Roxie Reacts: The Case Study of Vanitas – Episode 2, “In the City of Flowers” [Spoilers; Dubbed Version; Critical Analysis]

Welcome back to another episode of Roxie Reacts. I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen with Vanitas and Noe. The thought of Noe having to take down Vanitas makes me intrigued, and the knowledge of Vanitas being a straight-up anti-villain makes me giddy as heck. As always, timestamps will be below.

0:12 – This boy be peelin’. Or… rather, etching wood. And from the looks of this, it’s a flashback.

0:28 – It’s Noe’s flashback. This man is full of memories, I swear. Curse-bearers are apparently vampires that lose their minds suddenly, like that girl from the first episode. Maybe this is before they discovered maladies? Who knows.

0:36 – Oh lord, Noe’s young dubbed voice actor never ceases to make me cry from the sound of scraping nails on a chalkboard. Poor dude probably got assigned because there was no one else.

0:41 – Ooh, nice cut broski. Remember kids, knives are sharp. I bet Noe is gonna want to lick it now. Let the kid have a meal, it’s fine, it’ll only hurt a lot. And forgive the line in the picture, I’m snapping shots from this anime from the Funimation media player.

0:46 – Gosh dang it. Guess his friend got to it first. What a weirdo.

0:51 – What follows is a job risk to describe comedically.

1:13 – How does the blue moon relate to a curse bearer? Blue moons are pretty regardless, don’t give me these hard questions, you dramatic narrator. If a curse bearer was in front of my eyes, yes, I’d still think a blue moon is pretty. [REDACTED] your philosophy. But holy foreshadowing, Funimation. Maybe curse-bearing vampires become crazy on nights of the blue moon? Am I putting two and two together? That would explain the girl in the previous episode, and how she reacted, in combination with the blue moon we saw.

1:22 – Ah, that intro music is beautiful. Reminds me of a feeling I had a while back, it’s great. So magical and otherworldly. This is definitely a song I’m going to be looking up after this anime series ends, for sure.

2:51 – Thank you for giving me 1 minute and 29 seconds of downtime that I don’t have to narrate and comment on. That’s nice, I get to be lazy at my job and I get to enjoy it, too. Win-win, am I right?

3:00 – Me too, Noe. Me too. I’m tired of Vanitas’s nonsense already. Why are you two in a prison cell, anyways?

3:19 – (After explaining what happened): “Satisfied?” “Not at all.” “Well, that’s a shame.” Rekt. Suck it, Noe.

3:35 – Oh god I’m loving this back-and-forth. “My wallet’s gone!” “Oh, right – they confiscated all our belongings.” This is how I’d write, I swear to god. I’ve narrated roleplays with these sorts of scenes. I love these bits to death.

4:05 – I don’t know what your teacher wants you to do with the book. Put it somewhere the sun don’t shine? Oh wait, think of the papercuts. No, dummy. Just study it and do something to benefit the world. Duh. These characters are so dumb, my goodness. Though I suppose it is rated TV-14, so you have to accommodate to this generation of tik-tok infused numbskulls. Gosh, he even looks so clueless in the snapshot.

4:17So romantic! Let’s join forces, you hot man, you.

4:50 – Oh god. If only people were so honest in the real world, the world would be a much better place. Also, Noe is a ditzy idiot – just saying. It’s honestly hilarious how well this is shown in the anime. It’s so self-aware and makes fun of so many different character-archetype tropes. I got a chuckle. Props.

5:06 – What kind of name is “Count Orlock” and why does it sound like he wants to do job-losing things to me?

5:27 – That’s right. Die from happiness, Noe. You’re the idiot that physically would, anyways.

5:44 – That time when Noe blushes and Vanitas smiles like the dominant figure in the relationship that he is.

6:05 – I swear to god, Paris is going to be covered in confetti and weird feathers by the end of this episode.

6:14 – OH GOD, IT’S A CLOWN.

6:44 – Vampires are forbidden from attacking humans after the war. And most of them vanished beyond the “barrier?” What kind of barrier are we talking about? Are we pulling a Code Vein or something here? I’d be down.

7:03 – Vampire official elected to keep the balance between the two races, yadda yadda yadda… boring- OH MY GOODNESS this man looks frightening.

