「Rencontre―蒼の夜―」 (Rankōntoru―Ao no Yoru―)
I find Dr. Moreau quite boring as the stereotypical mad scientist who pursues knowledge at the cost of anything. Nothing more, nothing less-they needed someone to fill that pair of worn-out shoes and so voila- you have Dr. Moreau. It was pretty cruel of him to inject Vanitas and Mikhail (or Misha, as he prefers) with vampire blood, (presumably) knowing the children’s trauma with vampires.
The burning question of the day is-how did they obtain samples of Vampire Vanitas’ (Park Romi) blood and their tomes? Vampire Vanitas’ statement “This wouldn’t have happened if not for me” could either refer to destroying the lab or intentionally or unintentionally supplying the blood. Something tells me Vampire Vanitas knowingly supplied their blood and books until the humans went too far with their research. With Vampire Vanitas’ reputation, I doubt they would let their guard down enough for a crazy scientist to nab their possessions. Why would they do such a thing? Perhaps out of curiosity to see how far the foolish humans would get. In spite of their ethereally aloof attitude, Vampire Vanitas assumes responsibility, taking the two orphaned boys under their wing.
We are finally privy to some of Vanitas’ past. In an escapade typical of a classic romance novel, his wealthy father runs off with a circus girl. Unfortunately, human life is fleeting and Human Vanitas’ mother died in childbirth and his father perished defending him from vampires. Heartbreakingly, Vanitas cannot conceive a parent’s love, bewildered that his father would die for him. His father must have loved him to some extent, remaining with Vanitas in the circus troupe in spite of the father’s hatred of the circus members. Perhaps the circus troupe were the ones to blame Vanitas for his mother’s death, leading to internalization of guilt.
Vanitas kindly acts as the older-brother type for Mikhail, even offering himself to take Mikhail’s place in Moreau’s experimentation. Vanitas’ intent to save rather than kill vampires revealed a hidden kindness that shone forth in looking out for Mikhail as a teenager. I wonder how much of it though is due to genuine kindness or as repentance for what he perceives as the sin of “killing” his parents (although in truth, he is obviously not to blame). His belief that his parents died because of him certainly explains his deep self-loathing.
Intriguingly, Mikhail remembers and continues to go by his name before he became number 71, however, Human Vanitas never once mentions his name before becoming number 69. It makes sense that hating himself for “causing” his parents’ death would cause him to abandon his name and take on the name of someone he hates (Vampire Vanitas) as punishment.
To quote Atticus Finch, “You never really understand a person until you climb into his skin and walk around it.” Or in the case of Vanitas, until you absorb their blood. In a mature way, Vanitas comes to understand the suffering vampires go through and cease hating them after living through the shared horror of being Dr. Moreau’s lab rat. While the human (and vampire) mind may draw clear distinctions between the races, the steel syringe does not. Teen Vanitas’ declaration that humans are the true monsters pretty much echoes earlier remarks from him on how humans and vampires are equally horrible.
Like it or not, vampires are the underlying destiny of the two “brothers”. Vanitas and Mikhail met because of vampires and subsequently parted because of them. Mikhail had no qualms taking Vampire Vanitas up on the offer to become a vampire to save his waning life. Vanitas thinks otherwise, insisting he remain human to the end-even if it kills him. I would assume that was the beginning of their rift, but we don’t get to see the rest (yet, at least), courtesy of Vanitas’ interruption. Now that the brotherly pair have met for the first time in who knows how long, it looks like astermite sparks will fly and tomes will clash-but who will have the winning hand?