「Vengeance―悪夢に触れる手―」 (Vanjansu―Akumu ni Fureru Te―)
“Hands upon a Nightmare”
Last week’s reveal with Jean-Jacques was just the tip of the iceberg. This week submerges even deeper into the mystery hiding beneath the surface. There were so many surprises, I don’t know where to begin. For one thing, the characters I thought were going to be the key villains (the Beast and Chloe) are not so much villains as the victims. I was definitely not expecting the vampires’ queen to be Naenia. After all, if the malnomens are afflicting the vampire population, why would there be any reason to suspect the queen as the source of those problems. Plus, the queen is hardly in the picture (at least from appearances). As they say, out of sight, out of mind. Therein lies the brilliancy of Naenia’s identity-going for the twist of culpability lying in the hands of the person one least suspects. Although, I wouldn’t necessarily call the queen’s servants (namely Ruthven) not suspicious, what with Ruthven’s brainwashing and teased connections with Naenia.
Understandably, this is a shock to everyone but Vanitas. I liked how they showed Vanitas in a rare moment of vulnerability, afraid that his word is worthless to Noe because his are those of a human. Basically lumping Noe in with all of the other red moon vampires, even though Noe has not shown an ounce of fanaticism towards the queen. Letting assumptions cloud his vision shows that even the logical mastermind has human sized chinks in his armor. There was never any doubt in my mind that Noe would accept the truth-he’s always been too open-minded and accepting for that. Heck, he even made friends with Roland (who is back in the action!).
Notably, Naenia (or Queen Faustus-the nod to Faust quite appropriate in the context of trading one’s soul or “name” if you will) is the first vampire of the red moon. The problem is, she can’t remember who she is/was and isn’t supposed to remember. If you get on her bad side, she gives a “Kiss of Death” (I suppose she and the Dementors might get along well). I’m not entirely sure yet what her purpose is beyond keeping the vampire population under her control. Is she being used by someone else or is she the one who brought this on herself? Whatever the case, this power struggle between vampires and between vampires and humans is clearly far bigger than anyone wants it to appear to be.
I can see why the blue moon clan is such a threat-not because they are bad, but because they possess power that threatens the red moon queen’s power in manipulating the world formula to heal malnomens. If the red moon clan is using the malnomens to keep themselves in power, of course anyone who can heal those curses is bad news. Making them the outcasts is the easiest way to keep them at bay- that is until they get their hands on a device that will give them ultimate power over the world formula.
The blue moon vampires are not the only ones in poor standing with the queen and her minions. Jeanne’s parents were labelled “traitors” (they don’t say what for, but I would have a hunch that it has to do with making peace between humans and vampires) and Jeanne has to pay the price by becoming a borreau. I wonder if being a borreau has something to do with how she became the Hellfire Witch and with her bloodlust condition. It’s rather unfair to punish Jeanne for something her parents did-she was so young, she obviously could have had no part in it. Based on the track record of the vampires in power, I highly suspect her parents didn’t even do anything wrong other than defy the leaders’ (presumably) unjust schemes.
I hate that Jeanne is basically a puppet for Ruthven (and by extension, Naenia). This basically reduces her to a damsel in distress (albeit a much powered-up one). I am drawn to her precisely because she kicks ass rather than falls to the sidelines in a fight. Reducing her to a pawn is at odds with the initial vibe I got from her character. That being said, she has a lot of strength and determination, which combined with Vanitas’ prodding and her feelings for Chloe might sever those chains once and for all. I have hopes that she will break herself out without having to rely exclusively on someone else to do it for her. I am really excited for Jeanne’s character arc. There is so much mystery surrounding her-why she was abandoned, how she became the Hellfire Witch, and what she will do from here on out.
Well, the plot indeed thickens. So many things to think on.
Naenia being the ethereal form of the vampire queen, of all people, definitely came out of left field. My question is, what is she getting out of corrupting her own people by turning them into curse bearers? Being the queen, surely she knows what becomes of curse bearers, especially when they go berserk. And from what I understand out the dialog from Luca’s brother, she seems to be quite problematic. Also, I would’ve like to have seen what led Vanitas’ suspicions of her before he got confirmation.
Noé’s open-mindedness is a double edged sword. It makes him easy to recruit as an ally if you give him a reason to rally behind you. But on the other hand, it makes him too naïve and open to all kinds of trouble. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have had the predicament of Ruthven placing a curse on him. He’s just lucky that Vanitas isn’t like Ruthven.
I wouldn’t put it past anyone in power to create an excuse to do something out of the way. Using the supposed “treason” of Jeanne’s parents to take up a disposable orphan that wouldn’t be missed sounds like a very convenient fabrication to turn said orphan into a weapon. I mean, Noé was an orphan when Dominique’s grandfather bought and raised him. And had that not happened, he’d have been lost to the black market with a number of unsightly fates because of his Archiviste abilities.
Well, afflicting people with curses would certainly help keep Naenia at the top of the power chain and make the vampires a threat to humankind-preventing any sort of peace between the two worlds.
The power it brings would also be handy for taking over the human world. I’m assuming Vanitas based his suspicions on the implications of Ruthven’s attitudes towards the queen and how hush hush he was about the queen’s identity, during that one episode when Vanitas botched up that meeting with Ruthven.
One thing that is not clear is if Jeanne already possessed the powers of the Hellfire Witch or if that was something she gained after becoming a borreau. If it is the former, then it would make perfect sense to frame her parents for something in order to gain control over Jeanne, regulating how she uses those powers so it doesn’t turn against them.