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Comment: Vanitas no Carte 23 — Au Pas Camarade, Pace.

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My second monthly post in a row?? Might I have learnt my lesson on keeping to schedule with this series at last???

[WARNING!] This post contains spoilers for chapter 23 of Vanitas no Carte! (duh)



Quick Summary

Dante explains the details of the case to Vani and remarks that even now the Beast of Gévaudan’s true identity is unknown, but it was suspected by vampires and the Church alike that it was a curse-bearing vampire. Dante admits he’s not sure whether the beast that has re-appeared has any relation to the 18thC case, but there’s been 5 victims this last month and there have also been witnesses.
Vani decides to hop onto the investigation, intrigued by the information. He asks Noé his opinion, but Noé (who has been distracted all through the explanation by the scent of Vani’s blood stains on his glove) just says “I think it sounds really delicious,” and goes into an inner monologue on how he is so distracted by the smell he can’t concentrate. He realises the reason why he’s suddenly so distracted by it is because he’s slept through all day and he is starving for food, and usually when he’s hungry his thirst for blood spikes. He fights his impulse to ask Vani for blood but it’s too strong.
He remembers how Sensei explained to him that vampires don’t actually have to suck blood to live. It’s not the blood itself that vampires want, but the vital energy of the people they suck it from. Noé then remembers Louis telling him that sucking someone’s blood is a way of communication, so before you suck their blood you have to “sweet-talk them into it.”
Noé starts freaking out because HOW ON EARTH IS HE SUPPOSED TO DO THAT so he starts clumsily signing Vani’s praises, but then gives up and outright asks if he can taste his blood. Vani then, very seriously, says to him: “Archiviste. I’m only going to say this once, so listen up. If you so much as try to drink my blood, I’ll kill you.”
Noé, embarrassed, backs away. Vani leaves the room, and Noé remembers how when he sucked the blood of a boy in the village and accidentally looked into his memories he was called “creepy.” The following night Vani comes back to the room to pick Noé up, and Noé is sitting gloomily on his bed. They set off, and Noé is always a few steps behind him, head hanging low. Vani gets angry and asks what’s wrong with him, and Noé says that he’s ashamed of what happened yesterday. He also thinks Vani is at fault for flaunting a bloodied arm in front of vampires, but it’s true that he’d be lying if he said Vani’s past didn’t intrigue him.
Vani asks Noé if an Archiviste’s power is absolute, and Noé explains that it works the same way as when they steal a person’s vital energy. Unless he sucks the person’s blood directly out of their body his powers won’t work, though occasionally he’s also been able to tell a person’s feelings. Vani then tells him that if that’s the case then he won’t mind letting Vani lick his clothes next time he gets hurt and Noé is OVER THE MOON but then Vani says he’s joking and Noé is back to being pissed. Vani laughs wholeheartedly, and Noé starts walking side by side with him.
They arrive at the train station, and Noé is star-struck by the locomotive they’re riding to go to Gévaudan. He bumps into a man and apologises. As he leaves, the man sniffs the air and looks back at Noé, but just then a guy calls out to him calling him “captain” and he turns back around. The man reprimands the guy, saying he shouldn’t call him “captain” in public because it stands out, and the guy amends his speech and calls him “Astolfo.” The guy accompanying Astolfo complains about having to head to  Gévaudan ahead of everyone else, but Astolfo says he’s super excited, saying that they, the Chasseurs, are going to hunt down the Beast and all the vampires nesting in the area.
Edited from the summary I posted on tumblr, plus quotes from the official English digital release.

Terminology

The order: Japanese term, followed by special furigana reading in parenthesis if there is one, followed by romanisation in italics if I consider it necessary, followed by the official English translation, followed by definition after the hyphen.
Terms with a red flag have appeared before, but now have new information!
  • 吸血鬼 (ヴァンピール) kyuuketsuki (vanpiiru) [ Vampire ] — Unlike vampires of legend, vampires born from Babel do not have to drink blood to survive, which explains why not being allowed to feed on humans (M.2) doesn't affect them.
  • 血液依存病 [ Blood Dependence ] — Addiction to the taste of blood.
  • 吸血依存病 [ Hematophagic Dependence ] — Addiction to the pleasure sucking blood produces.


Comment

Vani NO, for the good of the people you must let Noé suck you (*cough* I meant your blood of course *cough*)

Oh boy, this chapter had my fujoshi motors going like a squirrel on caffeine... so much gay potential. This is like putting me in command of a control panel and telling me, "you're allowed to do whatever you want and pull all the levers, but you're not allowed to touch this red button." That just makes me want to press it all the more. With Vani so blatantly telling us he doesn't want Noé to look through his memories, rather than wonder what it is he's so adamant to show Noé, I'm more curious as to what it would take for him to actually let himself be sucked. (His blood, his blood. I'm talking about his blood. God guys, you're so dirty.) Now that we know that drinking blood is a luxury much like tobacco or alcohol and that essentially it's only necessary if you want to steal someone's vital energy to become more powerful or heal your wounds, I'm fantasising wildly with the idea of Noé being at deaths door and Vani willingly giving him his blood so he may heal. Oh boy oh boy, the more I think about it the more I want it...

