Roxie Reacts: The Case Study of Vanitas – Episode 1, “In the Event of Rusty Hopes” [Spoilers; Dubbed Version; Critical Analysis]

Hello and welcome to the first edition of Roxie Reacts. It’s great to meet you. I’m Roxie, and I’m going to be giving a live reaction to every single episode of a series I choose, beginning with Funimation’s The Case Study of Vanitas. I enjoy hosting roleplays, writing narrative fiction, and of course working on these articles. So I thought, “Why not give a critical analysis of an anime series, episode-by-episode, reaction-by-reaction, for the lovely readers of Dragonbloggers?” And here we are now.

Moving on, those that enjoy anime know and acknowledge Funimation as one of the leading anime websites and hosting companies – so why not just go down the line of recent anime from 2021 or 2022 that are on the Funimation Winter 2022 Season lineup? It might be interesting to get a fresh perspective on these things. Something to note, I will be posting timestamps below with at least a sentence up to a few paragraphs following them, and there will be spoilers, as I talk about everything I see and observe. I will be making literary inferences, comments, examinations, and general critique and/or observations that I find interesting or enlightening.

For observational purposes and examination, I will be watching the dubbed version, to many anime connoisseurs’ distaste. My deepest apologies – it’s difficult to observe the whole screen when you’re reading the subtitles. But rest assured: I, too, prefer the sub over the dub. This is just as much of a struggle for me as it is you. Maybe if you enjoy my examination, you’ll want to watch the subbed version yourself, and that will be something you’ll look forward to with your own thoughts on the matter. Or, I encourage you to read this along with me as you watch. I’d love to have a tag-along.

With all this in mind, I thank you all for accompanying me on this journey. Let’s get started. Timestamps start now.

0:33 – This is a general introduction to the lore of the show. Classic storybook art, somewhat similar to Shrek’s opening, but in a darker setting. I enjoy the fact that they’re using stick people to show different characters, but it’s not badly drawn. Very artistic, seems drawn with crayon-esque brushes in the studio. The lore is about Vanitas, a vampire born under the blue moon – contrary to the “crimson” moon that normally occurs to produce vampires.

1:34 – Already, I can tell that Vanitas is the antagonist, or something along those lines. Unless vampires are supposed to be evil? It depends on how this story takes it. It’ll be interesting to see how they spin it, because Vanitas could very well be the protagonist if they spin it right. Apparently he has a thing out for vampires born under the crimson moon (I’ll just say red-moon from now on), and has blue eyes. He put a curse on some sort of book that makes red-moon vampires turn against their brethren because he was made an outcast and apparently wants to get back at people? I mean, fair enough, albeit a little difficult to follow fully. But that honestly isn’t enough for an antagonist to get going, in my opinion – a bit poorly developed; two-dimensional. But it will all depend on how they write Vanitas – if he’s a character in the story at all.

Though something I will admit, the art is beautiful, and the frame stopped on the blue eye of a certain vampire at 1:34 is absolutely wonderfully done – very epic, if I do say so myself. Though I am what some would describe as an edgelord, so what do I know? My tastes are a bit varied from the traditional public. I enjoy antagonists more than I do protagonists, a lot of the time, because the protagonists are often suffering from Always Morally Correct Syndrome – and that annoys the heck out of me. Considering this is about vampires, it should be interesting to see if it develops into something that isn’t completely black or white.

1:52 – There’s the opening theme, starting – title card playing and the like. I like the funky beat, it’s very nice. Sterotypical exaggerated anime poses in the opening, but it’s nothing too bad. After all, it wouldn’t be anime if it didn’t include those humorous, yet amazingly epic anime gestures. I’m a sucker for it too – don’t worry.

2:07 – The opening theme sounds a bit like vocaloid, but it also could be a filter on a singer’s voice. Either way, it’s nice, in my opinion.

