The Case Study of Vanitas Is the Latest Gothic Horror Anime

Premiering about a month ago, The Case Study of Vanitas is a new anime from Studio Bones. Adapting a popular ongoing manga series, The Case Study of Vanitas combines vampires, steampunk and 19th century France. This might make some viewers think they're in for an early Halloween fright fest, but the series is quite different from that.

With its elegant steampunk romanticism and ornate designs and clothing, The Case Study of Vanitas is another in a long line of shojo-style series' with vague horror overtones, like D-Gray Man. Now airing in Japan and the United States, here's what The Case Study of Vanitas is about and how it's similar to previous Gothic anime.

What Is The Case Study of Vanitas?

The Case Study of Vanitas began as a manga in 2015, created by industry veteran Jun Mochizuki. It revolves around Noe Archiviste, a vampire who's made his way to Belle Epoque-era Paris. He meets Vanitas, a seemingly human doctor who has the knowledge and expertise to cure vampires of their bloodthirsty affliction. This puts him at odds with vampire society, but thankfully Noe is on his side.

Together, they team up in order to help other vampires who no longer wish to prey upon the innocent. Unfortunately, opposing their efforts is a force known as Charlatan, which is part of the reason behind the vampires' corruption. Published in Monthly Gangan Joker, the manga so far has nine tankobon volumes. The anime adaptation was announced earlier this year, with it recently premiering both in Japan and in other countries through simulcasting.

The Case Study of Vanitas and Gothic Horror

With a spooky atmosphere and vampires galore, the horror elements of The Case Study of Vanitas are pretty self-evident. What some might not expect, however, is everything else that the show does with this setup. The show is essentially a sort of shojo series, especially when it comes to the designs. Everyone is beautiful, and the elegant male characters are no exception. Likewise, there's much more of an emphasis on relationships, drama and the feel of the setting rather than any sort of action.

This evokes other anime and manga such as Black ButlerD-Gray ManPandora Hearts and, to some extent, Vampire Knight. These other works all had some manner of a supernatural premise, with vampires or ghouls being prominent. Also present in the art was a sort of stylized steampunk aesthetic, with the clothing often resembling a mixture of Japanese school uniforms and Victorian apparel. The time period that the shows are set in are also either truly Victorian or some facsimile of it through steampunk.

Tokyo Ghoul is another similar series given its premise and designs, but it's set apart due to its modern setting. The general aura is murky and grey while still being animated and dramatic, not unlike a much more romanticized Tim Burton film.

These series' sometimes have villains who are misunderstood, particularly charming or just plain elegant in their evil ways. This contrasts more overtly shonen or seinen-oriented equivalents such as Hellsing, where enemies are more monstrous and the focus is on taking them out. Thus, while The Case Study of Vanitas might seem scary and atmospheric on the surface, underneath is a breathtakingly beautiful series that's as magnificent as it is macabre.

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