Dies irae Episode 8: Deadly Dancing and the Sonnenkind Bloodline

Quick Summary

In Dies irae Episode 8, “Promise,” Ren Fujii and Erii Honjou come to an arrangement for mutual support while Marie shyly chose suitable attire. Rusalka Schwägelin demonstrates what happens when a swastika opens — and it involves killer dance moves. Literally. Kasumi Ayase meets a taser and ends up in a closet. Who would treat her so poorly? And why? Finally, what the heck is the Sonnenkind Bloodline and how’s it relate to our hero?

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

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
Thoughts
Related Posts

3 Favorite Moments

The disciplined and lethal Eleonore receives orders to cause havoc. Too bad she was only in the episode a few seconds! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. Valeria Trifa had just finished laying out the plan to open a total of 5 swastikas (and I still hate using that word — shudder!). He even specified who would open them (Wilhelm Ehrenburg, Rusalka, Kei Sakurai, Riza Brenner*, and maybe Göetz von Berlichingen (based on his huge size), so he had it all planned out. No sooner had they all dispersed than Valeria wondered aloud if Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich would wait for the plans to develop or act on his own. Well, guess what? Reinhard’s not a patient, uh, glowing being! The very next scene is him giving an order to Eleonore von Wittenburg to open the fifth swastika — with rough force (1:56). Why do I like this scene? Because Eleonore is probably my favorite character. Back in episode 0, she demonstrated general badassery when she said calmly that she was going to “kill the attackers, of course.” It’s not that attitude alone that I enjoy. She’s dangerous. She’s not a playful, temper-tantrum throwing dangerous like Rusalka, who you know will eventually lose her temper, make a mistake, and fall. No, Eleonore is focused and disciplined. Even worse, she sees herself as fighting for a higher cause. Of all the characters I’ve met so far, aside from Reinhard, she’s the one I’d least like to meet in battle. It’d be a brief meeting.

    Marie’s gone from being comfortable sleeping nude next to Fujii to being embarrassed to change around him. She should probably have asked him to wait in the hall! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  2. It’s interesting to see the effect a spear through her heart is having on Marie. While Fujii’s on the phone with Honjou, Marie tries to decide what to wear. In contrast to her first scene in bed with Fujii, she seems really embarrassed at being naked with him in the room (6:36). She’s becoming more human-like, and that’s fun to watch. On the other hand, as charming as that part of the scene was, the shots up Honjou’s skirt were just creepy. Doubly so when you consider what happened to her later in the episode. Sometimes this show just confuses me.
  3. Valeria and Wilhelm discussing the Sonnenkind bloodline (22:15) was the kind of interesting foreshadowing and mystery that I’d expect earlier in a series, but I’ll take it! Apparently, Riza’s lied  about her son dying in World War II. He was the brother of Isaak, who Reinhard apparently absorbed sometime around episode 0. Why did Riza lie? Why was Valeria investigating her? And as Valeria himself asked, where’s the bloodline today? These kinds of questions drive a plot froward. They engage the audience and increase interest. Shouldn’t it have come a few episodes sooner? Maybe even six or seven episodes sooner? I’ll take it this late in the game. I just hope it’s not too late!

* To be honest, I’m not sure that’s Riza. The shot showed only a portion of each character’s face, and the character I thought was Riza wasn’t wearing any glasses.

Thoughts

Valeria and Wilhelm discuss the Sonnenkind bloodline. What’s that mean for Fujii? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I’m beginning to have a bad feeling about Dies irae. In my review of episode 7, I expressed concern that the episode didn’t get a lot of new content. We got some interesting tidbits, sure, but most of it we had already guessed. That was seven episodes into an 11 episode run. There are different theories about how a story should be structured, but we’re more than half way in. The protagonist should be under severe stress (he kinda is; but he also is kinda laying his head in Marie’s lap for a good portion of this episode). He should be getting ready for the final push/attack/resolution. Did we really have time for an almost idle episode?

And now we have episode 8. I thought it was closer in structure to what I’d expect from a story. We got to see some dramatically interesting developments, like Rusalka’s method of “emerging.” It was as bloody as you’d expect, and she was as dismissive to her foes as we figured she would be. We also got some interesting hints about the Sonnenkind bloodline, which raises interesting questions like are Fujii and maybe even Shirou Yusa related to Riza?

Rusalka’s “emergence” was as bloody and terrible as we expected. Too bad this show can’t seem to animate dancing very well! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But that kind of thing belongs earlier in a story, don’t you think? Probably in the setup or at least early in the protagonist’s initial reaction to the central threat? It would have made the story feel less like a love letter to insiders (those who’ve read/played the visual novel) and more like a plot that was inviting all of us viewers to enjoy.

I guess the good news is that this show doesn’t seem like as bad a train wreck as I thought Taboo Tattoo was. The bad news is that it doesn’t look like it’s living up to its potential. Given the tropes it brought to the table (super-powered Nazis as villains, magic fueled by human souls), I had hoped for more. Guess we’ll have to wait to see how the final three episodes play out!

Are you still hopeful? Are you wondering why I’m still watching? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Post Author: tcrow

  • Thanks for another great review and thumb up for Eleonore!

    > That was seven episodes into an 11 episode run.

    The thing is the show is actually 17 episode long (if you exclude episode 0), episodes 12-17 will be streamed online, though, I’m not yet sure where. It should be a complete adaptation of Marie route. Originally they’ve planned to include some stuff from other routes as well, but I don’t know if that’s still a thing, because even with 17 episodes they don’t have too much time left. I guess, we’ll see how it goes.

    > It would have made the story feel less like a love letter to insiders (those who’ve read/played the visual novel) and more like a plot that was inviting all of us viewers to enjoy.

    I have to agree. They should have either made the show longer (which wasn’t an option due to limited budget) or somehow rearranged the script. Instead they are trying to follow the novel as close as possible, and that results in weird pacing and other nasty things. So yeah, I’d say the way it is it certainly doesn’t live up to its potential. I’m actually feeling bad for recommending it to you now =(

    • Hi Starseeker!

      I hadn’t heard about the online streaming. I’ll keep an eye open for that. MAL’s showing only 11 episodes, and that’s where I got my info. I wonder if the 11th episode (or 12th, counting episode 0) will include information about where to find the final episodes? I hope so!

      Please don’t feel bad about the recommendation! Visually, Dies irae is really interesting, and some of the characters like Eleonore and Valeria are fascinating! So even if the pacing’s off and they’re trying to put too much into too few episodes, it’s still fun to watch. I’d rather see a series try something awesome and come up short than play it safe and boring!

      Thanks for stopping by!