long instead of pushing it to 13? If we cut out Rufus Glen and his ‘plot’, such as it was, and limited Defrott’s appearances to simply being the vampire who lives quietly in the theatre, we’d actually get a far more cohesive story and very little about the final episode would change at all.

If we then trimmed the amount of time spent on Nakajima and his idiotic scheme we’d have a far more enjoyable narrative. Honestly, Nakajima’s scenes were all more or less the same with him complaining about the decisions of the military, demanding money for ‘his’ vampire units, or making dire predictions. We could halve his screen time without losing a single thing and realistically those scenes were the low point of any episode.

That said, we can’t get rid of Nakajima (if we just cut out Glen) because we do need an antagonist to let loose the vampire units in order for Code Zero (the vampire unit under Maeda) to have someone to overcome.

Yes Nakajima, I just said you were unnecessary and dead weight - Image from Mars Red.

However, I am supposed to be reviewing Mars Red and not rewriting it. I guess the reason I’m trying to is that there are so many good things about Mars Red but the package as a whole is decidedly average when you sit back and really look at it. Even as a fan-girl of vampire fiction who did enjoy watching this, I can’t say the overall anime really nailed it.



The animation itself is actually pretty stagnant. There’s a lot of slow conversations and looking at scenery or characters who have minimal movement. The action sequences are largely visually disappointing though they do work to make these emotional high points at least.

There are one or two fight sequences closer to the conclusion that feel like they had more time put into them but by then anyone watching Mars Red for action would have already checked out. It’s too little, too late and those scenes still don’t hold a candle to the true animation heavy weights in the action field.

Suwa prepares for battle - image from Mars Red.

Where Mars Red will find itself able to hold its ground is in the main characters.

While Maeda’s character arc ends up being a little disappointing, as the stern leader of the vampire units he’s an intriguing character. His backstory is fleshed out in small pieces throughout the anime but it isn’t until the final episode where all the gaps will finally come together. As a central character he serves his purpose well and his actions shape the characters around him.

Particularly Shuutarou Kurusu. Kurusu is introduced as a young but powerful vampire who is still kind of coming to terms with being a vampire in the beginning of the story. He doesn’t like the smell of blood and hasn’t drunk any and can’t get used to sleeping during the day. We know little about his human life early on, but like Maeda, his backstory will slowly get filled in and Kurusu ends up being a pretty awesome character throughout.

Kurusu tries out the newest device - Mars Red

His growing relationship with his comrades is kind of a pillar for Mars Red and by and large the audience is drawn to reflect Kurusu’s emotions within particular scenes.

Likewise, Yamaguchi who at first seems like a painful but necessary character in the unit becomes someone the audience can attach to and his role is essential for the emotional pay-off of the story.

The remaining two members of Code Zero, Takeuchi and Suwa, are older vampires, particularly Suwa, and so their way of viewing the world and situations is more removed. Still, the group of four vampires and Maeda prove to be engaging and more of just seeing the unit at work would have been appreciated.

The unit prepare to act - Mars Red

Still, this is an anime that revels in dialogue and often quotes passages from literary works and theatrical plays. If you go in expecting a fast paced action story similar to Sirius The Jaeger that relies on its action sequences to hold the characters and plot together, you’ll be disappointed. Mars Red is more akin to Shiki in that it is slow and methodical in its set-up and has a conclusion that feels a little disjointed from the rest of the story.

Though, both comparisons are flawed because Mars Red is quite a unique viewing experience and feels very much like its own viewing experience. While it hasn’t quite pulled off everything it seems to have set out to do, I will admit I was pretty happy having watched it weekly during the spring anime season. So if you want a slow burn anime about historical vampires in the military, Mars Red might very well be worth trying.

If you did watch it, I’d love to know your thoughts so share a comment below.

Images from: Mars Red. Dir. S Sadamitsu. Signal.MD. 2021


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Karandi James


91 Days – From Beginning To End: A Viewer’s Journey Through The Murky Path of Revenge

91 Days Episodic Thoughts

91 Days is at its core a mafia story about revenge and illegal alcohol. In 2016 this anime received a lot of hype prior to release and early episodes certainly made it feel worthwhile. However, could Angelo’s story of vengeance really hold audience’s interest for the whole season?

91 Days is available on Crunchyroll.

91 Days Episode 1: A motive for revenge.

91  Days Title

This was a promising first episode for 91 Days.

We’re introduced to a young man and his motives for revenge. His friend is good with chemistry (helpful for making illegal alcohol and blowing things up apparently). We have all the usual mafia idiocy of overly macho men talking big and then having to follow it up with knife/gun fights.

The tone is pretty serious in this episode (so don’t think Baccano) and the opening credits play more like a black and white movie than an anime. I’m definitely interested at the moment in this but will really need more of a connection with some of the characters if I’m going to get right into this.

91 Days Episode 2: Complicating the act of revenge.

91 Days Episode 2 - Revenge for a fallen comrade.

Like with a lot of mafia shows, almost every character in this story is unlikable.

They are thugs and hypocritical and lack empathy for anyone outside of their own little circle. That said, I don’t dislike 91 Days so far.

It is far more serious in tone than the other shows I’ve picked up this season and I just don’t see how this situation will end well for anyone, but it has created tension and drama in the first two episodes and established a clear motive for our protagonist, even if his plan seems a little complicated (assuming he has a plan and isn’t just winging it). Definitely going to keep going with this.

