「陽のあたる場所」 (Hi no Ataru Basho)
Geeze spring sure is getting started early. Not one but two shows have decided to appear ahead of schedule courtesy of Funimation (much to my blogging chagrin), however I dare say they’re a suitable introduction for the festivities to come. After all, Mars Red may not be the most promising of spring anime – but it certainly has some imagination resting under the hood.
Per the always useful RC Preview, Mars Red is the latest in vampiric shenanigans. In short, vampires exist, they do bad things, and governments are determined to gain control over this unsavory element. Sure, this one takes place in interwar Japan in comparison to, say, modern-day Japan in Blood+, contemporary Europe in Helsing, or the post-apocalypse worlds of Trinity Blood and Owari no Seraph, but the idea is the same: it’s all about saving the world while somehow retaining one’s humanity. Main man Yoshinobu Maeda (Suwabe Junichi) is case in point here, serving as the leader of a clandestine group called Code Zero who are meant to protect Japan against any and all vampires. We haven’t seen anything major regarding a threat yet (actresses gone off the wall don’t count) or even the rest of Code Zero’s members, but rest assured we’ll get there sooner rather than later.
Where things get interesting regarding Mars Red though is in terms of execution. The simplistic yet oddly appealing Shaft-esque art and animation style for example is quite pleasantly surprising compared to what these types of shows usually receive (read: not much), while the very abstract storytelling at work hints towards interesting fun later on. Make no mistake, there’s no guarantees of above average story spectacle appearing before our eyes, but any anime willing to utilize Oscar Wilde’s tragedy Salome in a similar manner to Zetsuen no Tempest’s usage of tragicomedy Shakespeare – and with a reasonable appeal to the actions of Salome and Jokanaan to boot – deserves a little benefit of the doubt. I may not expect perfection from Mars Zero (the likes of Fairy Gone have burned me one too many a time), but I’m certainly curious enough to stick around for a few more episodes.
Overall while Mars Zero needs another week or so to properly lay out its cards, if you have a thing for vampires or eccentric anime I’d consider giving this one a shot. It may not wind up accounting for much – but it could also wind up being one hell of a surprise.
ED: 「On My Own」by Hyde