Dies Iraemanaged to lift my expectations in a single opening scene and then destroy them in the duration of the episode. It was one of the most promising openings of the series and it somehow promised to explain all the mumbo-jumbo we heard in the last episode about bloodlines and twins and weird situations. After another episode, I still don’t know what the hell is going on. And you know what happens when things are unexplained: giant skeletons appear to save the day. That fiery skeleton was so cool.
Japanese Title: 母の罪
Dies Irae tries a little too hard to bring forth both the philosophy and the action. I have to admit that the opening sequence was the most interesting of the series so far. Riza Brenner is definitely one of the key characters in the story. The psychic ward for children with extraordinary powers seemed important, even if we never learned who they were or why they were here. I hoped that the ward scene coupled with Riza fracking that dude who looks like Heydrich or even the priest (they do look alike, don’t they?) and giving birth to twins signified an episode where more things would be explained.
In reality, nothing made sense. We know nothing about the wonderkids. The twin is probably Theresia, or Theresia is just a descendant of that twin, we can’t know for sure. The priest is so keen on fighting more as if they were his own children. Were they? Or maybe they were the children of the one who occupied the body before the priest since he mentioned something about being in a vessel with emotions. Who knows…
And what was that flashback with the guillotine? Is that person a descendant of Marie? Did her father turn executions into a family business?
Will anything make sense until the series is over?
Giant Skeleton: That flaming giant we see in the opening sequence? Well, here he is. It’s the pet of Eleonore von Wittenburg, one of the Valkyries that pledged herself to Nazi Führer during the first episode. She somehow was impressed by the tear-jerking monologue Ren gave Sakurai, and so she used her skeleton pet to knock her down and instead fight Ren herself. I don’t know why she was impressed or why they couldn’t fight Ren together, but I guess she has her reason. When you go for a stroll around with a giant fiery skeleton on a lease, you don’t get to ask many questions. I don’t know if Ren has any chance against someone who just took out in a second Sakurai who was much stronger than he was. But since the anime is approaching its finale, I am guessing that Ren will go through with his own transformation awakening.
I don’t want to kill, but I must kill
Firestar: Sakurai took the next step in her powers and transformed into a fiery samurai of immense power. She can cut through matter and matter cuts through her. She is nearly invisible. There is a lot of fire in this episode. Sakurai’s transformation sequence was one of the best-animated moments of the series so far.
Stars: A lot of great visual moments in this episode, with my favorite being Marie watching the stars and tip-toeing her way across the roof. I am always fond of scenes involving stars and space, and this one was coupled with cliché dialogues, but who cares? There were stars all over!
Sakurai and Ren: Probably one of the best fight sequences of the series took place behind Riza’s back. It lasted only a few seconds but it had better animation than 80% of the series thus far.
Themes & Trivia
Cain: The monster that Riza summons from the void is named after the firstborn of Adam and Eve, the first humans created by God. It’s a fitting name for Riza’s power since she is willing to sacrifice one child to save the other, in a somewhat similar parallel to how Cain killed Abel, his brother, because God favored his brother’s sacrifices than his own.
Dies Irae is a complex story that seems to waste no time in trying to explain what is happening. I am guessing that this happens because most of its viewers are fans of the game. They already know what happened and what is going to happen. They can put the pieces together much easier than the rest of us. I wish I had played the game before watching the series because now the anime is more confusing than the Old Testament.
Let the Skeleton Fight!
Let us have some moments of enjoyment before this anime closes its circle. Let us see some more fights that will utilize everyone’s powers to their extreme. Let us forget about the confusing plot and the myriad characters and their shade connections. Let us have peace (or war).
Did you like Episode 9 of Dies Irae? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to check the rest of our weekly anime reviews here on MANGA.TOKYO.