91 Days Episode 3: Revenge and consequences.

91 Days Episode 3 - Avilio wants revenge.

91 Days continues to be a solid period drama and while little happens this episode, we do get to explore the fallout from the dead bodies at the end of episode 2. Which is kind of a nice change from most stories where they focus entirely on the revenge rather than the dealing with the death of a character and the issue of the corpse.

There are some seemingly significant moments with each of our main characters as we learn a little bit more about their thinking and approach and it looks like we are continuing to move towards Avilio’s revenge, though we still aren’t getting too many hints about whether he has a grand plan or if he is just taking things as they come. While this is moving slowly it is definitely engaging.

91 Days Episode 4: Put the revenge on hold.

91 Days Episode 4 - No revenge this week for the mafia anime.

I found at episode 4 I am enjoying 91 Days less and less. I still do want to see how the revenge eventually is resolved but watching Avilio and what’s-his-name roam around the countryside and running low on cash wasn’t exactly fascinating.

While this episode is full of what might be touching character moments, the plot has literally screeched to a halt and I’m just not that invested in the characters. Oh, and kids who pay for a juggling act with grasshoppers are probably the reason they tell you not to work with children.

91 Days is still an excellently made show, but I’m feeling that if it continues at this pace I’ll probably let it go and marathon it once it is done because in this 20 minutes I didn’t get much out of it.



91 Days Episode 5: Gotta catch them all.

91 Days Episode 5 - More death for the sake of revenge.

They return to the city this week and I have to admit I’m going to need to rewatch 91 Days from the beginning because at this point I really can’t keep the families and their names straight. Which makes this episode with the plot heavy on betrayal, deals and backstabbing particularly hard to follow.

Although, we could simplify. Nobody likes Nero and Avilio would be better off just letting nature run its course (as his friend tells him Nero is going to die even if he does nothing). But that’s not good enough for Avilio who is apparently the completionist of the gangster world and won’t be satisfied unless he gets them all.

I did enjoy this episode more than last week but as I said, the details of the show are starting to get confused because I probably haven’t paid close enough attention.

91 Days Episode 6: The road to revenge never did run smoothly.

91 Days Episode 6 - Bold proclamation.

I really think this is going to be one of those shows where everyone ends up dead.

91 Days just keeps twisting this straight revenge story so that everyone is playing everyone else and you can just see a massive body count when we get to the end of the line.

That said, this episode was really interesting. It moved quickly from Nero and Fango making a deal, to Nero negotiating with Orco, the inevitable double cross and fire-fight, and then the final sequences where it is absolutely confirmed that Fango is completely crazy (and not in a fun kind of way).

I like that you never know when Avilio is playing someone or being honest (or being honest in order to play someone). There’s some clever writing and some great work with the voice acting.

91 Days Episode 7: Dead men walking.

91 Days Episode 7 - Everyone wants someting.

I’m pretty sure this episode of 91 Days affirmed my conclusion from last week; everyone in this anime is going to end up dead.

This episode more or less confirms that the ultimate end for all these betrayals and intrigues is a bullet. It really feels like this show only has one reveal to go and that is who is the extra person involved in the killing of Avilio’s family (and will he still be alive for Avilio to kill when he finds out who it is).

Until then, we’re just going through the motions of having Avilio pressing just the right buttons to have the others more or less self-destruct. Maybe there will be a better twist coming, otherwise it really will be just watching this to see the inevitable end of this revenge tale.

91 Days Episode 7.5: Recap episode – enough said.

You know, Cheer Boys did the whole recap thing awhile back and I expressed my dislike of recap episodes that add nothing new then. At least when it did it, they added some narration and they were following a high point in the series.

91 Days follows the killing of Frate (which might have been emotionally interesting but is hardly a major plot progression) with a recap episode that literally gives us nothing new. It did however make me wonder why Avilio hasn’t changed his haircut throughout his entire life. That is the level of engagement I had with this episode.

Now, 91 Days has put itself on the back foot because if the next episode doesn’t do something good, I am going to go from finding it interesting enough to being frustrated with it.

91 Days Episode 8: Problems with revenge.

91 Days Episode 8 - Changed by revenge.

Corteo is going to be a problem. Okay, he is a problem. He’s a problem for the other characters and he’s a problem as a character. I won’t spoil the developments in this episode but I do want to address the problem of Corteo as a character.

He is Avilio’s friend. He wants to help him but has no desire to be involved in the shady world of the gangs. Which all makes perfect sense as does his hesitancy at certain times. What doesn’t make sense are his actions this episode (no specifics to be mentioned).

It’s just impossible to figure out what he is attempting to accomplish so when it goes wrong you just roll your eyes at the inevitability of it all and you still don’t know what Corteo wants. Does he still want to help Avilio? Are his actions somehow supposed to help him? Or has he just slipped off the deep end?

91 Days Episode 9: Revenge and its cost.

91 Days Episode 9 - Didn't see it coming when seeking revenge.

Corteo is captured but not yet killed. Kind of surprising really.

This week felt like the story of 91 Days was done diverting us from the central narrative by watching gang in-fighting and seemed to get right back to Avilio and his revenge. Who is the elusive letter sender? Who is the fourth killer? With that focus back front and centre the story was far more compelling than I’ve found it in recent weeks and by the end, when Avilio figured out who was behind recent events at least I was actually really engaged with this story.

