Manga Review: “The Case Study of Vanitas” – Steampunk Vampires in Paris
Vampires, airships, beautiful Paris, and a book sought after by many, The Case Study of Vanitas will have you debating on whom to cheer, the vampires, or the humans.
Creator Jun Mochizuki crafts a world in which the vampires are unlike traditional vampires that can’t walk among the humans in daylight. The vampires of The Case Study of Vanitas react more with the moon and astrology to guide their emotions.
The owner of the cursed Book of Vanitas has inherited a childhood bedtime story titled The Vampire of The Blue Moon, in which vampires are feared and hated. Everything starts when Vanitas was born on a night with a blue full moon, and was ran out of the village in the freezing darkness of night because he was born a human from vampire parents. He proclaims that they will all pay when he opens this cursed book, a blue leather-bound tome with jet black pages and a clockwork grimoire linked to a silver chain. This book is cursed with the power to interfere with the vampires’ true names.
Vanitas runs into Amelia, a secret vampire, while trying to save her aboard the La Baleine airship to Paris. She freaks out after he claims to be a “vampire specialist” doctor, and that he can return her real name from the Book of Vanitas, assuring Amelia that he is a human, not a vampire.
While wandering the streets of the City of Flowers (a steampunk version of Paris), Vanitas becomes locked in a battle to save the vampires with a character named Noe. However, Noe has a secret agenda – he wants to kill Vanitas and become the owner of the book.
As the book travels through several people’s hands, Vanitas is forced to show how powerful the book can be, with Noe carefully watching his every move. On their journey, they meet a vampire doctor named Luca and his witch, Jennie, who are also after The Book of Vanitas. The battle is on! The heroes need to find a way to win over the hellfire witch, Jennie, and the way they do so will surprise you.
The first volume of The Case Study of Vanitas is a great introduction to the characters and the background of the series. Its first story arc had my curiosity peaked and wanting to learn more about the Vampires of the Blue Moon.
I, for one, look forward to exploring more of Jun Mochizuki’s series, becoming entwined with the Blue Moon Vampires, the engaging steampunk artwork, and the thirst to kill and to love. Will all the vampires be destroyed? And will Noe’s agenda change? Or will it end with a femme fatale twist ending?