Deimos no Hanayome: Ran no Kumikyoku (Bride of Deimos: Orchid Suite; Bride of Deimos), directed by Rintaro. 30 minutes. August 31, 1988.
Unlike last week’s half-hour “forgotten” OVA, this week’s was definitely an adaptation from a popular manga of the time. Bride of Deimos was a woman’s fantasy/horror/romance manga by Etsuko Ikeda (writer) and Yoho Ashibe (artist), serialized from 1975 to 1983, collected & reprinted in 17 Princess Comics tankōbon volumes.
The story consisted of several standalone episodes and broke off abruptly; it was never finished. Apparently there was much reader demand for it to be resumed. Seven volumes were published in the U.S. by ComicsOne in 2005, left uncompleted by that publisher’s demise. There were also many U.S. complaints about the story’s unfinished nature, even though the manga was a series of independent episodes. ComicsOne described Bride of Deimos as: “This is a dark and brooding yet tantalizing anthology filled with passion, mystery, despair and one lovesick Demon.”
At the home of the gods on Mount Olympus, handsome Deimos (the god of terror) and beautiful Venus (goddess of love) were passionate lovers. They were also twin brother & sister. For this forbidden incest, Zeus, king of the gods, punished them by turning Deimos into a demon with wings & horns (but still handsome), and imprisoning Venus in Hades, hanging in thorns from a tree beneath an ocean, eternally rotting away but never dying. Deimos wants to rescue her, but is drawn to her current reincarnation, the high-school adolescent schoolgirl Minako Ifu. The manga is a romantic triangle between the three, focusing between Deimos, Venus, and Minako, depending on the chapter/story. Minako usually resents being controlled by Deimos (who she can’t help loving) or Venus, and wants to live her own life. Deimos can’t decide whether he loves the original Venus or her reincarnation in Minako.
The OAV is an adaptation of one story from the manga, “The Orchid Suite”. It begins with a scene of the beautiful Venus trapped within a forest of thorny branches. She is perpetually rotting away, and she calls to Deimos to rescue her. “I desire a human body!”
Student newspaper photographer Minako Ifu and Hisamatsu (no last name mentioned), a member of the school’s gardening club, are attending a 1987 World Orchid Exhibition in a Tokyo department store. Hisamatsu has won a prize for his orchid, but the Grand Prix has gone to the “Blue Lady” grown by Touko Ohba. Hisamatsu says that all international orchid growers are amazed and envious of the superb orchids that Touko Ohba grows, but she is a recluse who refuses to divulge her secrets. He has gotten her address, which he gives to Minako, but he says that she won’t give interviews.
A few days later, Minako learns that Hisamatsu hasn’t been seen in three days. She goes to the Ohba mansion which has an extensive garden and a greenhouse; but its gates are rusted shut, indicating that there are never any visitors and nobody ever leaves.
As she tries to enter, she is joined by Deimos. Presumably readers of the manga know that they are acquainted. She resents his insistence that she is his bride; she demands to live her own life. Deimos seems to threaten her if she insists on going in, but he says that he is only warning her that if she enters, tragedy will result.
She breaks in and, after being terrified by a spider, she discovers that Touko Ohba is crippled and wheelchair-bound, and that she is cared for by her younger brother, handsome Kaname. Kaname says that they have not seen Hisamatsu, and that nobody has entered their estate for years. He orders Minako to leave and never return. But as she leaves, she sees Hiramatsu’s notebook on the ground. After she leaves, Touko tells her brother that they will have to be more cautious in the future.
Minako goes to the police and persuades skeptical Inspector Imamura to return with her to the Ohba estate. He is impressed by all the orchids, and comments on the Ohbas’ large incinerator. Kaname says that they use it to produce ashes that they mix into their fertilizer. They also treasure the spiders that hunt the insects that interfere with the orchids’ cross-pollination.
Minako is briefly overpowered by the scent of the orchids. This makes it easy for the Ohba siblings to drug her coffee and pretend that she has just fainted again. They call Inspector Imamura to the telephone, where Touko kills him with a bow & arrow. Kaname burns his body in the incinerator. When Minako awakens, Kaname tells her the Inspector has already left. He gives Minako a sprig of Blue Lady, and tells her to go and never return. Touko is displeased that he let her go instead of killing her, too.
At the train station, Deimos tells Minako how she was tricked. She rushes back to the mansion and finds Kaname shoveling the Inspector’s ashes out of the incinerator. Touko confronts them both, and tells Kaname to tell Minako everything before they kill her.
When Kaname was 12, he and his playmate Mari dug a big-game pit trap in the garden. Touko, who was an older adolescent, was in love with Masao, the family servant. Their father considered Masao beneath them and killed him to stop the romance. Touko fell into the pit trap and was permanently crippled. The father later died and the two siblings lived in the mansion alone. Several years later Mari returned to marry Kaname. Touko killed her with an arrow so Kaname would see what it was to lose a lover. When they burned Mari’s body in the incinerator, they discovered that human ashes made the perfect fertilizer for the orchids. Since then they have been killing people to turn them into orchid fertilizer.
Touko is about to kill Minako when Kaname jumps in front of her and takes Touko’s arrow. He seizes Touko as Minako flees in horror. When she returns with Deimos, the mansion and especially the greenhouse are in flames as a glorious funeral pyre for the siblings.
The end. Since this was advertised as a romance/horror OAV, it was pretty obvious all along that the secret fertilizer that the orchids needed would turn out to be humans. I also wondered about the Ohbas constantly killing people to become fertilizer, with presumably nobody ever wondering about the peoples’ disappearance. Despite the OAV showing minimal animation, it was directed by the later-prestigious Rintaro and produced by Madhouse.
Next week: “Forgotten” Anime #41: Dream Dimension Hunter Fandora