The Case Study of Vanitas episode 21 wastes no time jumping back into the dark fantasy that this is. Of all the flashbacks we’ve had, Domi’s point-of-view of Louis’ death is by far the most depressing and emotionally tormenting. While Noe witnessed his friend’s beheading, Domi on the other hand is tortured by her self-blaming, not to mention the ignorant comments of her older sister Veronica. It’s terrible to watch and almost too much to bear. How did we go from the happiest episode of the season to the most emotionally cruel one this quickly?
It blows my mind that this episode alone manages to change my impression of Dominique de Sade. Despite all the confidence, elegance, and playfulness — underneath all of that is an internal conflict of survivor’s guilt and the pain of being unwanted by her family. It hurt when she kept questioning her life — “Noé’, would you have chosen Louis instead?” I hate that she thinks Noé’ doesn’t care for her, even though it’s pretty obvious that they adore each other so much. However, it does make a lot more sense now about why she’s envious of Jeanne’s self-actualization from the last episode.
Personally, I feel bad that it took this long for us to realize it. I’ve loved Domi since her first appearance, but gosh, I wasn’t expecting such a painful backstory like this! (I want to hug her!) The pacing of this anime has been amazing, and I love-hate both this development and the music accompaniment in this episode.
What makes it all the more awful is the fact that Mikhail is not only taking advantage of Domi’s pain but at the same time, also forcing Noé’ into this hostage situation. The young boy is taunting and manipulating our Noé’, and I honestly hate seeing it. It’s already well-established that Noé’’s righteous character respects Vanitas and his past. They even maintained a trusting relationship together back in Gévaudan. However, Vanitas specifically forbade Noé’ to get his blood, so I can just imagine how unsettling and troubling this is all about to be. Especially with Domi’s life on the line.
I think we can all agree that this was a very heavy episode. All in all, The Case Study of Vanitas episode 21 was brutally heartbreaking. It seems that the finale arc is shaping up to be like this, especially with more of Vanitas’ backstory on the way. (We should probably brace ourselves.) It’s always been a curious subject but I’m afraid that learning this now may come at a price. I don’t even know what to feel for Mikhail because the episode also showed how messed up his childhood was.
Also, I know amusement parks are fun settings, but in this case, it’s a creepy one. Painful feelings aside though, Roland was the best and most precious one in this episode! I’m interested to see where Mikhail and Vanitas’ childhoods converge, and most likely why Vanitas has so much self-loathing. Most importantly, the subject of “why he killed their Father.” Is this the person who I think it is? You know, this episode somehow feels like a ripped-off band-aid, with the old wounds reopened. I have a strong feeling next week isn’t going to be an easy one too.
The next episode will air on Friday, March 25, at 24:00 JST. The English subtitled versions will also be available later on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Bilibili in select regions. If you enjoyed the episode, don’t forget to vote in our weekly polls!
Images via Bilibili
©Jun Mochizuki/SQUARE ENIX, “Vanitas no Carte” Production Committee