Episode 11 of Kinsou no Vermeil offers more solemn and serious fare this week as we learn about the origin story behind how Vermeil had fallen astray and became known as “the strongest scourge”. Unlike some of the goofier episodes or mishandled serious moments the show has had, this episode is a refreshing departure from this as Vermeil’s past is handled with great care and higher significance.
SHE’S GONNA TAKE YOU BACK TO THE PAST
Tonally, this episode feels like a completely different show. The differences between this heart-breaking flashback episode and the high stakes action set pieces are like night and day as they treat Vermeil with love and respect for having to endure the horrifying treatment she received from her home village.
I was expecting something to tonally shift the episode into sillier territory, so I was very impressed that they played it completely straight. It was as emotionally striking as it was outright devastating as it was upsetting to see how the outright hatred for demons caused the entire village to turn on not only Vermeil but the religious family who took her in, loved her, and saw her potential to do service for the lord.
The scene leading up to her foster family’s murder was impressively staged to provide as much devastating horror as it could. It reminded me of how Edward Scissorhands managed to make the everyday suburban neighborhood look hauntingly eerie when each shot of the horde surrounding Vermeil’s family home made the villagers look even more monstrous than the actual monsters on the show. Vermeil’s demon form and Obsidian’s monster form have nothing on the blobs of screaming red faces that grow further and further distorted as they grow to become more bloodthirsty.
IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG
Understandably, Alto quickly sympathizes with her as he tells a young Vermeil that it was quite based that this was the reason why she was considered a demon. Again, absolutely no complaints from me this time around. They didn’t try to give you a split second for Alto to ponder his morals if he shrugs off Vermeil’s guilt. He just swoops in and understands right away why she went ballistic and cratered that entire village for what they did to her family.
The only weird thing was when Alto started to see things veer towards more traumatic territory and the Mage kept giving him Parental Advisory disclaimers. I mean, true, I hope that this is the last show I’d ever cover that had depictions of children being hung by an angry lynch mob. That being said, you can’t just tell Alto to learn from Vermeil’s past to save the two and then ask him to look away as her memories get worse and worse.
I think what made this episode great in my eyes is how self-contained it is. They didn’t feel pressure to bridge the gap and jump right into the Iolite fight or have him mug for the camera after such a heavy flashback. Rather than diminish the impactful note that the Vermeil flashback ends on, it ends on a more meaningful note as they lean into how important this event is for Vermeil and Alto’s relationship. By bearing that part of her past for him, Alto is now able to be on the same level as she is, deepening their bond and love with each other.