While at times the characters seemed a little off visually this week, this is probably the best episode 91 Days has delivered for awhile.

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91 Days Episode 10: Revenge or suicide?

91 Days Episode 10 - Revenge or suicide? What's on your mind?

If I wasn’t sure before this episode more or less confirmed that Avilio has no intention of surviving his revenge quest.

With that piece of information in mind, his actions throughout the whole series make a lot more sense because at no point could I see what his exit plan was going to be. This isn’t to say that his death is guaranteed, but it does make it clear that beyond his revenge he has no plans, and the number of death flags raised this episode make it very doubtful the anime has any plans to save him last minute.

Who else will end up dead? Or more importantly, will there be anyone or anything left when the flames from this revenge burn out?

Corteo’s death this episode is not tragic as it is definitely the result of his own choices and has been inevitable for awhile now, but the execution of this death was perfect for the tone of this story. While this episode is slow moving it hits all the right notes to draw us back into the story after a middle that seemed to lose its way.

91 Days Episode 11: Burn it down.

91 Days Episode 11 - No future for those who seek revenge.

Turns out we have one more episode of 91 Days, but this was a highly entertaining episode. The first half was all semi-ironic statements about planning for a future (that we should all know by now was never going to exist) and the second half was metaphorically about burning everything down (though less flames and more knives and bullets involved).

I do question how incredibly lame you have to be to have two guys stabbing someone else multiple times and still not actually succeed at killing him, and worse, allowing yourself to be killed by the wounded beast. Anyway, this episode brought us to the conclusion that everything (right from the killing of Avilio’s family) has been for nothing because nothing is going to survive the war that has now been ignited.

I’d ask if Avilio is happy with this outcome but the answer to that is obvious. I still think this whole story would have been more affective with less episodes as the middle really felt stretched out, but I am very satisfied with where we are going for the conclusion.

91 Days Episode 12: The conclusion?

91 Days Episode 12 - Where revenge leads.

Now the weakest part of this series so far was the diversion from the whole revenge thing to go on a road trip. So, for a final, how about we get a taste of the war going on and then send our main characters on an echoing road trip again only this time it will be really depressing? Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

While I appreciate that all the way through, 91 Days has attempted to ensure it was building consistent metaphors and themes, being reminded of my least favourite moments from the mid-season and the general feeling of failure and pointlessness that permeated this episode really just made it a little bit flat.

I’ll admit, this anime is going to be hard to review because it is a good anime but there have been moments all the way along that I haven’t liked as much..

91 Days Episode 13

91 Days Episode 13

It feels like it has been forever since 91 Days was on, though I guess that is hardly true. Still, my series review of this tale of revenge was a long time ago so I wasn’t really sure what to make of the release of an episode 13 in the middle of the Summer 2017 season.

I guess there isn’t really a lot to make of this. Instead we see three fairly disconnected stories that do fill in some character gaps or relationships that we knew about but didn’t really get to see in the series, but ultimately nothing here is needed for the series nor does it radically change your view of anything or anyone.

For a stand alone, it kind of is nothing. Not bad or good, it just kind of floats along and really if you didn’t already know the greater narrative there would be nothing at all to this. With some attachment to the characters and knowing how some of these relationships end up, it has a little more impact, but still is hardly going to knock your socks off.

So for die-hard fans of 91 Days, this one might be worth checking out, and given it is only a standard episode length it isn’t a huge time investment, but it is hardly something you need to rush out and watch.

Images from: 91 Days. Dir. H. Kaburagi. Shuka. 2016.


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Karandi James


Mars Red Episode 13 – The Curtain Falls on Our Historical Vampires

Mars Red Episode 13 Review
Karandi Great Idea Transparent

Hi Irina. We’ve finally reached the end of the season and I’m a little sad about it. As much as Mars Red has its rough edges and flaws it has been an interesting watch each week and I’ve always looked forward to the next episode even if the last one wasn’t amazing. Plus I’ve enjoyed covering it with you because you bring a different perspective to each episode. Alas, it is now complete.

Irina 2020

I’m one of those people that’s really quick to forgive flaws when an anime gives me a little something to hold on to and I’ve been enjoying Mars Red for a while now. It definitely had a low point in the middle there but we’ve all had bad days, right?

I kind of feel the ending may have had more impact if they’d cut about three episodes worth of content out of the mid-season. It does a beautiful job bringing things back to the beginning and yet it feels like we took such a long time to get to here. Definitely feel this is an anime that would have benefited from being maybe 8 episodes long because then it would have felt like a tighter narrative. Then again, I’m also impatient and I know it. 

Maeda does not take script advice - Mars Red

Actually, considering that a lot of the midseason dragged as far as I’m concerned and also had plot points that didn’t go anywhere, I have to agree. Mars Red is the type of series that doesn’t need to tie up everything or go into detailed explanations. In fact I think it benefits from being a little aloof and up for interpretation. An 8 or 10 episode season instead of 13 would have tightened up the narrative and focused it a bit. And they probably would have ended up cutting a lot of the elements that annoyed us…or at least me. 

Good script doctoring, K!

Irina and Karandi fix Mars Red… Maybe not. It isn’t exactly broken.



On the bright side, we finally got to see Maeda’s story. It’s taken a long time to get there though I couldn’t help but feel like some of it didn’t fit with what we had seen earlier. For instance he was commanding the vampire unit before Kurusu and Yamaguchi arrived and that wasn’t how I remembered it (though my memory could be faulty). There were a few other bits and pieces that didn’t quite click with what I thought I remembered so I’m wondering if it will make sense on rewatch or if they were actually retconning his past.

