I was hoping now that they’d had their exposition dump the story could actually pull itself together, but the mess that is episode 4 of Lord of Vermilion proved otherwise. Honestly, it might still get better but I think I’ve given it long enough to flounder about.
I’m feeling this story was written by someone who never really got over the whole edgy teen stage in their life. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with a supernatural action piece being written for people who appreciate edgy teen drama, but it would be nice if it could at least be done competently. This episode drops us into the story after the characters clearly decided to help the church with the whole destroy Tokyo plan in order to remake the world, though Chihiro seems more just happy smashing things, a fact which the reporter kind of points out in his usual unsubtle way.
However, during the second battle of the episode, Chihiro and the girl from the other side somehow end up in a land of white mist (as opposed to the red mist where they usually are) and they have a conversation that essentially goes in a complete circle before dialogue starts repeating (much like listening to two NPC’s in a game that are just stuck in the same loop). Then she helps him escape for reasons unclear.
I still haven’t been given a reason to care about these characters. Despite the exposition dump last week, I still don’t even really get the nature of the conflict or what either side even wants. Delaying answers is fine and all but you have to make the audience care what the answer is. Despite my normally curious personality, I just don’t because at this point it doesn’t seem well thought out enough to be satisfactory regardless of what the answers might be.
After refusing explanations for two straight episodes we get to the end of a fight sequence and new random character will take them to a church to find out what is going on. Enter jargon, unconfirmed motive, and yet more poor characterisation.
Can I just ask who named the things in this show? We’ve got a heroic lineage and agents of chaos. I wonder who we are supposed to think are in the right. Then again, the heroic lineage characters are all pretty clueless and are now being directed by a church that essentially has admitted it plans on destroying the world in forty years (because that will create a new world of hope of course) so I’m kind of left with no one in this story that I actually want to succeed. There’s still a thin hope that the protagonists will strike out on their own denying both the church and the chaos guys, but from listening to the various exposition dumps it seems like everything that has happened is pretty irreversible so we may as well just accept Tokyo is done.
All and all, the plot of this show is either a mess or incredibly simple (I guess we’ll see which way it goes) and the characters haven’t done a thing to distinguish themselves as anything other than cardboard cut outs that might have one defining trait (report guy likes to make comments about journalism and truth, Chihiro likes to get lost in his own head and freak out). It isn’t good by any means but it might just be bad enough to be kind of entertaining provided you aren’t picky about things. That said, I’m fairly certainly this is not going to be a show I’ll be talking much about.
Yep, it is another one of those shows that mistakes poor writing and characterisation for intrigue and we’re going to have character after character just leave sentences hanging or outright deny another an explanation in order to string the audience along. Does this ever work?
Picking up from last week we have Chihiro killing off the monster and then waking up to realise he has blood on his hands and his friend’s father (and I’m guessing his foster father) is dead. This kind of freaks him out but the spooky girl who has shown up is waiting for him to remember before she tells him anything. Doesn’t that seem kind of contradictory to you? And given that Chihiro is clearly being targeted it also seems really stupid. This is the kind of decision making that plagues these kinds of shows though and comparatively there are plenty of worse things out there, even while this remains fairly unimpressive.
By the end of the episode about all the audience has been told is that Chihiro belongs to some bloodline of heroes and apparently so does his friend and the guy in the blue jacket wearing sunglasses clearly wants them dead and has the ability to open gates and make other people turn into monsters. Why and how have yet to be explained or anything about why everyone fell asleep or what the red mist is. These are questions that the show presented in episode one but didn’t really feel the need to address yet.
However, by not addressing the basic questions of what is going on, this anime has left me with little reason to care about what is happening. So the bystanders can scream and clutch their heads in pain and terror right before transforming into monsters but I’ve not been given a reason to be overly concerned about whether that’s the end or not. Nor have they explained why Chihiro is so special that he was unconscious for so much longer or why some characters seem to know more about what is going on than others.
Still, it could be worse and it might get better. Maybe I’m just clutching at straws given Chihiro is shaping up to be the worst kind of protagonist. The one who insists he can’t fight because he doesn’t want to hurt people, even as everyone is already getting hurt. At least he isn’t also a shouter. That would be the final nail in the coffin of this one.
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