Noé also bears his own curse-his memories- one that cannot be dissolved with a simple spell. The writing beautifully built up the horror over the 24 minutes- starting out with a flashback of idyllic childhood, progressing to a vague sense of unease when Louis starts changing as a teenager, then ending with the full horror of the curse, witnessing childhood friends brutally murdered. With the “mature audiences” warning at the start of the episode, I knew the ending wasn’t going to be pretty but with the way they set the emotional back-drop for the horror, the writers still effectively got across the shock of seeing the kids’ ruthless murders (and by Noé’s best friend and by Teacher, no less).
How does Noé feel about the Blue Moon now, that something he has cherished has bared its fangs? This brings us to the deeper question-is it really the Blue Moon that causes these curses or is there another explanation? It would be easy, given human nature’s suspicious nature, to see something unusual and different (the Blue Moon) and connect it to something else unusual (the curses) even if the two are unrelated. Given his kind personality, I could see Noé continuing to not believe that the Blue Moon and curses are connected and looking to find the real cause through Vanitas’ tome.
Speaking of feelings-we get deeper insight into Noé and Domi, their childhood connection bound even further by the trauma of witnessing the curse overtake their friends. A trauma only the two of them can struggle through and comfort each other through together. Even after the bloodbath is over, the horror lingers on when Noé realizes Louis’ “gifts” were murder tools. We get a sense of Noé blaming himself or at least regretting he couldn’t do more because his powers weren’t strong enough to understand and prevent the progression of Louis’ curse. Charlatan knew what he was doing, targeting these particular memories-if Vanitas hadn’t stepped in, I wonder if regret would have caused Noé to surrender to Charlatan.
I feel for Domi-even prior to Louis’ untimely end, she realized her existence is to replace her brother (hence all the studying in preparation becoming the heir), especially for a brother she is close to. As an outsider, Noé doesn’t understand the family politics and is able to treat Domi as Domi, something she desperately needs. Her feelings for him extended back even to childhood (Noé’s prominent place in Domi’s memories and his confusion over that was adorable).
Teacher ( Ishida Akira ) was (is?) behind the scenes, pulling the strings (fun fact: the seiyuu who plays Teacher also voiced Break in Pandora Hearts). It has me wondering if he rescued Noé to stop the curses. Since Noé was raised in the human world, he is uniquely positioned to not be conditioned to fear the Blue Moon and is a blank slate for Teacher to encourage curiosity, priming him for a mission to uncover Vanitas’ tome and solve the mystery of the curses. On a different note-I wonder if these vampires age? Teacher is referred to as Domi and Louis’ grandfather, yet he doesn’t look old enough for that.
Teacher’s cunningness becomes apparent when he “accidentally” leaves confidential papers about Louis’ curse out in the open. It seems cruel to let Louis find out about the curse. If there is nothing he can do about it, letting him find out leaves the weight of a death sentence over his head, instead of allowing him to enjoy what little time he has left. On the other hand, Louis is smart and might eventually have put two and two together anyway. In that sense, Teacher treated him like an adult, respecting him by allowing him the right to know about his condition without sugar coating. Probably the only time he was treated like an adult before his early death.
Is Teacher good or bad? He seems enigmatic-until the final moments of the episode we don’t even get a good look at him, as if to show he is hiding something. In some respects, he appears to be working for good, in taking Noé and Louis in. But in other respects, he seems dubious. For example, when he beheads Louis, rescuing Noé and Domi, he appears distorted-I am not sure if he truly is harboring some sort of evil or if this is merely Noé’s perspective that is shown.
It is interesting that the curses don’t take effect until adolescence. How do these curses happen? In the encounter between Charlatan and Noé, it appears Charlatan manipulates emotions through painful memories to persuade the vampire to relinquish their name. That would suggest some sort of agreement that takes place between Charlatan and the bearer (it reminds me a little of the relationship between Chains and Contractors in Pandora Hearts). But, with Louis, it appears this was something since childhood that didn’t activate until later. If Louis was unaware of the nature of his “illness”, then surely it couldn’t be a contract, but more like a disease? If it is an “illness”, then it’s a good thing that Dr. Vanitas is on the case! With both Vanitas and Noé having tragic backstories, this could be an opportunity for them to work closer together and further develop their friendship, if they allow themselves to do so.