That said, I did like that we saw his interactions (at least in his head) with Misaki. It really did help Mars Red feel like it had come full circle and added a lot more weight to the end of this fight.

Maeda and Misaki - Image from Mars Red

I thought it was an absolutely brilliant way to bookend the story. Flashbacks to events we haven’t seen establishing the main character in the last episode, in the middle of a fight no less. It’s pretty daring as far as narrative structure goes and I was there for it. 

Moreover, it was blending memories with obvious fantasies and possible dreams to create this surreal and yet tender sort of sequence. I think I learned more about Maeda from the scenes that were fantasies than from the ones that were memories and I have never liked the guy more. That’s pretty effective storytelling. 

Misakir and Maeda - Mars Red

In terms of Kurusu, I wasn’t right but I wasn’t wrong. They didn’t kill him off but they more or less kept him apart from Aoi in the end. So a bittersweet conclusion indeed. Interesting to note also he was one of the few characters who didn’t appear in the after-credits sequence where we got to see where most of the vampire characters who survived ended up.

See, K is a realist and I’m a 4 year old. I was going to be all giddy about the fact that I got my Disney ending. OK, so they didn’t manage to save Maeda but he got to rest besides the one he loves. It was cute. As for Kurusu and Aoi…I think they make for a really bad couple. I’m sorry but their personalities just don’t work together for me. I thought them leaving on good terms and both healthy was the super happy ending.

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Not to mention that I’m terminally optimistic. So in my head Aoi stays friends with both Kurusu and Deffrot and they visit throughout the years. They make friends with her husband and kid. Maybe they have friends for generations of the family. Meanwhile Kurusu finds satisfaction in the afterlife and helps hundreds along the way. When they find the cure he settles down with his own family. It’s a beautiful afterlife!

Kurusu and Aoi - not necessarily getting a happily ever after. Image from Mars Red.

Wow, I love how you’ve crafted an entire epilogue out of only a few potential cues in the anime but it does get you the disney ending. 

However, before final thoughts, I do want to ask what was going on with the sun in this episode? I mean, Maeda burns up in the sunlight from the sunrise and then Kurusu is standing right where he died but it is in shade before he moves toward the approaching vampire units and now the area is back in sunlight. 

Part of me wondered if Maeda didn’t actually see the sunrise but died from the sword being stabbed through his heart and the sunrise was just metaphoric but that whole sequence was just a bit confusing. What did you think, Irina?

Was it the sword or the sun that killed him? Image from Mars Red.

I think the movement of the sun was symbolic of the passage of time and the evolution of the characters. That split second of seeing his mentor die lasted hours, maybe weeks for Kurusu. You know how time freezes then speeds up like crazy when you’re going through these really dramatic moments in life?

They definitely didn’t just ignore physics for the sake of moving the plot along and getting a few cinematic shots in. 

Alright, final thoughts… Mars Red was an interesting watch. I liked the vampire lore here and the concepts. I liked the theatrical tone and for the most part the methodical pacing. That said, it is an anime that would benefit from another round of edits and to be honest I’m still not entirely convinced that all of the characters served any practical purpose. It really does feel like it over-reached a bit and that the story would have been better if kept a little more streamlined.

I really liked this final episode. I said last episode was my favourite but I was wrong. It’s this one. So it’s tainting my view of the entire series in a positive way. I came out of it thinking, what a fun little show!

Kurusu agrees - watch.
Image from Mars Red.

If I try to be objective, ⅓ to almost half was a bit of a mess and worse, boring. I wouldn’t blame viewers for abandoning it then, especially if they weren’t that fond of the unique style it was attempting. The pacing was all over the place and it seemed at times like Mars Red couldn’t decide on what it actually wanted to be, changing up the narrative style and mood in a way that did the whole a disservice.

But it did try for something a bit less conventional and when it succeeded it was interesting. I think it had a strong start and a great ending with a lousy middle. Does it make it worth the watch? I’m not sure. It was for me though!

I’m with you. I thought it was worth the watch even with the flaws. But I guess we’ll ask the readers: Your final thoughts?

Images from: Mars Red. Dir. S Sadamitsu. Signal.MD. 2021

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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Mars Red Episode 11 – The Amazing Flying Kurusu

Mars Red Episode 11
Karandi Excited full body Transparent edited

Hi Irina, here we are with Mars Red episode 11 and while I liked the episode overall as I’m thinking back on it I kind of realised not a lot happened. So I’m kind of struggling to figure out how I want to approach this episode.

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But they flew!!! It was, as we both guessed more of an action oriented episode than a plot driven one. The action was sort of ridiculous though, in a gleeful way, so I’m pretty happy with it. This said, if they end up going for a tragic ending, I may just retract all of that. I want a happy ending for Mars Red. 

Kurusu breaks through the glass ceiling (wait that isn't how that is supposed to work).
Image from Mars Red.
Kurusu comes to the rescue.

I think my biggest disappointment with this episode came from Maeda’s very brief appearance. It was like we were poised for a confrontation between Defrott and Rufus at the end of episode 10 and then Maeda’s shown up only to have a brief and somewhat disjointed fight with Defrott before just kind of leaving the scene. And I get the whole part where he saw Aoi as Misaki but honestly the whole scene just didn’t feel like it served any purpose because once Maeda left, other than Aoi now bleeding to death, nothing much had changed.

