「Après la pluie―彼の願い―」 (Apure Ra Puryui―Kare no Negai―)
This episode was almost as if the previous episode had never happened. Everyone made up and are all buddies again (well maybe except for the jealous Mikhail). Based on the last episode, I was actually expecting Vanitas and Noe’s partnership to be over, ushering in a cliffhanger for another arc focused on the two as archenemies. It would certainly have been a plot twist, but based on the taste we got last episode, wouldn’t have gotten very far since Noe, the more physically powerful of the two, is not a killer.
This point about Noe makes it intriguing that Vanitas chose Noe to be his executioner when he reaches the end of his metaphorical chain. While it would be messed up to make your kid brother do the job (especially if the job brings such joy to said little brother), Noe still lacks the resolve to actually kill. Not to mention, Noe has the trauma from Louis’ death and posthumous request to kill him. Yet, Noe is kind, so he wouldn’t let Vanitas suffer the fate of inhumanity and Vanitas clearly respects him enough to entrust himself to Noe.
Mikhail confirms what has been my growing suspicion that Vanitas’ time is limited to how much he uses the tome. You can’t have too much of a good thing-there is always a caveat. In the case of the tome, every time Vanitas heals someone, he becomes a little less himself, until eventually, he will reach the point of being his worst nightmare-a non-human. He won’t even be a vampire, he will be an out of control creature (which Mikhail previews for us). It certainly spells out the tragic end awaiting Vanitas. While I am excited to see more of this story, I also don’t want to see Vanitas’ story end tragically.
I love how they incorporated the sense of a ticking time bomb into Vanitas’ character design. They kept zooming in on Vanitas’ earrings, until I finally figured out that they must be a timer for the number of book uses left before becoming inhuman. A very creative wardrobe choice (although I don’t know that I would want to wear something that reminds me how much time I have left). From the looks of it, he has about half of his time remaining, but that doesn’t say much about whether that is a span of weeks, months, or years-depending on how much he uses that tome.
Knowing Vanitas, he will stop at nothing, even his life, if it means rescuing a curse so I imagine his end will come sooner rather than later. True to his nature of pretending not to care, Vanitas claims that he only saves vampires as revenge and uses the curses as a way to find the culprit who stole Vampire Vanitas’ name. I’m not sure how curing the curses will lead him to the culprit, unless they leave some sort of fingerprint in the formula after altering it.
Of note, is the information that Vampire Vanitas was killed by Human Vanitas after they transformed upon having their name stolen. Clearly we’re not done with Naenia yet. Ruthven and the Chasseurs have been largely absent this arc, but if Vanitas keeps pursuing Naenia and curse-bearers I imagine they will also be just around the corner.
The Teacher showing up to collect Mikhail was an unexpected turn of events. From the glimpses we got of him in Noe’s flashbacks, he came off as a kind, open-minded vampire. What we see of him here is a cunning, sinister guy who is maybe too open-minded (at least about resurrecting the dead Vampire Vanitas). Mikhail is basically in the same shoes as Noe now, having been rescued by the Teacher. The Teacher certainly doesn’t seem up to any good (trying to resurrect someone who’s name has been distorted screams for trouble). This contrasts sharply with the image I had of him from Domi and Noe as the kind eccentric. I guess he isn’t called the Shapeless One for nothing-shapelessness also includes morality alignment.
The finale (in true Vanitas no Karte fashion) came off as having split personalities, one half epic battles with our gang against Mikhail’s vampires in the first part and the laid-back bonding between Vanitas and Noe with some mystery via the Teacher thrown in the second half. I feel like that middle part with the theme song and shots of background scenes was filler since they are coming to the end of what is currently available of the source material. Even if the tone was a bit inconsistent, it still did the job of wrapping up the season and getting me pumped for a continuation of the story (even if I have to settle for it in manga form only).
The series did an amazing job of deepening the characters and the plot. It keeps leading to new, interesting directions, from the mystery of Chloe, to the fight with Mikhail, and now whatever is up with the Teacher. They ended it in such a way that it would suffice if they didn’t continue the anime (Vanitas and Noe making up their friendship is a nice ending), but still leaves enough of a cliff hanger with the Teacher for a potential second season. I have no idea if they will make another anime and if they do, it might be eons (or at least feel like it) before enough material is written for it (unless they go with anime original scripting). I hope they continue this on the anime front-I thoroughly enjoyed how the voice acting, music, and visuals brought the story to life and is certainly worth continuing!
Somehow, part of me expected the adversity between Vanitas and Noé to be resolved despite their bout in the previous episode. There are some you can feel coming before it even arrives.
Personally, I hope nothing happens that causes Vanitas’s life expectancy to be abruptly cut short. Mainly because he’s got Jeanne as his love interest and it would be messed up to see anything happen to either one of them. Especially with how far they’ve come. Not to mention I’m sure that Noé, himself, hopes that such a day never comes. Killing is not in his nature and I’m sure he doesn’t want to adopt that trait at any time.
Mikhail’s revelation aside, we already had a hint of Vanitas’s potential troubles when the Blue Moon mark on his arm spread exponentially after his deeds in Gévaudan along with saving Chloé and Jean-Jacques. The question is, how much rope does he have left before he finally reaches the end of it? Because he isn’t changing course since he still intends to save curse-bearers.
