「 願い」 (Negai)
Episode 06 of Kinsou no Vermeil puts on its black eyeliner and growls at you as the consequences of Vermeil going berserk grow dire with Alto’s near-death experience. But as Professor Obsidian’s plans go awry, perhaps the closest shave with adversity Alto and Vermeil’s face is where their partnership is headed afterward.
”REAL DEMONS DON’T MEAN SHIT”
Koyasu Takehito is a blessing and a national treasure. He was always the perfect male VA and is doing quite a great job this season with Isekai Ojiisan (sorry for dropping it), but Koyasu never wastes a role no matter what ridiculous stuff he’s asked to say or do. He commits so hard to Professor Obsidian’s wackiness as he cackles, screeches, and spouts out some of the most hilarious villain quotes I’ve heard in a while.
Professor Obsidian spends most of the episode chewing on scenery as his parlor scene with Alto combines the edgy, tryhard demeanor of a Bond villain with the overzealous pride of a doujin villain who just now realized the situation could kinda be NTR if you think hard enough. Then, once Vermeil tries to attack him twice in a row, he realizes he must become the demon instead.
I know the show doesn’t take itself too seriously, but in the episode that really wants you to take the anime seriously, a cartoonish bat embedded in a macho flesh body that he can slip away from in an emergency is not what I imagined.
I laughed so hard. I hadn’t seen a monster design that was this overwhelmingly wacky since the humanoid dragon from the Mom Isekai. It makes me want to compile the designs of demons and beasts from mid-tier fantasy anime to see which ones could be classified as a new type of cryptid.
ONE HEART BEATING WITH JUST TWO MINDS
Where a lot of the air starts to deflate on the episode is when it tries to place higher stakes on Vermeil accidentally shanking Alto. The devastation of what happened is quickly rectified when she heals Alto’s gaping chest wound, but from there, the story is wishy-washy about exactly how Vermeil should feel about all of this.
Much of it can be owed to the amount of guilt she has over harming Alto and giving him her actual heart, but from there, there were too many concerns the characters had that was quickly brushed aside to keep the status quo.
Alto is upset that his near-death experience made her life more finite, and that she gave up eternal life for his safety. This is an easy set-up towards the whole “My life would feel like it would’ve ended if you weren’t by my side.” It’s very romantic and poetic because their love is so unshakeable that they would rather die together in each other’s embrace than have to live with the heartbreak of losing the love of your life to human mortality.
YOU KNOW…”GRAB YOUR TORCH AND PITCHFORKS!” DOESN’T THAT BOTHER YOU?
The show did not deliver this level of gravitas in this episode. In fact, Vermeil acts cold around him and gives him the silent treatment out of nowhere because she feels like she’d be protecting him by going away and latching onto someone else in the book. Even after she gave him her heart, symbolically and literally.
It isn’t until Alto gets extremely angry at Vermeil for her callousness and kisses her as his own personal confession of love to reset all of this as if none of it ever happened aside from the whole heart thing. Alto does all the heavy work here as he passionately kisses her and kabedon’s her into a wall as he reaffirms his feelings for her. It’s a much-needed moment, but only by virtue that Vermeil’s takeaway from it is “Now that my life is tethered to yours, I guess I’ll just go away I suppose because you don’t need a big scary demon to be tethered to you!”
You’re making dramatic beats out of rom-com tropes. If she’s going to be upset about her behavior, it’d make more sense for her to be still remorseful about fatally wounding him than by reminding him that she’s a monster who needs to stay away from him. Near the early points in Twilight of all things, Bella knows it’s bullcrap when Edward starts punching trees and pretending he’s a killing machine when she’s the one who pried deep enough into his business to know that. But for some reason, after everything Alto and Vermeil have gone through, she’d only use her demon hood as a way to scare him? No wonder why Alto’s pissed.
Again, I wouldn’t expect it to go into fascinatingly dark territory with Vermeil’s heartbreak over almost killing Alto or the realization that they will die together as lovers long before a broken heart disease could do any damage. But it would’ve been such an easy slamdunk to land if the show wasn’t worried about whether the audience would be too put off by injecting deeper meaning into a rom-com fantasy. It feels like they pull their punches too quickly to realize ways that they could emotionally manipulate the audience into being invested in Alto and Vermeil’s safety.