Note: This reviews both part one and part two since Vanitas no Carte VnC is a two cour series. Plot spoilers are marked. Enjoy the OST sample as you read. . . Pedigree There are quite a few big names in this production. VnC adapts the manga of the same name by Jun Mochizuki mangaka of the highly rated manga Pandora Hearts RIP the anime. VnC is animated by Bones which has a history with action My Hero Academia Bungo Stray Dogs Mob Psycho 100 and directed by Tomoyuki Itamura known for his flamboyant style in the Monogatari Series. The queen of anime music Yuki Kajiura Magical Girl Madoka Magica Demon Slayer the Fate franchise Sword Art Online and of course Pandora Hearts composes the OST. The two leads of the storyVanitas and Noe are narrated by Natsuki Hanae Tanjiro in Demon Slayer and Kaito Ishikawa Naofumi in The Rising of the Shield Hero. Now how well did these big names come together? . Story 820 Adventures of human Sherlock vampire Watson and friends in steampunk Paris. Vampires are going berserk. A selfproclaimed vampire doctor who is himself human and goes by the name Vanitas journeys to save those vampires using the Book of Vanitas. After vampire Noe meets Vanitas he joins Vanitass adventures and the two become embroiled in the developing conflict between humans and vampires. Now I wish I could elaborate more on the last sentence. But the story is incomplete with the manga ongoing for the long haul. Mochizuki has said that she wants to write about Vanitas himself is one of the mysteries that drives the show and more remains to be revealed. Some bombs are planted but not yet triggered. The rollercoaster has not yet reached the top of the ramp so while I have high expectations Im withholding judgment on this front. . Characters/Development/Relationship This is a double protagonist story. Noe and Vanitas are opposites of each other from their personalities to their world views. Noe is cheerful naive wears his heart on his sleeve and is openly caring. Vanitas is brooding shrewd purposefully ostentatious and guarded. They are attracted to each others differences and as they work together to save vampires Noe and Vanitas learn from each other and teach each other something new. This dynamic makes their interactions ever interesting and their growth heartwarming. Throughout the two cours Noe learns from Vanitas to be more tactical and assertive in the face of a foe and Vanitas learns from Noe to open up to and rely on others however little. In addition to the protagonists most other characters also have deep and meaningful relationships. Mochizuki has expertly balanced Dominiques vulnerability and her strength. While she appears strong at first viewers eventually learn that she has been putting on a tough front to hide her trauma and selfdoubt to protect Noes feelings. Her caring nature and love romantic and platonic are the real sources of her strength. The fact that she and Noe have always been secretly watching over and caring for each other is both sweet and precious. Its clear that Domi is very protective of Noe because she blames herself and never wants to see Noe hurt again. However their relationship and Domis character have been undermined in the anime because some clarifying details never made it into the anime leaving Domi in a misunderstanding light for animeonlys. Other character details that the anime left out have also left the characters and their relationships more shallow and less believable. Domis popularity with women and her potential bisexuality tho she loves Noe cuts of Noe that suggests that he has a small crush are Jeanne Riches do people even remember her? nerdiness and Marquis Mechinas appearances are all small details that add life to the characters which I wish made it into the anime. The large side cast to no ones surprise suffers the most from all the cuts and was left bland. Back to the pros. Many shounen anime suffer from female characters who are only defined by their relationship to the male protagonist. That is not the case in the Case Study of Vanitas ok fine that was a bad poun. Female characters live their own lives as much as the male characters do. Domis obsession with Noe is not superficial it is deeply rooted in their shared traumatic experience. She is popular with the ladies and befriends Jeanne who has her own life and struggles. Jeanne is also multifaceted even though she is the least wellwritten character of the main cast in my opinion. Jeanne is another character with a tragic past that chains pun intended for Pandora Hearts fans her but as she breaks free she also proves to be strong and assertive. She is a bit of a pushover as Domi comments but bold when she knows what she wants. As for her relationship with other characters although some moments are hilarious I absolutely hate that her relationship with Vanitas started with his sexual harrassment so go make him regret it by wrapping him around your little finger girl. 820 But until the tides turn the jokes on you Jeanne In contrast to the main cast the side cast has little time to be fleshed out as previously mentioned. Nevertheless they are given enough attention and contribute to the setting. 