「Pleuvoir―空知らぬ雨―」 (Puruvowāru―Sora Shiranu Ame―)
“Tears like Rain”
Honestly, this episode felt like a punch in the gut. I loved where they were going with Vanitas’ character development in learning friendship. To see him become an utter wreck, fighting to kill with those haggard eyes was painful. The contrast in visuals between the dark, rainy destruction and blindingly bright lights beautifully illustrated the jarring contrast between what Noe and Vanitas had been and what they are now.
I’m in shock at how Noe and Vanitas’ relationship disintegrated. Noe desperately begs for help from Vanitas, who he knows is not moved by that kind of thing. Vanitas who previously rushed to Noe’s rescue now battles Noe and hurls emotional bombs like “You’re no longer useful to me”. Sure, Vanitas and Noe began their partnership as one of mutual convenience, but it grew into something more than that. A companion of convenience would not be as worried as Vanitas was when Noe was kidnapped.
On the other hand, Vanitas and Noe didn’t fully trust each other, keeping mum about their pasts. In a relationship where trust hasn’t deeply taken root, it is matter of course for things to sour. I suppose my shock comes from the contrast between caring for one another and battling one another. I would say that was intentional on the part of the mangaka with how strongly she was building Vanitas’ ties with Jeanne and Noe leading up to this.
Vanitas’ problem is that he doesn’t rely on others, taking it upon himself to protect others from his secrets. It seems to me that he is willing to condemn himself to isolation- not out of selfishness, but out of a desire to protect others. I have a hard time believing Vanitas to be a bad guy after seeing how he looked after Mikhail and repeatedly sought to rescue cursed vampires.
This is the first I’ve seen of Noe’s new hand. He previously mentioned the possibility of reattachment, but I was not aware that he got a replacement. It looks like a creature’s claw and not his own hand, so I don’t know if it gives him special powers like Jeanne’s gauntlet or how he even got it. Noe at least is trying to hold back, even if Vanitas doesn’t intend the same for him.
Unfortunately, when one party wants a fight to the death, any determination less than that can be a weakness, which Vanitas uses against Noe. This places Noe in a hard place-he hasn’t killed anyone before and isn’t the type to do so. Yet, he must kill (or severely injure) Vanitas or watch Domi die in front of his eyes. Mikhail is a cruel bastard, forcing Noe to relive his trauma of watching a friend die before his eyes-but this time by Noe’s own hand.
Domi sacrificing herself to “save” Noe from fighting Vanitas is unsurprising-she undervalues her individuality, blind to how deeply her sacrifice would wound him. Louis died in front of him to save Noe and now Domi is doing the same. The flashback where Noe compliments her long hair makes it clear that Domi, not Noe, views her as a Louis replacement.
It’s like an ice-cream twist sundae-one plot twist after another. Mikhail drops the news that Vampire Vanitas can be resurrected, which is bad news for Human Vanitas. It seems unfair that Vampire Vanitas would make Human Vanitas hypnotize himself into killing memory-seekers. He gave that order, knowing Vanitas would have to use it against friends (why else bother hypnotizing someone to fight?). There is still a lot more we don’t know-even Mikhail doesn’t remember what happened when Vampire Vanitas died. Only Vanitas knows and he has no intention of sharing-it will have to be over his dead body.
While not dead yet, his body has taken quite the beating and he is putting it through the wringer with that green solution he injected. I am not sure if the solution is what hypnotizes him or if it gives him extra strength. Either way, his determination to avoid giving out his history at all costs means something pretty terrible happened in the past-which makes me even more curious. The beautifully detailed scenes of utter despair and the appearance of many beloved characters in the desperate struggle spells a rapid unwinding into a messy, tangled end.
I should have known it would have come to this. There’s no way this series could be allowed to end without addressing what Noé alluded to at the end of the very first episode. While most of the sequence was an intense battle between potential friends, the exposition here is that there are a lot of twisted mindsets. It’s become hard to tell who’s got it worse. EVERYONE has a screwed up backstory.
The thing is, Vanitas’s choice of isolation, to me, comes off as him trying to be a tragic hero. All choices have consequences and some have a more serious toll than others. The question is, how long would he psychologically last before it crushes him?
As usual, Mikhail continues to prove himself to be an evil little imp. Which makes it all the more satisfying when his type get taken down a peg.
Damn, this episode hit hard. But you wanna know the best thing about this episode? The fact that Yuki Kajiura somehow managed to make accordions—of all instruments—into a badass battle theme without it coming off as ridiculous. I have a new respect for both Kajiura-sensei and accordions now.