Book Review: The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 3

November 26, 2017

The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 3 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good day today, regardless
of how you spent it.

Things are going fairly well, though this particular day is
not usually the best, and I am still glad to do what I enjoy.

Recently, I received some Amazon credit and I got some some
books that I had my eye, as well as preordered a book that I was not too sure
would be released here.

Today, I will be reviewing one of the titles I got, which is
called The Case Study of Vanitas Volume
3
by Jun Mochizuki.

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

Things are still a mess at the masquerade ball, and somebody
is after Vanitas and Noé, and, if things do not end, the duo might be separated
soon.

However, the incident at the ball is not the only thing that
must be dealt with, as Vanitas hears about a string of vampires going missing
and decides to sneak into the stronghold of vampire hunters to find the person
responsible, and this person seems to recognize Vanitas before he was taken by Vanitas
of the Blue Moon.

Even though my interest in a series can wane if I am away
from it too long, there is no guarantee that every series will be terrible
after being away from it for so long.

And after reading this book, I must say that I really liked
it.

From the moment that I opened this book and started reading,
I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the
same needs as everyone else.

One of the reasons that I consider Jun Mochizuki to be one
of the best manga creators out there is because she has been able to draw
people into her work from the first few pages of a chapter, with the first
chapter of Pandora
Hearts
being the best examples, where the audience was left wondering why
Oz Vessaulius's existence was his sin and what was happening, and she continues
to deliver that quite well in the very first chapter, in spite of the time away
from the series, though it is mainly because of the time that it took for this
volume to be released, rather than a lack of funds.

If I had to say why, it is because the first chapter in this
volume slowly picks up right where the last volume left off, where Noé asked
Vanitas what salvation is.

While many manga publishers in Japan do a good job of making
sure that each volume in a series starts off with the final chapter of the last
one, and creators like Jun Mochizuki do not seemingly forget that the audience
needs to be brought up to speed, the problem with many manga out there is that they
have their chapters start off immediately where the previous chapter left off,
with maybe a little summary of what had happened earlier, and this tends to
make it hard to get into the series, or even get back into, if one has been
away from a series for too long, which in turn makes it harder for the reader
to enjoy it.

Here, however, Jun Mochizuki seems to have remembered that
she had wrote this series in a way that reads like a diary, in that Noé, who is
also the narrator, says at the end of the very first chapter of the series, “That
was the very beginning…This is the tale of how I met Vanitas…and how we walked
together…Of all we gained…and lost…and of how…at the end of that journey…I
would kill him with own two hands,” and she started of the first chapter in
this volume by having Noé say something similar to remind us that he is either
telling this story through a diary or to us personally in the future, before
picking up right where the last volume left off.

By starting things off like this, I had already forgotten
that this was picking up where this one left off and that I was going to be
seeing something else in the timeline, only to be brought right back to Noé
asking Vanitas what he meant by salvation.

If this volume immediately started off right where the last
volume had left off, instead of easing back into it, I would have been a little
disappointed, because it would seem like Jun Mochizuki had forgotten what made
her such a great mangaka, as well as show that she had peaked back in Pandora
Hearts
, the first series I read from her.

Fortunately, that did not happen here, and that allowed this
volume open so well, though Square Enix or whoever they have put these volumes
does deserve some credit too for starting and ending volumes at the right time.

Hopefully, the future volumes continue to have strong
starts, because fans of Jun Mochizuki would rather continue to sing her praises
and see that this series can hold a candle to her previous work.

However, seeing as Jun Mochizuki is only human, just like
the rest of us, things could go downhill pretty quickly, as continually putting
out gold is near impossible, so I guess I should be prepared for the time when
I would have tear into her.

I also liked how I was able to laugh quite a bit throughout
this volume.

While the humor found in this volume was not really that
unique to the series, or even anime and manga in general, Jun Mochizuki
executed things well enough that I felt like laughing in a few scenes.

When I first checked out this series, by getting a few of
the serialized chapters that Yen Press puts out, I was not too impressed with
the comedic scenes, though I still liked them, because I could not get as many
laughs from it as I had gotten from following the gang from Pandora Hearts,
so I was not too sure if I would be able to get used to this cast.

However, as the series progressed, the characters got more
interesting and likeable, and the comedy itself has improved to the point where
I am now getting the amount of humor that I expected to see when this series
first started.

The funniest thing though seemed to be a bit of homage to Pandora
Hearts
.

After finding out that there has been a string of vampire
disappearances, Vanitas and Noé take a trip to cathedral, where somebody asks
them their names, when they are noticed in a secret, Vanitas introduces Noé and
himself as Gilbert and Vincent respectively.

This was funny because instead of being able to picture
these guys as people trying to make sure nobody knew who they really were, I
was suddenly imagining Gilbert and Vincent Nightray being right there in the
room, amidst vampire skulls, and thinking that Gilbert would be terrified of
such a situation, at least before Oz Vessaulius was cast into the abyss.

