Episode 12 of Kinsou no Vermeil ends things on a more low-key note as they abruptly end the final fight against Iolite with some outside interference. But while it might seem disappointing to see everything end so quickly, they weren’t going to leave us without a hint of what’s to come.
A STRATEGIC RETREAT STILL COUNTS AS A VICTORY
Iolite being forced to retreat was, without a doubt, the biggest disappointment of this last half. So much build-up led to the big back-and-forth between Alto and Iolite. Alto finally received a power boost from the power of love. Iolite was forced to bring some more exciting cackles from Okamoto. But we just leave off on a note that the antagonists have to pick up their ball and walk away.
Iolite was never put in a position where he feared being unable to pull a victory through, nor was Alto able to show that he could stay alive without pulling out all the stops. But due to the plot needing to solve itself, they had to make it so that Iolite would have to be forcibly taken out of the fight so that the series doesn’t end right away.
This and the remaining parts of the episode feel like hints at what’s to come, but in the least tantalizing ways imaginable. Alto vows to become stronger beyond his magical capabilities by getting stomped hard by Jessica and Chris. Most of Alto and Vermeil’s interactions don’t go beyond cuddling in bed, kissing, or confessing their love once again. Lilia is shown again, but only as one final insult to those who thought she’d play more of a role in the show.
It hints at the future in such vague detail that it comes off more like a “read the source material” end than a “look forward to Season 2” resolution. Not that there’s anything wrong with telling people to read ahead instead of anticipating more anime. It’s just a letdown because they invest so much time into Vermeil and Alto’s relationship that there should’ve been at least one last explosive gesture of love outside of more quiet confessions. and bedroom cuddling.
Kinsou no Vermeil was an unusual anime. It overstayed its welcome by the halfway point and was pretty middle-of-the-road as a whole. At the same time, its different tonal shifts and inspirations showed off more potential than most mid-tier anime that fizzle out past Episode 01.
Admittedly, the main draw of the show was Vermeil, the buxom demon waifu who endears herself to Alto. She kinda has the same problem as Zero Two from Darling in the FranXX where she doesn’t have much of a personality outside of being very cheery about her partner once the main couple already pronounced their love for one another. And there are only so many times where Vermeil makes out with Alto in the hallways before we’re like “Okay, we get it, Alto REALLY doesn’t want to kiss in the hallways”.
But whereas Zero Two never cared for Hiro as anything more than a tool until the big confession scene, it is nicer to see that Vermeil had wound up growing attached to Alto too much to see him as a tool to use. Many of the show’s bolder, more refreshing decisions were centered around how her chemistry with Alto wasn’t just for show. For all of his disdain for PDA, Alto deeply loves Vermeil and isn’t afraid of their relationship becoming deeper and more physical as time goes on.
I’m not sure how, but they also managed to do this, but I think a lot of my love for the couple comes from how Alto wound up being a pretty amusing protagonist. Instead of making a complete wet blanket of a lead, Alto is a quirky, weird person who is unafraid of making bold decisions. He’s just a goofball who accidentally found himself to be this ultra-strong mage out of nowhere, and has been winging it for so long that he’s only now accepting that he’s made his way to the big leagues. At best, Alto is a well-meaning scholar who is still feeling his way around the higher echelons of the academy with his overpowered demon familiar.
Lilia losing attention and exposure is a big mistake in my eyes. By the time they tried to expand the world beyond school life antics, it lost the charm and wit that came with more eccentric characters like Lilia, who helped keep the show grounded and still about Alto’s school life being affected by Vermeil’s presence. There were still some neat moments that came with the expanding scope like the Utena-inspired dueling episode or Vermeil’s flashback episode.
But at the same time, it also paved the way for sillier plot developments to come out of it. Professor Obsidian’s arc is the worst one because it not only forced us to think about what kinds of forces would be out to get Alto way too early in the story, but it also showed how ill-equipped Kinsou no Vermeil was in creating extensive fight scenes or cool monster designs.
It set the tone for what would remain of the series with Iolite being another character who was trotted out just so that Alto could have someone to fight by the time the show ended. Sadly, he wound up feeling like an afterthought because Iolite at the very least felt like a character from a King of Fighters game that wound up stuck in here.
Again, it’s hard to make heads-or-tails of what I thought of Kinsou no Vermeil on a deeper level. I suppose it is because the show felt like an experience that was meant to pass the time rather than a full balanced meal. Rather than trying to be an epic masterpiece or one of the most disappointing or heinous shows of the year, Kinsou no Vermeil is a more noble effort by virtue that it presents an unpretentious, no-frills battle anime that provides voluptuous ecchi to spice up its magic academy setting. It’s hard to hate a show like that.
I guess it’s kind of a letdown in how it squandered some of its greater strengths of presenting a loving couple navigating through an eventful academy life. But I can’t fault the show for that if its main intention is to sell volumes of the manga. I’d say that it’s more of a 6.5/10 experience than a 4 or 5, and that alone says a lot about the show’s positive merits. To me, it was worthwhile to see how fun Alto was as a lead, how attractive Vermeil was, and the refreshing amount of romantic tension the couple had as they became closer and closer.