Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Case Study of Vanitas Episode 12, “Point of Departure,” now streaming on Funimation.
Although this has been quite an eventful debut season for The Case Study of Vanitas, Episode 12 makes it abundantly clear that all of Season 1 is merely a setup for Season 2, which is already announced to be coming in January 2022.
The Case Study of Vanitas' narrative is presented in a way that gradually reveals more information about the world and its characters, thus the entire viewing experience can often feel like piecing a puzzle together, or a build-up to something bigger. What’s really great about the series’ overall structure is there are also clear-cut mini-arcs where the characters take breaks between each adventure before moving on to the next, so it never feels unsatisfying. Episode 12 is technically one of the “break” episodes, but it does much to cleverly build anticipation for Season 2.
The most urgent question from Episode 12 of Vanitas is undoubtedly what happened to Noe. When Vanitas discovers that Ruthven intentionally let Jeanne invite him on a date, he immediately realizes Noe is in danger. But when he returns, he only finds a sleeping Noe half on the floor.
What neither one knows is that Ruthven had already hypnotized Noe and forced him to swear to obey for one time -- no matter what he asks -- and then made Noe forget this vow. Episode 11 showed Jeanne under some kind of order but she can’t remember who made it, so this seems like the exact same situation for Noe. This is the biggest potential time bomb that may explode in Season 2. There is no telling what Ruthven will ask, and worse yet, there's no way to prevent it because no one actually realizes its existence.
The Season 1 finale also reveals that Ruthven planned to kill Noe at first, but changed his mind due to the concern over Noe’s teacher, the Shapeless One. This suggests the Shapeless One -- whom Ruthven calls a monster -- may be at least equal to or even more powerful than Ruthven. That said, the dialogue here also hints that leaving Noe alive could be Ruthven’s biggest downfall in the future.
Another unpredictable factor in The Case Study of Vanitas is Roland, who now knows not all vampires are evil like he was led to believe by the church. His colleague Olivier senses he is starting to doubt the church’s teachings and clumsily threatens to harm his family, but Roland returns the gesture with an even more thinly veiled threat. Their conversation shows how powerful Roland truly is -- according to his own estimation, he can take on four or more paladins at once. But his mind may be even more dangerous; he is not a blind believer of God, but rather what he believes to be true. This makes him a wild card who could be on any side of a fight.
Most importantly, the Season 1 finale sets up the next adventure for Vanitas and Noe: the “Beast of Gevaudan” (a real-life murderous creature in French history), a wolf-like beast that used to brutally murder women and children and has recently reemerged to kill five people. The beast is theorized to be a curse-bearing vampire, and as we saw in Episode 6, when a cursed vampire is too far gone, their appearance will change to a beast-like creature. Vanitas and Noe leave Paris to investigate, a great way to conclude Season 1 since the series began with both of them coming into Paris.
But the most intriguing reveal about this beast is at the end credit scene, when a white-haired girl appears in the snowy mountains with the Charlatan holding her. She claims to want to make her vengeance echo across the land in Gevaudan. This means the beast is definitely connected to the Charlatan, who seems to be controlled or is at least allied with this mysterious girl, whose name is Chloe according to the credits. This is the biggest revelation of Episode 12, and leaves the most unanswered questions. Given The Case Study of Vanitas' penchant for slowly resolving mysteries, it will probably take an entire season for everything to be fully resolved.
There are many other smaller set-ups too, such as the introduction of a new pink-haired character named Astolfo, who, despite looking effeminate, is male. There's also Noe’s strange obsession with Vanitas’ blood, and a full exposition of Noe’s mind-reading power that will surely become important later on. All these questions and more will hopefully be answered in The Case Study of Vanitas Season 2.