Mars Red: Every Rule Vampires Must Obey

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

Mars Red is a historical vampire anime set in an alternate version of 1923's Tokyo, during the Taisho era, a time of major industrialization and a renewed interest in Western culture. In the Mars Red world, the government knows about vampires and is worried about their proliferation, despite efforts to displace them from their homes or assimilate them into the military. To curve the rate of infection, the military task a special vampire squadron, Code Zero, with finding the source.

The vampires of Code Zero are all different from each other with various powers and weaknesses dictated not only by their age, but also by their class and their natural skills. However, they are also governed by the same basic set of rules, some of which might be familiar to vampire fans.

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How Are Mars Red Vampires Made?

Vampires are created when one vampire bites a human to drink their blood, leaving behind a stigmata and a deadly infection. This infection kills nine out of ten victims, with survivors...dying and turning into vampires themselves. Of these new vampires, only a fraction keep all their wits about themselves; many become trapped in their own minds.

The class of the new fledgling is defined by the vampire who bit them -- the more powerful the attacker, the more powerful the fledgling. Fledglings are always one class below their sire, though, similar to how "Generations" work in Vampire: The Masquerade.

What Defines a Vampire in Mars Red?

Mars Red vampires are defined by their blood appetite, their eternal youth and their vulnerability to sunlight. They also have a "stigmata," a ring-shaped scar on the place where they were bitten. So far, so Stoker. However, unlike other vampires in pop culture, they don't need that much blood to survive and can manage with artificial sources or treated blood -- the usual dose is a finger-sized vial. However, powerful vampires dislike the flavor and scent of treated blood. Vampires are also nigh-invulnerable. They can be hurt, but can easily mend most of their wounds -- including bullet holes -- as soon as they drink blood.

After that, it depends on the vampire. The higher their class, the farther away they are from humanity -- in theory. Their eyes have distinct slit-pupils and become bright red, their strength and speed increase and they project shadows that showcase their real power, which can only be seen by certain vampires. But this doesn't mean that their minds are monstrous: Shutaro, one of the protagonists of the series, is an extremely powerful fledgling who is still very much in touch with his humanity. And there are exceptions to every rule: older vampires like Deffrot do not have red eyes, but pale blue ones.

At the opposite end, there are Unranked vampires -- the World of Darkness equivalent would be a Thinblood. They were bitten by a so-so sire, making them stronger than humans but not as powerful as regular vampires. As a result, they don't have red eyes and their palate is much less refined.

How to Hunt a Mars Red Vampire?

The best way to hunt a Mars Red vampire is to never have to do it, either by imprisoning them underground, convincing them to join Code Zero or forcing them to register and keeping track of their moves. However, as Episodes 1 and 2 show, powerful vampires can break out of even the most impregnable underwater prison whenever they want, Code Zero is not an attractive prospect even for the people working inside it and many vampires disagree with registering and drinking from small vials of artificial blood. Luckily for vampire hunters, they have a clear protocol.

Human vampire hunters always work in pairs and, as much as possible, during daylight hours. They have strict instructions to never enter dark places even during the day, and if they must, do it with someone else. Even during daylight, they should carry powerful guns or, failing that, a very sharp katana to defend themselves. They will probably fail, because vampires are extremely fast, strong and able to disappear in mid-air, but at least that might intimidate the vampire to flee.

It is a bad idea for human hunters to tackle a vampire at night, when they're strongest. It's better that hunters act as reinforcements and human walls, corralling their target towards one predetermined exit where Code Zero will be waiting for them, ready to subdue the target with their special abilities. Should the target escape, the best way to find them is to comb the trash, looking for the tell-tale empty glass vials vampires drink from when not hunting...or to follow the trail of bodies.

Finally, it is important to offer vampires the option to surrender peacefully, in which case they will be registered and given food from approved blood sources. However, it is important to be ready if the vampire does not comply, either because their mind is too far gone to understand what the hunters are offering or because they don't agree with the proposal. Regardless, the best bet for any human vampire hunter is to drag out the hunt until the sun rises, at which point the vampire will spontaneously combust.

Mars Red, based on the stage play by Fujisawa Bun-o, is written by Fujisaku Junischi (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), directed by Fujisawa Bun-o and Hatano Kouhei, designed by Karakara Kemuri (Laughing Under the Clouds) and Takeuchi Yukari (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba) and scored by Muranaka Toshiyuki.


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