This Vanitas no Carte review contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the chapter yet, we recommend that you do it and then go back to read the review.

Vanitas
© 望月 淳 / SQUARE ENIX ・ 「ヴ ァ ニ タ ス の 手記」 製作 委員会

Chapter 3: “You submitted. The fangs that bare the blood “

Vanitas makes a plan and gets Noah to help him. They distract Jeanne and give Loup-Garou (the vampire with “malnomen”) enough time to wake up and surprise the witch from hell. It falls to the ground and Vanitas takes the opportunity to heal Thomas Berneux, who runs away disoriented. Count Orlok’s servants witness his healing and hunt him down. Suddenly Jeanne gets up and Vanitas calls Noah, who is holding little Luca. The man of the blue moon cheats on her, discovers that her weakness is the good of her master and kisses her passionately. Then Luca goes up in flames and Jeanne escapes with him.

Thomas Berneux is found dead. He was killed by Charlatan, a mysterious being who is behind the falsification of the vampire names. Through the visions of Noah, they learn how he drinks Amelia’s blood, how he can navigate the memories of the unconscious. Orlok postpones the vampire’s conviction, but demands constant scrutiny from her and Vanitas herself. At that moment Dominique interrupts de Sade, a vampire who defines herself as Noah’s fiancée. As a childhood friend, she takes him to Altus Paris, the city of vampires, to a masked party. Vanitas follows them.

Analysis: Vanitas and Noé. Jeanne and Dominique.

Chapters 3 and 4 form a perfect set to get closer to the personality of Vanitas. In the previous review, I contrasted the reversed roles of Noah and Vanitas. The vampire is the being luminous, sensitive and full of energy and innocence; man is the dark, tormented and unpredictable being. Of course there is an overlap of personalities and the pasts of both are much more complex, but by and large that is the characters’ introductory letter. Let’s take a look at her design and her wardrobe: Noah wears white as the surface color and black on his shirt; Vanitas is marked in black and blue and has white as the interior color. It is as if the author wants to connect the protagonists in every detail, oppose them and attract them like ying and yang.

Vanitas
© 望月 淳 / SQUARE ENIX ・ 「ヴ ァ ニ タ ス の 手記」 製作 委員会

On the other hand, three characters emerge whose shadows drove their relevance in the first chapter: Jeanne, Luca and Dominique de Sade. All three have European cultural references in their names, especially the two vampires. Jeanne is clearly inspired by the Saints of the French War, Joan of Arc. The figure embodies the facets of the murderer and protector, a “Juana” who after the war no longer knows how to put her life back in order and is a martyr of her broken feelings, her friendly manner and the murderous trace of the past. Luca acts as a vital center, ground of being and anger control; in other words, it connects with Jeanne’s heart and mind, bringing her to herself and away from the “witch of hell”.

On the other hand, Dominique de Sade already bears the quote from the famous Marquis de Sade in the surname, which gives us a strong personality, a penchant for dominance and an allusion to the duality of lust and torture. We see it in the military clothes, their break-in and the chain to take Noah, as the characteristic traits of the vampire are drawn. You could also say that Jeanne and Dominique are opposing female role models, but what they have in common is that they are strong women who do not need to be saved.

Vanitas the vampire doctor: renegade antihero

© 望月 淳 / SQUARE ENIX ・ 「ヴ ァ ニ タ ス の 手記」 製作 委員会

Noah, about whom we still have a great deal to know, was described in chapters 1 and 2. Instead, these two episodes focus on Vanitas’ personality. Vanitas and Jeanne’s struggle and the unexpected result reverse stereotypes and unsettle the viewer, because accustomed to a certain storyline, he cannot decipher what moves Vanitas, what goes through his head. And of course there is still a long way to go to find out.

For me and after what we have been shown so far – and while I catch up on the manga – we are facing a romantic antihero in its purest essence. He is a trickster, master of deception, theatrical and moody. Let’s look at the comments by Dante, Johann and Richie from the roof in Chapter 3: They take the viewer’s point of view, guide him and identify with him. Every action by Vanitas is criticized and their reactions provoke a catharsis, almost as if we were speaking through them. Indeed, he is not chivalrous or thoughtful, he is impulsive and insane, he is carried away by lust and curiosity without thinking. The kiss with Jeanne turned out extremely well, because in the anime her perversion is emphasized, while in the manga it is not such a lustful scene.

Vanitas the Vampire Doctor: Rebel Antihero II

Then comes episode 4 and we manage to unravel a fundamental key to these actions: what does vanitas want? He doesn’t really know himself, it’s the broken toy of a vampire who tortured him. If we are confused by the actions of this character, who is so far removed from the ideal hero, it is because she herself doubts, hesitates and acts at the outbreak of the moment without weighing the consequences. In her conversation with Dominique de Sade, she instantly changes her mind without thinking about whether or not to reveal her existence to vampires. And in this transcendental confession we understand that the vampire doctor is an act of rebellion (hence his romance) towards the vampire who shaped him. There is a sense of darkness and deep pain that broke Vanitas’ mind and heart.

