Episode 2 of Dies Irae is making me wonder what kind of a masterpiece the visual novel is that had so many fans crowdfund this mess of an anime. If the fans are happy with it, then the anime is fulfilling its purpose, but in my eyes, this is still as bit of a mess as it was two episodes before. Maybe it’s the visual novel or maybe it’s just me, but there is something definitely wrong with this show.
Japanese Title: 獣の爪牙
I don’t even want to pretend I understand what is happening in this series. If not for the many male characters, Dies Irae could have easily been a harem anime with a fantasy setting, or at least that’s what Episode 1 and Episode’s 2 opening panties show suggested. What this episode wanted to make sure, however, was to remind us that there was a fantasy battle element to this show. Fujii is supposed to be the protagonist who will somehow defeat the evil Nazis, but we have yet to understand how and why he gets that power. For now, we only guess at the connection with the blonde decapitated buxom beauty and the mysterious cloaked figure, but only because the two Nazi attackers implied as much. After all, they were both testing him in some kind of initiation ritual. Are they trying to recruit him? Is he some kind of supernatural prodigy?
We learn that the priest from the preview episode has some nice cover story as part of the church where Rea (Theresia) lives and that he is somehow in charge of what is happening there. Some awkward moments later, Fujii is off the lighthearted moments of the comedy part and on a battle to the death as the red-haired Nazi and the other one I still don’t remember from the preview attack him to test his strength. As I said earlier, we still don’t know why or how or anything about that power. Everything in this episode seems to happen for a reason, but we viewers are clueless to what these reasons might be.
In a nutshell, something happened in this episode but we really don’t know what and why.
Guillotine Girl: We learn that her name is Marguerite and that the mysterious guy called Mercurius or something is in love with her and has something to do with Fujii’s powers. Not much else I could make out in this mess.
Panties: I get it. Visual novels rely on visual cues to tell the story and fan service is part of them. Ok, great. If that scene was just to please the game fans, then I’m ok with it. The problem with how it was presented was that it felt so unconnected to the anime by placing it just before the opening sequence.
More Harem Members: I am gonna murder the red-haired’s name (it was difficult and I can’t remember it and I am writing this without the episode at hand) but Resalka Schwagerin and Sakurai Kai (the one left in charge of ground operations) are OF COURSE going to be students in Fujii’s school, sorry, I meant Schule.
Woman Dead: She was the woman who Father Trifa stopped for directions. Irrelevant connection but I had to make it.
Themes & Trivia
Christmas: I haven’t played the game, so the fans may forgive me, but I have a feeling that Christmas Day is going to be an important date in the story. Theresia seems like a vital character and her birthday is on 25 December. Also, the game Acta est Fabula was released on Christmas. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Gratuitous German: One of my favorite tropes, Gratuitous Foreign Language is the use of a foreign language inserted into a work or dialogue, whether it is necessary or not. I guess we have to expect a lot of that in the following episodes.
There is something wrong with this show. From the direction to the music, nothing really proves effective to what it was supposed to do. The enemies do not feel menacing; the jokes are awkward and not funny; the action sequences feel disjointed; the music feels like it came out of a game… oh, wait. I think that the problem with adaptations, and especially with crowdfunded anime, is adhering to expectations. Somehow, this anime feels like it is trying too hard to please certain people and makes it feel alien to the rest of us. There is nothing wrong with creating stuff just for the fans, but this is an anime, and people watch anime regardless if they are an adaptation or not. There are many adaptations this season that are a delight to watch (Inuyashiki for one). That makes me wonder if it’s the original format that creates the problem. And then I remember Higurashi. Nevertheless, there is something wrong with this anime. Since we are still in Episode 2, I will have to give it the benefit of the doubt and wait until most of the mysteries are revealed.
Not a Chance to Have a Normal School Life
We already know that with the fictional Nazis becoming students and Fujii being the protagonist of the most confusing story I have seen this season. At least it’s not as bad as King’s Game or Evil or Live. There is still hope for this show to bring us more than an imitation of a visual novel.