There once lived a vampire known as Vanitas, hated by his own kind for being born under a blue full moon, as most arise on the night of a crimson one. Afraid and alone, he created the "Book of Vanitas," a cursed grimoire that would one day take his vengeance on all vampires; this is how the story goes at least.
Vanitas no Carte follows Noé, a young man travelling aboard an airship in 19th century Paris with one goal in mind: to find the Book of Vanitas. A sudden vampire attack leads him to meet the enigmatic Vanitas, a doctor who specializes in vampires and, much to Noé's surprise, a completely ordinary human. The mysterious doctor has inherited both the name and the infamous text from the Vanitas of legend, using the grimoire to heal his patients. But behind his kind demeanor lies something a bit more sinister...
Vanitas no Carte is simultaneously published in English as The Case Study of Vanitas by Yen Press on the same day as the Japanese release. Physical release began on December 20, 2016. The series has also been published in Polish by Waneko since December 5, 2016.
I saw there were no reviews about this manga (no surprise, only two chapters are out right now and they are very hard to find for free), and I wanted to say what I thought about it so far..
Story : 8
Those first chapters were… Confusing. Like, really. There are a lot of informations, this is not a bad introduction but you can’t tell exactly where the story is going to go, even though you know the end at the beginning. There is a good background universe : steampunk, vampires, early 1900, Paris. I’m curious about the way Jun is going to put all these
ingredients together. As for the first chapter, action begins very quickly and the main characters are both introduced right from the start. There is humor as well, and mystery starting the very first chapter, and the end of a chapter makes you want to read the next chapter. To put it clearly, the story is confusing BUT it is catching. You might need to read the chapters again to understand the point of some things, but this is okay. There are more good points than bad points and I noticed a few things when I read it for the… 3rd, 4th time ?
Art : 10
This artwork is simply amazing. Details, colors, for the colored pages, character’s outfits… everything is gorgeous, you can see it for yourself on the pictures given !
Characters : 9
This is only the beginning of the story and we can already see the main character’s personalities, be it Noé or Vanitas and I think this is good. Plus, there is a special relationship that is already being developped between the characters and we can see, by ourselves, that this realtionship is going to evolve into a veeeeeeeery complicated relationship, you understand it right at the end of the first chapter !
Enjoyment : 9
I didn’t wait months for a new manga of Jun for nothing, the story is still a little bit confusing, but this is probably going to become great, reading such a beautiful manga is a gift and I can’t wait for the first volume to be published !
Overall : 9
I’m very curious about how the story is going to evolve, but I think these first chapters have a good potential to make a great manga. So overall I give a 9, because being able to master so many things with so few chapters is just amazing.
Sorry for bad English, I used google translator to write this.
Vanitas no Carte is a manga that from the beginning is very interesting. At the beginning we are already thrown into a confused situation without much explanation and even then in a moment you do not really feel lost, otherwise this whole beginning presents a plot that appears to be very complex, something that is confirmed a little later, Where are thrown various concepts and details that show how well built this world appears to be. Other than that we have, of course, a very mysterious tone that the author (Jun Mochizuki) knows how to
do as nobody, but one can not have a real notion of the complexity of the world so early (in the first 14 chapters), even if it demonstrates an absurd potential (Note 9 for the history).
Apart from the plot we still have the beautiful art typical of Jun Mochizuki that has evolved a lot since Pandora Hearts and that already started incredible in Vanitas (Note 10 for the art).
Characters, this is also a very strong point that the author demonstrated in Pandora Hearts and Vanitas in Carte are apparently going to be as good as in these 14 chapters that I could read they have already shown enough charisma and a reasonable development of some of them and also showing that Some keep enough secrets (Note 10 for the characters).
The pleasure that this manga gives is similar to that seen in Pandora Hearts, even if it is talking about obscure themes in some way it maintains a light and pleasant mood and at the same time quite striking and addictive, although it is too soon to affirm That's for sure, because the mood of the play may change at some point in the story, even though I find it unlikely (Note 9 for the Enjoyment).
When I first picked up the series, I was still a bit bitter about Pandora Hearts ending. Part of me expected this would negatively affect the experience but how could I hate it? It's a Mochizuki manga. There wasn't much information when it first came out-- all we knew about the series was the genre, setting, and it had vampires--but I paid for the chapter anyway because it's Mochizuki. I fell in love with the characters easily and could barely wait for the next chapters to be released.
A lot of detailed information necessary for world building is explained early on, however, the chapters don't
feel heavy with exposition. Transitions are fluid and the reader is only told what is necessary to understand the basics of the world. It's clear Mochizuki is keeping many secrets. However, retrospection and subtle foreshadowing keep the story cohesive while the plot remains complex and unpredictable.