Finally, in his scene with Jeanne, he clearly admits that he lets himself be carried away, is curious and wants to satisfy her. It’s the demeanor of a cursed person, a broken being desperate for a root, a passing feeling to hold onto. It should be noted that vanitas in Latin means “vanity / in vain”, ie the protagonist has identity problems from the name, he has to justify his existence.

Vanitas
© 望月 淳 / SQUARE ENIX ・ 「ヴ ァ ニ タ ス の 手記」 製作 委員会

Chapter 4: “Bal Mask”

On the other side of the barrier, in Altus Paris, Domi, Noah’s childhood friend, goes to a masked ball with him. Despite his attempts to hide vanitas, he constantly attracts the attention of vampires and they have to push him away. Noah gets lost and is left alone with Dominique, who ties him up and interrogates him to find out his true intentions. Suddenly Vanitas understands the uncertainty of the vampires around him and decides to approach them differently: He jumps into the ballroom lamp and confesses his nature to everyone present.

Logically, the vampires get scared and attack him. In the midst of this confusion, Verónica de Sade appears and attacks the young person, but is saved just in time by Jeanne, who brings him to the roof. In the meantime, Noé’s paths have crossed with Luca, they have started a conversation and have witnessed the scene. In search of Jeanne and Vanitas, Charlatan appears and attacks them. During the confrontation, chaos breaks out, as numerous vampires are affected by the “malnouns”. Jeanne notices this, but she too is affected and has an agonizing desire for blood. With this awareness, Vanitas provokes her to drink his blood. The vampire struggles, but in the end she can’t take it anymore and gives in.

Love, sensuality and lust in Vanitas no Carte

Yes, I see a special connection between Vanitas and Noah from minute zero. There is also between Noé and Dominique, between Vanitas and Jeanne. It’s a deliberate ambiguity, an open stage where encounters and disagreements lead the characters to discover who they are and what they really want. Mochizuki He could have drawn a pre-defined script, but he seems to prefer that the characters examine it themselves as the plot progresses. Isn’t it much more interesting that way? I think it’s one of the great successes of Vanitas no card.

In the fourth episode, Noah holds Vanitas’ hand and does not let it fall. Vanitas is happy and Noah is embarrassed. These little details, the interactions between them, which vacillates between the innocence of Noah and the seduction of vanitas, are constant from the start. However, the culmination of all suspicions is satisfied in Vanitas’ reaction when Noah drinks Dominique’s blood. The moment the cursed man throws himself at Jeanne and desperately seduces her, he does not notice it himself, but he has burned the scene between Dominique and Noé and feels envy, curiosity and jealousy. And if there is any doubt as to whether he does it out of spite, we go to the manga: Vanitas remembers the scene while Jeanne drinks her blood. Does that mean he has no desire for Jeanne? Not necessarily, Vanitas is a totally confused character and he came to confuse us, to make us doubt him.

Secondly, Vanitas no card From the beginning a very intense sensuality and pleasure emerges. I think it’s much more intense and accomplished in the anime, the tone is more romantic in the manga. In any case, I would like to emphasize that in vampire literature (for example in Anne Reis) Drinking blood is synonymous with a sexual act on many occasions. This would be completely in line with Vanitas’ jealousy and libidinal response. The author of these lines couldn’t help but think that the young vampire doctor seemed to be trying to recreate Noah biting Dominique while Jeanne was biting him. What do you think? Does Vanitas think of Jeanne, Noah or both?

Finally

Vanitas no card turns his attention in chapters 3 and 4 to the eccentric and irrational personality of vanitas. Although we still have a lot to find out about him, we confirm that he is a romantic antihero in the sense that he does not act for good or bad, but as an act of rebellion against the vampire who shaped him. He is also moody and volatile, and his love preferences are ambiguous and impulsive. All this complexity achieves a very interesting plot around the character and his motivations.

The gears of history and the alternate world in which it takes place are also revealed. Alchemy plays a fundamental role in the creation of vampires and parallel realities. It is an interesting game that suggests the “malnoun” of vampires as the disease of the mind associated with the real name. It is in such an environment that charlatan and the image of the horror circus are introduced.

Finally, it is important to point out the aesthetic and psychological pantomime of other characters such as Jeanne, Dominique and Luca. Noah is the reflection of Vanitas and this is expressed in personality and detail. They attract and are opposites, they switch roles: Noah, the vampire, is easy; Vanitas, the human being, is darkness.

About the Author

Sweety Otaku

One of the best parts of watching anime is how many times a show can surprise you. Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. But if the Otaku know one thing, it's that anything is possible.

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