English Dub Season Review: Lord of Vermillion: The Crimson King Season One

It’s a bloody mess.

Lord of Vermillion¬†is a show that carries a bit of pretense with it. Not an original series,¬†Lord of Vermillion is an adaptation of the successful Square Enix arcade card game of the same name. If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of it before, its because the game was never released into the United States, and remains solely a property that exists in the world of Japanese arcades. You may wonder still, then, why Funimation has decided to give the anime adaptation of this game an English dub. Well, after watching the entire 12 episodes of this strange, outlandish show, I really couldn’t tell you why Funimation decided to waste its audience’s time with this garbage. It is bad from start to finish, in all categories. The story is rushed, the animation ugly, the characters poorly developed, and the plot is incoherent, like the ramblings of a homeless man telling you a story in the park.

The story is…convoluted, to say the least. It revolves around a young college student in Tokyo named Chihiro, who lives with his buddy Kotetsu after some dangerous circumstances killed his parents in his youth. On one typical school day, he’s at school with Chihiro when a strange high-pitched ringing noise causes him and a bunch of other people to pass out. When he wakes up, Tokyo is surrounded by a blanket of red fog, seemingly generated from some giant plants that have sprung up out of nowhere. As it turns out, this transformation of the city is known as the “Great Collapse.” From there, Chihiro and his friends find out that some of them have the ability to wield some kind of blood magic as weapons and armor, with some being able to transform into mythical creatures. At the same time, there is a group of evil folks known as the “Chaos” who can turn innocent people into monsters in addition to using their blood armaments. All the while, Chihiro and his friends who have developed powers have what’s called the “Heroic Lineage,” which destines them to be heroes and fight Chaos. Meanwhile, there is a strange extra-dimensional woman named “Dux” who seems to be pulling some mysterious strings for her own purposes.

And it only gets stranger from there. The plot runs fast and loose, with characters we barely know dying right off the bat, not giving the audience enough time to develop any kind of relationship with them. Then, the story gets mired in all of these odd details about “The Second Great Collapse”, Chaos and its obfuscated motivations for what it does, and, later on, multiple dimensions. There’s no real unity of theme and the plot just goes in all of these strange directions, seemingly without any idea where they’re headed. Things just sort of happening, and the audience just watches in awe, helpless to understand what motivates this nonsense. It’s like watching a slow-moving train derail itself, and then fall of the track into a ditch, and then explode.

So the story is just wack, but sometimes a show can make up for that lack of good writing with exciting action. But, sadly, you won’t find any of that here. The animation is…stiff. You would think that having blood weapons combined with magical creatures would make for some explosive and visceral action, but the show can’t get itself together on that front. The blood armor isn’t so much animated as it is slapped onto the character models, while the actual fighting relies heavily on jump cuts to indicate fighting without really showing any. Get ready for a lot of people yelling at each other, but not a whole lot of people doing anything. Not to mention, the character designs are edgy and overdone, manifesting as a clash of fantasy blood armor and modern Japanese casual wear. It looks lazy, its boring to watch, there’s really not a lot more to it than that.

I don’t think anyone actually watched this show, and I’m completely amazed than an English dub of it even exists. It doesn’t take a critic to realize that this anime is a complete mess. And, considering that it doesn’t have a following of any kind in the United States, there’s no brand recognition to draw anyone to the show. It’s a mystery from start to finish, both inside and out. I can’t recommend watching this show, not even for giggles. It’s not a fun kind of bad, like watching “The Room” or “Ghost Stories”, it’s just plain, weird, ugly, bad. This is a show made to be buried. Like a bad dream, it’s best if we forgot about it entirely, and moved in with our lives as if this series had never happened.

Score
2/10

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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