Wow… They BUTCHERED Chloe’s backstory. They paced it absolutely terribly and took out the really humanizing and emotional moments. Sure they kept the main things, but they took out quite a bit of character building moments that added a lot to Chloe’s character. Which is such a shame because her circumstances are really sad and I felt for her a lot more in the manga. Not to mention, this episode felt like yet another info dumpy episode where it sounds like they’re just reading a textbook history lesson at you.
We learn Naenia can’t always just forcefully take a Vampire’s true name. If a Vampire has enough power, she has to make a trade for their name i.e. grant them a wish. It does make you wonder whether Naenia took Louis’ name by force or if he willingly gave it to her in order to accomplish a wish he had. Looking back at the situation, it could honestly go both ways. His situation was terrible enough where he’d be desperate enough to ask Naenia to grant his wish or he was just yet another victim. But I could also see him as an experiment set up by his grandfather and had to give away his name for the sake of it. Which is actually a lot worse than the first two theories. Though with everything that went down in that flashback, I would hardly put it past his grandfather for doing such a thing if it were true.
Now, I understand Noe’s anger and hatred for Naenia over everything she’s done. Especially with how she made Louis into a curse bearer, the guy really needs to learn place and time. I never really like it when characters act first without thinking and act out in violence without stopping to understand the situation. This was no exception. Him yelling and demanding Naenia to stop was never going to accomplish anything. All the while attacking her when it’s pretty obvious that was doing nothing. So when Chloe socked the living crap out of him, I was like: yeah, that’s about what I’d expect. Noe is always the more emotional one who would often just quickly jump into things, which is why Vanitas seems to always need to be there to prevent him from doing things as he’s the more calm and analytical one. Which I suppose is why they work well as a team. But Noe does really need to learn a better way to handle these situations. Especially when raw strength isn’t the answer to everything. You’d think he’d learn to stop trying to brute strength his way through everything, considering what happened last season. But I guess old habits die hard. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
It felt kind of abrupt to suddenly go into Chloe’s backstory. I would have thought there would have needed to have been a bit more intrigue build up and allow people to really wonder what Chloe must have gone through to strike such a deal with Naenia. But NOPE, we’re getting it NOW! Sigh… again, the pacing fails to impress me and everything just gets thrown at us. It almost feels like Ensemble Stars level of info dump but not quite to that extent. Not to mention they just throw terms around and it takes me several times reading things over to really get it. The world building is definitely quite weak in this series as well, which is a shame since it is very interesting. The execution is just extremely messy. Like when we learn that Chloe wasn’t born a vampire but suddenly awoke one day as one. Which is… weird but I guess it was just a random phenomenon due to a formula of some sort changing? It’s a little difficult for me to grasp something when it’s just told and not really shown. Both humans and vampires are after the mechanism that is supposed to change the world’s formula which the concept… still confuses me. Another example of them throwing so much jargon around that never really stuck out to me or fully understood.
I was a bit disappointed to see that they just kind of glossed over the part where she said that her father’s wish to turn her back into human changed and twisted over time. All the while Chloe just became more and more disappointed in them as the wish became more selfish with each passing generation. They were trying to fit way too much information into this episode without allowing the audience to really soak in the emotions of the situation and just ended up feeling like a textbook lecture. Which is another pet peeve I have for series when they just talk about information without allowing the audience to connect with it visually or emotionally. Show, don’t freaking tell.
One of the most interesting things we find out was Chloe’s friendship with Ruthven. Not to mention a Ruthven we haven’t really seen before. A different Ruthven who is earnest and had a similar ideology as Noe does with liking both vampires and humans. His hope was for them to coexist in peace. I can kinda see why he was so disappointed with Noe in the previous season. I feel like his disappointment stems from the fact that he shared that same sentiment at first, only to be betrayed somehow. Which could also be symbolized in him losing an eye. At first, he viewed both sides fondly, but upon losing one eye, he’s closed himself off to humans and only taking the side of vampires. Which is pretty sad when you think about it since he seemed to genuinely want the best for everyone initially. Though I do wish they showed a little more of their relationship since they omitted the part where Ruthven would pop in unannounced to visit Chloe. Which was admittedly very cute as they are able to bounce off each other very well. Especially when Ruthven was Chloe’s first friend.
They kinda glossed over how Chloe felt about everything throughout the years of her being a secret from the world. Which made her friendship with Ruthven all the more important to her since she was never allowed to venture out due to fear of being persecuted. Which is why her friendship with Jeanne was also very important and UGH baby Jeanne is so freaking CUTE. Though I am disappointed they didn’t show how Jeanne was just bouncing off the walls everywhere while Chloe is constantly chasing after her, unable to keep up with her energy. And while they kept the point of their relationship intact, they didn’t do well in building as to why they had such a good relationship because of how fast they were going. Because they skipped over so many character building moments, I wasn’t really able to feel the emotion of Chloe finally stepping out into the world and being awestruck by the beauty of it. Not to mention it didn’t really feel like they bonded all the much before their tearful goodbye from the little they gave us with them. Their relationship is supposed to be extremely important, but it just doesn’t feel that way from how they portrayed it.
While I know I’m supposed to hate him, Ruthven is yet another character that intrigues me. Especially since this episode shows that he wasn’t always like how he is in the present. He became broken and desperate. What must he have gone through to have his world view be flipped upside down like this? There definitely has to be a reason as to why he’s doing all of this and I’m very interested to see what caused this change of view so severely. Though I doubt we’ll see it in this arc. But it effected him so deeply that he even lashed out and tried to force Chloe to use the research at his command. Essentially ruining and breaking their friendship. Which lead to Chloe’s complete isolation. But I am sad they took out the detail of him crying out for something or someone to stop as if he were possessed and didn’t mean to do that to Chloe.
The fact that Chloe was able to break Ruthven’s forced contract ability shows just how powerful she is. Which demonstrate why Naenia couldn’t take her true name by force. Instead, she preyed on her loneliness and broke her down little by little. She was completely isolated with no one to turn to or lean on. I can’t even imagine how she can deal with that amount of loneliness. Chloe just wants to have bonds, but no one is there for her…. Which was shown a lot more in the manga.
They took out so many “human” moments with Chloe. Especially the part where she just wanted to be a part of her family again, which was the main source of why she continued watching over the project. They turned her emotional backstory into a textbook history lesson. Which is extremely disappointing since I did feel a lot more for Chloe in the manga than I did in this episode. We essentially got the barebones of her backstory without the little moments that really drove home just how lonely she was and how important her relationship with Ruthven and Jeanne were. Ugh, it’s so frustrating because this arc is really good and emotional… but the anime is skipping over so many details and moments that really adds to the characters. While I’ve decided I’ll continue the coverage for this series, I’m still going to complain about the pacing issues the entire way through.