「Bal masqué―仮面が嗤う夜―」 (Baru Masuke―Kamen ga Warau Yoru―)
“Night of Mocking Masks”
Technology is a double-edged sword, bringing many joys but also pains. Vampires hate human technology, which makes sense since they are the product of it- only to be rejected by the humans that made them. Paracelsus meddled with the world formulas, which sounds like science. (Indeed, in real life, some aspects of alchemy, like meticulous note taking and some of the instruments used, were a rough precursor to the scientific method). This would make vampires genetically modified humans. It was brutal of human society to create them, then cast them off into a separate world. But, I guess that’s humanity for you.
Jeanne is not just the fearsome Hellfire Witch, but surprisingly, a vampire herself. It is interesting that she is so set on killing the cursed vampires when she herself is one. Then again, maybe knowing what she could be capable of makes her that much more desperate to rid the world of them-projecting self-loathing onto others of her kind. Her being a vampire also explains her powers.
Vanitas again, puts Jeanne’s back against the wall– this time offering blood to satisfy her thirst for blood and his thirst for adventure (and sexy vampire romance). While I’m not crazy about Vanitas’ lack of respect for her personal space, I do like how Jeanne takes charge in rescuing Vanitas (and subsequently dropping him). Perhaps, after hearing about his powers, she hopes he can use the book to rescue her from her curse.
With Vanitas, the ever-present question is-what are his intentions? As I noted in an earlier post, he seems to be using romance (which may or may not be genuine) as a pretext for ulterior motives. Indeed, his devilish smile suggests something to that effect. With the special powers that he holds, is there also something in his blood that could tamper with Jeanne’s vampire curse?
For Jeanne, it is especially important to keep her curse in balance. It proves useful when she needs the power to fight (especially when it is to protect Master Luca), but she also needs to suppress it so Master Luca doesn’t suspect her condition. Vanitas knowing her condition gives him power over her, should he wish to coerce her into doing something under the threat of exposing her (which I wouldn’t put past him to do). On the flip side, Vanitas being a vampire doctor and knowing her condition would allow him to help her.
The question of why Vanitas is out to save the vampires is answered-revenge against the original Vanitas. From what little we know of the blue moon vampire, he doesn’t seem to be the most pleasant of fellows, harboring such a deep grudge that he creates a grimoire to wipe out all vampires. What else did he do that made Dr. Vanitas hate him so?
The viewers are not the only ones to catch on to Vanitas and his act. Domi redeemed herself in this episode. In the last episode she looked like the annoying childhood friend with a crush kind of character. Today, we see her as going deeper than that (and not just in terms of Noé’s fangs sinking into her flesh). She truly has Noé’s welfare at heart, going so far as to interrogate and threaten Vanitas about his relationship with him. (With her fierce nature and all those torture instruments around, I would not want to get on Domi’s bad side).
Domi is not the only character in her family, with her sister also striking quite an image with her loose kimono in contrast to the European frills adorned by everyone else. The two sisters seem to not be on the greatest terms, amplified by the sister’s anti-human stance. She would probably be one of the people Vanitas talked about who are more concerned about whether Vanitas’ grimoire is fiction than about its threat level. Domi can see beyond that, to be concerned about the threat he and his power pose.
Charlatan perfectly planned his public appearance and large-scale release of curse-bearers. With the appearance of curses right after Vanitas made his bold announcement about the book’s name-warping capability, no doubt the vampires will believe the two are linked and further seek to eradicate him and the grimoire.
With Vanitas and the grimoire out of the way or at least sufficiently distracted, that leaves Charlatan free to run wild with the curses. I wonder if it is another manifestation of the original Vanitas’ grudge. Or, because vampires are based on manipulations of the human formula, Charlatan and these curses are akin to genetic mutations gone bad. Whichever is the case, Charlatan is bad news for the vampires, but I’m sure nothing that Vanitas and Noé can’t to handle.
I really do like the women in this show – Domi and Jeanne are so different from your usual stereotypes.:) V. telling his motivation for acting the way he does was unexpected. Coming from Pandora Hearts manga I am used to these things being kept a secret for a looooong time XD
It is definitely interesting, noting the similarities and differences between the two series. I definitely see strong similarities with the steam-punkish/turn of the century setting and some of the character dynamics in terms of switching between chibi-cute/goofy mode and serious mode at the drop of a hat. I only just started reading the PH manga (and am only a quarter of the way through), so I can’t speak too deeply yet in terms of comparing the series, but I enjoy hearing what other fans have to say about comparing/contrasting the two!
I like how they have so many different layers to the female characters, so the more you get to know them, the more different they are than who they appeared to be at first.
Oh, then I’m going to be careful not to spoil anything of the manga for you 😉
And I think this concept of the formulas is very interesting. The issue with the abyss in PH was also one of the strongest points in the PH manga (sorry, Ill keep comparing these two ;P)
Yay a Pandora hearts fan!
I get the comparing because I also compare this with PH all the time. Things definitely are less confusing at the start for this series compared to PH though, and the characters/setting definitely has more of a hook right from the start in Vanitas. Where Vanitas no carte might not be able to be as full of twists (vampires seem more straightforward than whatever was going on in PH), it makes up for it with really interesting characters. Also it’s much less confusing from the get-go.
Regardless, both series have their good points and are lovely, and the author seems to be one who has the whole story thought out from the start which is great since nothing is worse than when a good series falls off.
It also has the better anime! I wouldn’t be surprised if more people liked this over PH even if PH will always be my favourite
Now that I’ve started reading the PH manga and watching the anime series, I’ll probably also join the comparison club. 🙂 I agree, with the PH manga, it was a bit confusing at start, especially figuring out/remembering who all the different characters were and their allegiances. Although, I will say, some parts of the Vanitas anime were a little unclear at first for me, in terms of the whole vampire family lineage and vampirisim being inherited vs. transmitted. Now that they’ve explained that more in full these past few episodes, that clears up the things that were a little confusing at first.
Totally! I love Mochizuki’s art (- which btw I think works a bit better in the manga ;)).
I agree with the planning of the story. When I reread PH manga after it finished, I thought it was relatively short ;P There were the arcs with their respective incidents, and there’s SO MUCH that happened, but the main “points” of the story weren’t really that numerous. So I could see how she managed to have the biggest part of the story planned from the beginning 🙂 Which, as you say, is important for a good story.
Even though, when it came out, I didn’t want it end, I wanted it to drag on XD
Ohhhh my god. Lack of respect for her personal space. Good lord, it’s animation not a guide for healthy relationships. I get so tired of reading this BS about disrespecting X assaulting X touching X without their permission it is a TV show just get over it and stop attention grabbing for being a sensitive soul.
If you are that sensitive you just need to live in your safety bubble and not come out.
Fully agreed on that sentiment.
I quite agree, the relationships are not meant to be a guide for healthy relationships! Even in the happy, positive romance stories, those relationships are not meant to be a guide-there are always exaggerations and it is the fantasy, not reality that can make it interesting to watch. However, there are still tropes such as, men forcing themselves on women, that are bothersome and to be honest, uncomfortable. That doesn’t negate my enjoyment of anime, but is something I am still aware of, especially as a woman myself. As an anime blogger, my job is to comment on what I liked about an anime, as well as, things that were disturbing. Everyone has different ways of viewing and enjoying anime and I think that’s great! I like to hear different opinions, to give greater depth of perspective I may not have seen before-so long as those opinions are voiced in a way that is respectful.