Mars Red Descends Into a Full-Blown Vampire Apocalypse

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 8, "Purgatory," of Mars Red, now streaming on Funimation.

Episode 8 of Mars Red moves the anime from a slow-paced mystery series full of contemplative pretty boy vampires into a full-blown apocalypse. Japanese History buffs may have been counting down the episodes that lead up to the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1st 1923, which in real life completely leveled Tokyo and, in the show, also threw a wrench into Rufus Glenn and General Nakajima's evil plans to create their own elite vampire squadron.

Episode 8 is told entirely from Shutaru Kurusu's point of view. Shutaru, the youngest vampire of Code Zero, was separated from Maeda and Yamagami after the earthquake collapsed Code Zero's bunker, and he spends the episode looking for his colleagues, trying to help survivors and piecing together the sinister events that are turning regular people with no contact with vampires into bloodthirsty zombies.

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The creators of the show reconstructed Tokyo's devastation as faithfully as they captured the ambiance of the Taisho era in the previous episodes. Almost everything has turned to rubble, and regular people help each other as well as they can, pulling survivors into clinics and encouraging each other to at least take the anti-vampire vaccine that the government had already distributed. After all, there are so many vampires coming after humans, and no walls or doors to protect anyone from them.

During his search, Shutaro runs into Aoi, his childhood friend. She has briefly stopped writing to assist in the food line, a job that she quickly gives up as soon as her editor tells her that there's a scoop to cover at the Imperial Hotel. Aoi sees Shutaro watching her, and freezes, dumbstruck and full of heartbreaking hope. He then disappears -- Shutaro knows that he's technically dead and that Aoi shouldn't see him, but he can't help but smile at how well she's doing.

Shutaro also finds Tomiko Yamagami, the wife of his comrade -- who has now really passed away, although Shutaro doesn't know that yet. He tells her stories of their time together in the army, showcasing his big heart and fantastic character, helping Tomiko smile despite the destruction around them.

Shutaru quickly notices that the people who take the vaccine have a high chance of turning into vampires -- if they're lucky. Most just go up in flames as soon as the sun touches them, never realizing that they had been infected until the moment they burn. Others become like the walking corpses of the Red Light District, hell-bent on eating anyone who stands on their way, other vampires included. More still them become like Shutaru himself, fully conscious creatures of the night quite confused about what happened to them. Not that they survive for long: if the sun doesn't get them, General Nakajima's terrifying vampire squadron surely will.

Enter the three cutest vampire children in the history of horror: two little girls and one boy who had taken the vaccine the previous night along with the rest of their class. They immediately became thirsty, and the only reason they didn't go outside and burn under the sun like their friends was that one of them was "making a fuss" and the other two stayed behind to help him. Shutaru, conscious that other vampires see him as a predator capable of eating them (due to his high ranking), uses his presence to get the trio to safety.

But with all his comrades gone, the only person who can help them is Tenmaya-san, the mysterious shopkeeper with ties to an underground network that keeps vampires safe from the government. Tenmaya-san takes the four young vampires to a secret safe house, feeding them safe vials of blood and trusting Shutaru with the location of the shiest bloodsuckers: those who live under the rails of Tokyo's future subway. Shutaru goes with Tenmaya-san's elderly assistant to bring them food -- they probably need it more than ever.

But when they arrive at the secret hideout, Nakajima's vampire squadron is waiting for them, ready to kill not just the rogue vampires but also Shutaro. Outmanned, outclassed and with only a couple of katana to the squadron's steampunk arsenal of death, Shutaro is nevertheless ready to make a last stand...when one of the soldiers' eyes turns from red to purple, and he turns against his own, bashing in the heads of Nakajima's men.

Shutaro and the assistant use the confusion to scramble, but the rogue soldier is not that lucky. Rufus Glenn, the mastermind behind the infected vaccines, was watching them and he expected nothing short of undying loyalty. For Glenn, the only punishment is death, and he quickly eliminates the soldier by pulling on the cables that allow him to breathe -- an act that should put him at odds with his main ally, General Nakajima, who claims to value the life of his men above everything else.


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