Red Iris is a psychological fantasy narrative which utilizes a series of episodic stories to support an overarching plot line. It starts with the meeting between the two main characters where Iris who is an occultist, summons a deceased spirit named Tenmei. Tenmei is a spirit from a much earlier era and often conflicts with the energetic and playful Iris both in personality and principles. Their conversation therefore focuses on their polarized views around the ideas of existence, rebirth and the importance of memory in regards to Tenmei’s eagerness to preserve his past. I want the characters to be able to complement each other while also maintaining a tension in their relationship which will be interesting to see develop and change.
The majority of events in Red Iris concern themselves within in one part of New Eden called ‘The District’. New Eden, is a world similar to ours, except that it is depicted grey and uniform, a world without unique landmarks, where streets are numbered rather than named. It represents a stereotype of a lethargic working adult society. Situated within New Eden however, is The District. The District represents subculture and societal rebelliousness. While the punishments for illegal activity are severe within New Eden, it is possible to circumvent those rules by visiting occultist master Ares in The District and offering yourself up to be possessed by a spirit. While ‘intoxicated’ by spirit possession, it is difficult to fully account someone’s actions as their own will. The District therefore becomes a concentrated center for gambling houses, host clubs, prostitution rings and drug movements. Ares believes that The District and New Eden coexist in symbiosis with each other.
The protagonist Tenmei eventually starts opening up to occultist Iris (who summoned him) and assists her as a ‘spirit familiar’. Iris works for Ares, exorcising spirits who have become corrupted. While the occultist may simply exorcise the evil spirit, the ‘spirit familiar’ is able to enter a human and interact with the possessing spirit in an attempt to reconcile with their hatred. This paves the way to episodic stories, situations dealing with themes regarding suicide, paranoia, trauma—things which may push someone over the edge— where the focus will lie in themes concerning depression and futility rather than grudge or revenge related tragedies.