And why did Rufus just kind of leave Defrott? Rufus’ character probably makes the least sense out of anyone in Mars Red.

I completely agree, although I understand it’s setup. I’m thinking we’ll get Maeda’s actual development next week. Still, there was something hollow in showing us such an ultimately inconsequential encounter after all the build up we’ve had to Meada’s return.

Maeda fights Defrott.
Image from Mars Red.
Prepare for the fight scene.

However, I liked the fight scene. More specifically, I liked the animation of it. It’s the first time this specific animation style has been used in the entire series and I hope they don’t use it again in the last episode. Having it isolated to this singular fight would be perfect. It was similar to the other blinking vampire fights we have seen but there was more lingering on the actual movements and the shadow and dust effects of the impacts were really nice. It gave the action more depth than anything in Mars Red so far.

In line with the stage play feel, I found that the visuals often gave a certain paper puppet quality to the action scenes. Don’t get me wrong, I like that and I think it’s very fitting. And I think having just one encounter that breaks the mould a little, makes it more interesting on a production level.

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Alternatively, because Aoi and Defrott got to spend some time just kind of chilling while waiting for the sun to hit the wrong angle and the clouds to clear and then Defrott go up in a puff of blue flame and smoke, we did get to see Defrott contemplate his life and potential death. I actually really kind of like the relationship that has sprung up between the two even if I’m not entirely sure when Aoi became Defrott’s friend – that felt like it just kind of happened.

Defrott and Aoi get some down time- kind of.
Image from Mars Red.
Let’s just sit here and wait to drown, or burn, or bleed to death.

Then we find out Rufus has taken out the boring military guys who’ve done nothing but sit around the table discussing budgets and the like for the whole season and he is now taking over Nakajima’s unit. But he makes a valid point when confronting Nakajima in that the vampire units have never been his. Realistically, while Nakajima may have concocted the plan he can’t make the vampires, can’t control them, and at the end of the day was entirely dependent upon Rufus. 

It makes you really wonder how such a seasoned military mind could make such an obvious mistake because quite clearly Rufus was never to be trusted. Then again, Nakajima hasn’t really been shown to be a rational decision maker even from the beginning. 

Nakajima makes no sense. I’m sort of fine with Rufus having muddled motivations or even unknowable motivations. Rufus is an ancient vampire. His priorities and preoccupations are no longer human. I’m willing to accept that I can’t understand them and that the narrative feels no pressure to pander to my lowly human needs by explaining them.

But Nakajima was our foreground antagonist. He’s framed as the very recognizable twisted ideologue archetype and I thought was supposed to represent either ambition or even morality gone wrong. He’s the human element that has become monstrous to contrast with the comparatively noble vampire main characters. 

Rufus letting Nakajima in on a secret (he isn't in charge).
Image from Mars Red.
Yep, Rufus wins this round.

But all of this gets a little lost when I’m spending most of my time trying to figure out what the heck Nakajima is even trying to accomplish. What exactly was the plan in the first place? Is he insane? Was he insane to begin with? That changes the story. All along Mars Red was an open call for more mental health resources and theatre programs in schools…

Of course, we also have the part of the episode I liked the most. Kurusu and the others are still working on the kite among other things. We do get some backstory on Tenmaya, though I’m not entirely sure if that added anything. But what we also get is Defrott calling out to Kurusu and Kurusu donning the ridiculous outfit and launching himself into the sky like a steam-punk version of Batman.

It was hilarious and kind of perfect all at once. Hilarious visually. Perfect because it was Kurusu all over. 

Kurusu preparing to fly.
Image from Mars Red.
Did someone call for steampunk Dracula?

And are you also hoping that maybe Kurusu and Aoi actually get reunited when she isn’t unconscious and bleeding out before the end of this? I’m pretty sure it will be a bitter-sweet and tragic reunion (because so far that is what Mars Red has done) but I’m really wanting to see it anyway.



If they kill Kurusu off in the next episode, I am going to have a fit. I’m warning everyone right now, it will not be graceful. I also want Defrott to be o.k. Look, at this point the entire Nakajima, Vampire Corps storyline (which is kind of the main plot for most of the series) is a bit of a wash for me. So I say, throw all that internal narrative integrity to the wind and give me a Disney ending.

I’m with you in having a fit if Kurusu dies. I suspect we’re heading that way but I’d be really, really upset and I think throwing a fit would be the perfect response.

Maeda prepares to fight.
Image from Mars Red.
Maeda is not amused.

Kurusu and Aoi reunite. Maeda comes back to his senses and discovers a renewed sense of purpose in helping out the fledgling new vampire community. Suwa and that vampire girl get together. Defrott makes it back and decides his solace will be in teaching the vampire kids the joys of acting so they can feel the same relief he did. In time Takeuchi finds a cure for vampirism and they all live happily ever after. And somehow all the humans also survived all this time.  

So yeah, I don’t feel like event-wise a lot happened and yet we saw Nakajima essentially get swept off the table and the rest of the military higher ups, leaving really only Rufus as our main protagonist. Defrott may or may not be over. Maeda’s kind of a wild-card because who knows what his agenda is at this point. Meanwhile, Kurusu is now flying during the daytime even if he does look a bit on the smokey side.

