「歌知らずの歌」 (Uta Shirazu no Uta)
Songs give voice to the human experience in a way that lends beauty to pain, validates life experiences, and teaches our struggles and dreams to future generations. For Suwa, he is only familiar with the sound of silence.
The threat of budget cuts pushes Code Zero onwards to find vampires in Yoshiwara where there has been a string of murders. Suwa goes all out for this-even changing his mask in an attempt to fit the pleasure-seeking atmosphere. A young prostitute, Akesato, removes Suwa’s mask in every sense of the phrase-disarming him enough that he speaks of his past as a 15-year-old when he became a vampire at the hands – or rather mouths- of a vampire gang. This is the first time we see Suwa utter more than a sentence, let alone a whole conversation. Becoming vulnerable is scary and Suwa recoils when she un-masks him. Akesato falls asleep and he laments that their encounter could have lasted longer if he knew a song they could have shared.
We get a glimpse of a Suwa who is missing a piece of his life-his unfinished youth. He is isolated because he does not have the shared experience of youth that everyone else relates to. He seeks a connection but does not have anything as simple as a song to do so. Akesato listening to him and treating him as a person breaks through his silence.
In a heartbreaking scene at the end, Suwa discovers Akesato ravaged by vampires. Unable to offer even a song to ease her dying moments, Suwa is faced again with his separation from the world around him. He removes his mask, placing it next to her and asks Takeuchi to teach him a song. Just a simple encounter can touch someone-in Suwa’s case, Akesato’s gentle kindness showing him that he can escape his empty isolation.
From Takeuchi, we get another Vampires 101 lesson. Vampires communicate through ultrasonic waves and they have a spidey-sense that detects vampires stronger than them. Yamagami has some usefulness, as he is the only one of a low enough rank to detect the vampires responsible. Poor Yamagami’s value lies in being the worst- something his teammates do not fail to point out.
Meanwhile, Kurusu has his own struggles. Kurusu is held up as the strongest Japanese vampire with the hopes of Code Zero resting on him. However, Kurusu is gentle, reluctant to kill. During training, a frustrated Maeda warns that Kurusu’s friends will suffer for his hesitation. This hits home when Kurusu rescues Yamagami from becoming a midnight vampire snack. Kurusu freezes as usual, but this time without any one to take over for him. Kurusu overcomes his hesitation and rescues Yamagami after some serious slaughtering-impressing upon everyone how powerful an A rank vampire is.
After the frustration of having her article on the Yoshiwara murders silenced by the military, Shirase heads to the Imperial Hotel on an assignment. There, she catches a military official and a vampire named Rufus Glenn concluding a deal. Glenn gives Shirase a vial of perfume, that unbeknownst to her, is the underground blood product. She then hands this over to Deffrot, complaining about its odor.
At Code Zero headquarters, we learn that this product is a poisonous version of the vampire virus. The poison acts to raise vampires’ stimulation levels. Takeuchi conjectures that the group responsible for this is probably researching the effects in humans.
From here, the plot thickens like a large blood clot. Defrott and Glenn seem to know each other through the organization distributing the poison. Code Zero’s discovery of vials in Scotch barrels leads to the conclusion that this is a British group. The spread of deaths by a growing horde of violent vampires indicates this virus is being widely distributed, most likely to determine the poison’s effects. These experiments are not limited to vampires-the perfume Shirase is sent to report on is most likely this organization’s undercover operation to distribute the blood among humans to observe what happens. As to the purpose of this-while promising to share the knowledge with the Japanese Army, they could be secretly using the virus to infiltrate Japan in preparation for an invasion of their own. If Shirase uncovers the fact that vampires are behind these murders, leaking this to the public could put the military in a tough position, caught between foreign vampires and a panicking public.
What a beautiful review/analysis/comment. I did miss some point in my writing and in my observations, things that you have seen. I am glad that the review is here on your website as n’ot many people talk about it, also this anime is wonderful.
Thank you so much for your kind comment! I am glad that you are enjoying Mars Red! I love it too-it is probably one of my favorite shows of the season!