7:08 – Suspicions from earlier confirmed.

7:33 – And this is what you get for being a dumbed-down protagonistic idiot in a self-aware anime.

8:12 – Father Orlock, please give the girl and the book back. Don’t violate the book with your big man hands, the book did nothing to you. Father, please. She’s not a monster, she’s been cured!

9:15Mommy Vanitas, Daddy Orlock, don’t fight! I’ll be good, I swear!

9:32 – On another note, apparently the girl’s gonna be beheaded by a buro, or something along those lines because she’s a curse-bearer, even though she’s been rendered sane. I dunno man, sounds suspicious.

10:05 – … Noe, are you okay buddy? You just snatched that book. Dang, that shows a lot of character. I suppose he keeps himself lighthearted so that he doesn’t let the demons inside himself control him. That’s quite an interesting internal conflict. Wonderful character development. Every character has a dark side and a light side – it just depends on the scenario – just like every human.

10:20 – This is that look that children give you when they try to avoid responsibility:

10:40 – “Let me prove to you the book’s power!” “Okay!” is a total 180-degree reversal of Orlock’s previous stance. Is it really necessary to metaphorically slap someone in the face until they agree with you in the real world? Oh wait, look at politics. Seems like a stereotypical arrangement of saving the maiden, but it’s not done badly necessarily, for the most part. Though there’s a lot up in the air right now, and this is where I’d be clueless on where to go as a writer. There is either going to be a sharp incline, decline, or turn of boredom in the writing quality in the rest of the episode. Let’s see where this goes.

10:42 – Nice catch, Vanitas:

11:00 – Dang. First real showing of Noe’s serious, darker side. I like it. His character is so complex and multifaceted. Amazing writing. Not to sound like an egotistical dummy, but this reminds me of a dynamic of one of my own characters, to be honest: a man with a lackadaisical, lighthearted and clumsy exterior, but very serious and down-to-business when he needs to be. It creates a stark contrast between what he wants to show the world, versus what he feels strongly about deep down hidden beneath everything. I love it.

11:30 – OH! THIS GUY! I LOVE THIS GUY!

12:01 – Oh, his name is Dante, and he’s a greedy but fairly good-hearted information broker. The characters in this anime are written so realistically, it’s rare to find such fine bits of writing on anime sites these days, especially Funimation.

Dante tends to keep Vanitas in line, it seems. He’s the realest character in this show, and it feels like this anime just ripped the characters out of my own style of writing, I swear. Give my characters back, dang you. They’re my characters, not yours. Hmph… at least they’re written well. We’ve got a stereotypical hero, an anti-villain, and now Dante as an anti-hero tagging along for the ride. This show keeps getting better and better – not gonna lie. Looking forward to what we see next.

12:23 – You can’t get rid of Dante, Vanitas. Dante is too powerful. He knows things, you savvy over-dramatic lovably whimsical blue-eyed gay boy. Noe is no comparison. He is Dante. Bow to his power.

13:02 – Do vampires just enter a specific “mode” or activate some sort of thing in their blood to gain specific powers? Because Noe’s eyes just turned red and he grabbed Vanitas, then started leaping over buildings. I am confused, but alright. Sounds good. I have faith it will probably be explained, or just remain a plot hole. I hope it’s the former.

13:25 – That time when a random foreboding messenger tells you that your friends are going to die:

13:46 – Just casually talking about murder case updates while your friend awkwardly carries you across rooftops:

14:10 – He don’t look happy:

14:20 – Vanitas Punting ™ should be a mandatory sport for all citizens of Paris:

14:37 – Can confirm, this is a one-hit-kill anime on the second episode. He’s just instantly using the book again. I’m very disappointed. I wanted to see vampires killing one another in glorious bloodshed. Also how in the heck does a bat lead you to a murderer? God, the plot holes are ridiculous. But I suppose a 14 year old doesn’t care about that, they just care about the fun in it all (which isn’t bad at all, I just need to bonk the writers with a newspaper, give me a moment).

14:54 – At least the animation is pretty.