But delusions aside (excuse me whilst I wipe the drool off my face), I'd like to talk about how this chapter is not only important towards the development of Noé's and Vani's relationship, but also towards Noé's general character-building. I'm detecting a tinge of self-loathing and shame emanating from him in this chapter, not just because he offended Vani and was in the wrong, but because that offence was caused by who he is genetically. We've learnt that Noé is fond of drinking blood; we've seen him indulge in Domi's blood on several occasions quite happily, in a manner that has me thinking of a child enjoying sweets. Yet his powers as an Archiviste, as Grandaddy Sensei de Sade well explains, put him in a position where he can't just freely drink someone's blood. I'm presuming to a certain extent that in the vampire world drinking each other's blood is not an unusual occurrence, supported by the fact that bitch-boy from the village (a boy that could well be that one lad I couldn't pinpoint in M.6, judging by his ridiculous hair) ((look under the "Dominique, Noé, and the beheaded children" section for that photo)) doesn't seem bothered by the fact that Noé drank his blood per se, but by the fact that he looked into his memories. And this is where it starts getting sad (prepare thy tissues, gentlemen.)
Yen Press decided to translate bitch-boy's lines (lol I don't like this boy, can you tell?) as "That's creepy. You're creepy, Noé," but the word in question used in the original, 気持ち悪い kimochi-warui, more appropriately translates as "gross" or "disgusting" (though the meaning 'creepy' is also implied). This is the word Noé is associating to what he is. This is what he finds so shameful. It explains why in M.5 he seems uncomfortable with the idea of looking into Amelia's memories, despite her openly agreeing to it. When Vani singles out his surname, "Archiviste," it's akin to an attack on and depreciation of what he is: an Archiviste vampire.
It's possible that after the blood-drinking incident bitch-boy acted cold towards Noé, and it's possible that Noé's extreme sulking in M.23 stems from insecurity over whether Vani would still be okay with having him around. We know Vani has ~some~ problem with the Archivistes, showcased by his reaction in M.5 when Orlok reveals Noé's identity (you might recall my theory on this is that Gandalfina Vanitas was an Archiviste), and though he indeed appears to strongly reject this side of Noé he is quick to show that the problem is not Noé himself. After hearing Vani's heartfelt laughter and seeing his relaxed demeanour, Noé lets go of this insecurity and walks side-by-side with him au pas camarade — marching together shoulder to shoulder. My heart is healed and my crops are watered. (´‿`✿)
...Aaaaand this only makes me want to see Vani willingly let Noé suck his blood EVeN mORE. (ʘ‿ʘ✿)

Moving on to other matters, I was so ready to strangle anything in sight when I read this page. I find it so frustrating that Noé doesn't remember a thing of what happened with Dr. Evil Uncle Ruthy, despite rubbing the spot where he was bitten in a subconscious gesture. My understanding of these few panels is that Noé's extreme thirst for Vani's blood is, as with the lethargic feeling on his body, a side-effect of anemia. He did after all eat something at the café with Ruthy, so it's not like he's gone entirely without food—he just doesn't remember that beautiful cake gracing the inside of his stomach (what a tragedy). However a very small corner of my mind that is prone to unjustified suspicion has me wanting to point my finger at Ruthy and ask "IS THIS YOUR FAULT TOO? DID YOU PLANT A SUGGESTION IN HIS MIND?!?!" but right now, as far as we know, Ruthven only has the ability to compel Noé into following one single order. Whether he's capable of also planting suggestions in his mind is a different thing entirely, but he did openly say he was interested in Vani and his past in M.13. So. Don't put your guns away yet, children.

Well then, my pretties. That's all I have for today. The famous Astolfo, who had been postponing his appearance since M.18, has finally walked up on stage!! (Incidentally, I'm assuming he's a man for now only because the Astolfo from the Matter of France was also a man... but has a very effeminate face. Though let's admit it, most of MochiJun's male characters do.) Judging by what Olivier said to Roland it seems this sack of sin and Roland might actually be tight friends, but unlike our precious blonde cinnamon roll, Astolfo appears to be more of a sadist that gets off on the act itself of killing vampires *sweats nervously*. The fact that he speaks about them as if they were animals has me anxious over what fate awaits poor Noé and whatever other innocent vampires we may encounter in Gévaudan.
Also, I'm mostly convinced now that we won't find out what happened to Domi and Misha until we get back from the Gévaudan mess... yikes.

Last but not least, this is my last VnC post of 2017. With the dawn of 2018 knocking on our doors Vanitas no Carte finally celebrates two years of serialisation.

Happy two-year anniversary folks. Here's to many more.
Until next month, my lovelies!

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Posted on: 23/12/2017



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