820 The side characters are cool and they know it . Setting 190 460 If they arent trying to promote tourism idk what else theyre trying to do here 19th century France in an alternative steampunk timeline where vampires are created makes for a wild setting. There are many terminologies and details that can be overwhelming but are tied together neatly to contribute to the rich world building lore and conflicts. In addition to completely fictional details there are some real world references that help you to keep track of them. The Beast of Gevaudan is a real myth that VnC has its own explanation on. Dominique de Sade quotes a real life Marquis de Sade ep 7. Doctor Moreau is based on a fictional character from a real book called the Island of Doctor Moreau. Roland Fortis comes from the Song of Roland which includes an Olivier and a character who doesnt make it into the anime. Vanitas? A still life artwork which includes various symbolic objects designed to remind the viewer of their mortality and of the worthlessness of worldly goods and pleasures. Noe? Noahs Ark. Jeanne? Joan of Arc. The dApchiers? The dApchiers. Astolfo? Astolfo. Vanitass birth flower is the blue forgetmenot Noes is the purple aster. Noe Archivistes name hints to his memory reading ability and his role in the story. He is an archiver to remember the forgetmenot and a witness to other peoples experiences. TLDR: Mochizuki crafted an incredible amount of details into the setting. Some of them refer to a characters role in the story some of them just exist for the world building. Theres a lot to interpret but dont look up the Song of Roland if you dont want to see flags. For viewers who enjoy digging and analyzing VnC can be a very rewarding experience. For those who just want to relax VnC can be overwhelming and very confusing. . Storytelling Luckily Mochizuki introduces the numerous terminologies by drip feeding. She slowly unravels the world which works well for a mystery story. Many details are wellthought out. And although VnC is not yet complete the small arcs so far have been cohesive revealing and building up to something greater. The storytelling balances serious plot with lighthearted moments often by alternating between them. While the shifts are abrupt they give viewers a break from the heavy content and make the happy moments all the brighter while making the sad moments all the more gutwrenching. Still even the darkest moments have happy parts to them making VnC heartwarming on its rainiest days. 820 The calm before the storm . Mochizuki goes 420 before hitting us with depression 820 . While the larger narrative has been smooth the moments that tie it together have been bumpy. A lot of the slapstick humor did not work for me and unfortunately the anime added some and exaggerated some. Although the characters are young VnC is a fairly mature piece of work and much of the screaming feels out of place. Thankfully the screaming and overflowing chibi cuts tone down and abate over the two cours. The anime also did not have time for some of the larger conflicts building up behind the scenes. The pacing is sometimes rushed especially near the ending. Still considering that the manga is both very dense and often amounts to more than 40 pages a chapter its a very difficult job to pace the content into bitesized 20 min episodes in 24 episodes. . Art/Animation There are other stylistic choices that didnt fit the aesthetic in my opinion. A lot of the art animation and voice acting are over the top. Mochizuki has gifted VnC with eye candy character designs and she plays with the style and goes offmodel to convey the mood ranging from wonder to horror. Bones though perhaps in trying to capture her dynamic style chooses some odd moments for going offmodel. 820 VnC especially in the beginning also makes some disorienting color and filter choices. This is a scene where yet the color choices force the viewers focus onto the art instead of the significance of the duos relationship. 820 Imagine a scene with all the saturated colors and they appear every episode. My eyes Moving on to the animation that jump cuts for too much dramatic effectIts a style that Itamura brought from the Monogatari Series and now overpopulates the first cour of VnC. 400 maybe thats how much Noe doesnt like Vanitas /j Natsuki Hanaes voice acting of Vanitas feels at times goes over the board with Vanitass emoness. Granted Vanitas is an emo character and he is young as Mochizuki remarks of Hanaes performance. Still I personally wish Hanae toned down a little pun intended so that Vanitass more nuanced moments can shine. 520 130 I will save you vampires muahaha ahaha... ... .. