Book Review: The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 2

May 26, 2017

The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 2 cover

I hope that everyone is had a good week, and are getting
ready to have a relaxing weekend.

Things are going fairly well here, as I can still relax a
bit and do things that I can enjoy.

Right now, the first set of my preorders from Barnes &
Noble have been arriving one after another, unlike my previous experiences with
them, and the final book of the first set recently arrived.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 2 by Jun
Mochizuki.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier
post
, I will not go over it again.

After resolving matters with the curse-bearing vampire in
Paris, Vanitas and Noé get down to business by asking Amelia what had happened
before she went berserk, which gives them a clue and they decide to look into
it.

However, when an unexpected visitor arrives at Count Orlok's
residence and takes the Vanitas and Noé to a masked ball, strange things start
to happen and the duo come face to face with their mysterious enemy who seems
to recognize Noé from the past.

I must say that I really liked it.

From the moment that I opened this volume and started
reading it, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to
satisfy the same needs that any other human has to deal with.

Over the course of all of her work, from Crimson-Shell
to Pandora
Hearts
and the first few chapters of this series, Jun Mochizuki has been
able to write in a way that draws me right into the world of her work and
maintain it from beginning to end, and that is something that is not so easy to
pull off.

When people read fiction or watch fictional works, they want
to be able to escape reality for only a short time, and the way a story is told
can really affect how well immersed the reader can be.

Unfortunately, there are many writers and so-called literary
experts out there that do not seem to understand how important this is to
overall enjoyment of a story, as opposed to have all of the other things that
some people think a great work of fiction, and it really disappoints me.

Jun Mochizuki, however, has seemed to have learned the
importance of important ingredient to create a fictional work during the early
moments of her career, and that she can still make things interesting after
only completing two series prior makes me want to give her even more applause.

Hopefully, she maintain this kind of consistency in latter
installments in this series, because I want to see this series just as strongly
as Pandora Hearts did.

Then again, Jun Mochizuki is only human, just like the rest
of us, so I am well aware that there is a possibility that she could reach her
peak with this series and all I can do is just see where things go.

I also liked how people were still suspicious of Vanitas.

From the very beginning of the series, there have been many
mysterious surrounding Vanitas, like his real reasons for trying to treat
vampires and how he came into possession of the book, and the words Noé said
back in the first
volume
made me think that Vanitas will be another Jack Vesssalius.

Now, I do not expect to get these answers too soon and this
volume does not answer any of those reasons, as that would ruin the element of
mystery, but there have been instances in other stories or series where
characters are trusted too much after doing only a few things, which tends to
make things rather annoying, though we do tend to live in a society that is
either way optimist or way too pessimistic, so it does make sense that writers
tends to exploits those weaknesses in stories.

In the case of this series, nobody has seen or knew this
Vanitas person, or even the original Vanitas of the Blue Moon, and the fact
that the vampires all think he is suspicious is to be expected.

After all, if somebody said that they had a foolproof method
to revive the dead or cure cancer or seen God in the flesh, would you really
believe them?

I sure would not believe them, because there have already
been some horrible people out there that made such claims, in order to control
others or be worshipped, and having the vampires suspect that Vanitas is
dangerous is exactly what I would expect in this series, which makes me all the
more interested in finding out more about Vanitas and even if and how he would
have these vampires see him in a new light.

This is what I was expecting from a work created by Jun
Mochizuki, and she really delivered.

If she had incorporated this, the story presented so far
would have begun to be a little less believable, this disappointing me because
of all the great work she did in Pandora Hearts.

Fortunately, because she did what she did here, I can
happily give her some major applause. Nice work, Jun Mochizuki.

Another nice thing about this book was how many chapters
were included.

While I was a bit disappointed by the first volume, mainly
because I purchased the first three chapters and the first volume digitally and
the first volume had four chapters, which gave me only one new chapter, I was
kind of expecting this volume to also have four chapters.

In this volume, however, I got six chapters, or six new
chapters because I did not buy any more individual chapters this time around,
and it really makes up for how I felt gypped with the first volume.

As much as I want to give the Japanese staff that put this
volume together credit for this, since this series came from Japan, I cannot
because I do not have access to the Japanese edition of this volume, nor can I find
any places that are as reliable for this series as Detective Conan World is for Detective
Conan
, I can only give credit, at least temporarily, to Yen Press.

Unlike Viz and Kodansha USA, Yen Press's titles usually have
only four to five chapters, with the final volume possibly containing more than
that, and I have grown used to this pattern, even if it means I cannot
regularly purchase the chapters digitally.

However, with six chapters, I feel like I might be getting
away with a bit much, and I am really happy about this turn of events.

The only thing that would be better than this is if the
latest chapters were on Crunchyroll, so that I could keep up with the series
and not feel like I was paying for the same content multiple times, even though
I would technically be paying for that more than once anyway.

Of course, that might really be asking for a lot, so I will just
be satisfied with this much, and give whoever was responsible for compiling six
chapters instead of four into this volume a major round of applause. Nice job,
guys.

