Anime Corner: The Case Study of Vanitas Review

Just Kiss Already!

What’s the Story?

It’s the 19th century and, for the most part, vampires and humans have found an uneasy peace between themselves. Of course there are those who would break that peace, like whoever’s stealing vampires’ true names, turning them into mindless beasts with an insatiable hunger. There is no cure for those who find themselves the bearer of such a curse, or at least that’s how the story goes. There is in fact one human doctor who claims he can cure any curse-bearer and he goes by the name Vanitas, a name that holds much fear for the vampires. When Noe, a vampire, travels to Paris in search of the Book of Vanitas, he has no idea the mad genius he is about to meet, or how his life will change because of it. Facing political intrigue, hidden sects of the church and their own tortured pasts, how long can Noe and Vanitas get along before one of them ends up killing the other?

The Review:

Some series literally have everything in their favour from the offset. When I’m looking for anime to watch it’s always the synopsis that I go to first so see if it piques my interest, but I’ll admit there are a few production names that immediately get my attention. Studio Bones is one such name, they’ve animated what feels like several hundred fantastic shows in their time (and I’ll just point out that Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) is still my personal favourite anime and that was made by Bones. You can check out the full list of my favourite anime HERE). Then there’s THE Yuki Kajiura, and I can’t think of a single song she’s produced that I don’t enjoy listening to (also going back to my favourite anime, she was behind the music for both Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero, my second and third favourite anime respectively). So, yes, I was extremely interested in this show when I first came across it and, if nothing else, I knew it was going to look and sound fantastic. That only left the story and characters, and if the show could nail them then, well, there’s really nothing this show could do wrong. So, how were they?

Utterly fantastic. If you haven’t guessed by now, this is going to be one of my gushing reviews, so ponchos at the ready everyone! I had an absolute blast with this series, from beginning to end. Everything from the setting to the characters to the sheer melodrama of some of the interactions, I want to give it all a chef’s kiss. And while I don’t think this series will have the same impact with everyone, it appealed to me in so many different ways that, like being caught in the hypnotic gaze of a vampire, I was just entranced from the very first episode. I just want to get lost in this world, 1800s Paris looks so sumptuous from the fashion to the architecture, with some dashes of gothic horror and a steampunk aesthetic thrown in to really hook me. There’s all the different factions, political scheming and rich lore that makes up this world and I just…I’m just trying not to squee too much as I think about it all. Some series you just want to move right into and live there forever, that’s me and this series, even if I’m pretty sure I’d be dead within the week it would still be worth it.

That brings me to the characters, who I love as much as I do the setting if that’s even possible. Watching Noe and Vanitas bicker like an old married couple never failed to bring a smile to my face. Noe is such a himbo, but he’s so pure-hearted that you can’t help but just want to hug him. Vanitas on the other hand is a lot more abrasive and unpredictable, which is fun in it’s own way, but it’s when he’s flustered and trying to hide his feelings that he’s at his funniest. The chemistry between the two is top notch and I never want to stop watching them interact. Then there’s other goofballs like Jeanne and Roland, who when we first meet them are presented as these dangerous badasses, only to learn later on that they’re these sweet cinnamon rolls and, again, the interactions with the rest of the cast is just fantastic. Not that everything is all smiles and giggles, a lot of the characters come with their own trauma and tragic back stories and the series makes sure to wring as much emotion out of each reveal as possible. I’ll also mention that this series comes with a lot of different ships, obviously Noe and Vanitas are the main ship, but after the second half of this first season I was really shipping Jeanne and Vanitas, they’re just…they’re just perfect for one another. Watch the series to find out why!

The Verdict:

In the end, The Case Study of Vanitas is perfect for me. Animation provided by Bones, music by Yuki Kajiura, a sumptuous and detailed world with a cast of loveable goofballs. There isn’t a foot this show puts wrong, for me at least I will admit this show probably isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. This show had me laughing, crying and gripping the edge of my seat with anticipation and, really, I can’t ask for anything more from a series. I’ve fallen in love not just with Noe and Vantias, but this version of Paris and the world beyond. What are you waiting for? Check this out!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.

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