In a ranking of best violinist (of the human heart), Vanitas comes in first place- but Ruthven is close behind. He certainly knows how to play Noé’s heartstrings to elicit blushes and interest at the right times.
He is smart about showing his true colors-capturing Noé’s time and body when Vanitas is not around. The whole situation with Ruthven highlights how important Vanitas’ mastermind is to his and Noé’s team. As manipulative as Vanitas can be and as much as that frustrates Noé, it also protects him because Vanitas is able to see through (most) ruses. Without Vanitas there to understand the nasty side of humans and vampires, it leaves the naïve Noé defenseless towards emotional deception. I knew Ruthven had something nasty up his sleeve, but he took it to a whole other level of despicable, preying upon Noé, drugs and all.
I don’t know how much of Ruthven’s story is true. The tragedy of his students’ deaths and his resemblance to Noé’s own teacher tugs plays so perfectly to this impressionable young man’s compassion and desire for a new master to fill the hole his Teacher left, that it wouldn’t surprise me if Ruthven made it up. On the other hand (or the other fang, given this is about vampires), it would not be surprising if it was all true because contention over the students’ deaths would explain the friction between Ruthven and Noé’s teacher.
It would also make sense if that friction was rooted in contrasting views on education of the young and the purpose for it. Ruthven’s adamancy that humans and vampires are mortal enemies clashes with the open-mindedness the Teacher passed on to his pupil. Given his views on that subject, I suspect that Ruthven may have been training students as anti-human fighters.
I found it significant that upon being asked his stance on vampires vs. humans, Noé answers that he sees no difference-the same answer as Vanitas. In typical Noé fashion, his is the positive perspective that he likes them both. As opposed to Vanitas’ pessimistic perspective that both humans and vampires are monsters. The pair really are two sides of the same coin.
Jeanne, amusingly, is hoisted by her own petard- right into the typical shoujo (or any romance-genre) trap of falling for the very person you claim to hate. Intuition tells me that Vanitas probably knew Jeanne’s intention right from the start and purposefully acted the dashing gentleman to sway her heart for his amusement. If the passion is as strong as Jeanne’s, it probably doesn’t (and indeed didn’t) take much effort to move it from hate to love.
This wasn’t purely a pleasure trip for Vanitas-he probably also intended from the beginning to soften Jeanne up so he could get some leads on Charlatan and the possible curse Jeanne carries. Unfortunately, another vampire’s power seals Jeanne’s lips on this matter and curiously, the perpetrator’s silhouette looks a bit like Ruthven. If that is the case, then Noé may soon be in the same boat as Jeanne. With Vanitas’ previously confided interest in Jeanne, I hope that some part of Vanitas does genuinely care for her and it is not all a disguise. I have never seen him so gentle before, the way he comforted Jeanne as she worried over her future and he certainly enjoyed offering himself to Jeanne (although some of that may have been the aphrodisiac these vampires emit). One thing is for sure-Vanitas is complicated.