Want to make any wild predictions for next week?

Oops, I jumped the gun in my fevered enthusiasm for Disney endings. 

Ok, let’s try to be marginally more reasonable. The Kurusu with bat wings imagery is sort of a nice steampunk reimagining of the vampire lore and places him as a pivotal figure. So I do think that Kurusu will come out victorious. This may just be wishful thinking on my part but I’m going with it. They might also take him out of the action all together but I don’t think so.

Kurusu and the other members of code zero.
Image from mars Red.
Also, can all of these team members get a happy ending?

If Kurusu finds out what happened to Aoi, as he has been treating Meada as something of a father figure, it’s a pretty good setup for a final tragic confrontation. Maeda might come to his senses but realize it’s too late and he’s lost too much to adapt to the Brave New World and go out in a blaze of glory

And I’m thinking we won’t get a clear confirmation of what happened to Defrott but some tongue in cheek insinuation that he got away and is still out there somewhere. 

This said, I prefer my first set of predictions!

Images from: Mars Red. Dir. S Sadamitsu. Signal.MD. 2021

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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Mars Red Episode 9 Review

Mars Red Episode 9
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Is it just me or is Mars Red kind of trying to stretch things out now? While it has always had a deliberate, some might say languid, pace the current plot developments really feel like they’ve been stalled. Maybe it is a case of Mars Red wanting to turn what might be ten episodes of material into thirteen. Maybe they just can’t figure out pacing. Or maybe I’m just less interested in the story now that the cards are all on the table. I’m not so sure. 

Anyway, how are you Irina?

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My week was fine. I’m trying to make sure I remember the episode correctly as it seemed well-paced to me. It’s the rising action of the final act right after the inciting element. In one episode we got most of the characters back together, established the current situation in a lot of detail and set it up for a final confrontation leaving Meada as a wild card who could either save the day last minute or turn into an ultimate antagonist.

If they stick to classical narrative structure, which Mars Red largely has so far, I would expect the next episode to concentrate on Defrott’s fate and future. As the oldest vampire of the show and somewhat detached from the direct action, he personifies that side of the story so his fate is going to be crucial to the moral and messaging of the show. I hope they don’t skip it.

Mars Red Ep9 4
Sad Kurusu.

This week we get Kurusu reunited with Suwa and Tackeuchi, which is great fun once they are together, but I’m kind of going to pick at the way they got back together. A rumour sending Kurusu back to base and then the obviously fake recording before a contrived confrontation and all in the space of a single episode just felt like a forced conflict to stretch this out.

If they’d really wanted to build a misunderstanding between the team in Mars Red, and given that angle time and attention, it would have felt still contrived but at least like a meaningful insert into the narrative. Instead, it really does feel like they had this episode to fill and wanted to know how to make very little stretch to twenty minutes. Or am I being harsh?

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Yeah

I thought it was absolutely fine. A little odd but completely in line with everything in the show so far and much less contrived than the first episodes, which I also liked. I also don’t think it was filler. You could argue that about the last episode and the hospital stay or even the investigation at the very beginning but this feels like it’s directly relevant to the main plot and also developing the character arcs. I can see someone not liking it, I’m actually pretty surprised people liked Mars Red at all to be honest, but personally I didn’t find this particular episode irrelevant.

Mars Red Ep9 5
It was a cool effect when he jumped out of his coat though.

And then we have Defrot who has previously been enigmatic and then turned out to be kind of a nice kind of kid (for what I assume is an ancient vampire). Now he’s just kind of holed up in a room and seems defeated but I’m kind of lost as to what caused this character transition. I feel like I missed something.

Well, we missed what happened with Meada. I figure that’s the point of the series. Maeda’s journey. Defrott represents the past and regret, Kurusu represents the future and potential and Maeda represents humanity and now he’s at a crossroads. Whatever happened with Defrott might have been pivotal. I think we’ll find out next week. I could be wrong.

We do get to see Nakajima going back to the military and he’s pointing out how great his vampire units have been before asking them if they are now going to fund him. It makes me wonder just how much his grip on reality has slipped. He can see the crisis they are currently in but nothing else seems to matter to him except his tunnel vision for making this vampire army.

When they turn him down, and actually suggest using his units as engineers to help with the rebuilding, you can see his frustration (despite that actually being a pretty good suggestion) and ultimately I think Nakajima is about to do something even stupider than he’s currently already acted.

Mars Red Ep9 8
Intense old man is intense.

To me Nakajima has always been the weak point of the story and I honestly think he’s unnecessary. They could simply have had unknown government forces develop the vampire units in their back using the research and data the team provided and it would have been the exact same but without the shaky motivations. 

For my money, they could have all been developing the units together and something went terribly wrong. But that brings in a whole new thematic that would have changed the story on a more fundamental level.



About the only mystery left in Mars Red is what Glen’s motive is. Or is he just the kind of vampire that likes to cause chaos for the sake of it? He’s the only character left with any kind of ambiguity about him and he’s clearly still got plots afloat that we don’t really know about.  Though this episode did tease the return of Maeda and it will be curious to see how he’s changed since his transformation.

For me, Mars Red kind of peaked mid-season and while it isn’t bad right now, it is decidedly less engaging than it was. Curious to see if the end can pick up.

Mars Red Ep9 7
Your goal? What is it?

As usual we have opposite opinions. For me the mid-season was a low. As soon as they started building Nakajima as the antagonist I was dubious and I still think it’s the worst part of Mars Red. 

