「Archiviste―血を暴く牙―」 (Ākibisuto―Chi o Abaku Kiba―)
“Fangs That Lay Bare Blood”
I was previously under the impression that the vampire and human worlds existed in the same dimension, with the vampires living in hiding from the Chasseurs. That is not entirely the case with the two worlds existing separately- a barrier dividing the two. It was noteworthy that the vampire world looked almost like the steampunk 19th century human world, except for the red sky-fitting given that the red moon is so important to the vampires. This is a twist, especially with the dynamics of barrier crossing thanks to failed experiments (a backstory I would like to hear more about) and the unusual situation of humans entering the vampire world.
Vanitas is one bold guy-weakening the tough Jeanne (and daring to declare love for her), crushing curses, and leaping wholeheartedly into the vampire realm. While these actions may seem impetuous, he cool-headedly calculates all of his bold moves. Vanitas is a dangerous character, catching you off guard with silly antics, only for you to realize later he planned it all along. Case in point-leaping into the barrier. At first glance, it seems foolhardy for a human to jump into a mysterious barrier after vampires. The next scene, Vanitas removes any delusions of stupidity- revealing this was not his first cross-dimensional jaunt.
Vanitas is Vanitas because of Vanitas-he was bitten by the legendary vampire, granting him his name and abilities. The question that remains is-why did Dr. Vanitas not become a vampire? When Noé was granted his memory viewing abilities by Archiviste, he became a vampire- so why did the same not apply to Dr. Vanitas? As a physician, you’d think he of all people would not be squeamish about blood. As a human, he could live unobtrusively in the human world, allowing him greater range of freedom in using the grimoire. There would foreseeably be more restrictions as a vampire, with the vampire society’s fears over the grimoire and the threat of the Chasseurs breathing down his neck.
The dynamic between Vanitas and Jeanne has promising development. Head over heels as Vanitas appears to be, he is determined to not let Jeanne get away from him. While this appears on the surface to be infatuation on his part, I suspect he has a more level-headed reason underneath (i.e. prevent her from eliminating vampires). The whole romance angle may be partly real and partly for show, to hide his true intentions-I hope we can see how those two sides play against (or complement) each other in the future.
For Jeanne’s part-I wouldn’t blame her for coming after him with a vengeance after weakening her with that kiss, then having the gall to declare “love!” after overpowering her. Someone needs to teach him a lesson of respect. As for Master Luca being her weakness-I am curious as to why. Did he befriend or rescue her from a dark emotional place or is it simply because he is an adorable child?
Also joining the ranks of Vanitas no Karte’s female characters is Dominque de Sade. She strikes me as quite the comic character-rudely bursting in on the Vanitas and the vampires’ private session and announcing herself with a shower of (real) rose petals. If her whole character becomes defined solely as the comic relief of a brash female who annoyingly pursues the lead male (Noé), she could become quite annoying. However, if more depth is added to her character, I could warm up to her.
In Noé, there is also more than meets the eye. I previously assumed he didn’t have any special powers because he never used them and took on the support role in Vanitas’ schemes (i.e. the safe-keeping of Luca). The reason he never used them is that he is reluctant to implement his ability of viewing memories due to the emotional effects. In a flashback of his memories, Archiviste promises that if he drinks Noé’s blood he will no longer have to “see anything”. Does this mean that accepting this ability erases one’s own memories or that drinking blood removes the memory of the donor? In trying to hunt down the trail of the curse culprit, this certainly is a useful skill, tapping into memories that even the blood donor may have suppressed, which Noé makes good use of in finding Amelia’s connection to Charlatan.
Charlatan, not the grimoire is behind these curses. We are offered only the slightest of teases into Charlatan, with his strange pre-name theft parades, but what we do see makes me want to find out more about what he is. With Noé, Vanitas, Orlock, and potentially Dominique and Jeanne, the hunt for Charlatan is on!
A small correction, the black-haired boy in Noe’s flashback is not Archiviste. He is Noe’s childhood friend, and his name is Louis. Who he is and what kind of relationship that he has with Noe, I won’t say anything because of a spoiler, but that’s all I can say. The only known Archiviste so far is Noe himself.
As for why Louis said “if you drink my blood, you won’t see anything”… Well, the meaning of those words will be explained later.
Also, Noe is born as an Archiviste clan, not becoming one. He didn’t get bit by his ancestors and become one, he’s just born as one. The same goes for Vanitas. He got bit by Vampire of the Blue Moon, but he didn’t become a vampire because, in the VNC world, that just didn’t happen. Humans can get bit by vampires and remain human. Vampires are born as one and remain as one, while humans stay as humans.
How did Vanitas get his power after being bitten by Original Vanitas, then? Well, can’t say anything about that because once again, spoilers, but it’ll be explained in the future.
Vanitas is truly an eccentric character. He may come off as annoying to some, but I think that’s the point of his character. He really means it when he said that he would do whatever he wanted without caring about what everyone else thinks of him (episode 1).
And while the series is titled after him, Noe is the protagonist and the story is mostly told in his point of view. Vanitas is not meant to be a perfect, good-natured, hero of justice protagonist, that’s Noe. Vanitas is a jerk, bold, dangerous, and again, eccentric. Which is why he is interesting, at least for me.
I really have the urge to punch Vanitas’ face for the consensual kiss he gave to Jeanne, but I also like him a lot because of his unpredictable personality. No one knows what he’s really up to and what kind of mischief that he will do, but underneath that he is genuinely a good person–or is he? We will never know if he truly wants to save vampires or if he has more underlying motives.
Really enjoyable episode. Thank you for the review! Hope you will continue covering it in RandomC!
Just realized I made a huge typo, was supposed to say “non-consensual”. My apologies.
No worries! I understood what you meant 🙂
Thank you so much for the clarification! Being born as vampires makes a lot of sense, especially in Vanitas’ case (and come to think of it, in the first episode, they did say something about vampires hating those of their kind born under a blue moon). It is refreshing that the vampire mythology takes a different turn from the usual “bite and you become a vampire”.
I agree about Vanitas being interesting. I like that you can’t really predict what he will do, because he can so quickly and unpredictably switch from serious mode to goofy mode.
You’re welcome-thank you for commenting! Yes, I do plan on continuing to cover it in Random C!
I really didn’t like the last part of this episode, felt a bit rushed imo (story+animation). But the scene with Jeanne was great! I just love her reactions XD I generally like the chemistry between the characters up until now. Thx for the review (and thx for the corrections ;))
You’re welcome! The characters have a lot of tension, but also budding friendship between them. Jeanne should definitely bring something interesting into the mix, with her half antagonism half romantic interest (?possibly??) with Vanitas. Vanitas and Noe also have some good chemistry, with how they can play off each other-especially now that Noe’s ability has been introduced.