Now, this would have been a whole lot funnier if Jun
Mochizuki's characters all looked the same, much like many of the characters
that Gosho Aoyama created look very similar to one another, but being made to
think of two other characters from a previous work still made this quite funny.

If Jun Mochizuki had not put in something like this, I would
have been kind of disappointed, because the comedy in this series seemed to
have reached a new high for me, as I was beginning to think that this might
indeed be a good follow up to her last work, though this is one thing that fans
of Jun Mochizuki would understand than those only familiar with this series.

Fortunately, Jun did not miss the possible chance of using a
possible homage to characters from the previous series, and that makes me want
to give her a big round of applause.

Hopefully, thing will only keep getting funnier from here on
out, as that is one of the best things about Jun Mochizuki's works, and the
fans of her work expect to be able to get a good laugh amid an intriguing
series.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this volume
ended.

When it comes to publishing a series, how things end is just
as important as how they begin, because the reader needs to be given reason to
continue on with a series.

While there is more than one way to accomplish this, such as
having characters that are interesting enough that one would want to see more
of their adventures, which was one of the biggest draws of Spice &
Wolf
, the usual way that this comes about in manga is through cliffhangers
or big questions that appear on the last page of the last chapter.

In the case of this volume, the thing about the ending that
grabbed my attention was all the questions that came up.

After Vanitas and Noé eluded the person that tried to kill
Noé, Noé realizes that they are being watched and Vanitas starts talking about
what had brought him to the stronghold of the chasseurs. Then the chapter cuts
away to a new character, who we can only assume is the person Vanitas seeks, and
he says that he surprised that he would see our protagonist again, after
Vanitas of the Blue Moon had taken him.

Shortly after, Jun Mochizuki transitions into a flashback
with another new character, whom I want to believe is the real Vanitas of the
Blue Moon, commenting on what they saw and asking our protagonist if they
wanted to come with them.

Seeing these scenes play out, I was left wondering what the
experiments the person that Vanitas is after had done to make the entities
responsible for the vampire kidnappings more dangerous than other chasseurs,
and if the real Vanitas was really some misunderstood person, instead of a
vampire that seeks vengeance on their own kind, and I want to find out the
answer right now, though I would just have to wait for the next volume to come
out.

Yes, I can purchase more of the chapters that Yen Press puts
out on a monthly basis, since they are advertised to be released on the same
day that Japanese fans get them, but because purchasing the early chapters in
the series hurt my enjoyment of the first
volume
really badly, I will just stick to the volume releases, so that I
will not feel cheated for buying the same chapters more than once, as well as
allow myself to at least have some rest between all of the series that I follow
on a regular basis.

While I would want to give Jun Mochizuki the credit for
ending the volume so well, the real credit for this great ending goes to Square
Enix or whoever compiled these chapters into volumes for them, as they have
chosen a great place to end things. The mystery of these experiments and who
Vanitas of the Blue Moon really is might be kept secret until the end, just
like thetruth of the Tragedy of Sablier was not revealed until the later
portion of Pandora Hearts' run, but making me think that some backstory
will crop up soon is a nice way to end things, because it screams that there is
something more and that is what makes me so anxious for the next installment.

If the people that put the volume together had not ended
things here, I would have been very disappointed because I do not know how to
end things any better than they did here, even if there is a possibility that a
few of the chapters published after the ones found here were originally
serialized just might have provided a better ending, and I probably would have
put this on probation, before completely dropping it.

Thankfully, they did not do that, and remembered what was so
great about Pandora Hearts, aside from how Jun Mochizuki handled things,
and they were able created one of the best endings I have seen so far.

Hopefully, whoever compiles the chapters into volumes can
continue to have the volumes end on a note as high as this, whether it does end
with a ton questions, because that is the only way that this series would be
able to surpass Pandora Hearts, but I must keep in mind that they too
are also human beings, who make mistakes, so I better keep my expectations more
in the realistic realm than thinking that they would make the right decision.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added into what I already
talked about.

Because my attention was grabbed quickly and held right
through until the end, in spite of having been away from the series for a
while, the comedy was quite good, and I had so many questions that I wanted
answered, as the ending hinted that Vanitas's past might be delved into a bit,
this was one of the best volumes in the series that I have read so far.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

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

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

Considering how there was quite a bit to like, such as how
this book was able to capture my attention, even though I had been away from
the series for a bit, and nothing to really hate, unless you really want to be
nitpicky, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this mainly to fans of Jun Mochizuki and The
Case Study of Vanitas
, as they will be able to like this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, as
the way this volume starts off does not make the knowledge of the previous
volumes completely necessary, but I would still suggest reading the previous
volumes first.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon
or, if you want a copy of the reviewed title, purchase the book from Book
Depository
, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so
that I can continue following this series and possibly find more worthwhile
reads for you guys.

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