Right now, I do like seeing how Kurusu is force to confront et reevaluate his own morals as they clash with Suwa’s pragmatism born out of decades of extra experience, Takeuchi’s joyful nihilism and what I expect to be Meada’s wrath and grief. I enjoy character driven stories so this works for me regardless of the actual events.

Images from: Mars Red. Dir. S Sadamitsu. Signal.MD. 2021

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Irina 2020

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Mars Red Episode 7 Review

Mars Red Ep7
Irina 2020

I just finished up writing my To Your Eternity post and I figured why not start the outline for Mars Red as well to help out Karandi a bit. I’m glad I wrote one post before getting to this one, my feelings for this week’s Mars Red actually managed to change in that span of time. Weird! Any opening words, K?

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Honestly, I’ve had a bad week spent trying to shake off another round of migraines. It took longer than I would like but finally Saturday morning I’ve started to pull back together. Basically, I went into Mars Red having not watched anime in days and feeling half asleep and yet I actually was really drawn into this episode. By the end I was very awake and wanting to do another viewing because I’m certain my addled brain missed some of the finer points.

Mars Red Ep7 3

Originally, I wasn’t crazy about this episode. I liked the execution of it but I also really like the idea of keeping the characters and motivations in Mars Red sort of ambiguous. It gives it a certain charm which I think is in line with the story and structure of the season. That’s why I thought that an episode like this one, that goes back to clearly explain everyone’s relationships and lay down the missing foundations was taking something away from the show.

But now, I’ve changed my mind. 

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I think there’s still an argument to be made for keeping some of the mystery but there were a lot of elements I enjoyed about the episode. For instance, I liked that Misaki was such a horrible actress the first time she did the monologue and so much better by the end. They put in an improvement the audience can actually see without being told and that’s pretty rare. Especially in acting where a lot of it depends on the beholder.

Mars Red - Misaki and Defrott

Mars Red really worked on Misaki’s character.

Misaki had such a fantastic character arc in just one episode. So many characters get an entire season and don’t feel as rounded out or as though they’ve made any progress. I think Mars Red has still kept a lot of its cards hidden but I liked that they’ve given us another piece, firming up the nature of Maeda’s relationship with Misaki and also giving the blonde vampire (Deffrot) more of a presence within the story. I also kind of liked that they’ve attempted to link in reporter girl with the unit a bit more, though that particular plot line didn’t get anywhere near as much attention.

I also like that Deffrot turned out to be such a likeable little guy. I don’t know if Draco Malfoy has forever ruined rich looking little blond boys for me but I was certain he would be the Big Bad by the end. This was unexpected but pleasant.

I also thought that we were setting up the vampires as essentially two camps. Good, sane vampires that protect people and bad evil vampires that hurt people. Having a sympathetic vampire that has his own agenda adds a bit of complexity to it. 

We also have a more established timeline. Aoi’s line about the flappers loving it would put the story somewhere around the 1920s which fits. Then again I’m not sure if Japan had any flappers. 

Mars Red Ep7 8

I looked it up. They did. They were called Moga apparently short for “Modern Girls” and were a mouvement in Japan right after the first world war, so same era. Nice! Mars Red taught me something. I found some pictures on Wikipedia. They looked cool AF!



The interactions between Deffrot and Misaki were brilliant and made both characters all the more endearing (which given they’d both been kind of enigma’s prior to now was great). 

I also appreciated the story being given a little more context and shape rather than just a series of ambiguous events that might be heading somewhere. It feels more certain that this narrative has a clear structure and I’m a little more confident that the conclusion will hopefully stick the landing.

I also really liked the fact that Misaki and Maeda hadn’t ever met in life. First of all I think that falling deeply in love with someone through their letters is super romantic. And actually romantic, unlike a lot of romance tropes. Second, the tragedy of meeting for the first time after her death and his becoming a vampire hunter of sorts, is just the right sort of tragic. Very Salomé!

Mars Red Ep7 7

The theatrical nature of their relationship very much fits with everything else in this story. This whole episode I was struck by how each scene seemed staged and once again everything kind of had its place and the characters seemed like they were performing. Even in the final sequence where Deffrot appears before Maeda. It all comes across as being very much a theatrical performance which continues to give this one a bit of a different feel to other anime. 

There is however one thing I really did not like this week and I doubt any amount of time will change that. The music. Especially in the last act. When all the tragedies happen the music swells into this overbearing dramatic dirge that drowned out most scenes. It really ruined it for me. 

I’ll be honest, I had the sound turned way down this week because of my head so the music didn’t bother me that much. What I do remember of it seemed to mostly fit with the feeling that this is a stage show and the music swelling for a climax makes sense in that instance. Then again, I do plan to watch this episode again later so maybe I’ll notice it more.

In general though, another pretty good episode. Any final thoughts?

Mars Red Ep7 2

Honestly, I kind of feel bad that the others in the vampire unit seemed to try so hard to convince Maeda to remain human last week, and we had that gloriously dramatic ‘sacrifice’ occur but then this week we see right from the start that Maeda’s still likely to die in the rubble and then at the end Deffrot appears and it seems inevitable what will happen next. It almost makes episode 6, which was so well done, feel like it didn’t matter in the end. Then again, maybe given the number of tragic literary works they’ve referenced, it was inevitable that such a sacrifice would have proven futile.