2:23 – I’m pretty sure I’m correct: Vanitas (or one of his descendants) is probably in the anime as a protagonist. There’s a man in a white suit and top-hat in the opening, and then a vampire-looking one with blue eyes accompanying him. If it’s played out well, I think I’ll actually very much enjoy this.

2:48 – Welp, there was a twirling scene between the top-hat man and the blue-eyed vampire in the opening. If this is a LGBT-oriented romance anime, I’m going to lose my [REDACTED] because it’s actually really freakin’ cute: The vampire is blushing and I’m enjoying this too much for my own good.

3:12 – OH. I just saw Square Enix in the corner. That… that is a good sign. That restores my faith in humanity. Oh my. I think I’m actually going to like this. Note that I haven’t even read anything about this anime beforehand. I just saw it was released in 2021, and now I’m watching it. I have no idea about this whatsoever.

3:17 – The newspaper they show reminds me of Jack the Ripper from Black Butler. Just something about this strikes a similar feeling to me.

3:26 – Wait, wait. There was a human-vampire war? Dang, I thought this was going to be about vampire society. Too bad. So sad.

3:44 – A vampire has appeared and is doing… something. I have no idea, it’s just townsfolk walking and talking around a billboard with a newspaper attached. Is this really what they did in the 1800’s? I assume that’s when this is set, or it could be later, who knows. Oh and there’s the guy in the white suit from the opening. Wonder if he’s going to find the vampire. It sure seems like it.

Though I will admit – it’s a fairly stereotypical anime or story opening. There is a lot of preface and plot-dump in the first bits of the anime – not necessarily bad, it’s just how you do it that matters.

3:48 – Okay, hold up. Girl says “I’m so cold,” and then white suit dude suddenly hears her from across the room? Excuse me. Sir, do you have vampire-level hearing? Because that’s quite a feat.

4:03 – Girl falls over, he catches her. I’m kinda facepalming as we speak. Obvious vampire bite, here we come.

4:18 – Lady. How in the heck does one suddenly feel “anemic?” I’m just going to… nevermind. Continuing on.

4:38 – I swear to god, that thing in the little crate thing that just opened next to the girl looks like… I’m not going to say. But it has eyes and fur. I am frightened. Is it a dog? We will never know.

4:40 – Oh. It’s a cat.

5:11 – Pausing while the oblivious, shy, awkward white-suit guy with Morally-Correct Protagonist Syndrome rushes to what seems like a train – to say that I sincerely despise the humor in this anime. It’s another level of cringe. I have no idea if it was added in to fill in screen-time, but it’s definitely not my cup of tea.

5:15 – HOLY AIRSHIP, FUNIMATION. I’m getting Treasure Planet flashbacks.

5:29 – Mademoiselle? Is this guy french? I’m confused.

5:41 – They’re on an airship in the sky and the white suit dude mentions something like “Astramite.” Stereotypical power source is stereotypical. Boo, Funimation. Boo.

5:57 – After a load of nonsense and minor plot-building, suit man mentions he’s after the Book of Vanitas. Big plot drop, I guess. Though I could have guessed something of the sort from the title.

6:11 – Thank you for saving me the explanation of the book, suit-man. I don’t need it explained again. Props to the writers for avoiding that catastrophe five minutes after the anime starts.

6:28 – Lady mentions being cold again. Guess she’s gonna be a vampire soon.

6:31 – Oh look it’s the little blue-eyed vampire twit from the opening, standing on top of an airship and being a cocky little brat.

6:44 – The art is beautiful for this anime, but it’s difficult to take it seriously with the extremely lighthearted plot. Unless it’s deceptive? It just might be.

7:25 – Apparently suit-man received a letter from a teacher (or former teacher) of his that he needs to locate the book on this airship or something. Extremely simplistic plot. I’m not impressed, funimation.

7:30 – Oh, he’s going to Paris. My bad. Yep, he is French. Called it.

7:38 – VAMPIRE TIME! I hope she bites him.

