Wow… this episode’s pacing was TERRIBLE. While this has been just an ongoing problem at this point, this episode felt especially bad pacing-wise. Not to mention they basically put in re-used footage of things we already saw and knew for four freaking minutes. I literally had to skip over that part so I could get to the point of the episode. Why waste precious time like that? Like, it would have made more sense if the entire flashback was from Domi’s point of view since we didn’t get much from how this event effected her until this episode. Sadly it felt like my time was wasted in those first few minutes. And when the episode wasn’t focusing on Domi, it felt like things were progressing too fast and I felt disconnected from what was happening for some reason. Things were happening, but it felt almost unreal to me because of how fast it was going and it didn’t give me the chance to really FEEL for what was happening. It was a weird experience.
And so we finally get an episode, well, half an episode, dedicated to Domi. Honestly, for a while, I didn’t particularly care that much for Domi. She was fine, but there wasn’t that much that made me interested in her as a character… until this part in the manga. We never really got that much from her perspective aside from wanting to protect Noe and her feelings for him. And it frustrates me how much they just decided to cram into her story all at once instead of dropping certain things here and there. Like when she ran into Mikhail the first time. They should have just shown that moment after Vanitas and Jeanne’s date rather than flash back to it. I don’t know what it is about this adaptation where they don’t want to drop hints about a character’s situation until the time where they get to shine. SPREAD IT OUT. Make us ponder these moments! UGH…
Anyways, back on Domi. This episode essentially hammers in the fact that Domi is suffering from survivor’s guilt. And I could hardly blame her from seeing Noe’s reaction to Louis’ death, making her convinced that Noe would have preferred Louis alive rather than her. She blames herself for all that transpired and if she hadn’t done anything, maybe Noe wouldn’t have had to see first hand his friends get slaughtered. It also doesn’t help how Domi’s older siblings treat her. They always treat her as if she’s dumb, not good enough and she’s not wanted. That would surely lower one’s self esteem over the years. And then she gets hit with the fact that she and Louis were actually twins, a bad omen in Vampire culture. She then sadly realizes the unintentional hurt she must have caused Louis when she made comments of wanting to live there with him and Noe. With all of the guilt of just living piling on top of her for all of these years, I’m surprised she’s still able to smile despite it all even if it’s fake.
I feel so bad for Domi. I can’t even imagine the pain she must feel on a daily basis. Which makes sense why she keeps comparing herself with Jeanne since she seems to believe that she’s just no good compared to others. She can’t be the person people want to be around. That’s such an incredibly sad thought. Especially when it seems to be confirmed by everyone around her whether it be their words or actions. She even went as far as to look just like Louis for Noe’s sake. Though I’m sure that probably ended up hurting him instead. Domi is kind of stuck in her toxic thought process and is in need of help. She needs someone to pull her out of her own head and tell her that SHE is wanted and needed. Something she probably hasn’t gotten yet. My heart weeps for her…
However, what she doesn’t realize is just how much she means to Noe. From that brief flashback of her showing up like Louis (even down to the hairstyle and clothing) when Noe woke up, he didn’t mistake her as Louis and immediately knew it was Domi. And after that confrontation, he desperately wanted to protect her from that point on. She is important to him. Maybe not as close to him as Louis was, but she was still one of his precious friends that he would give everything to protect. Especially since she’s literally the last childhood friend he has left. So for her to constantly believe it would have been better off that she died instead for Noe’s sake is heartbreaking. Since if that were true, Noe wouldn’t have marched in ready for a fight in order to save her.
We get officially introduced to Mikhail, the supposed younger brother of Vanitas and number 71 who was mentioned by the crazy scientist. Not only that, but he has his own book of Vanitas and the bearer of the mark of the Vampire of the Blue moon as well. The biggest problem with his introduction has to be aside from being mentioned by the scientist, he was not mentioned or shown anywhere else to build him up to the extent that the manga did. If the anime had been more faithful to the manga’s pacing, we would have seen him a couple times before he was introduced. Making his threat impending and not just suddenly thrown in.
In any case, almost immediately, we see just the type of threat this kid poses by hypnotizing Domi to a point where she’ll jump off the ferris wheel if someone touches Mikhail. He basically already has Noe put into a corner and seems to want to use him to access Vanitas’ memories to find out why exactly he killed the Vampire of the Blue Moon. Though it probably hit Noe harder to realize that he actually knows very little about Vanitas. He probably feels as if he’s gotten to know him better over the time they’ve spent together, but when it comes to his past, he knows almost nothing. Vanitas isn’t one to really talk about himself, especially with how little he views himself. He probably feels as if his past isn’t worth mentioning or it isn’t important.
Mikhail is an interesting antagonist. Not only is he someone Vanitas was supposedly close to in the past, but he is also this unnerving kind of happy go lucky type of character on the outside but cruel and cold on the inside. He seems to enjoy toying with people’s emotions and he has a lot more information about Vanitas than anyone else. Also I swear that the antagonists need to stop forcing themselves onto Noe. It’s been getting kinda uncomfy. But unlike Ruthven and Chloe, Mikhail makes Noe bite him instead of the other way around. And boy… the way that was portrayed was a bit… awkward for a lack of a better word to describe it. Especially when Mikhail looks like a child, it just makes the whole thing really weird. Anyways, moving past that, he also seems to have the same mark as Vanitas does on the opposite arm. Though if they had it in the same place, the fact that it shows the mark has reached up almost over his shoulder is a bit concerning. Showing just how much he must have used his book.
After Noe bites him, we get a taste (no pun intended) of what this boy must have gone through at such a young age. The situation that he came out of was just disgusting and I’m glad they didn’t show anything on that subject. But because of his situation, he seemed already a bit mentally broken, especially with how he reacted to how his mom was killed by a vampire.
It’s pretty interesting how Roland seems to always have made some sort of contact with these broken kids. Not as if he’s to blame for their mental state, but it feels like it’s somehow worth to point it out. To what degree, I’m unsure. However, his brief interaction with Mikhail was really cute and a nice little break from a rather emotionally charged episode so far. And man, I think we all felt the same way Roland did upon hearing Mikhail’s explanation of how he perceived the vampire attack. The way he said that there must have been a demon inside his mom and the vampire “saved” her from it with such a happy tone was so unnerving. And it makes you feel really bad for him because he already seems to be incredibly broken at such a young age. And it makes me so sad that if Roland hadn’t been taken away, he could have found his way into a happier life. Unfortunately he got yoinked by that accursed scientist who we already know has committed inhumane experiments on children. It’s like “Life’s got you down? Why don’t we just kick you again for good measure?” At this point, it’s kind of understandable how and why Mikhail has become so twisted at a young age.
While I have my gripes with this episode’s pacing, the information that was presented was still interesting. Though I still wish they went about how they built things up differently, it was at this point where I really started feeling for Domi. She’s become such a sympathetic character that I just want her to find her happy ending in all of this. And I do think it’s good to finally meet an antagonist that is really close to Vanitas and can offer a bit of information of his past, making this confrontation all the more personal. But then he goes ahead and makes it personal for Noe as well by holding Domi hostage. There is a lot on the line already and things can only go down from here. Three more episodes to go….