Dies Irae
Episodes 7-8

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Dies irae ?

How would you rate episode 8 of
Dies irae ?

After having to skip last week due to a holiday time crunch, my first thought after catching up on episode 7 was "that's it?" Really, how does an entire episode pass by with so little actually happening?

To be fair, the episode wasn't entirely devoid of plot progression. It started with one of the most awkward-looking dances ever animated as Heydrich entertained a confused and overwhelmed Margeurite, which was followed by an equally awkward scene where Rea releases Ren from being chained in the basement of the church and then asks him to rape or kill her while flashing images imply that she's connected to the skeletal girl seen near the end of episode 1. (Since the priest refers to her as Theresia, maybe she's a reincarnation?) Other flashbacks seem to indicate that Ren was a clone created by Kasumi's father as “the bastard child of Karl Krafft,” and his creator also initially calls him Zarathustra, which is another name for the prophet Zoroaster, the founder of the ancient religion Zoroastrianism. (It is more likely that this is a reference to the Friedrich Nietzsche book Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, as some themes from that book about the philosophy of eternal recurrence are relevant to Heydrich's situation.) But the rest of the episode is just Heydrich tiresomely expounding to Ren about how he wants to escape the perpetual sense of déjà vu that he's trapped in. Dullsville.

The one slightly interesting detail to come out of that conversation is that the whole town was set up to be a duplicate for the sacrifice of Berlin back during World War II, which gets dealt with more in episode 8. The eight swastika locations, which will combine to generate a giant city-wide swastika to grant Heydrich's wish (or something like that), are unsurprisingly revealed to include both the city and the church. They also include the dance club that Shirou and girlfriend Honjou are holed up in, which becomes the scene for the first of three planned massacres in a bloodbath that swamps anything in King's Game for stupid hyper-violence, along with an additional opportunity for awkward dancing animation and the puzzling exit of both Shirou and Honjou, who almost certainly aren't dead given that they call the short German girl's attempt to kill them “boring.” Before that, we also finally learn why they had such resources and knowledge at their disposal: Honjou is the daughter of one of the city's wealthiest and most connected families. (But she avoids explaining why she's doing this given that background.) Kasumi also gets tasered and kidnapped by Honjou a couple times, presumably to keep her out of trouble. But we at least do get one of the series' rare comic asides as Marie tries on Kasumi's clothing while Ren's on the phone with Honjou.

The only other mildly interesting detail is in the epilogue, which is easy to miss because this series doesn't always use them. This conversation reveals that there's some lost bloodline associated with the Round Table and that the mother of said bloodline is actually a nun. Rea would make the most sense as the descendant, given her part-German heritage, having lived at the church, and hair color. But what does this actually have to with anything? Who knows.

There are some signs of potentially intriguing plots and philosophical connections, and the interplay between Marie and Ren in episode 8 isn't bad at all. It's a shame the execution overall is so poor.

Rating: C

Dies Irae is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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