8:12 – Blue-eyes breaks through a window behind suit-man to get to red-eyed vampire lady and somehow misses her. I swear to god, if she turns into a bat, I’m going to flip my desk.

8:16 – I am indeed not flipping my desk, but instead groaning in plot armor. Suit man has the girl in his arms. I am sad. How in the world does a vampire not see this with their extremely enhanced senses? I’m just… – just look at this nonsense, okay?!

8:26 – Though I will admit, I very much enjoy how blue-eyes is drawn. His character seems very developed, and the dubbed voice actor is actually quite nice, weirdly enough.

8:38 – OH, THAT EYE STARE.

9:02 – Blue-eyes draws a knife and starts attacking. Suit-man just backsteps a bunch while holding the girl. Badly animated in my opinion, but I imagine this anime doesn’t focus on the action element as much as it does the drama and the epic poses. That’s too bad, because I enjoy a well-choreographed fight scene.

9:14 – I retract my statement, that suit boy can move. Just threw the girl up in the air and did somersaults backwards. This should be interesting. Dynamic character development of the cheerful, oblivious suit-man being suddenly very serious and whatnot. Characters that have the dark and light sides to them are usually much more realistic, and pre-developed quite well before even writing them. I have respect for the writers now, just a little bit more. But we’ll see.

9:18 – GUESS WHO’S A VAMPIRE NOW!

9:25 – Nice landing, bro.

9:54 – Blue-eyes casually wipes blood from his mouth, smearing it like the edgelord he is. Classic.

10:05 – Do vampires become cold if they don’t feed? Lady keeps complaining in suit-man’s arms about being cold. Plot seems relatively predictable right now, but it’s fun to some extent, so I’ll give it a pass for now.

10:28 – Oh, this is interesting. Finally, some good, complicated writing. Shadow in the girl’s dream-space or mind-space comments on “how lovely it is here.” I’m beginning to question if that is her vampiric essence or something, based on its red eyes. Is vampirism a living disease? It just makes me think.

10:42 – Lot of symbolism happening here. Girl’s heart starts bleeding black, shadow thing wants to take over her mind it looks like, and asks her true name. Is it possible vampires go feral after a certain period of time, and this thing is a representation of the primal instincts inside of her?

11:00 – I would assume so, given that she just started oozing black blood and fluids from her mouth, along with the fact that the floor around her just began to spread out around her in the same blackness.

11:28 – Lady just bit him. Primal vampire instincts? What exactly will happen if a vampire consumes the blood of another vampire? It seems that blood is used as a currency of sorts for life – similar to fat storage in a human body. Is it possible that if she drains his blood, it will make him wither and die, because vampires don’t produce their own blood? That might make sense. Or it will just do nothing for her. Who knows.

11:56 – That seems to be the case, yes. Though she’s also bleeding black from her mouth as suit-man shoved her off. It might be that this is a disease spread between vampires themselves? That’s… interesting.

12:15 – Well, I can’t talk about that or I’ll lose my job.

12:31 – Vampires are forbidden to attack humans? Well, isn’t that something.

12:44 – “Is it… poison?!” says suit-man. Vampire disease confirmed.

12:59 – Blue-eyes saves the day. Antiheroes, I swear.

13:08 – Oh, briars of shadow. Not… the other thing that’ll sacrifice my job.

13:26 – “Malnomin,” some corruption of a true name by maladies or illnesses? Plot dump, got it.

13:44 – Holy self-aware self-commentating callouts, Funimation! That red-haired bloke just told the monologue-producing edgelord to shut up!

14:15 – Blue boy is a vampire doctor that cures maladies. Alright, nice plot twist. I can dig it.

14:41 – Looks like blue boy has the Book of Vanitas. Honestly not too bad of a plot point, but a bit stereotypical. I thought this anime was going to be more about finding the book rather than anything else. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but it should be interesting to see how the writers do this.

15:28 – Fair enough. Book cures maladies. If this is going to be the stereotypical one-move-kills-everything anime, I’m going to flip my desk for real this time.

