I want to give this show a chance, I really do. If you’ve seen my past articles, you know I tend to stick it out for shows regardless of how bad they are and everyone else drops the shows. I maintain hope, I hold the line, I give it a shot in hopes that it will turn around and surprise me. I watched and hoped for the romantic sweet ending to Hajimete no Gal. I waited and anticipated the amazing plot twist and revelations that would be at the end of 18if. I thought Big Order would be on par with Mirai Nikki.
I was there, the day Horus slew the Emperor. I digress, but regardless, I have put up with some admittedly trash anime in hopes it would pay off in the end. Sometimes this has been the case and my patients was rewarded. Other times, (most times honestly) I was left filled with more justification that the world is a sucktacular place filled with disappointment and dashed hope. But never, have I ever been so close to dropping a show as I am with Dies Irae.
Let me offer some insight into my mentality for these kinds of shows most would drop at episode 3. By design of my career, I find and measure all things in life as a simple ROI or Return On Investment. I equate a certain amount of value to my time and weigh whether or not the amount of time spent is worth dropping (effectively wasting all Investment time spent so far for nothing to show) , versus to keep spending time in the initial investment (in this case the garbage anime) until the end for what value there is in the completion (the Return). This sort of approach makes me stubborn with projects and terrible in an upper management position, but also it leaves me surprisingly optimistic to the outcome of certain shows. Much like someone in an abusive or toxic relationship I found myself making excuses for this show.
“It’s only episode 0, it doesn’t count.”
“I should give it until episode 3 for a real 3-Episode test.”
“Maybe after mid season it will all get better.”
“At least there’s some funny ecchi?”
Regardless of the comedy in the first few episodes, it seems out of place and forced. The show tries to balance this comedy that I normally really enjoy with the mysterious appeal found in more serious shows I typically also normally enjoy. While this would be great if the balance was struck, no such compromise was met and I’m left wondering 7 (really 8) episodes later, what in the hell am I watching? The animation seems ok at times then shoots to straight up awful, with the kind of CG that justifies the hate for 3D animation. The intro and first few episodes left me feeling like this would be like Devil Survivor 2 which had a similar dynamic and a decent if not at least good execution, along with the debate of chaos vs order where chaos is really free will and order means a dystopian style world.
What I got instead of an interesting theological debate about things such as freedom vs safety or mortality, we have people wearing terribly impractical outfits, a show with Nazi’s that never say the N word, and swastikas as a legitimate plot point but they NEVER show one. We even have a girl who’s soul lives inside of a guillotine and sings the creepiest goddamned song ever. So let me get to a legitimately good part of the show. The music is amazing, even if nothing else positive could be said about the show with the intro being a creepy Gothic stylized chanting song and the ending being something you’d expect to hear on a Rammstein album. The guillotine song is just terribly scary and leaves you with chills for how simple and catchy it is when you hear it. Even the backstory of the girl and how her first words were the song: “Blood, blood, blood. It wants blood. Offer blood to the guillotine. Blood to quench the guillotine’s thirst. What it wants is blood, blood, blood.”
So this show jumps back and forth more than I can really explain. We have a great time with the humor like how the main character and company live in adjacent apartments with holes in the walls, then they try to act like the Nazi villains are magically important, even though they are pants on head stupid evil. Then we introduce Marguerite (the above blonde) who ends up being our main character Ren’s magical power manifested into physical form. To be perfectly honest, I’m just left finding that this show seems like they jump an episode or two between each episode. They suddenly display Ren being able to fight at full force using his powers, or his best friend jumping into the fray being immortal because of his ability to foresee the future due to deja vu. Then suddenly they try to drop the plot on you and act like it makes sense that the bad guys have been making Ren stronger so that they could fight and unleash swastika points across this arbitrary Japanese town. Honestly I’m going to show you some random photos and screenshots and the context of each screenshot will leave you even MORE confused than without it.
All in all, I’m sticking with the show just because its almost done and I can chalk it up as yet another reason for me to not trust or have hope. If you notice, I’ve done surprisingly less plot explanation than we’ve done for these mid seasons and that’s predominantly because the plot line in this show is a Möbius strip. I recommend alternatives such as Hellsing for your Nazi killing fix, Steins;Gate to sate your hunger for complex multi-universe plots, and/or Haruhi Suzumiya for that mix of a initially confusing but ultimately brilliant execution. Are you also dealing with this “2×4 to the face” of a show? Am I crazy for being dissatisfied with this show? Leave a comment or a like and don’t forget to subscribe so I know I’m not the only confused person.