I hope that everyone is having a good week, even if it is just more of the daily grind.
Things are going fairly well here, and I am still able to do what I like.
Recently, while looking at titles to cover and checking for the next installments of series I have been following, I remembered that I had preordered a title on Amazon from a publisher that has been rather annoying as of late, and my copy of that title finally arrived.
Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 5 by Jun Mochizuki.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
After Noé’s meeting with Ruthven, things seem to have settled down a bit, as Vanitas is unaware of what occurred, and one of the chasseurs starts looking into the shared history of vampires and humans.
However, moments after the chasseurs talks about a certain incident involving Ruthven, reports of the creature reappearing come in and things become complicated when Charlatan and a certain vampire appear in the same vicinity as the creature Vanitas is determined to save.
While many series and/or creators have let me down greatly, with A Certain Magical Index being the worst offender, there are a few that are able to maintain my interest, but with the consistent feeling that things are still going strong, I suspect even more that they are going to fail hard.
Thankfully, after reading this volume, I can say that I liked it quite a bit.
From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading the first couple of pages, I found myself so engrossed that I did not want to stop reading for any reason.
As I have said time and again already, one of the most important things in a work of fiction is how things begin, as it helps the audience get the temporary escape from reality that they desire, and the readers would be able to overlook the most minor of issues.
While this can be done in many different ways, depending on the kind of work and medium used, manga like this is usually first published in a serialized format, which means that each successive installment must pick up at a good point where the previous installment left off, and the first chapter of this volume did just that, though not exactly in a way that I would consider the best way, as I had glance back through my copy of the previous volume.
If either Jun Mochizuki had started off the first chapter of this volume as badly as Kore Yamazaki did in volume 9 of The Ancient Magus Bride or Square Enix, or whoever they had put this volume together, decided to start this volume in any other place, I would have been disappointed, because Jun Mochizuki is one of the few people out there that is capable of creating more than one good work, and seeing things fall flat here would make her look no better than the other people out there who could only impress me with one of their works.
Thankfully, neither one of those things happened, and the volume was able to have a great start.
Hopefully, future volumes will be able to start things off just as well as this one did, if not better, because that will be the only way to keep people invested in the series and I am sure that fans of the series, and even fans of Jun Mochizuki herself, would want to see this series do well, though I would not be surprised if this is the series where Jun Mochizuki reaches her peak.
I also liked how there were things to laugh about.
While many of the things in the volume were not that unique for the series or author, or even manga and anime general, Jun Mochizuki was able to execute things well enjoy that they still came off as funny, as well as give her characters some personality.
Other than how good Jun Mochizuki is at putting things together in a way that gives off the vibe of originality, which is a feeling I get from many of the mangaka I respect, the thing that I liked about Jun Mochizuki’s work, is how the humor just makes things feel livelier.
For example, one of the funniest moments in this volume happened towards the beginning.
At the start of the volume, which occurs sometime after Vanitas promised to kill Jeanne if she did something to Luca in the previous volume, Vanitas notices Jeanne hesitate and jokes around about her possibly wanting to spend the night with him, causing her to get flustered.
Vanitas may not follow the social norms exactly, seeing as he has no qualms about hurting women and children who pose a threat, much to the dislike of my elders and a few of my peers, but he has not really come off as the stereotypical primal male, that is the only thing that is widely believed today and has truth outside our cage, and the way this back and forth played out quite hilariously.
If Jun Mochizuki had forgotten add in humor, I would have been disappointed because the charm that manga and anime has would have been gone, and the only thing that would have been able to keep my interest would have been the plot, thereby making Jun Mochizuki look no better than John Grisham appeared to be when I read The Whistler.
Fortunately, that was not forgotten, and I able to see something interesting, other than plot progression.
Hopefully, the humor will continue for a while, because I am sure others will want something more than the mystery of what will cause Noé to kill Vanitas and what Charlatan’s goal is, but I would not be surprised if the humor disappears sooner than I would have liked.
There two things that really caught my attention though.
First, Charlatan appeared on the scene and not only got to most of the characters, including the new one, but also created some questions that made me wonder what was going on.
Now, the appearance of the supposed antagonist is not that uncommon, especially seeing as the Baskervilles made numerous appearances in Pandora Hearts, before the truth of things, but I cannot remember too many times where questions arose like they did here.
In this volume, when Vanitas and Noé come across the creature they were looking for, so that Vanitas can save yet another vampire, Charlatan decides to come out while Vanitas fights a newly introduced chasseur, who appears to have only been given his rank due to connections, and Jeanne, who also appeared to fight the creature, with the intention to kill it, notices some disembodied heads inside container calling her their daughter.
A little later on, Vanitas and Jeanne have a talk and she reveals that her parents studied under the tutelage of Ruthven around the time she first met Chloe, the identity of the beast, and while this did give her motivation and also allowed some emotion to come out, it made me want to know what Ruthven has been up to, since he has already been revealed to be an enemy in the previous volume, and what Charlatan is exactly.
