What up ya’ll? It’s Luna again, back with another first impressions.
We’re officially halfway through the season for almost every anime, so now that I’ve watched at least half of each seasons episode, I feel like I can really start deciding which I’ll want to finish out for the season, and which I won’t. For this week’s first impressions, I’m gonna be reviewing something I started high hopes with, but who is very close to the chopping block and only being saved by a single character (and no I’m not being dramatic). Today we’re talking about Lord of Vermillion.
So what is Lord of Vermillion? It’s an adaption (’tis really the season for adaptions) of the Lord of Vermillion game series by Square Enix. Now, when I heard this, I thought “how could something inspired by squinx go wrong?” Well, apparently a lot of ways. The Lord of Vermillion anime starts off with an action sequence which is incredibly cringe worthy. It features a desolate, crumbling city in which we see multiple pairs of people, supposedly on opposing sides of some battle, fighting each other in short sequences that end in what comes off as extremely forced dual deaths. To be honest, I thought the first dual death that appears on screen was tolerable, but then the next one came—and then the next, and so on and so on—each becoming more and more cringe worthy that by the end of these first few opening minutes, I almost dropped this anime on the spot. But no, I told myself that this had looked like a good anime, and that maybe it’d improve with time.
It didn’t. Okay, maybe that’s being a little harsh. The first episode actually was fairly interesting after the opening credits. We’re introduced to our main character Chihiro (who has got a decent chance at ‘most annoying protagonist’ of the season), and his best friend Kotetsu (also known as: the only reason I’m still watching). Their relationship is…for lack of a better term…fucking adorable. No I mean really, they’re almost like brothers in the way they interact. It’s so good…that it’s pretty much what makes this first episode good (jk—it’s the only good thing this show has going for it). In addition to having the anime beginning with introducing this key dynamic, we’re also introduced to the mystery behind the show.
Whereas some action anime would simply begin with the characters already living in a changed world after a great tragedy had struck, the first episode puts the main characters through this tragedy. The Great Collapse, as Lord of Vermillion calls it, happens on screen (after a daily life montage that cameo’s every character from the cringey double murder sequence). Which, is actually also one of the only good parts of this introduction. Why? Because it puts a sense of unease into the viewer. We know that home bitch Chihiro makes it out, but we can’t say the same for his friends. Naturally though, they all live, and the anime then goes on to a cliche and weird ass dream sequence featuring an odd girl in a mask (ah the smell of squinx in the morning) that ends with Chihiro waking up and us find out that he’s been in a coma for MONTHS (and suddenly it just lost another 20% of it’s viewers here). Now, I’m all for knocking out characters, but to have had him be out long enough for the rest of the world to become used to the new state of the city? A bit of an ex positional cop out. While I admit it might’ve been more entertaining for the anime to learn the knew rules of this world through experience—I get that he was knocked out for 8 months just so that there were people who had already gotten a grasp of what was going on, but it was also kind of…expected.
I will admit though, it was kind of worth just because we get awesome characters like the two pictured on the side here. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Lord of Vermillion in the short time it’s been out, it’s that some of it’s characters are actually pretty cool—we just don’t get nearly enough screen time with them (also spoiler alert: a character who barely gets coverage is killed halfway through, which is both equally parts daring and also equally parts frustrating). The only problem I can see with the characters is that there are too many of them. Seriously. We’re halfway through the season and from what I’ve seen, we only know about half the characters—sorry, we were only introduced to half the characters. The rest are MIA and quite honestly, I only barely care about the cast we do know (except for Kotetsu—love that kid), in fact, I only like a few of them. I don’t know how I’m going to get connected to the rest who have yet to show up.
One last thing I’d like to focus on is the general mess that the plot is in right now. Again, we’re halfway through the season and I’m still not sure what the protagonists are really trying to do. Both they, along with the antagonists say they are trying to save the world, but at the same time not a lot is actually happening to do that. A lot of it has been conflict between the two—conflict that ends pretty pointlessly. It just feels like nothing is really going anywhere. Not to mention it feels like we’re supposed to be questioning which side is more just (y’know in a civil war like face-off), but we just don’t know nor have seen enough to form that opinion. Plus there’s also a weird pseudo-romantic plot line that has to do with home slice Chihiro and this girl on the opposing side who seems to have known him previous (which would mean something if Chihiro actually had some backstory by now—but no, squinx wants to keep that a secret).
Overall, Lord of Vermillion has not been what I was expecting. Despite all I’ve said, it’s not the worst thing in the world. I can definitely see where it appeals to people, and where it could have some success if it’s second half improves upon character and story. But as for right now? Well, like anything, I’d say give it a chance if you have time. But if you’re only picking a select few anime to watch in this season, this would probably be one to skip. But if you’re a squinx fan like me, you’re probably watching it anyway.
If I make it to season end, I’ll do a full review, and if dropped I’ll make sure to make a post entailing why. But until then, these have just been my first impressions!
First Impression Rating:
4/10 Characters I actually care about
P.S. There’s a 50% chance I’ll drop this next ep
2 thoughts on “First Impressions: Lord of Vermillion: Guren no Ou”
I tried to give this one a go but after a few episodes it was clear that it was just a mess and so I dropped it from my watch list. I would have liked for it to have improved because underneath the general poor execution there were some interesting ideas, but it was just not worth the frustration of sitting through each episode.
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Honestly, I’m getting to the point where I’m likely dropping it from pure frustration that it hasn’t improved despite being halfway over. I know some animes have a hard time getting their feet under them in the first three episodes, but six? Not worth.
I will add though that the concept of the mist and also the concept of people becoming essentially gates for other dimensions counterpart is extremely intriguing–just, not handled well.
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