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... so who this :/ ? The reason that I wish that these elements are less ostentatious than they are is because VnC is great at its relationships storytelling and characters. It doesnt need such blinding colors to cover the joy shared by its characters dramatic jump cuts to garner attention or overblown voice acting to inflate its characters. In fact the loud flamboyant style drowns out and distracts from the quiet moments where VnC is at its best. Its exactly what critics have said of The Great Gatsby movie. While certainly ambitiousand every bit as visually dazzling as one might expectBaz Luhrmanns The Great Gatsby emphasizes visual splendor at the expense of its source materials vibrant heart. Critics Consensus Rotten Tomatoes Luckily the style improves during the second cour perhaps because they ran out of time or budget. Eventually the stylistic choices do add to the emotions of the scenes rather than overwrite them. That said there are also many aspects of the production I appreciate. Although some details have to be lost when they are adapted the designs and backgrounds are still stunning. 275 385 Well hello gorgeous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hey there still gorgeous 800 If only we had more of these beautiful backdrops in cour 2 as well. They forgot to promote tourism for the woods of Gevaudan. Graphic content warning and ep 5 spoilers Many aspects of the show dropped in cour two. In cour one Bones also used CGI in VnC in a way that contributes to the storys narrative. CGI on the Book of Vanitas which given its already ethereal design it must be really difficult to animate gave it an otherworldly aura. Bones probably liked the outcome and used CGI again in cour two for the landscape of Gevaudan. As a result Gevaudan certainly doesnt look as breathtaking as Paris in cour 1 does. 800 Magical girl book transformation music playing For those who love fight scenes the fight sequences are also well animated in both cour one and cour two. While VnC isnt a battle shounen so the fight scenes were rarely the focus Bones gave them the budget to look gorgeous and exciting. There are some minor errors and poor transitions ep 1 where Amelia almost pulls off Noes bowtie but it magically went back but one would really have to rewatch and look to notice. And did I mention the fights are synced with Kajiuras music? It really accents the historical tone and polishes the fantasy setting of the show. 400 Considering the vampiric setting the fan service scenes shouldnt have surprised me as much as they did. This is because readers get to pace themselves when reading the manga but when viewers watch the anime they just sit when the production decides to dial up the sensuality and listen to 30 seconds of moaning. But hey Bones has got to make sure the DVDs sell. And shared sexual activity although the coercive nature of Jeanne and Vanitass relationship ought to be critisized is arguably better than boob cuts. I am happy that the production didnt frame the female characters as just parts of their body which would irreparably damage their characters. Rather when they are portrayed in sexual light it is done in a realist manner that impacts the male characters. . Verdict 800 Looking at VnC gifs has become my new hobby Personally VnCs strengths spoke to me and its weaknesses pale in significance. Ive always placed more significance on the story elements such as character growth and plot than production elements such as animation anyway. The adaptation didnt exactly handle the differences in media well but Im still happy to watch the story told in anime format. VnC is a story on the more mature side with complex worldbuilding wellthought out characters and dynamic relationships. The amount of details it packs and leaves out can make the show difficult to process but analyzing it is its most rewarding part for those who enjoy analysis. The show is ambitious but not without its flaws. There are poor stylistic elements that gradually improve production values that decline somewhat but neither of these problems are significant enough to make the show unenjoyable thanks to the strength of the source material. It has moments where it shines moments where it shines too much moments of hilarity moments where the humor falls flat on its face moments of beauty and moments of pain. Pacing issues aside the overall story structure builds up wonderfully to uh a climax that is not yet reached because the journey is ongoing. But you can still enjoy VnC because its not the destination that matters the most its the journey Thats the point VnC makes by telling you how the entire story ends in the very first episode. VnC is not for everyone. But if you enjoy depth emotional rollercoasters rich characters good storytelling and cute cats dont sleep on this one. 300
92 /100
47 out of 55 users liked this review