「Shikatorisu－Nanbā Rokujūkyū－」 (Cicatrice－No.69－)
The overall impression I get of Dr. Moreau is that he is a weird vampire fanboy who sees people as specimens rather than living humans who have feelings and experience pain. He does, however, confirm what I said previously, that the vampires are really genetically modified humans as opposed to supernatural entities. Through Moreau’s mad ravings, we are dropped into the dark pit of hell that was Vanitas’ past as an abused laboratory rat, sliced and diced. It attests to Vanitas’ guts and do anything as a means to an end lifestyle, that he can stand to butter up Moreau without letting his hatred reveal itself. Unless you notice the deadened expression of his eyes-which Noé most certainly does and the research-absorbed Moreau most certainly does not.
As silly and absorbed as Moreau seems to be, he also knows how to read his audience- bringing up Vanitas’ companion #71, freezing him in his tracks. For the first time we see Vanitas vulnerable, stripped of his armor of confidence.
Seeing his weakness made Vanitas a more human character who experiences fear, tragedy, and emotions beyond his own ego. It also explains much of his guts and over-confidence that he was using as a shield against his past scars. As Noé muses, Vanitas’ declaration of vengeance through saving the vampires is actually his heart screaming for its own salvation from the past. Framing the narrative of the flashbacks from other people’s lips (Moreau, #71) was quite fitting for Vanitas’ tight-lipped nature, someone who would not divulge such details of his own accord.
This is the first we’ve heard of #71 (unsurprising, given how little Vanitas reveals things about himself not rooted in a confident ego). He must have played a significant role in Vanitas’ early life, given how he is etched into his memory. The question is-why did their savior from the Chasseur dungeons, the original Vanitas, give Dr. Vanitas the grimoire and not #71? And what happened to #71? Since the events with Charlatan and the vampire ball are now connecting with Moreau via the creepy multi-eyed shadowy guy, I would expect #71 to have fallen in with Charlatan’s company or in some other way also be related to him.
The tables have turned and Noé is now the one taking initiative in physical action- losing his temper and smashing Moreau’s head. This blatant breach of a negotiation attempt mirrors Vanitas’ earlier episode with breaking negotiations with Ruthven (who also is revealed to be in cahoots with Moreau). How Noé became enraged for his friend, when Vanitas could not do so for himself shows how much deeper his bond with Vanitas has become, since they decided to put up with each other’s differences.
Noé also takes center stage today for outrageous sounding statements brimming with confidence, claiming they need only be swallowed by the darkness in order to cure it. Again, normally something Vanitas does. This time, Vanitas is the one to be swept along in someone else’s tide of confidence and a good thing too, because Noé’s hope comes true- breaking what was thought to be an uncurable curse.
Like it or not, you tend to be influenced by the people you spend the most time with-certainly true in the case of Vanitas and Noé. Significantly, Vanitas comments that they can break it- if they can do it together. A far cry from a few episodes ago where both Noé and Vanitas insisted they would do things their own way and merely co-habit the same mission. At the end of the battle when the two would normally bicker about how the other one handled it, now, they genuinely laugh at having survived.
Another changed man is Roland. The former indiscriminate vampire hater Roland, after fighting alongside Noé, now understands that not all vampires are bad and goes so far as to offer protection to the vampire victims while returning them to their own world. It is easy to set up rigid world views when isolated from the world in question but often, those can’t hold water once one sees how the other side lives, allowing oneself to be touched by living, breathing people. These little details in the actions of Vanitas, Noé, and Roland go a long way in showing just how far the group has come, all due to learning to work with their differences.