REVIEW: ‘The Case Study of Vanitas,’ Episode 2 – “In the City of Flowers”

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The Case Study of Vanitas episode 2

Another week, another romp in Mochizuki’s stunning world in The Case Study of Vanitas Episode 2. Noé and Vanitas butt heads as potential partners in comic fashion. Studio Bones (My Hero Academia, Mob Psycho: 100) adapts the manga series into a gorgeous anime set in a steampunk Paris where vampires live amongst humans. The vampire of the blue moon created a grimoire that could access a vampire’s “true name” and turn them into a curse bearer. Now, the name and grimoire have been passed down to an eccentric human, claiming to be a doctor specializing in vampires.

After last week’s bold declaration of partnership, The Case Study of Vanitas Episode 2 jumps back to the show’s addictive slapstick comedy with Noé realizing he doesn’t like Vanitas all that much. While the show is title The Case Study of Vanitas, a lot of it focuses on Noé’s perspective. He is the audience’s window into this world, and it works without making the exposition feel out of place. Additionally, Noé’s goal of understanding the book, instead of Vanitas himself, sets up the storytelling for two different relationships.

The first is Noé’s relationship to the book and legend of the Vampire of the Blue Moon. The Case Study of Vanitas Episode 2 shows that he clearly has a history with curse-bearing vampires from his childhood memories. Additionally, and likely due to this, he is an outlier among vampires in his open-mindedness towards Vanitas (even though he doesn’t like the doctor’s personality). His second, with Vanitas, gives off Holmes/Watson vibes but simultaneously separates itself by giving both men a turn in each role. Vanitas is still a human, so as wild as he may be, he also gets equally swept up by Noé’s eagerness to solve vampire problems.

Without divulging too much, more and more of the cast is getting introduced, and the slower pace actually favors the intricacy of this world. Audiences slowly begin to realize that many of these characters have lived hundreds of years and harbor trauma from that. While that isn’t new for a vampire story, the fact that the show subtly layers it in as a slow discovery instead of the obvious makes it a plot element that continues to be interesting.

The animation is once again absolutely stellar. The phenomenal score lined up with a magic gauntlet sends home the French steampunk vibe. The big comic expressions don’t feel out of place, and the animation navigates the comedic cuts well so that the scenes still feel natural even when the unnatural may be occurring. Special attention these first two episodes have been given to the animation of Vanitas using the grimoire. The grimoire is basically a character in its own right, and the show emphasizes it by essentially giving the book its own elaborate magical girl transformation sequence.

The Case Study of Vanitas Episode 2 continues the premiere’s success by introducing more of the world that Noé and Vanitas have to navigate. A huge emphasis on the interpersonal relationships of the characters makes this drama engaging even during moments of heavier exposition. Additionally, the brief moments of action are stunningly animated and musically scored to the gods.

The Case Study of Vanitas is streaming now on Funimation, with new episodes premiering Fridays.

The Case Study of Vanitas Episode 2
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL;DR

The Case Study of Vanitas Episode 2 continues the premiere’s success by introducing more of the world that Noé and Vanitas have to navigate. A huge emphasis on the interpersonal relationships of the characters makes this drama engaging even during moments of heavier exposition. Additionally, the brief moments of action are stunningly animated and musically scored to the gods.