Original Run: January 15, 2022 - Apri 2, 2002 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Supernatural Based on the Series Created By: Jun Mochizuki
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for The Case Study of Vanitas Part 2. Reader discretion is advised.***
In vampire lore, those born under the Blue Moon bring ill fortune. One such vampire was Vanitas, who the community shunned and exiled. Enraged by the injustice, Vanitas created a cursed grimoire, The Book of Vanitas, as a way to enact his revenge. Though still feared by the vampires, many centuries have passed since the book’s penning. Therefore, most believe it to be nothing more than a legend.
Now, that legend has come to pass.
The vampire doctor Vanitas and his partner, Noé (voiced respectively by Natsuki Hanae and Kaito Ishikawa), has become widly known in the vampire community. They have made many allies and just as many enemies.
Recently, the pair have heard news of a dangerous beast in a far-away forest. However, Vanitas believes there is more going on than meets the eye.
I want to establish this next bit as clearly as possible: I enjoyed the first season of The Case Study of Vanitas (Vanitas 1) immensely. Or, at the very least, that is what I remember (my review of the last installment confirms as such). Thus, I was looking forward to watching Vanitas 2, but I ran into a concerning problem as soon as the first episode began.
There was – and, frankly, is – a lot about this series I did not remember. Most worryingly was how much I had forgotten about the show’s main plot.
While this might sound like the makings of a disastrous viewing, that wasn’t the case. In fact, this situation allowed me to relive what made season one so much fun. Although my lack of memory doesn’t warrant me calling this chapter a solid follow-up, I can say that, on its own, Vanitas 2 was pretty freaking good.
I expect plenty of repeat praise between this review and Vanitas 1’s. Please forgive me if I retread old territory, but also look at it this way:
If I end up saying the same thing between the two reviews, that demonstrates this series’s consistency. For example, even when this story got unquestionably dark, gripping, and tense, this show still knew how to be effectively hilarious.
The sense of humor in the Vanitas franchise has proved to be the most robust and outstanding for any series I would not list as a comedy. Heck, even when up against some actual comedies, Vanitas holds its own.
And I must reiterate: Both Vanitas 1 and 2 (especially 2) knew how to be dramatic. This series’s mastery of the balance between lighthearted and heart-wrenching is amongst the best I have ever come across. Definitely, since season one’s release, Vanitas has established a gold standard for all subsequent anime to match.
Despite the impressiveness of such a feat, the Vanitas series’s success isn’t all that surprising. I mean, when you put as much care into crafting your characters, particularly the leads, as this show has done, one should expect a story to swing between high and low and make it look easy.
Nowhere is this aspect clearer than with the relationship between Noé and the titular Vanitas. Without exploring the full depths of their personalities (I’ll let the show do that), there is an undeniable partnership between them. At this point in the story, every other character expects one to be with the other. Their dynamic made the second half of this season (which I argue wasn’t anywhere near as fun as the first) brilliantly intense.
As indicated, there were two halves to Vanitas 2, and though the second was as fascinating as they come, the first half will get people glued to their screen. Every reason why this series is so good was on display. We got:
This season had a lot going on, and more times than not, things came together like a well-oiled machine. I cannot wait to see where this show will go.
Having said that, I must acknowledge a mistake. During the Vanitas 1 review, I felt confident that this would be a two-part series, and that would be the end of it. Although that may yet prove to be the situation, the door to a third installment is wide open.
Therefore, you better believe I will be on the lookout for news of a Vanitas 3. To make another prediction, as of this review’s release (April 2022), I imagine we will not make it to 2023 without some news of a continuation.
Although I said me not remembering the first season too well allowed me to re-experience what made this series great, I can’t act as though it was all positive. To tell you the truth, when starting this first season, I was confused.
Yes, I wasn’t sure what the story had been doing (this is an occupational inevitably when you watch a few dozen different anime between two installments). Still, I legitimately thought I had made a mistake. Season two didn’t begin anywhere near where I thought it would. It took me a second to accept that I had not skipped an episode somewhere.
If you a fan of the source material or are watching this show in one marathon go, then the transition between seasons one and two may not be that big of a problem. But if you’re like me, who enjoyed the first installment and have no other attachment to this series, getting back into the swing of things will take some time.
Fortunately, the first half of Vanitas 2 has the entertainment power that keeps you watching. Then as this season moves forward, you pick up enough information to get up to speed.
It also helps that the first half of this installment is more character-background-based than we-are-moving-the-plot-forward. Of the two, the latter is much easier to get back up to speed. And that’s a good thing, too. The second half of this season didn’t feel as organized as the first.
The second half of Vanitas 2 felt more rushed and denser. In other words, the second half could probably have been its own season. At the very least, it needed more time than it had.
Sadly, I can’t say this season ended with its best foot forward; that was the first half. However, and this is crucial, Vanitas 2 concluded strong enough for me to want more. So, when we get right down to it, this installment was a resounding success.
This series is rapidly proving to be a standout. It is knocking things out of the goddamn park in so many crucial ways. I am willing to bet that if there is something you look for in a good anime, this show most likely has it.
I wish I could have gone into this season fully remembering what had happened in its predecessor. Had I done so, I am convinced I would have enjoyed things a lot more than I did.
And seeing how I enjoyed myself immensely as is, that’s saying a lot.
The Case Study of Vanitas Part 2 has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts; what are yours? Have you seen this show; how would you advise The Case Study of Vanitas Part 2? Leave a comment below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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