It was also nice how I was able to get quite a few laughs
out of this volume.

Even though the comedy found in Jun Mochizuki's work is not
that unique, when compared to other anime or manga, I always seem to get a very
chuckle out of all the situations and character interactions that she puts into
her series.

The funniest of which was when Dominique comes in,
introduces herself as Noé's fiancée, and then puts a collar with a chain leash
on Noé.

This made me laugh because it was all just executed so
perfectly and reminded me of how Maes Hughes dragged people in like a kidnapper
in the 2009 adaptation of FMA, though in this case, it was more like laying
claim to him.

I am not too sure about you guys, but it seems like Jun
Mochizuki has not lost her touch in making more of the usual come off as
absolutely hilarious, and this serves as a good illustration of how even the
less refined forms of humor can be funny if they are done right.

If she was not able to deliver this much, I would have been
sorely disappointed in her, because, with only three major series under her
belt, she has already shown herself to be quite capable of balancing out all of
the different tones present in her work to the point that things kind of feel
realistic, but because she succeeded, I am willing to give her another big
round of applause.

The thing that I liked the most though were all of the
mysteries that cropped up in this volume.

While the first volume did have a few mysteries, like those
surrounding Vanitas and what he really intends to do, which was deepened
further in this volume, others began to catch my interest as well.

For example, when the shadowy figure, called Charlatan, appears
in front of Noé and Lucius at the ball, it says that it knows Noé and then bids
Noé farewell with a smile when commanded to stop its assault.

Even though there is a flashback somewhere in between those
events, as Charlatan said it knew Noé through somebody close to him, I wonder
what kind of connection it has with Noé and how it came to be.

If I had to take guess, from the contents of these chapters,
I would probably say that it came from Noé's childhood friend, Louis, who was
introduced in the flashback, and that such an entity exists in all
curse-bearing vampires, much like how people who seem nice can have a bit of
darkness in them.

Then again, I could be wrong, since I never took the time to
catch up with the Japanese releases of this series and the series has only just
begun.

However, this huge mystery makes me want to go out and read
the next volume to see if this can receive some kind of definitive answer,
beyond the fact that Charlatan refers to an entire group, much like the
Baskervilles in Pandora Hearts were more of a group than a family.

Jun Mochizuki has set a really high bar with her previous
works, and I am hoping that the answers turn out to be as interesting as they
were in Pandora Hearts, because that is the only way that she can even
hope to match the greatness of that work.

Not only was the mystery of Charlatan and Noé intriguing,
but I am wondering who Vanitas of the Blue Moon was and what he did to Vanitas.

Back in the first volume, Vanitas claimed that he wanted to
help the vampires with their troubles and he continues to make that claim in
this volume, but he then adds, “That will be my revenge on Vanitas!!!”

Vanitas of the Blue Moon has been an enigma since the
beginning of the volume, coming of as more of a myth or legend, and we know
less about him than the Vanitas we were introduced to, so hearing Vanitas say
something like that makes me wonder just what kind of relationship they had and
why he would be mad at the person who supposedly gave him his name.

Now, things are not usually straightforward in Jun
Mochizuki's works, considering how Jack Vesalius was introduced as good person
in Pandora Hearts, only to find out that he caused the Tragedy of Sablier,
but this makes me wonder if Vanitas was evil, like legend say, and if he did
something against the will of the Vanitas we know or to him.

Vanitas himself may be a huge mystery, but now that things
are about to involve Vanitas of Blue Moon too makes both characters mysterious
enough to make me want to change my mind about only purchasing the volumes, so
that I can find out more about both of them, though it will probably be a long
time before Jun reveals the truth behind the mysterious Vanitas of the Blue
Moon.

Seriously, if series were written more like this, I would be
more willing to give them a chance, as opposed to trying to find books that are
standalone works.

Unfortunately, series produced here are not tightly woven as
FMA or Jun Mochizuki's works, so I do not really see that changing any time
soon, and it saddens me because people will probably never learn to notice what
books should not get sequels and which should.

Still, the fact that there were this many questions gives me
quite a bit to look forward in this series, and, for that Jun Mochizuki
deserves another major round of applause. Nice job, Jun Mochizuki.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, especially because I am pretty much in the dark about
what will happen next.

Because my attention was captured and held for the duration
of the book, there were more than four chapters, people continued suspecting
Vanitas, and that I was able to get some laughs, as well as the fact that
things got much more interesting, this was one of the best books I have read
this year.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth
mentioning.

Considering that there was so much to like about this
volume, as Jun Mochizuki has yet to lose her edge, this was definitely worth
reading.

I recommend this to fans of The Case Study of Vanitas,
Pandora Hearts, and Jun Mochizuki, as they will be able to enjoy this
the most, but the first group might want to avoid this volume like the plague
if they buy the chapters released monthly by Yen Press, otherwise they will
feel gypped.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try it, but it would be best read read the previous volume
first.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider
supporting me on Patreon
or buying the reviewed title on Amazon via the link provided above, so that I
can find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you do when you
find something that impresses you.

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