The Case Study of Vanitas episode 23 is out and the turn of events is as chaotic as it can be. As compared to the Gevauden arc with the numerous characters, this story arc focuses on just four. However, this arc definitely carries a lot more weight because of all the misery coming about. For one, we had an emotionally damaging episode last week with the reveal of Vanitas’ past, as well as Domi’s in the episode before that.
This week, we get all those emotions turned into a heated and brutal battle between Vanitas and Noé. Although it was unpleasant to watch, I do admit that the overall sequence was satisfying (and a bit cathartic). What’s more, there were so many information bombs that once again planted some more mysteries! Why is Vanitas so hung up on protecting his memories? Why does Mikhail not remember?
I really want to know all the answers but I have no choice to wait for the finale with much anticipation. In the meantime, I’m just gonna unpack this episode again. The Case Study of Vanitas episode 23 is titled “Pleuvoir−Tears Like Rain.”
Noé’s Fear of Losing
I think we can all agree that this show has each of the characters coping with their own traumas. First off, Noé’s trauma is rooted in the tragedy of Louis’ death. Because of that, he never wants to see someone die from a cursed name. He has always been friendly, optimistic, and as much as possible, he doesn’t use violence. Noe just really wants to make up for his failure of losing Louis and he’ll try fighting to prevent any further tragedies like it. We saw it first with Amelia, with Chloe and Jean- Jacques, and now, for Domi.
And that’s precisely the reason why Noé is at a disadvantage in this battle. Unlike the vampire, Vanitas will not hesitate to take necessary actions for his goal, including killing. It may look like a weakness for Noé, but it is also his strength in saving people — something he would later pull on Vanitas.
Vanitas Becomes a Stranger
Vanitas is mischievous and stubborn but the past season has seen him grow out of this. In The Case Study of Vanitas episode 23, however, we see him awfully erase and revert all his character development. I can’t help but think it’s because he’s scarred and triggered by the pain from his younger self — the pain of loss, solitude, and “freedom”.
Vanitas really seems like the most complicated person to understand in this series, but if you think about it, he just wants to protect. He doesn’t want to kill Noé but is so intent on protecting Luna’s memories that he uses the chasseur’s serum. It was a difficult situation to watch, especially with these two friends turning into apparent “strangers” over a boy’s manipulative plot.
The amusement park theme is fitting because it seems that Mikhail finds amusement in the chaos he’s created with Vanitas and Noé destroying each other. (Which if you think about it, is quite a solid plan with Mikhail winning both ways.)
Domi’s Attempt at Redemption
Last but not the least, we have Domi. Her anguish also comes from Louis’ death and her guilt. In addition, Domi stands out more than others in this episode because she has some haunting personas in her head — her younger self and Louis.
Personally, it hit me right in the feels because it’s an illustration of an inner child’s emotional wounds. She’s been so sad, confused, and in despair for so long that she’ll do the selfish choice even it’s so clear that Noé cherishes her. It summarizes how misplaced and helpless she feels. The appearance of Louis was a small part of her knowing that it wasn’t right, and if she’s trying to make up for her faults, she’s really not.
The Finale Approaches
Honestly, I was really carried away by this episode. It was intense in action, suspense, and emotion. The episode was mainly a roller coaster ride of feelings with the gapped distance between two friends, the pain they each carry, and the one that gave me goosebumps — the reflection and the cracked mirror. That was like a moment of clarity when Noé realized how wrong things have gone both in himself and in the situation. I absolutely am in awe of this scene and the ones following after.
Perhaps the fractured glass represents how it can allow not just Noé, but Vanitas and Domi as well, a chance to actually look at their emotional wounds clearly. With that, I’m positive they can all move on stronger from this.
Well, well, well, what a climax! If you’re like me, it is both exciting and terrifying to see the season finale, which will air on Friday, April 1, 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