15:59 – She’s gonna turn blue. Calling it now.

16:16 – Redhead in the back just went “eugh.” I enjoy this man.

16:39 – No clue if she has blue eyes now, but police are pointing guns at the vampires. I am sad now. Roxie is sad.

16:57 – Oh this edgelord. Telling the cops to [REDACTED] off since the 1800’s. The first true gangster.

16:59 – … As he gets hit in the head by a falling rock. This is by far the best moment I’ve witnessed for a long while in anime.

17:14 – NYEEEEEEERRRRRRR… (Cue falling out of the airship with suit-man tagging along by his foot as romantic ballroom music plays in the background).

17:25 – Way to make falling out of an airship comedic, romantic, and utterly beautiful all at once. I think I’ve had enough anime for tonight.

17:45 – Flashback for suit-man. Blue moon deprives vampires of their power, says former master? Yet suit-man is red-eyed, and he seemed to be fighting at full power. I am confused. Plot hole detected. Unless explanation is made, must bop writers for bad writing.

17:58 – Oh god, the dubbed voice acting for young suit-man is horrendous. I’m dying from cringe.

18:20 – How in the heck are they still alive? Though blue-eyes definitely commented on that himself. I enjoy how self-aware this thing is, it’s kinda funny.

18:43 – Blue-eyes explains that he just used the book to reverse the maladies. Still unknown as to if she has blue eyes or not. Explain this, you writers.

18:49 – This man isn’t straight, and that’s fine. I’m low-key cool with this being a romance.

19:35 – Noe (No-way) is the suit-man’s name. Apparently “child of the art,” as described by blue-eyes.

19:49 – Called it from the beginning. Blue-eyes is indeed Vanitas… or rather a descendant. And… he’s a human? With fangs? Oh god the plot-holes.

20:16 – Vanitas proposes partnership. Noe declines immediately. This is wonderful. But is forced into it anyways.

20:30 – Plot dump. So uh, lots of vampires have maladies, and they’re now on a quest to figure out the root cause, or they’ll go extinct as a race. Sounds… interesting I suppose? It could have been done much better, admittedly, but I’ll go along with it.

20:47 – Oh, Vanitas is an anti-villain. OH! That… that brings joy to my heart. I love a good anti-villain protagonist – essentially, someone who uses selfish and possibly cruel but necessary methods to achieve something positive in the end. I’m already liking this.

21:26 – Oh my, that pose. But in reality, that plot twist is really what got me. Noe mentions how he will eventually kill Vanitas. Now I’m insanely interested. It’s so very rare that any story – especially anime – has an anti-villain working alongside a hero. This is exceptionally well-done so far, considering everything, though there are many plot holes which I hope are explained later.

Episode’s over now. Honestly, I really enjoyed that more than I’d like to admit, though it was quite corny and a bit badly played out for a first episode. I imagine the manga is much better, but I’m looking forward to the next one.

You can also watch The Case Study of Vanitas on Amazon too!

Until next time. Roxie out.

Roxie Revonae
So… I’m Roxie. To be fair, I’m just some person… girl… thing… on the internet who likes to shout my opinion as loud as I can while also doing it respectfully and trying to come from a place of good intents. I’m an extremely spiritual individual (the legit logic-based para-psychological stuff, not the “woo-woo” nonsense) who has a lot of diverse interests, and spends her time working on herself and trying to get ahead in life. I want to provide my views on topics that would normally be a bit controversial to some in the gaming, sci-fi, tech - whatever you’d call this blog - industry. I play games because I see them as an experience, something to enjoy and get immersed in. My favorite games used to be MMORPG’s but I’m learning to enjoy more single-player experiences as of recently. I’ve felt alone for most of my life, so the ability to interact with other players in games has been something of a comfort to me. Oh and I'm also a heathenous little thing that has to filter myself incessantly just to write these articles.
Roxie Revonae

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