「Deux Ombres―出発点―」 (Dūz Ōnburu―Shuppatsuten―)
“Point of Departure”

Initially when Ruthven forced Noé into a one-time servitude, I thought that it was going to be used against Vanitas, however, Ruthven’s real target is Noé’s teacher-“The Shapeless One”. “The Shapeless One” keeps being brought up by Ruthven. What power is held by the Shapeless One that draws Ruthven’s attention so much? Based on the name, I speculate that he could flexibly take on any power that suits his need in the moment or the power is so great, it is undefinable-unlike other vampire powers which are neatly defined with one title. We will have to wait until the 2nd cour to find out.

Ruthven using Jeanne to distract Vanitas is no big surprise-I was kind of suspecting it in the last episode with how perfectly her date lined up with Ruthven’s pointed conversation with Noé. Ruthven is most definitely preying on Jeanne as well-he seems to be the expert at knowing how to mention the right people to the right audience at the right time. His “caring” façade towards Jeanne and the mention of Eric and Louise, who I assume are her parents, certainly did the trick of building her trust in him.

I foresee an interesting conflict when Ruthven using his powers over Jeanne may conflict with Vanitas trying to protect Noé, who will also be temporarily under Ruthven’s control. If Vanitas thought he was in trouble before (which never bothered him much), that will be nothing compared to what awaits him now, especially since he has built emotional attachment with these two characters.

For someone who gives off an attitude of being a lone ranger type of guy, Vanitas has come a long way in allowing others into his life. That he cares for Noé is obvious in how Vanitas leaves the lovely Jeanne to rush to him when he realizes something fishy is up with Ruthven and Noé. I appreciated seeing how Noé’s partnership with Vanitas goes both ways-just as Vanitas influenced Noé to take action (which Dr. Moreau received the brunt of), Noé has also influenced Vanitas to open his heart more to him and to Jeanne.

Feelings were sparkling in the air, and not just between Jeanne and Vanitas. There were a lot of strong (unfulfilled) teasings of Noé x Vanitas centering around Noé’s thirst for Vanitas’ sweet, sweet blood. (I am glad Vanitas was just joking about the bloody clothing-that was a bit weird.) Between trying to control his desire and pondering what he thinks of Vanitas, Noé realizes his feelings for him (or at the least, it is strongly implied). Unfortunately for Noé, the power to see the past through blood doesn’t do him any favors, nor does Vanitas’ blood-pact commitment to Jeanne. It is adorable to see Noé like a young boy with his first crush and the progression from hating Vanitas to now being afraid of Vanitas leaving him.

With Vanitas rejecting Noé, that leaves an open space for Dom-but the question is, will Noé be able to see her as anything beyond a childhood friend. Based on the erotically infused blood imbibing moments with her in previous episodes, I would say the roots are there, but he needs to dig out those feelings first.

As much historical animosity as there is between the Church and the vampires, there is something that they both can agree on-the Beast of Gévaudan, which is reportedly a special kind of curse-bearer. From the end scenes, this Beast looks to be a direct link to Charlatan and the hookline for the 2nd part. I am curious to see what powers this Beast has and look forward to seeing another partnership between the open-minded Olivier and Vanitas and Noé.

With Ruthven hinted to be on Charlatan’s side via a connection with the mysterious hooded figure, I wonder if Jeanne will also be forced to fight on Charlatan’s side through her pact with Ruthven or if Vanitas will hold sway over her. I am hoping we get her back-story and some character development with Jeanne in the next cour-she looks like she has potential for a complex history and personality. I like what I see so far in her, from her positive attitude, mysterious past, and gentleness combined with ferocious fighting powers.

More than a season finale episode, this was a “wait until next time” bookmarker for the 2nd cour. My impressions for this first part were quite favorable. I found the story to be engaging with how it peeled off layer by layer the individual stories of Vanitas and Noé, and still leaving more to find out. The dynamics between Vanitas and Noé were written well, with the progression of their partnership from mutual distaste to mutual friendship and how they each exerted influence over the other through shared trials.

While at first, I was opposed to Vanitas’ relationship with Jeanne due to his arrogance, I did warm up to and quite like the development happening between them, especially seeing the adorableness of her blushes and his genuine smiles (heartwarming to see that he has learned to truly smile after a season of his cynical grins).

My one regret for Part 1 was that it didn’t spend enough time featuring the steampunk environment. In the first episode, they were on the cool-looking steampunk airship, which we again caught sight of last episode. But beyond the little robots at the vampire ball, we haven’t seen too much more of the steampunkness. Which is a shame, because there would be a lot of potential for some neat looking devices and backgrounds.

More than anything, I came away feeling that this was a set up for the 2nd cour, establishing the basic premise with Charlatan and vampires vs. humans and endearing us to the main players. I am expecting the plot to really get rolling in the next part. They teased a lot of interesting mythology with the blight of the curse on the vampire universe, Vanitas’ past, and Noé’s mysterious teacher, that I am excited to see where they take it next.