To be honest, I didn’t expect the Teacher to make an appearance due to him getting so little attention so far. That was indeed a surprise. The fact he goes from the “Shapeless One” to the “Compte de Saint-Germain”, it leaves to ask as to what he’s been up to. Simply judging from Noé and Domi’s reactions to his return, they haven’t seen him in years. He’s taken up Noé, he’s taken up Mikhail. So, who else has he been gathering?
Overall, “The Case Study of Vanitas/Vanitas no Karte” was a pleasure to watch from start to finish. From the intriguing story to its likable cast of characters. Not to mention to sensual bite scenes. We can’t forget about those, can we? I loved it so much it caused me to go and order the available paperback manga volumes.
Credit to Studio Bones for working on this adaptation. It’s truly a bummer that it has to end since there are story threads yet to be addressed. The Teacher, Ruthven, Naenia/Queen Faustina, whatever the Church and vampire senate are plotting. There are so many things to look forward to and I’d love to see it all animated one day.
Yes, the story definitely leaves a lot of cliff-hangers! It will be hard to wait for a continuation of the story (at least in manga form), but at least we know that Mochizuki-sensei is taking her time with the story to do it right!
Well, according to the manga readers, this final episode of the “Vanitas no Karte” adaptation covered the very most recent chapter available. “Yen Press” still hasn’t published the most recent 9th volume and given author Jun Mochizuki’s working style and output, it will be a LONG time before we get any kind of progression for this series. Which is a bummer because it’s become one of my favorites.
For time being, it looks like I’ll have to play the waiting game for my next vampire anime fix in “Call of the Night/Yofukashi no Uta” for Summer/July 2022, which looks to be shaping up to be a good adaptation of another manga I recently came across. The manga author is Kotoyama of “Dagashi Kashi” fame and the director of the adaptation will be Tomoyuki Itamura, who just so happens to have handled the “Monogatari” series and the recently ended “The Case Study of Vanitas/Vanitas no Karte”. I wonder who’s going to cover that here at Random Curiosity.
This adaptation has been a joy from start to finish, I loved the animations, cinematography, the music (Yuki Kajiura and the author are apparently fans of each other’s works!). The atmosphere is really important and the anime set that up really well.
Every arc we get some questions answered but even more arise, it really keeps me intrigued. Vanitas’ (the character) behaviour seems so unpredictable and inconsistent, but rather than it being a writing issue, it’s really just that he’s a walking contradiction that doesn’t even understand himself sometimes. Stuck in the past, holding on tight to a few important things he can’t let go of because he probably doesn’t know how to live otherwise – he always feels fragile and ready to break at a moment’s notice and I can’t take my eyes off him. The other characters as well are all interesting, and the odd friendship between Noe and Vanitas is amazingly complicated.
I love the flashbacks in this show because it not only clues us more into the overall story/plot, it also links back to how those incidents shaped the characters and continue to affect their behaviour and motivations now. And when we think we learnt almost everything about an incident already (Noe’s trauma regarding Louis), it comes back to haunt us and reveal more info on it and the other side/another pov of the matter (Domi’s trauma regarding Louis). I love how everything is linked. We’ve seen Chloe and Ruthven’s/Jeanne’s relationship already from Chloe’s pov, and while it gave us everything we needed to know to be emotionally invested in Chloe’s story arc, no doubt there’re way more details on Ruthven/Jeanne’s end that we won’t be privy to for a good while. It only brought up more questions. Only revealing things in parts to give us an incomplete understanding of the situation to keep us guessing sure seems to be what the author likes to do. With every new piece of info I have to reevaluate what I think about the character relationships – I went from thinking Vanitas hated Luna, to thinking he cared for her deeply, to thinking maybe he hates her after all. In the end, it looks to be both, I still don’t know if his revenge is for her sake or against her. I expect my expectations to be subverted once or twice at some point when new reveals finally come. I can’t imagine anything but a bittersweet ending for this series.
Until your post, I never noticed the detail about the hourglass – I will have to pay more attention from here on, hiding something important in plain sight sounds exactly like what this series would do.
There’s definitely more I want to know about Jeanne and Ruthven-like why he seemingly let her off the hook when she came back without Chloe’s head. I’m also curious to know if Chloe and Jeanne-Jacques will show up again, or if they will just fade gracefully out of sight. I have a feeling that the final answers about the relationships between these characters will be far more complicated and intertwined than what they appear to be at first-at least judging by her character writing and plot twists in Pandora Hearts.
I mean, previous episodes have implied that The Shapeless One had something to do with Louie becoming a cursebearer. Add that to how mysterious he is in general, and how casual he was about killing his own grandson, and I can’t say I’m particularly surprised by him being a bad dude.
Speaking of The Shapeless One, based on his eyes and his comment about them not having seen him “in this form” before, I’m pretty sure that Murr is his familiar or something, and that he’s using him to spy on Noe and Vanitas. The emphasis on his blue eye specifically was interesting, especially considering his interest in reviving Luna.
I REALLY wish Domi and Noe had gotten to have a moment in this episode. After everything that just happened and everything we just learned about Domi, it felt kind of wrong that they didn’t. That’s my only complaint, though.
That is a very interesting thought about Murr and I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if that were the case. I’m sure Murr is kept about for a reason and they way they zoom in on him seems to imply that as well. I also had noticed his eyes, that one eye was the same color as Mikhail and one eye the same color as Noe. I wasn’t sure if he had those eye colors as a reflection of the two orphans he took under his wing or if there is something deeper than that.