「道化の王」 (Dōke no Ō)
“King of Fools”
The music for Mars Red has been spectacular and this week, the score did a wonderful job of wordlessly carrying the scenes. The wistful string music was spot on in reflecting the bittersweet love of Kurusu and Shirase. The opening scenes were extremely effective in showing Glenn at the pinnacle of his mad genius with minimal dialogue, dramatic classical music, and Glenn swaying around conducting his metallic “choir”.
Glenn, channeling his inner Visual Kei artist with blonde hair and frilly military get up revels in the fruits of his scheming. His wide distribution of Ascra was not merely to test the results on live subjects. He planned this all along to cause an upsurge in violence that would force the military to beg his protection, indebting themselves to his control.
The moral of Glenn and Nakajima is that reaching the pinnacle of power is followed by a quick descent. Gravity is not always kind and the farther you climb, the harder the fall. Nakajima sought absolute control, seeking to eliminate threats. On his ascent, Glenn pulled Nakajima down to prison and used the Unit as his execution squad-poignantly symbolized by Deffrot’s performance of Salome with Jokanaan’s head offered on a silver platter. Just when I began to wonder about Glenn’s fall, Deffrot (expertly disguised) throws him overboard. In contrast to the power-hungry leaders, Deffrot just wants a peaceful life-he probably won’t be picking up Glenn’s commander cap.
Glenn and Nakajima were under the false impression that vampires are blindly obedient. They don’t show why the vampires abandon Glenn. From Glenn’s point of view, this would be a glitch. However, as we have seen with Code Zero and as Tenmaya sums up-vampires, like humans feel emotion, think, and react. With this line of reasoning, the Vampire Unit likely rebelled for the same reason humans would-to overthrow a corrupt, manipulative regime.
With the Vampire Unit free from Glenn, I could see them teaming up with Code Zero to clean up damage, instituting a peaceful future for humans and vampires. With the focus on positive relationships between the humans Tenmaya and Shirase with vampires, this appears to be leading to a finale where vampires can live in the open with humans (just not in sunlight). It is tragic Yamaguchi did not live long enough to see a time when it would be possible for him to reunite with his wife.
I am glad they haven’t yet killed Kurusu! It was crushing to see how he and Shirase care for each other but couldn’t see a future together with the differences in lifespans. This sums up the conflict present since the beginning with Yamaguchi and his wife, of carrying mortal human feelings in an immortal body. The joy of love coupled with the sorrow of that love remaining after the object of it has long gone.
One of my (many) favorite scenes was with Suwa and Ayame. It is telling of how far his character has come when he takes responsibility for Ayame, not with his knife, but with kindness. It was a strongly-felt moment when Suwa unmasks himself– acknowledging the pain of their pasts and of supernatural bodies forced upon them, while offering hope in sharing that pain together. After realizing he didn’t know how to connect with others in the beginning, Suwa is finally able to reach another’s heart.
The only problem that remains is Maeda. There seems to be something in Deffrot’s blood where when he turns someone into a vampire, they become hyper-focused on their mission. With Misaki, she became fixated on performing for Maeda and Maeda became stuck on avenging Misaki by blindly eliminating the root cause. I’m not sure if this condition can be undone. With Misaki, she remained that way until death. This doesn’t tell us if her blind fixation was incurable or if she just died before they could find a way. Kurusu will have to quickly find a way or fight to the death with Maeda. Running after Kurusu, there is a good chance Shirase will get in the middle of their fight. While the show has a dark thematic elements, it also carries a hopefulness to it-the outcome of this fight could either take the tragic romance route or give the characters their hard-earned “happy ever after”.