Dies irae Episode 1: Disturbing Dreams and the Gathering Evil

Quick Summary

In Dies irae Episode 1, “Twilight Girl,” even though Ren Fujii gets into a serious fist-fight with his best friend, he still feels like the normal days of his high school life are precious. He even secretly likes the sometimes angry attention from Kasumi Ayase. Those feelings make the nightmares he’s been having, including literally losing his head to a guillotine during the French Revolution, all the more troubling. The more time that passes, the more uneasy he becomes. But he’d be even more uneasy if he knew that dangerous and dark individuals were gathering close by.

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
Thoughts
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3 Favorite Moments

Ayase made no attempt to hide how much she was upset with Fujii — and he seemed to enjoy every minute of it! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. I’m beginning to see why episode 0 showed us the villains. Now, the little things that Fujii enjoys, even Ayase badgering him (like at 4:30), take on an almost tragic weight. Fujii enjoys this life; it’s what he wants to protect. We know — and he doesn’t know — that it’s all about to come crashing down. Also, the realistic dynamic between Fujii and Ayase was a delight to watch. They seemed so comfortable with each other, and I liked that.
  2. Fujii meeting the guillotine in person (6:50) was foreboding and creepy! It seemed to cow even the ever-energetic Ayase. The rust on the blade, compared to the pristine blades of the swords they’d seen in the rest of the exhibit, made the artifact feel like something that might have seen heavy use. The blonde girl who floated out of the guillotine, apparently only visible to Fujii, looked a lot like the girl we saw briefly at the end of the previous episode — she seemed to be the blonde girl that the bloody ritual at the end of the last episode seemed to be resurrecting. Or maybe not — that girl had golden eyes, and this girl has green eyes. Sigh.
  3. Such a pretty girl, singing such a pretty song — about a guillotine’s thirst for blood! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

    This show does like its contrasts! Here’s this pretty blonde girl, white dress swirling in the wind, singing what sounds like a beautiful song — that turns out to be about how the guillotine wants to satisfy its thirst for blood (10:40)! It was the perfect way to set up Fujii’s dream self to be called “Cagliostro” and to relive the scene of his own beheading. The scene with the crowd demanding blood, even singing a version of the song we just head so prettily sung, was horrifying. I have to say that Fujii’s fear of blade is easy to understand now!

Thoughts

Well, the plot seemed more straight-forward compared to the previous episode, so I feel a little less lost. I’m still lost, mind you — but I’m beginning to feel hopeful that the threads will make sense soon. The biggest issue I have right now is that too many of the characters look similar, and while I’m trying to figure out who’s who on screen, the story keeps moving, and I have to fight to reacquire the plot.

I have to say that Ayase reminds me a lot of a slightly less talented but every bit as energetic version of Misaki Kamiigusa from The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. I’m pretty confident these two shows are going to be wildly different, though!

Fujii clearly enjoys his normal life, even when Ayase get right in his face. Too bad these days are coming to an end! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Like I mentioned above, I can see glimmers of hope that the plot’s going to make sense. If we go by the universal plot Rosetta stone (a.k.a., “The last story structure chart you’ll ever need” by RobertCarlson), and if we use Billy Wilder’s approach to plotting, I can see how this episode is putting the main character into the tree — and I have a feeling that tree’s about to be set on fire!

I wonder if the Cagliostro mentioned here refers to the supposed model for Faust? Though that historical figure was supposed to have died after suffering strokes, he did seem to be someone who wanted to heal others and might be considered a good guy. And I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised that the Church at the time despised him and ruined his reputation just to maintain their power. Facts never seemed to get in their way when they wanted to brand someone a heretic…

Could a priest pre-forgive sins — even mortal sins like wide-scale murder? Does the question even matter in this context? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Sometimes, I wish I didn’t have a degree in theology and an unfortunate insistence on fact. I think I might be more light-hearted otherwise…

I thought it was interesting that the “priest” granted absolution to his fellow evil folk. For those of you not familiar with Catholic thought, through Confession/Reconciliation, a priest can be the medium through whom sins can be forgiven. This sacrament’s based on Matthew 18:18, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” I’ve often wondered what would happen if a priest went rogue and starting forgiving the “wrong” things? Seems like Dies irae’s about to answer that question!

There are some things in this episode that bothered me, like Rea Himuro saying it’s dangerous to be out and about because of the murder, and the next time we see her, she’s out alone giving a stranger directions. Overall, though, I think the show’s building good momentum, and I’lm looking forward to the next episode.

How about you? Are things coming together? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Post Author: tcrow