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Comment: Vanitas no Carte 24 — Forêt d'argent, Chance Encounter

Ok but how about we all stop pretending to be intellectuals and admit that the only reason half of our nerdy asses know 'argent' means 'silver' is because of Teen Wolf?
((honestly though that's all you need to survive in my opinion))

[WARNING!] This post contains spoilers for chapter 24 of Vanitas no Carte! (duh)

Quick Summary

Memoire 24 「Forêt d'argent 邂逅」(Forêt d'argent, Chance Encounter)

In what seems like a flashback sequence, what appears to be the person we saw at the end of M.22 speaks to Jeanne in a snowy forest and asks her if she is "Jeanne the Hellfire witch." Then they urge her to do something with her flames and fangs and claws.
Back in the present—Noé and Vani have arrived to the town of Saugues in Gévaudan. Dante and Johann met up with them in the town of Clermont-Ferrand and have also tagged along in hopes on getting their hands on some juicy intel, but Vani speculates that perhaps they aren't here just for the intel.
In town they try to find someone that will guide them into the "Silver Forest," but everyone refuses them. A child asks them if they're here to defeat the beast too, like the "church people" that just came by (Dante&Johann assume that means the chasseurs are here), and he tells them not to go into the forest because a witch lives in it.
Of course, the gang then heads into the deadly Silver Forest. Dante remarks how odd it is for Vanitas to still be sticking around Noé after what happened lat night, and Vanitas explains it's because Noé ambushed him in the morning. As Dante and him bicker back and forth, Noé gets lost (as he always does). Just as he's wondering what happened to everyone else, the landscape suddenly gets covered in snow and freezes over. Back with Vani, Dante and Johann, the team spots a group of men talking about one "Monsieur Antoine" (アントワーヌ), that Vani identifies as Dragoons—the soldiers sent by Louis XV in the 18th Century to investigate the case of the beast of Gévaudan. Antoine was the name of the man who was the king's first gun-bearer. Dante, startled, wonders if this means they've travelled to the past.
Wolves howl, a cloaked figure is briefly shown, and immediately afterwards a grotesque monster larger than they could have ever imagined appears.
Noé hears the howling a tries to head back, but runs into Astolfo, who appears to be hunting and killing Dragoons. Noé realises that the bodies aren't turning to ash, and shocked wonders why a chasseur would be killing humans. Astolfo recognises him as the man at the train station.
Back with Vani&co., the beast turns out to be a gigantic wolf-like creature with six eyes. As Vani runs from the creatures, he wonders about these strange events—the red-eyed beast, the witch of the forest. Have they returned to the past? No, this is something else. This is a malnomen.
Vani is about to get attacked by wolves, but just then Jeanne appears out of thin air and saves him. The beast takes one look at Jeanne and says her name.


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!
  • 灰化する [ Turn to Ashes ]  Though the concept has appeared in various forms before (M.5, 灰になる, "turn to ashes"; M.11 灰に還す, "return to ashes"), this is the first time it's been given it's own verb. It looks like vampires turn to ash when they die, though the reason behind it has yet to be explained
  • 白銀の森 [ Silver Forest ] — A forest near the town of Saugues in Gévaudan, said to be haunted by a witch. It appears its name comes from the fact that when you enter the forest it swaps over to a snowy landscape, a phenomena possibly caused by the malnomen of the "beast of Gévaudan."
  • 竜騎士 (ドラゴン) (doragon) [ Dragoons ] — "Dragoons originally were a class of mounted infantry, who used horses for mobility but dismounted to fight on foot. From the early 18th century onward, dragoons were increasingly employed as conventional light or medium cavalry, trained for combat with swords from horseback. Dragoon regiments were established in most European armies during the late 17th and early 18th centuries." (Source: your bro, Wikipedia)


Me, a Spanish-born english girl spending her first winter ever in the U.K.

(praise the lord *sobs*)

VaniCarte is back to quench our thirst for blood dorky vampires at last!!! I did say I hoped our dorkios wouldn't immediately reach Gévaudan, but that train ride was wayyyyy too long for my taste. I was also hoping for a longer-than-usual chapter after the near 3 months of radio silence, but alas, in all likelihood MochiJun was busy preparing for the Vanitas no Carte x Pandora Hearts café that's opening in Ikebukuro in April.

