Before I start my review for this week’s episode of The Case Study of Vanitas, I would like to give you a visual representation of one of my favourite moments in the episode, and really an idea of one of my favourite aspects of the show in general. Just to get you situation, all hell has just broken loose, Vanitas, Noé and all of Gévaudan are trapped in a pocket dimension which seems to be falling apart. On top of that, the chasseurs have just shown up. This could help but it could also be very bad news. OK, here we go:

and scene!

Next to Murr, Roland might be my favourite character. He just brings out the best part of Noé!

I will admit this sequence might be a tad misleading when you consider the episode as a whole but I think it’s still true to the spirit of The Case Study of Vanitas.

Oh and one last thing before we start, just in case it’s not clear, the Noble Woman of my title does refer to Chloé. I do believe that her devotion to the people of her land makes her the noblest example we have. However, if you play around with the meaning, it could be Jeanne or even Naenia, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m in a bit of a tough spot with The Case Study of Vanitas. I feel like if you already watch the show, then you don’t need me to tell you how great it is. You know! On the other hand, if you don’t, then I can’t possibly capture the fun and occasional awe of it all. At least not without pictures of Murr and he didn’t show up this week!

Let’s start at the beginning. I have been missing the OP spot the Murr game this season. but I finally noticed that a lot of the background characters in the OP are actually known characters. I had noticed Astolfo in the cofféé shop scene because of that signature pink hair but when I actually paid a bit more attention this time, I saw a lot more. Lucas and his family, Jeane in her going out dress. I realized it a bit too late but next week, I’ll see if I can recognize anyone else. It would be crazy if all the background charas are in fact already established.

Oh wait, that wasn’t the real beginning, was it? Before the OP we got a nice little monologue from Chloé. Did I mention I like Chloé? A lot. There’s a balance to her character that I find very appealing. Sure she’s a classic tragic past heroine that has lost her way. And a damsel in distress up to a certain point. But then you mix that with her resolve, her

Her practicality and her maturity and you get a rather unique archetype. She’s not an all-powerful force of nature or a fragile flower we need to protect. Actually, you can say that about most of the characters in Vanitas. They’re layered, like..well you know. Or maybe it’s that she has the character design of a very pretty young lady with silver hair. One of these things appeals to me.

Another character I have definitely never mentioned liking before is Naenia, and particularly what she brings as a villain. I said she. We finally got to learn a bit more. This was one of the areas that made me a bit nervous. One of the truly unsettling things about Naenia and Charlatan, in general, is that they make no sense. It’s difficult to understand their motivations and therefore almost impossible to anticipate their actions. They seem random and yet…effective. There’s an old adage that the most frightening thing out there is the unknown. Well if that’s true, then an unknowable villain is always going to be scarier.

And yet, after finding out a lot more about Naenia, even seeing her true form for a bit, she is even more frightening to me. In the brief moment that she was granted her own voice, all that came out was desperation, loss and so much pain. And I knew they were all screwed. It sent chills down my spine. The Case Study of Vanitas is a very silly show, not one that’s going to keep you up at night hiding under the covers. But for a second there, it had the makings of genuine horror.

Oh boy, I’m not even past the first act yet. I will say Astolfo is being rendered rather toothless by events. They set up an epic fight between him and Noé last week only to abandon it before the first punch was thrown. That’s actually been the theme of the season. Astolfo did get a few nice fighting sequences but every time they are cut short or overshadowed. Either by the Beast showing up and taking the spotlight or Naenia wrapping everyone up in the madness. I hope they actually make it a theme. Have the character all hyped up with this elaborate build-up, and never let him impact the story in any way. It’s like a little wink at the audience, and I wouldn’t put it past this show to do something like that.

The rest of the episode was pretty much nonstop action. The chasseurs show up, which means the return of Roland. And I cheered. We know the church wants to cover up the fact that the Beast never actually killed anyone and was just a convenient cover story for illicit vampire hunting. That was also a scapegoat for plain old murder but you got to keep the masses entertained somehow. As such, the chasseurs showing up here can mean some very bad things for Jean Jacques and Chloé. It’s not like they’re in a particularly good spot as it is. 

We also got to see a bit more of Jeanne’s backstory. She got her own tragedy to dwell on. Considering just how vulnerable she is half the time, it’s hardly surprising that she didn’t have the happiest childhood. But something may be changing slowly. And despite how much I disliked Vanitas and Jeanne when I first saw them together, the pair has grown on me tremendously. I can’t help cheering them on. 

Let’s not forget that a considerable part of the action consisted of Noé and Vanitas bickering. I have to give it to them, the word may be literally unravelling at the seams. They may be facing the greatest threat they ever have. But Vnitas is still Vanitas and Noé is still Noé. In the end, their friendship is a force to be reckoned with. And that’s really what the episode was saying, in so many words. 

Vanitas has never had a real friend. Partly because he’s a jerk. Noé is often surrounded by friends because he is something of a vampire marshmallow. You know, entirely fluffy and sweet and not much else. But Noé has been betrayed or left behind often enough to feel a permanent sense of loss. Yet in each other, they found a perfect match. And that’s going to save the world or something. I’m making it sound stupid. Trust me it’s great. 

The Case Study of Vanitas is a show about friendship. Like 70% of all anime and pretty much all shonen. Although friendship makes it sound a little more one-note than it truly is. It’s a show about relationships. And how the lack of healthy relationships can really screw up someone’s perspective. Inversely, how achieving and maintaining them, can be a saving grace. But it tells that message by having vampires and giant wolves fight shadow monsters while injecting hilarious or just witty metacommentary. And it’s pretty.  There, I tried to explain the show for people who don’t watch it. I’m not sure I succeeded so I’ll try again next week.

Previous episodes

4 thoughts

  1. You know, I really love Roland’s five seconds of seriousness (I didn’t measure the time), where he lets on what he really thinks, only to get back to his doofus facade, so you wonder whether you’ve really heard what you just heard.

    So, are we going to find the book again next episode? It’s about time, no?

    Also, I do so love the surreal spaces this show creates. The fun thing is how well they slot into the happenings. They’re weird, but not out of place.

  2. Yes, I loved this episode! The pocket world falling apart looked very cool. And I also thought the interaction between Roland and Noe was adorable. And I totally didn’t see that double cross from Chloe coming. Really, such a great episode!

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