Mars Red Reveals an Unexpected Child Killer

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

Episode 8 of Mars Red stays on Kurusu's point of view, trying to piece together the events that led to the disappearance of most of his task force and the consequences of Nakajima and Glenn's mass vampire infection campaign, which is killing civilians by the thousands.

Even worse, a new threat has appeared: the newly-turned vampire children have heard rumors of a masked man who is killing only children, and the kids don't feel comfortable playing outside anymore.

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Kurusu, who is still searching for his colleagues, initially dismisses the kids' tales. He heads to Code Zero's headquarters to salvage what he can from the wreckage and possibly find a clue about the whereabouts of Suwa, Takeuchi, Maeda, and Yamagami. Nobody answers his calls, but when he reaches the section with the cells that held unstable vampires he finds a recording of Maeda, instructing his men to kill Kurusu on sight. Horrified at his mentor's treason, Kurusu rushes into the corridor connecting to the waterways and finds Suwa hunched over the limp body of a dead vampire girl.

He can be naive, but Kurusu quickly connects the dots: the vampire children had been disappearing around the Tsukijima area, where Code Zero (and Suwa) were based. Suwa, who was only 16 when he was turned 300 years ago, has always expressed his dislike of other vampire children -- like Defrott -- calling them "abominations." And Suwa is the deadliest, fastest, and coldest of all the vampires. He didn't hesitate to execute the vampire lovers in Mars Red Episode 2.

So Kurusu does what every anime hero is supposed to do and charges at Suwa. His adversary doesn't miss a beat and unsheathes his modified daggers, shedding his cape to move more easily. They would have killed each other if not for Takeuchi, who throws a stink bomb into the room, overwhelming Suwa and Kurusu's sensitive noses and stopping the fight in its tracks. Because, it turns out Suwa did not kill this particular girl -- it was a set-up, just like the recording Kurusu found, hand-crafted to pit the remaining Code Zero vampires against each other. The real killer was Rufus Glenn, but his ruse was so believable because Suwa has killed other vampire children in the past.

On their way back to vampire camp, the three Code Zero survivors take shelter from the sun under a crumbling shed, where they see yet another vampire child huddling across the street. This kid was malnourished before he turned, and as his red eyes follow a rat running under the sun Kurusu tries to stop him -- only for Suwa to pull him back, letting the boy burst into blue flames.

Kurusu is understandably angry, but Suwa explains that vampires are constantly hungry, constantly on guard -- and that vampire children just don't survive because they can rarely manage on their own. However, Suwa's perspective is very skewed. He was left alone -- as was Defrott -- and it must have been incredibly hard, but what Mars Red keeps pointing out is that community and a social network make all the difference. Defrott started flourishing when he met Misaki, and later Aoi, and the three little vampire kids are mostly happy-go-lucky children, particularly as Tenmaya-san and the older vampires are helping them adapt.

Suwa may yet change his mind -- when they reach the shelter, the first ones rushing to meet them are these three vampire kids, eager to trust them like they do Kurusu, their savior. Even the eldest girl, who was initially reluctant because she knew about Suwa's tendencies, decides to extend her temporary vote of confidence. Takeuchi is delighted that these children managed to keep their wits as vampires, and Kurusu's protective instincts would also make it very difficult for Suwa to start killing them -- especially since they're thriving.

However, things might not be so easy for Mars Red's other child vampire, Defrott. After turning Maeda into a bloodsucker to save him from certain death, he's hiding inside the Imperial Hotel, huddling in a corner in clear breakdown mode. Hopefully, Suwa won't choose to whet his blades with Defrott's throat.

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