You gotta admit, this week’s The Case Study of Vanitas was epic. What else can I call it? The entire world is literally falling to pieces. Meanwhile, Vanitas is playing a reality-altering organ while dodging attacks from Chloe who has lost her sense. And Chloé is fusing with the world itself so she can control everything and is making shadow wolves rain down like lightning. Just in the nick of time Jeanne whizzes by to knock danger away and for a second we think we can breathe but the Astolfo reappears in a blaze of rage and… epic.

Not every show could pull something like this off. It’s excessive in every sense. But somehow, in The Case Study of Vanitas, it works. It makes sense and goes along with the tone we’ve been setting. It helps that the show has been diligently building towards such moments and I bet there will be more to come. But let’s talk about episode 18.

Before we get started, I just want to tell you that I’ve been playing my new version of the Vanitas OP game and this time I spotted Dante in a second scene so next week I’ll look for Johann. So far I’ve seen Dominique, Jeanne x3, Astlfo, Ruthven, Lucious, Orlock and I think the hostess lady is Amelia. I’m having fun!

The title of this episode is Just the Two of Us. If you’ve seen the episode, then you know how wonderful this title is. I would not have thought of it but when I saw it in the closing card it really made everything come together. Vanitas is wonderful for little things lit=ke that. There’s a lot of thought put into the details. I really appreciate that.

Of course, the plot was advanced this week. My opening paragraph was describing a single scene but a lot more happened. However, that’s not the only way to look at it. There are some simple themes in the story. And for me, this week was essentially The Case Study of Vanitas taking all the themes of love, found family and friendship that it’s been establishing all along and giving them a purpose. Namely, it’s about breaking cycles of violence.

A lot of Vanitas seems to go back to either Jeanne of Ruthven, or both. These two characters seem to be somehow intertwined into everything that’s happening. Of course, we know that Jeanne is dealing with some trauma. I mean everyone in this show is. It’s an island of misfit toys. But Chloé’s current situation is tapping directly into everything Jeanne is trying to suppress so she’s unravelling. Jeanne may be vulnerable but she is also powerful. She can do a lot of damage if she blows.

We also got a bit of background on Astolfoand… of course. I have to say, although I did not dislike Astolfo’s backstory in any way, it was very stereotypical of this type of character. He trusted a vampire that betrayed him and got all his family killed and now he wants revenge on all vampires. This is the sort of generic origin story you can find just about anywhere. And of course, the vampire was motivated by the fact that chasseurs killed his entire family so he was enacting his revenge and so on. Never-ending cycles.

If Astolfo had managed to kill Jean Jacques that would probably have pushed Chlo. over the edge which in turn would have broken Jeanne and then who knows what would happen to Vanitas and Noé. Without Noé, Roland loses motivation to show mercy. You can just see it. All these grim dominos falling one by one.

Except Astolfo didn’t kill Jean Jacques. That guy is ridiculously resilient. And more importantly, Noé was there to save him. So now he can save Chloé, but only because Vanitas and Jeanne are there to help. And they help together, as a team. And all of it starts with Noé.

Noé has had just as much loss, betrayal and trauma as the rest. Well, maybe not just as much but he has had his share. But Noé never became bitter. He retained his optimism and hope for those around him. His innocence if you will. And that’s why I think he is the key to breaking all these cycles.

As I was watching this episode, I thought to myself, The Case Study of Vanitas is a very romantic show. Not as in it has a lot of romance in it. Although there is some romance. I don’t know how it happened but I’m deeply rooting for Vanitas and Jeanne to get together and I hated them as a couple at first. I got distracted. I mean it’s romantic as in romanticism.

It’s interested in how all these characters became who they are through their childhood experiences. For all the action in the show, the story cares more about emotions. There’s this idea about how straying from the natural order is bound to end badly. Vanitas cures vampires by giving them back their names. All of it is so romantic. which is why I think Chlo can be saved. Or at least redeemed. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

What I,m saying is that I continue to be captivated by The Case Study of Vanitas. I look forward to watching it every week and every time I’m surprised by just how quickly the episode went by. I want more.

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9 thoughts

  1. Will there ever be an episode that isn’t too short?

    I wasn’t that fond of Astolfo’s backstory; I do think it fits well into the theme, as I think you’re saying. Still, it must have been my least favourite sequence this season (of Vanitas, not of all shows of Winter 2022). Everything else, though…

    Also, Vanitas must be really smart, if he figured out how to play the reality twisting organ this quickly. Or does he know more than he lets on? I mean much more.

      1. Actually, no. Organs were those big things that stood around in Church (and were my favourite thing about mass). In grade school we had recorders. And, come to think of it, it did alter reality: the recorder turned me from someone who’d never even touched a recorder into someone who tried to play a simple children’s song on one. Also, come to think of it, there are definitely combinations of intruments, notes, chords, rhythms, pitches out there that me feel like disappearing…

        Maybe Vanitas just has to do what he does best. Annoy everyone around them so much that they forget about disappearing… The firt thing you’d stabilise is the circulatory system that leads to those bursting veins at or near the temples. And we all know how important blood circulations is… wait, for vampires, too? Hm…

        1. The bears research. I mean Vampires should have a heck of a lot of blood but without the beating heart… Maybe they have some sort of hydrostatic circulation…

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