OP Sequence

OP: 「空と虚」 (Sora to Utsuro) by (sasanomaly)

「Vanitas―ラスティ=ホープスの場合―」 (Vanitasu―Rasuti=Hōpusu no Baai―)
“In the Event of Rusty Hopes”

Shadows offset the lighting throughout some very beautiful scenes- setting the tone for dark vs. light themes that look as if they will become quite important. It’s not just the lighting that does this, but also the mood. The mood varies from moment to moment with darker scenes exploring the original Vanitas’ lonely history and the poisonous maladies, interrupted by comic scenes with sparkles, chibi characters, and a ceiling falling on young Vanitas’ head. Initially, it is a jarring transition from the serious nature of rescuing Amelia into Vanitas providing comic relief. This is something I can get used to though, and it fits the growing theme of light vs. dark.

Speaking of contrasts- Vanitas ( Hanae Natsuki) appears as a shadow to Noé’s ( Ishikawa Kaito) light. We are first introduced to Vanitas standing in the shadows, blending in with his raven-black clothing and hair. Juxtaposed to him is the white-haired, white-garbed Noé. Vanitas operates via the shadowed magic of the grimoire while Noé uses less secretive protective measures through his physical prowess.

Noé, seems quite the earnest young hero- showing kindness in looking after Amelia although they only just met. I suspect that when Noé agrees to tag along with Vanitas, it will be due to his burning curiosity about the grimoire more than a desire to rescue vampires (although as a vampire himself, that is something that involves him). I am already expecting conflict between Noé and Vanitas’ values. If Vanitas is so set on rescuing vampire kind that he becomes willing to sacrifice lives to do so, Noé with his kindness may not agree to that.

Vampires have a tenuous place in this society-not everyone believes in them and those that do believe them extinct. Vampires are not looked upon kindly-they were the humans’ enemies in a long-ago war and the Bourreau (vampire slayers) and the Church’s Chasseurs (a vampire control unit?) are safe-guards against them. I wonder how much of that fear is warranted and how much of that was created by vampires to live in peace or by humans out of suspicion of “otherness”.

A similar mystery also surrounds the grimoire-we are told it is a cursed book, yet Vanitas uses it to heal Amelia-not something one would expect from a cursed tome. Its power to manipulate vampires’ names would prove dangerous if in the wrong hands. It may be the legend of a curse was spread to prevent vampires from seeking its power. Of course, the hands that would use it ill probably wouldn’t be deterred by such rumors. If the legends of Vanitas are true-that would be just the user Vanitas would want for his revenge.

A vampire is not a vampire without their name-akin to the important oxygen and carbon in the body, so to speak. Like a virus attacking and weakening the body, maladies attack and weaken the vampire’s name- causing out of control bloodlust. Given the grimoire’s power over names, I wonder if the maladies were unleashed from the book as part of Vanitas’ curse. The grimoire would be both the problem and solution-mirroring how vampires have the potential for both good and bad (like with Amelia’s Florifel that brings spring and her Eglantine that destroys). It is also possible the maladies arise from an as of yet undisclosed source.

The viewers go through 3 transitions with Amelia’s character-at first she looks like a normal human, then sinks her teeth into Noé as the bad briar-empowered Eglantine, and finally her pure Florifel form is returned. I was not expecting this many character twists! This appears to be a running theme with Vanitas too. Vanitas appeared suspicious at first-veiled in the shadows, immediately attacking Noé. He did a complete 180 when Vanitas rescued Amelia and got knocked out of the airship. This twist hints at something more sinister in Vanitas that is concealed by the comic hero act. That something sinister may lie in Vanitas’ declaration that he will do whatever it takes to save vampirekind. Would the “whatever it takes” include murder or deceit if it meant eradicating the maladies?

I would highly recommend this to fans of Pandora Hearts and not just because the source manga is written by the same author (although that is also is a strong appeal). There is a similar atmosphere of antique European story-book, along with magic of sorts and a dark, fantasy mystery. If you have never read/seen Pandora Hearts, but enjoy European fantasy, steampunk, and/or beautiful vampires, this is for you!


ED Sequence

ED: 「zero」 (0) by (LMYK)



    1. Amelia’s different forms were an interesting aspect-I was not expecting that, but I like it! I wonder what other kinds of maladies and vampire names there are-which I suppose they will feature in each episode.

      Princess Usagi
  1. You know it’s gonna be bomb when you see Aniplex at the beginning of a show. xD Loved the episode, and the animation was so pretty, I couldn’t help but watch it in shock. 😛 I was totally in shock from minute to minute. The maladies thing threw me for a loop, I thought they were referring to the original part of the blood line, like whoever turned the Eglantine lady. But I guess they were just referring to the poison. And it was so interesting Vanitas as a character, living in both shadow and light at the same time. I’m so hyped for this show!

    1. I love that they added the Sainte-Chapelle bit! It gives me even higher hopes for the anime going forward, that they added in that detail, giving it even more of a Paris feel!

      Princess Usagi
  2. So when is this supposed to be set? Putting the magitech airship aside, there’s a whole mishmash of anachronisms that make it difficult to pin down. Or maybe it’s just set in a different timeline or something. Still, that shot in the OP where the secondary rainbow’s colors run the same was as the primary got the whole thing started on the wrong foot for me.

    3 episode rule, I suppose.

    1. This is supposed to be set in the 1800’s, but I agree, there is a mishmash of anachronisms. I think rather than it being a historically accurate 19th century, they are going more for the steampunk angle.

      Princess Usagi
    2. From Wikipedia: The Case Study of Vanitas is set in 19th-century Paris and contains vampire and steampunk thematics.

      Sounds about. right for Mochizuki Jun’s stuff. She always likes a bit of a gothic twist too. With Pandora Hearts, that was also set around an aesthetically 18th-19th Century time period comprising of magic and mysteries.

      1. When watching Vanitas, like you said, it was really striking the similarity to Pandora Hearts with a steampunky 19th century European aesthetic (which makes sense, since it’s the same author). Except with Pandora Hearts I kind of felt more of a British vibe to it (probably because of the whole Alice and Wonderland theme), whereas I feel the French influence with Vanitas.

        Princess Usagi

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