I have been meaning to read The Case Study of Vanitas for years now and with the anime just around the corner, I figured I better get a jump on it and let you guys know what I think before the show starts.
Ok so on a whim a few months ago I decided to just buy a bunch of volume 1 manga that I didn’t know anything about and figured if I found something I liked I would continue it. This has backfired horribly. Not only did I like most of the series I started but I absolutely loved receiving a box in the mail full of manga to discover and going through them one at the time in the evenings. It was like a different adventure every day!
And then, I did it again… This is not a cheap hobby by any means! I should just read digital versions. I really really should. And to kind of slightly justify it in my mind, I want to at least share my experience with you guys!
Why I Picked up The Case Study of Vanitas
Some of you may know this already, I’m a big fan of Pandora Hearts. I really love that anime but I can’t quite recommend it because of how incomplete it is. Still, it captured my imagination enough for me to get the first volume of the manga. And I liked it, I fully planned on continuing when I realized that it was the type of manga series where only some volumes are readily available and others are almost impossible to find. I keep meaning to buy the box set but whenever I decide to do so, it disappears.
Anyways. The Case Study of Vanitas is from the same mangaka as Pandora Hearts and I always thought I would pick it up kind of as a substitute. But now I just want both…
Rumors revolving around The Book of Vanitas, a clockwork grimoire of dubious reputation, draw Noé, a young vampire in search of a friend’s salvation, to Paris. What awaits him in the City of Flowers, however, is not long hours treading the pavement or rifling through dusty bookshops in search of the tome. Instead, his quarry comes to him…in the arms of a man claiming to be a vampire doctor! Thrust into a conflict that threatens the peace between humans and vampires, will Noé cast in his lot with the curious and slightly unbalanced Vanitas and his quest to save vampirekind?
My First Impression
Ok, this is sort of like Black Butler meets Sherlock. Who knew it would work this well? Everybody. It sounds like a great mashup why hasn’t anyone done this before?
What I liked
The Case Study of Vanitas is one goofy manga. Not really, it’s pretty much a slapstick comedy. Which is too bad because a lot of people who I think would enjoy it a lot, don’t like comedies. But I do! And I did here. It had me giggling and smiling the whole time.
I have always enjoyed Jun Mochizuki’s art style. Sure it’s pretty much basic pretty boy but it’s a very nice basic pretty boy.
The first volume is structured as part mystery, part action/adventure and part odd-couple antics all of them nicely woven together. The pace was great and it kept me turning pages and wanting to find out what happens next.
The universe is quite interesting. A long time ago, humans and vampires fought a horrible war and vampires lost. They are believed to be all but eliminated from the human world. But in fact, there are tons of vampires still living among humans, and many of them control society from the shadows. The Case Stud of Vanitas is mostly about those vampires and a mysterious illness that’s driving them crazy. But Vanitas himself is a human. Which makes him a vastly underpowered protagonist. That’s an interesting change and it makes the dynamics in the story just a little different from what we’re used to. Vanitas is also a complete troll with questionable sanity, so I’m not sure I believe him when he claims t be a mere human…
Some of the action was a bit hard to follow in manga from.
There is a character called Jeanne (isn’t there always?) who makes an appearance towards the end of volume one and they sort of cram in a one-page potential romance build-up that is both super inappropriate, very contrived and just creepy. It’s only a couple of panels so it didn’t destroy my enjoyment but I didn’t like that plot point.
The entire time I was reading the first volume, all I could think about was: They better not mess up the adaptation because this would be an amazing anime. Now I tend to prefer anime so this isn’t an unusual thought for me. However, in this case, I honestly just wanted to see it animated. The settings and backgrounds are so beautiful, I can’t wait to see them in full colour. The steampunk designs are going to be glorious in movement. And the characters, both men and women, are all so pretty!
What I’m saying is that I’m definitely watching The Case Study of Vanitas next season and I’m probably going to do episode reviews. I enjoyed the first volume with the biggest drawback being that I would have preferred it as an anime and there we go!