    1. Yes, the second cour is coming in the Winter 2022 season. I probably should have made that more clear in the review. At the time of writing, Winter 2022 seemed so far away, but now I realize it’s closer than I thought lol

      Princess Usagi
        1. I was wondering the same thing myself. It all comes down to time-I am reading so many different manga at the moment that I don’t know if I’d have the time to add Vanitas on, but I am still strongly tempted to, to bridge the break.

          Princess Usagi
  1. As usual, cliffhangers can be both awesome yet frustrating. Overall, I didn’t know what to think of this series when I first heard of it but in the end, it was thoroughly enjoyable.

    Like your supposition, I thought Ruthven intended to use Noé against Vanitas. But if that’s not the case and the intended target is Dominique’s grandfather, aside from the power speculation, I wonder if it’s due to differing ideologies in how the interact with people. At least, that’s what my analysis of their conversation last episode led me to. It didn’t seem those two saw eye to eye.

    Ruthven’s is showing to be quite the weasel. His encounter with Jeanne at that moment has messed with my earlier preconceptions. At first, I thought it was strictly a master-servant relationship, but apparently it’s a more familiar kind. You’d obviously think she’d address him as “master” or “lord” but she instead does so with “Professor”. Which implies that not only is Jeanne his bourreau, she’s in some way his student. If such is the case, it makes it all the more infuriating knowing he has something to do with how psychologically messed up she was before and after she fed on Vanitas.

    Roland was a surprise highlight. It turns out he’s actually autonomous in his thought process than being a blind faithful and following herd mentality, changing a lifelong stance in the blink just because of one isolated development due to the interactions between Noé and Vanitas. Even more surprising that he had the nerve to indirectly threaten rebellion against the Church over his change of stance by asking how many paladins he can take on. Especially doing so right to the face of his surprising. But it calls for cause of concern that someone can switch like that at the drop of a hat.

    As for future developments with this Beast of Gévaudan, it looks like things will definitely ramp up if there’s actually something that can get both sides of anything to have a mutual agreement. And as cynical as I am, of course, that mutual agreement was due to a conditional matter. Not to mention the interest in that new character in the post credit scene. It’s a given she’s a member of Charlatan seeing that she has that curse-bearer inducing creature Naenia at her side. And I understand she’ll be voiced by Rie Kugimiya.

    As much as I’d like to wait for Winter 2022 to see future developments of this story, that might not be possible. That wait might drive me insane. So, I’m likely to spoil myself by going into the manga. The narrative is far too interesting and I’m hopeless when it comes to anything related to vampires. Vampires draw me like a moth to the flame.

    1. I would have to agree on their differing ideologies. They don’t go into specifics what their ideologies were, but from how Ruthven acts unscrupulously vs. how Noé was raised by the Teacher to be open-minded and honest, it is clear that they had very different points of view. I can see Ruthven as being more of the kind who does anything to uphold the traditions and honor of the nobility vs. the Teacher who seems more of a free-thinking eccentric.

      If Jeanne is his student, I wonder if she was around when the tragedy of Ruthven’s students occurred or if she came afterwards and he either hid it from her or came up with a sympathy-inducing story. It would make sense if she were his student, given that he would want someone he himself trained and whose skills he knows to look after his precious nephew.

      I’m not terribly surprised at how Roland turned out. A few episodes ago, he came across as a “I’ll go where the winds take me” kind of person, whether that’s with the vampires or the Church. He and Vanitas are a bit alike. Both of them do what they want for the reasons that make sense to them personally, regardless of what others have to say.

      Princess Usagi
  2. Okay, that scene where Noé talked to himself was better than in the manga XD

    I still do think that Ruthven and Noé‘s teacher are one and the same. The issue wuth his teacher sitting in Ruthvens room or when Noé and Vanitas first made up and Noé decided he‘d stay with Vanitas, he stood at the window and watched them with a smile on his face: Noé did exactly what his teacher wanted from him. He also has this golden atmosphere surrounding him and Noé also said he reminded him about his teacher. And I also don‘t think Ruthven means any harm. In PH there was also next to no truly „evil guy“ in the end 🙂 Well whatever, it was a nice episode for the ending of the first cour. I‘m looking forward to part 2:)

    1. That is an interesting theory, but I would have to disagree. In the flashbacks with the Teacher, it looks like he is of a taller and thinner build, with blonde hair. It is possible that Ruthven and the Teacher were students under the same mentor at one point in time, hence why they may have similar auras, if they received similar trainings but took it in different directions.

      Princess Usagi
  3. Ah, I adore Noe! He has such an awesome heart and is so delightfully childish in a good way. I wish more shows had characters like him.

    Didn’t like Vanitas in Ep 1, still dislike him. He’s not bad to watch but I feel sorry for everyone tangled up with this insufferable twit. Maybe something will come along next cour to change or explain him but even if his annoying abuse of people can be explained it doesn’t make it easy to watch.

    As I like both Noe and Jeanne, it doesn’t matter much to me which way the flag blows on this show; I don’t want to see either ship sail but I realize that’s unlikely. Ah well. Watching Noe is worth it.


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