So for this episode, I tried really hard not to look at the manga while watching the episode so I wouldn’t be comparing it all the time. But my gosh, even without looking at the manga, there were certain things that I recalled that was just skipped over. Not to mention the major problem with this adaptation is that they don’t take the time to build up certain moments. Instead they just happen without rhyme or reason. Now, the manga also has stuff happening for the sake of happening, but at least we get a little bit more build up than what the anime gives us.
However, the thing that bothers me the most was how they literally cut out Noe and Astolfo’s fight and glimpses into his backstory. Not gonna lie, Astolfo was probably one of the most interesting parts of this arc and the fact that they are essentially ignoring him really frustrates me. They literally set up the fight in the last episode and they don’t even address it now. Not to mention, this fight starts breaking Astolfo’s character down a bit more. Maybe they’ll address it again in the future so they can just condense his character exploration in one place… which makes me even more annoyed because I feel like delving into a character shouldn’t be restricted to just one spot. It should be explored through multiple episodes, giving us hints and build up to the eventual reveal.
Anyways, we continue where we left off with Chloe trying to kill Naenia. Her reasons for betraying Naenia stems from the fact that she is a “jealous woman” and she seeks revenge against Naenia for “touching what is hers.” “Hers” being Jean-Jaques which essentially shows how much he means to her… too bad we never really got more time seeing just how close they are together. We “know” that they were close, but it felt like we were told of their relationship rather than seeing them actually build it and how close they actually are. It’s kind of frustrating since their bond felt a lot deeper in the manga than how it was portrayed in the anime. Sigh…
However, it is revealed that Naenia is actually the Malnomen of the Vampire Queen… which just like this series has been doing just sort of happens without any actual build up. I wish they built this up a little bit more instead of just suddenly having it revealed without any prior hints. We knew something was going on with the Vampire Queen, but nothing really subtly hinted that it could have been Naenia. Twists are fine, but I feel like they should have a certain amount of build up or subtle hints to it before being revealed. But I digress. Though I will admit that there is still intrigue on how she ended up like this with that brief flash of Ruthven reaching his hand out to her. Just how deeply is Ruthven involved with all of this and WHY???
Also small little detail that made me curious was when Naenia was exerting all this pressure, Vanitas was the only one who seemed unaffected. At first I thought it just didn’t affect humans, but then Astolfo toppled over so hmmm….
I love Roland. He gives me so much Rengoku energy and I love it. Out of all the characters in this series, he’s probably my second favorite after Jeanne. So when he made his reappearance I got really excited. Especially since he just brings so much more positive energy and I admit his dynamic with the two main leads is pretty hilarious. Especially when Noe likes the guy and Vanitas can’t stand him. I also really appreciate the fact that he’s willing to take a moment to listen to reason rather than just charge head first and kill all the vampires just because he was ordered to do so. Even in the first season, while he still is very faithful to the god of the church, he still questions the church itself on their morals and how they do things. He isn’t just blindly following and I appreciate that about him. Not to mention after finding out that not all vampires are mindless monsters, he wants to be able to lead the mission to a peaceful conclusion. He’s essentially the complete opposite of Astolfo, to which I hope to be able to talk about why that is more in detail later on. It is a relief to have Roland’s help on the matter since he’s proved himself to be a very dependable asset in which he will get the job done while also protecting other people’s lives as priority. He’s just a great guy.
Speaking of favorites, we get a little more introspective on what Jeanne has gone through. While I do wish we got to see more of her relationship with her parents, at least we know that she loved them as much as they loved her. Unfortunately, due to them supposedly being traitors to vampires, Jeanne had to essentially make up for their crimes by becoming a Bourreau. Everything just went from bad to worse as Jeanne was just beaten down emotionally and mentally until she only viewed herself as a tool to be used. Which is just so sad considering how much positive energy she radiated as a child. It’s honestly really hard to see such happy kids turn near emotionless or jaded at such a young age.
Despite having gotten some answers about Jeanne’s past, we are still left with lot of questions. Especially with what happened with Naenia. We can proooobably assume that she is a curse beaer. But we don’t know to what extent. It seems her becoming a curse bearer is related to Ruthven, but again, we don’t know to what extent or why. All we know is that he used his power on her so that she would have to follow a specific order from him. There are so many questions revolving around Ruthven and it’s frustrating when we don’t really have any leads to what is going on with him. Though I will give it to the series for making him an interesting antagonist. But wish we got more into him.
While I do want to talk about that ending with Jeanne and Vanitas, I think I’ll hold off until next episode where I can go into it in depth. Overall, this episode wasn’t as bad as last week’s, but there were points where I got frustrated since the pacing of events was still pretty bad. Especially when they built up that fight between Noe and Astolfo, only to not even have it happen. But I digress… Next week seems to be pretty promising… hopefully they won’t skip over things that are super relevant and important. But after what has happened so far in this half of the season I don’t have very high hopes.