Mars Red Character Guide: Who’s Who in the Historical Vampire Anime

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Mars Red, now streaming on Funimation.

Mars Red is a historical vampire anime set in Tokyo at the beginning of the roaring '20s. It follows a secret government task force made up exclusively of vampires while they try to uncover an international conspiracy. The anime's cultural references, detailed reconstruction of Tokyo before the Great Kanto Earthquake and its touching plot are fantastic.

The large cast of characters -- with half the men wearing the same exact uniform and two of the four women looking identical -- can be a little confusing for casual viewers. Here's the full rundown of who's who in Bun-o Fujisawa's Mars Red.

General Nakajima

General Nakajima is the military champion and creator of Code Zero, the vampire government task force. His goal in life is to replace fragile human soldiers with vampires on the battlefield to prevent loss of life, but he faces a seemingly unmovable hierarchy and the fact that very few vampires survive the transformation with their minds intact. He despises anyone who has arrived to a position of power without battlefield experience and shares a past tragedy with Maeda, who is also his protegé.


Maeda is the leader of Code Zero (the four vampires answer only to him, despite his mortality) and also in charge of anything pertaining to vampire investigations in the Tokyo area. He lost his entire battalion and his arm on the battlefield and owes his life to General Nakajima, who took him under his wing after rescuing him. Maeda is human but highly gifted, able to face off against centenary vampires. He's also a chain-smoking insomniac with a broken heart, obsessed with destroying any vampires that step over the line -- despite his only friends being four of them. He's unwaveringly loyal to General Nakajima in Mars Red.

Misaki Nakajima

Misaki Nakajima first appeared as a talented actress who'd been transformed into a powerful vampire -- and almost completely lost her head in the process. In fact, Mars Red opened with her imprisonment on an underwater labyrinth, her escape, and Maeda's efforts to catch her before dawn. Later episodes reveal she was, in fact, the daughter of General Nakajima, one of the very few people who uncovered the conspiracy plaguing Tokyo and Maeda's devoted fiancée.


Defrott was Misaki's child co-star at the Imperial Theater, as well as one of the world's oldest vampires. Despite his powers, he had grown increasingly isolated from the world, coming to life only to play his parts and then retire for the day. Misaki's entrance allowed him to reconnect with his humanity, and her death shook him to his core, propelling him to act recklessly -- something he had carefully avoided for centuries. He later becomes good friends with feisty journalist Aoi, and also acts as the narrator of sorts for Mars Red's epilogue.


Yamagami was Maeda's best friend during his human years but was unceremoniously turned into a vampire during a routine deployment in England. He barely has any powers, but his good humor and gentle nature have not been affected. His only regret is leaving behind his beloved wife Tomiko, as the existence of vampires must be kept secret, and concocts a plan to say his last goodbyes without revealing he is still alive. Yamagami is usually Code Zero's voice of reason, as well as a mentor to Shutaro Kurusu, a young man who was turned at the same time as he was -- but whose powers are vast and untapped.


Takeuchi is Code Zero's Mad Scientist and probably the only vampire in Mars Red who is truly, sincerely delighted about his condition: not only does he get to live forever, but his brain will never age, allowing him to conduct centuries-long research that human scientists can only dream about. As reckless as he is brilliant, Takeuchi holds the key to the existence of new vampires. If only he stopped to think about where he left the lock.


Suwa was turned into a vampire at just 15 years old, over 300 years ago. Just like Defrott, he has grown detached from humanity and very little moves him. He's a skilled assassin who has no problem eliminating any targets, as he's convinced that death is preferable to vampirism. Suwa's arc in Mars Red is one of the most heart-wrenching, unexpected and ultimately satisfactory, as he goes from a cold hitman to the only member of Code Zero to get a happy romantic ending.

Shutaro Kurusu

Mars Red

Shutaro Kurusu is an incredibly powerful Class A vampire who has not yet realized the extent of his vampiric abilities (there's no one as powerful as he is to teach him). His goal in life was to prove he could become a man and provide for himself, but unlife has changed him to someone who wants to do good, getting queasy at the idea of killing anyone at all. His delight when he discovers ultrasonic hearing and super-speed is contagious, and his love for Aoi is obvious from the first scene they share together.


Aoi is a feisty journalist, determined to bring The Truth to her readers -- whether it be in the Red Light District or the Imperial Theater. Her line of work puts her in contact with most of the vampires, and her determination and appearance -- she's a dead ringer for Misaki Nakajima -- turns her into Maeda's nagging conscience. Aoi is energetic, independent, optimistic and has a huge appetite for life despite, or maybe because of, the many losses she suffered early in life. One of Mars Red's best characters.


Tenmaya-san is the shopkeeper of an antiques and curiosities store who knows everything about everyone, and also provides services to unregistered vampires. Very open-minded but reserved about his clients, unless something (or someone) is threatening them.


Ayame, a girl in her early teens, was turned into a vampire during Mars Red. She's the leader and protector of other child vampires, facing off against zombie vampires, murderous humans and other fiends to keep them alive. Trust doesn't come easy to Ayame, and like almost everyone else in the show, she harbors a dark secret.

Rufus Glenn

Rufus Glenn is a Scottish vampire who has recently moved to Tokyo for his own reasons. He knows Defrott and Nakajima, and styles himself as a whiskey-and-perfume merchant trying to promote his products in Japan. His pleasant appearance and unctuousness barely conceal his cruel appetites. Crossing paths with Glenn might end with a useful tip -- or it might end in death.

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