Anyway, let's get down to business! (to defeat ♫ the beast ♫)
MochiGod hits hard in Mémoire 24—this chapter is not only action-packed and deliciously hilarious, it's also wonderfully atmospheric. Her depictions capture the essence of rural France beautifully, and convey both the eerie aura of the forest and the disquieting sudden appearance of the beast sensationally. Ugh, I'd kiss the floor this woman walks. 
But extravagant praise aside, I'm so happy that Dante and Johann have joined the party on this quest to Gévaudan, even if it seems like they have some ulterior motive they're not telling Vani&Noé about. I'm tempted to think they're here because they're worried about these two getting their sorry asses into trouble, but the nerd in me that's thirsty for more French drama is also secretly hoping some mystery is afoot. And on the topic of the dhams— I wouldn't go as far as calling it 'shocking,' but the revelation that they care not about humans or vampires was definitely interesting, as it confirms that they're displaced members of society most likely rejected by both sides of the coin. I'm still on the lookout for any sort of backstory for these lads and the possible organisation (or do they just happen to dress the same and have pet-bat familiars because they like to look like twinsies??) they might belong to, so if we're lucky whatever goes down in Gévaudan will lead us to some information regarding that.
However, the moment that most caught me unguarded in M.24 was Dante's throw-away comment on the oddity of Vani's carefree attitude with Noé, despite what had transpired between them the night before. When writing my M.23 comment 986327 years ago (what do you mean it hasn't been that long?) I had assumed that in this panel...
...Vani was pissed off by the fact that Noé was still brooding over what had happened earlier that night. Yet from his conversation with Dante in M.24, it's evident Vani was in fact going to ditch Noé and head out to Gévaudan on his own. This is not the face of a man who's just realise he has to deal with his friend's bullshit, but the face of a man whose plans have been foiled by said friend's obstinacy to remain...friends. Granted, if this isn't a testament to how well Noé has grasped Vani's behavioural patterns I don't know what is, but I was slightly disappointed to see that there's still a pretty thick wall between these two (even though Vani momentary assumes it's Noé who came to save his ass at the end of M.24) ((Vani step out of your denial already and embrace your homosexuality)).
Bu most of all, what I was left with after finishing the chapter were questions, questions, questions (if you read that with a french accent, you can pretend I know French)The digger we deep the less I seem to understand. I mean, setting aside the fishy history the beast and Jeanne seem to have, the flashbacks and world-building information dropped in this chapter has and endless stream of ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ looping in my mind. I had assumed Jeanne had been put into an induced state of slumber straight after the vampire-human war ended, but seeing as the war probably happened before the beast of Gévaudan attacks and M.24 falshback!Jeanne has long hair... it looks like she was still awake for a while in the post-war years? Perhaps the reason she was put into an induced slumber has something to do with her involvement in the Gévaudan case? MochiJun we are four volumes in can you pelease stat giving concrete dates aLReaDY. (ʘ‿ʘ)

So what next? Noé is stuck in a rather precarious situation, but... there's no proof Astolfo has identified him as a vampire (though he did creepily sniff him out at the Paris train station?). The sicko is apparently happily skewering humans on the go, so perhaps his attack on Noé has nothing to do with whether Noé has fangs or not — but seeing how quickly the cat was out of the bag with Roland, I don't suppose it'll take him long to figure it out either way.
I'm also very much intrigued by Noé's casual-not-so-casual mention of Averoigne and the supposed similarity he sees to it in Saugues. That's a nudge to that theory about Averoigne being Altus Auvergne if I ever saw one, but it looks like Noé the confused macaroni hasn't made the link? Honestly there is no other plausible explanation for these two names getting thrown around so freely, so either MochiJun is trolling us for the laughs (which wouldn't be new, but unlikely in this scenario) or Noé is just an idiot (that sounds a lot like the canon I know).

Well then my lovelies, that's all I have to say about this chapter. I'm sitting here wondering if this trip-to-the-past-but-maybe-not-really could be window that sheds light not only on Jeanne's past, but also on Vani's past... What if in this pocket of time we come across Vampire!Vanitas, before she died (assuming she's even dead lol)? I'm vibrating with excitement. (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))
See y'all next month!

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Posted on: 25/03/2018

PS.: Check out the VnC terminology and timeline posts I've made on tumblr! This series is very complex and confusing, but sorting everything out has helped me wrap my head around a lot of stuff!

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  1. Wonerful review as always! I need to catch up again lol...btw...that image at the head of the article is like evil shadowy Yona ROFLMAO! did you realized?

    1. Oh shit, the silhouette DOES look distinctively Yona-ish, doesn't it? The short hair, the cape... all that it's missing is a bow strapped on her back and she's good to go xD

  2. I'm happy that you're still reading this manga! I can read and discuss this manga with somebody else! MochiGod really has to drop dates because I'm getting puzzled! 😣


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