I’m Confused…but I’m happy about it?! – First Impressions: Mars Red

Hello and welcome back to Otaku Thursday! Today I’m coming at you with yet another anime review (wow such surprise–how iconic)! I will also shamelessly plug, once again, our new twitch show “Anime Talk Club” that premiered last friday on Kumoricon’s twitch channel! We talk anime reviews (because I am a sick individual who has watched an insane amount of anime and has lots of words), Star makes me suffer through cringe worthy games, and more! Join us next Friday at (5/28) 8pm PST to listen to IRL blog-like, otaku, and weeb related content! BUT for now, we have something way more important to talk about, because today I’m talking about a show we started watching for funsies but I’m like both addicted to and confused by: Mars Red.

otaku thursday
Mars Red

Mars Red
Captain Maeda

So. Mars Red is an anime that is based off a stage-play. Yes you read that one correct. This anime is not based off a light novel, a manga, or anything of the sort–it is based off a stage play. When I read that, I was so surprised. I’m not familiar with a lot of anime that are based off of stage plays, so I’ve become really intrigued with the anime–and by extension, the stage play which I really wished that I could watch (but I can’t). Especially because the stage play also inspired a manga of the same name which released last year. So like…no wonder Mars Red is so good, right? Well…perhaps. I mean, so I like the show a lot but Star has pointed out some er–confusing or rather not so great parts of it. So on one side of things, Mars Red is really good because the plot is actually really interesting, but as Star has pointed out, there are a lot of holes in it still. Every episode somehow feels disjointed from the overall story, but there is definitely a through-plot that carries the entire plot forward…it just feels disjointed somehow. Maybe that’s because we find time/scene skips often, and for the most part, there are no cliffhanger episodes where we pick up exactly where we left off. Star had described it as almost an anthology. But while I can see her point, I disagree to some extent. I definitely think that it’s more than just an anthology type feel. While there is some disconnect between the action happening, the plot seems to be moving at a steady trajectory…somewhere. See, that’s where the confusion comes up. We literally have NO idea where this plot is going. We’re kind of starting to get an idea of what it’s going to be: a story about trying to stop the development of vampire military units. I think. It’s deifnitely an interesting premise, and I’m not totally sure how all the characters are drawn into the full scope of the plot yet…but I’m excited to find out.

Mars Red
vampire unit

Speaking of characters…they are another aspect that is astounding to me in the weirdest way. I can’t say we know a lot about the characters, in fact in retrospect, we know very little of them, and despite that I still really like them all. In one way, they feel almost shallow where we don’t know their motivations or their complete past, but at the same time, I feel like I really enjoy them in the show. Even if I feel like I don’t truly know them. It’s astounding as I usually feel nothing towards characters that I don’t feel are fleshed out enough, but in a weird way…these characters feel fleshed out enough for the story thus far. Kind of like Sirius the Jaegar–did we know a ton about the jaegar’s? Nope not really, but their personalities were great. This is exactly what’s happening in Mars Red. However, what really gets me with the overall plot is the surprise drama moments (like finding out one of the vampire’s wife believes he’s dead so he appears before her as an ‘apparition’, or to find out the commander MC dude was to be engaged to his general’s daughter, that the news girl might’ve known another one of the vampires before). THESE are the small moments I live for when I’m like whaaaat? Storytime please.

Mars Red

Then there’s the art. Honestly, the best part of the entire show. The art is SO good. I love the animation style and the way shots are drawn/directed. It feels very movie-like to me and Star definitely agrees. Maybe that’s a nod to the dramatic natures of the source material, but it makes it SUCH a delight on the eyes. Another thing I really enjoy is the color palette of the show. It’s very muted in it’s color scheme–worn-out or almost faded. It makes it feel very old-timey which just is just completely appropriate for the show in my opinion. Plus the muted color scheme, somehow also really fits a show about vampires. I don’t know why that makes sense but it really does.

Mars Red

Lastly we have the music. So, to be honest, within the show itself, I don’t take much notice of the OST. That’s not to say that it isn’t good, I just don’t think it particularly stands out. Because there are some soundtracks that do stand out and are very memorable (A Lull in the Sea, My Hero Academia, Fruits Basket, even SAO). But this one? It’s alright. BUT the opening and ending? That’s where it’s at. Like honestly, the opening alone is what made me even want to watch this show. It’s such a beautiful opening and there’s a lot of little hints at things from the shows, and the song is SUCH a banger. It ended up in top 5 anime openings as what was a surprise hit to me. I did not think it’d have such great OP and EDs, but it surprised me.

Which I guess is kind of the story of Mars Red at the end of the day: it always surprises me. Whether it was how good the opening was, how good the ending was, how overall good the show is, or even that it was based off a stage play. I am always pleasantly surprised by Mars Red. Am I confused still? Yes, but I’m getting less confused as the true plot is starting to shine. So personally, I think it’s a good show. And I’m honestly looking forward to the rest of it. Anyway, that’s all for now.

Stay weebtastic,




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