One of the most important things that an installment in a series like this need is to give the reader an incentive to continue reading, so that they will want to continue following the series itself, and one of the best ways to do that is by giving the audience questions to ask every step of the.
Normally, this kind of thing is done by incorporating cliffhangers, which makes the audience want to be wonder what is going to happen next, but when dealing with something like The Case Study of Vanitas, which is one of those rare mystery series that cannot also be consider a work of detective or crime fiction, the way a reader’s intrigue is captured is to continually create questions while giving them hints towards the truth, as well as details that can mislead people, and this volume is no different in being able to insert these questions in a person’s mind.
If Jun Mochizuki forgot the mystery aspect of this series, I would have been very disappointed because she was the person that showed me why detective, mystery, and crime fiction are actually three separate genres of fiction, and I would have not really had much reason to continue on with this series, even if I consider her to be one of the better creators in the manga industry.
Thankfully, she remembered that part of the appeal of this series, and most her work, is how well she can write a mystery series, and that makes me want to get the next volume right now, though that will not be out for while, seeing as a user by the name of kuroleo nightray on Tumblr posted images announcing a February release date for the Japanese release and a page on Wikipedia, with references to pages of Yen Press’s website, makes it seem like it can take as long as 8 months to release the translation of a volume, even though they sell individual chapters for this series.
Hopefully, the mystery aspect will be able remain right up until the end, because I am sure that I am not the only one that would like to see a good mystery, but I am prepared for the worst.
The second thing that caught my interest was how Vanitas seems to have lost the book of legend that he has been carrying around this whole time.
In this series, one of the biggest mysteries surrounding Vanitas are his true intentions, because he claims that he wants to save vampire kind, as vengeance against Vanitas of the Blue Moon, yet he carries around a book that is the bane of vampire kind and he also does not seem like a person that is very well liked, using it to help them.
Not only are the motives of Vanitas still questionable, because I am not too sure how much I should trust what he says, but it seems like he solves almost everything by utilizing the infamous Book of Vanitas in each predicament, and like seeing Sherlock or Jimmy Kudo solve every case, it gets rather boring, as the tension exists only when Vanitas seeks out the true name of a vampire.
However, around the time Charlatan arrives on the scene and Vanitas tries to make it go away, the book flies away and is picked up by somebody that is an attendant to the vampire everyone is chasing, glancing at it, before we see Chloe and Noé, who seems to be unconscious.
By getting the book away from Vanitas, it not only makes me excited to see how Vanitas is going to take care of Chloe, but it also allows me to determine if he really knows how to reverse the effects of the curse afflicting and vampires, as well as opens up the possibility that I will finally find out how the book can be used.
In our world, we know that every piece of technology we have can be used for both good and bad, and that they can be used improperly, but, when it comes to the Book of Vanitas, things are still a mystery because it has only been shown to do good, while being rumored to be the most feared weapon there, and if I cannot see it being used improperly for selfish gain, the rumors surrounding it do not really have that much merit, beyond the hatred towards Vanitas of the Blue Moon.
Because of this, Jun Mochizuki made me more interested in finding out the mystery of the book, as well as finding out more about Vanitas himself, and makes me wish even more that Yen Press would start releasing volumes at the same time that they are released in Japan.
Yes, I know I can purchase the chapters every month, which Yen Press wants its reader to know about, but after my experience with the first volume, I would rather get the volumes, so that I do not feel like I did not get my money’s worth out of the volumes.
Still, I am excited to see where the series will go, now that the Book of Vanitas has left Vanitas’s possession, as it creates some new possible challenges and allows for things to be delved into deeper.
If Jun Mochizuki did not have this happen, I would have been disappointed, especially because things have not necessarily been as intriguing as Pandora Hearts is, and by having everything solved by the book would just make this series go downhill.
However, because she decided to take the Book of Vanitas from Vanitas, I am much more anxious to find out what is going to happen next that I just want to change my mind and get the chapters as they come.
Hopefully, Jun Mochizuki will continue to make good decisions as the series progresses, as I do not want this series to be the one that makes me disappointed in her ability, but because I know writers like Agatha Christie eventually failed to produce any more good books, I am ready for the day that I will have to tear into Jun.
Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least ones that could stand out as much as what I have talked about.
Because my attention was grabbed quickly and held right up to the end, there were things to laugh about, and things started to get interesting, with the appearance of Charlatan and things revealed that made me wonder what Ruthven was up to, and even the fact that Vanitas lost possession of the Book of Vanitas, this was a pretty decent read.
Although I liked the book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that too minor to talk about, such as typos, and something that Yen Press has no control over, nothing really bothered me too much.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering that there was quite a bit to like and nothing to really hate, unless you want to be nitpicky or criticize Yen Press’s release schedule, this was definitely worth reading.
I mainly recommend this to fans of The Case Study of Vanitas, as they will be able to enjoy this the most.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but I would strongly recommend checking out the previous volume first.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or, if you like a copy of the reviewed title, buy The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 5 from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following a series many enjoy and may be find more worth while reads for you guys to check out.