15:07 – Come on, you paralyze him then talk about what you’re going to do before you do it, calling the paralysis temporary? My god, do these people even know what battle/war strategy is? But I do suppose paralyzing the curse bearer with the book is a good plan. I just want to facepalm at the self explanations.

15:47 – Bad writing alert. These idiots show up from nowhere and demand the book. Luka the vampire and this girl that wears a coffin for some odd reason or another. I think I’m done with these writers’ nonsense. Let me guess, next someone is going to say “Never!” and be all heroic and defensive because they don’t know things that Luka knows.

16:05 – Welp, the writers just shot down Vanitas’s “Never!” statement with an over-powered burst of energy from coffin girl.

16:48 – Luka accuses the book of spreading the curse instead of curing it. Noe becomes a goodie-two-shoes and apologizes for everything. I want to die from bad writing.

17:19 – Vanitas laying down the facts to the kid like the anti-villain I love.

17:30 – Apparently kiddo’s brother is cursed by the original Vanitas blue-eyes and the book might not be able to save him? Plot is confusing, but that’s possibly intentional to throw off the viewer. Going to be honest, the writers may be a little amateurish, but the way it sets you up to facepalm and then makes you go “OH!” is a bit like the cycle of abuse. It seems like three people wrote this altogether and they kept switching things up and around.

17:38 – Welp, [REDACTED] just got serious.

17:47 – And HERE is the vampire-on-vampire action I’ve been waiting for.

18:35 – Welp, they’re [REDACTED]. Looks like this girl is the Buro that was mentioned by the foreshadowing messenger. Yum yum yum, time to get massacred.

The plot isn’t that difficult to follow, and is quite predictable. It’s by no means awful, but this anime isn’t really something I’d take completely seriously as an adult watching this on Funimation, except for a few moments in the show so far. But for something available for free, it’s quite a nice way to spend the evening watching. Though admittedly – this is marketed towards teenagers, specifically around the 14-years-old range. So with their tik-tok-corrupted short attention spans these days, it’s probably perfect.

18:54 – That time when Vanitas becomes the adult in the show and gives a big exposition dump that explains how some vampires turned against their own kind in the war to fight for humanity, but the woman above massacred her own people when they did so. “Wielder of the Crimson Gauntlet” or something. Pretty self explanatory if you look at the picture. I had to look at the subtitles for the spelling, guess I’ve been spelling it wrong the entire time. It’s called a “bourreau,” not a buro. Whoops.

19:00 – I’MMA CHARGIN’ UP MAH LAZOR!

19:34 – I’MMA FIRIN’ MAH LAZOR!

20:26 – Holy plot armor, Funimation. Noe’s not dead!

20:52 – Apparently the book can corrupt a name, but Vanitas is using it for the opposite effect instead. I suppose it can be done. “A matter of application” he says. Who knows. Young teenagers don’t need it explained, but I sure would like it to be.

21:25 – That time when the hero tells the anti-villain he’s doing a wonderful job and morally supports him with righteous words. I mean heck, that’s pretty rad for an anime to do, let alone a show or written piece. I love the back and forth contrast between the two characters – they seem like foils, but they somehow work together due to a common goal. It’s very interesting. Well done, writers (as much as I’ve given you a hard time before). You’ve made a leap most would think of as blasphemy.

21:36 – Classic anti-villain laughing at a ridiculous hero’s literal hero-complex nonsense. Gotta love Vanitas.

21:49 – Bonding moment is real. The way they draw Vanitas is so wonderful, honestly. I love the sheer emotion it shows, and how genuine he really is in it all. His character is something legendary, I have to admit.

22:08 – Oh that cocky little thing. Love that smile. “One way to defeat the hellfire witch.” Sounds like a plan, I suppose. But it’s a bit kid and young teen-oriented. Again, that’s not a bad thing. Just go into this anime expecting it to be as such, and you’ll be fine. Have a laugh and have some fun, all there is to say, really. Oh and try to pay a blind eye to the glaring plot holes. I think the writers were more concerned about delivering real, honest emotions than filling in every single little plot convenience or plot hole. And I can respect that. It’s not bad in the slightest, just a bit childish. So go into it with all of these things in mind, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the anime yourself.

And I think that about wraps it up. Thanks for reading, as always. Roxie out.

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