I'm convinced Mochizuki is constantly intimidating her assistants with her ideas for the next chapter. The scenes are so detailed. Through Pandora Hearts, we've seen her art improve. VnC definitely benefits from her past experiences. Everything from the background and character design to clothes and facial expressions is amazing.
The complex characters was a major reason why I loved Pandora Hearts. Characters influence the plot which pushes characters to act and develop. There were clear protagonists and motivators but the story was much bigger than themselves and almost everyone at least had a chance to make a terrible mistake. Readers could remain emotionally invested in the characters even as their opinion of the character shifts. The expectation was high but, so far, Mochizuki doesn't disappoint.
Noe is both relatable and likable, absentminded and thoughtful, the perfect foil for the volatile and impulsive Vanitas. Their interactions feel genuine. I love that they could be dorks one minute and serious the next.
I'll compare this a little with Pandora Hearts, for those readers who've loved Pandora Hearts and aren't sure if they should read this. No major spoilers though, so I think it'll be alright.
Vanitas no Carte has been really engaging since the beginning. First chapter in and we get a glimpse of the main characters, and what little we get is already very interesting. Mochizuki-sensei is great at making things seem mysterious, and this begins from the very first chapter. There's the feeling hanging around that there's more to things than is revealed, which might either annoy or engage readers. The only way to know if
you'd like it or not is to try it.
Let's talk about the main characters, Noé and Vanitas.
Noé is easily likeable, and rather cute at times. He's the one whose story we are following, so it's a huge plus that he's easy to like. The gap between us readers and Noé doesn't seem that different, so it's not too difficult to follow his actions and thought processes. That's extremely relieving, because Vanitas, on the other hand, is an enigma.
We're introduced to Vanitas early on, but we know little to nothing about him. That makes for a very fascinating character, because his actions are unpredictable. Mochizuki-sensei does a great job in potraying his character in an unusual way, and he feels very unlike the usual protagonist. His motivations are unknown, and his actions crazy. Many main characters in stories have mysterious backgrounds, but we're usually able to get a sense of the character even before we find out what it is. With Vanitas though, it's difficult.
This causes two things:
1) Vanitas becomes a extremely fascinating character to watch.
2) We don't feel all that connected to Vanitas because we can't understand him.
Compared to the mangaka's other work, Pandora Hearts, I don't feel all that concerned for the wellbeing of Vanitas' main characters (of course, I'm only 13 chapters in, so I'll have to see). But at the same time the mysteriousness of the characters makes me more interested in the background/personality characters here than in Pandora Hearts. In short I just mean the characters here are more interesting but difficult to relate to and thus like on a personal level. It's both good and bad, so it's difficult to say what most people feel about it. Luckily, Noé exists as our main character, so readers can at least feel connected to him and view the story from his lens easily.
The art is amazing as expected. It really fits with the tone of the manga, and the character expressions are fabulous. The mangaka can convey things with not only words but expressions, which really makes for better storytelling. No complaints here.
This is pretty difficult to get a good grasp of right now (as of chapter 13). It does feel that the mangaka knows what she is doing and where the story is heading, but similar to early on in Pandora Hearts, the reader might feel a bit lost as to what the main story is right now.
But that doesn't mean it's an incoherent mess. It never feels like the story is just being made up as we go along. There's the feeling that everything happening has an importance to the story - except we don't know what it is yet. That might be frustrating to some. It certainly is frustrating to me. But I'm really looking forward to seeing how things play out, to have this story be revealed to me in bits and pieces. Considering the story setting, which feels more limited, I'm not sensing any upcoming crazy twists like in Pandora Hearts, but I'm sure whatever the author has in store will surely be interesting. For now, the frustration of not understand only makes me more curious rather than annoyed, so it's all good. It helps that the characters are interesting enough for me to keep on reading now.
This is difficult. I certainly do enjoy it, but not the mindless easy type of enjoyment. There aren't really slice-of-life moments for me to enjoy now, but so far the characters and their interactions with each other/how they react to situations is keeping me hooked. It's probably a manga not easy to enjoy if you read lightly and only look at the surface. But with all the interesting elements glaring at you in the face, I also think it's quite easy to be interested in this manga. It's too early for me to have an opinion on the overall plot, but there is potential for things to shape up well. Hopefully I have time to edit my review then.
(the review got too long, I'm sorry ;_;)
Overall, an interesting manga, though too early now to see how it goes. Definitely should give it a try. The story moves fast, so it's pretty exciting, but there's also a lack of slice-of-life moments. Also be prepared to be lost and feel like you know nothing about the story/characters. Art is beautiful and story elements have the potential to lead to an interesting story. Characters are fascinating.
Pandora Heart fans should definitely check this out, but you might not feel too attached to the characters at first. But if you've enjoyed the characters in Pandora Hearts, I'm sure you'll find this interesting too. The setting doesn't give me that much hope for similar crazy plot twists, but the mysterious feeling is thick in the air and the characters are a joy to watch.