Images from: Mars Red. Dir. S Sadamitsu. Signal.MD. 2021

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Moriarty The Patriot 2nd Season Episode 17 Review

Moriarty Episode 17
Moriarty 17 7
The final line and yet I feel like we’ve waited too long already for him to do anything.

Moriarty the Patriot’s return remains a disappointing affair with little excitement to follow up the brief entertainment of episode 16. Instead of getting into the Moriarty plan we instead get to watch other characters set up their plans for the future and move their pieces. The end result is one that gives us a launch pad for future events but there’s only so much set up one can sit through before you realise it is all set-up and we aren’t actually getting anywhere.



Admittedly, the intrigue in the yard is interesting enough with corruption and hidden ledgers all in the mix. However, none of the characters there have been developed enough for me to truly care personally so the reshuffling of power in that building, while fundamentally important to future plans, could have been played off screen and still would have resulted in much the same outcome.

Moriarty 17 2
Person with only one personality – angry and enttitled.

There’s so little to actually discuss I’m instead going to narrow in on Bond’s scene where he gets a cool gun that makes people go to sleep and an autocar. While it is far and a way from the cool gadgets a modern James Bond would brandish, it was a nice diversion in an otherwise fairly sleep-filled episode. Unfortunately, while he does use the sleeping gas once, the car merely is a talking point and then forgotten and realistically both could have been removed from the story with little to no difference identified.

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Moriarty 17 4

Basically this story is just full of bloat at this point. While the basic premise was fine and the central character, when he’s actually in the story, is charismatic and interesting, the longer they stretch things out and the more characters that get introduced, the less interesting the story becomes. Wrap it up and move it forward because this one doesn’t have any more staying power.

Images from: Moriarty the Patriot 2nd Season. Dir. K. Nomura. Production I.G. 2021.


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Karandi James


Moriarty The Patriot 2nd Season Episode 16 Review

Moriarty Episode 16
Moriarty the Patriot - Jack the Ripper
You wanted Jack the Ripper?

After finding the last few episodes of Moriarty the Patriot to be a rather tepid affair, it was nice to see episode 16 just let the characters loose. With the scene already set and the Yard and the locals ready to go to war we wasted precious little time on re-establishing the Jack the Ripper Plot before Moriarty and his merry band launched into their offensive to de-escalate the potential revolt and take down the one using Jack’s name and killing prostitutes. That isn’t to say their plan was particularly good. It was showy and it was fun to watch unfold but realistically it just shouldn’t have worked.



Basically their plan came down to give everybody else a Jack the Ripper to chase around town which would also cause the real group behind Jack the Ripper to gather. Then the would take out the real Jack the Ripper. I mean it isn’t as if half-a-dozen things couldn’t have gone wrong with that including the real culprits being smart enough not to gather at the commotion or even either the commoners or the yard still firing on the other sparking the revolution rather than chasing the old guy around for an hour.

Moriarty the Patriot denies reality – this plan will work.

Moriarty Ep16 4
Insane, illogical, unlikely to succeed and yet still pretty fun to watch.

However rather than continuing to take shots at the plan itself, there were some things this episode did very well. An no, that wasn’t show discerning supporting cast members given all the background characters continue to have about as much subtlety as a brick to the face.

Whether it is the commoners seeing a member of the Yard and contorting their faces to scowl in an exaggerated fashion or the idiotic way that the actual culprits dismiss the death of the weak as meaningless the writing of the larger cast remains incredibly flat. Though given Moriarty himself wasn’t particularly brilliant this episode I guess it stands to reason everyone else needed to be even stupider in order for his plan to play out.

Moriarty Ep16 2
Like, seriously. We get it, they don’t like each other.

But wait, I was getting to the positives. Such as the chase sequence itself. Now the old guy was newly introduced so we didn’t have a lot of a connection with him and yet he’s probably the best character we’ve met in a while. Admittedly, his stamina and agility are near to supernatural in this particular sequence but it was good that we got to know him a bit and that even he was feeling true exhaustion as he got close to the one-hour mark Moriarty and demanded from him. Still trying to figure out how you leap over multiple people while wearing an armoured cloak but let’s not dwell on the details because it just looked super cool.

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It was also kind of cool seeing the rest of Moriarty’s extras supporting the old guy from the roof-tops by giving directions or taking out the weapons of snipers. Again, the combined efforts to take down the Gatling Gun leave me with an eye-brow raised at how ridiculous that was, but again we could forgive it just for being a really great moment. I do question their fitness given that old guy was running all over town and they always seemed to be keeping up with him while going over roof-tops, which one imagines would require significant athletic stamina. Just don’t think about that part.

Moriarty Ep16 5
There’s never a Gatling Gun when you need one.

However, the confrontation between Louis and William Moriarty and the gang responsible for the Jack the Ripper incidents was my favourite moment. While we had been told these two were trained, we’ve never seen either really in action before as Moriarty has usually stayed out of the direct action. Here however we see the two back to back and they have definitely got some moves.

Moriarty Ep16 6
I won’t be arguing.

With yet another player introduced into the story who is now aware of Moriarty’s identity there’s a chance this season of Moriarty the Patriot may actually pick up a bit going forward. I know that I enjoyed this episode a lot more than any so far since the story’s return.

Images from: Moriarty the Patriot 2nd Season. Dir. K. Nomura. Production I.G. 2021.


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Karandi James