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|“||Nii-san... to me... you are the most important person in the whole world. I like you. I love you!||„|
|~ Vincent confesses his feelings to Gilbert.|
Vincent Nightray (ヴィンセント＝ナイトレイ, Vinsento Naitorei), frequently nicknamed Vince (ヴィンス, Vinsu) by those close to him and Dormouse (ヤマネ, Yamane) by members of Pandora, was a recurring antagonist in Pandora Hearts. He was the biological younger brother of Gilbert Nightray (who he refers to either by name or with 兄さん (nii-san), a common way to refer to one's elder brother in Japanese) and the contractor of the Chains Dormouse and Demios.
He was voiced by Jun Fukuyama as an adult, and Fuyuka Ōura as a child.
Vincent was of average height at 177 cm (just below 5'10"), slightly shorter than his brother and of more slender build. He and Gilbert shared little resemblance, with the exception of their eyes, which were the same shape. They shared the color of their left eye, however, Vincent's right eye was red, branding him as a Child of Ill Omen (禍罪の子, Magatsumi no Ko, sometimes translated as Child of Misfortune). Jun Mochizuki says she makes a point of drawing them with similar expressions, however, as Gilbert is overemotional and Vincent rarely expressed strong emotion, there are few instances where this is clear.
As an adult for most of canon, Vincent had long hair reaching about halfway down his back, though in some drawings it is longer. In his default outfit, he wore his hair down, covering a chemise (a kind of unisex dress) with a black and gold trimmed robe, usually worn with a capelet clasped with a brooch of the Nightray Crest (a cross). During the Feast arc, he wore a black coat over a white dress shirt and colored vest, with a white cravat, with his hair tied back with a ribbon. For a brief period following the Feast arc, he wore the same outfit, but without the coat and with his hair down. He always wore red teardrop earrings, through actual piercings, unlike what Gil wears.
As a child Vincent's hair was shorter, at first kept deliberately just long enough to hide his eyes (and thus that he was a Child of Ill Omen) and then cut shorter by Jack. His outfits had more variety, but were usually some variation of a white gown with trousers. He seemed to keep this style until about thirteen.
After the one hundred year timeskip in the final chapter, Vincent is shown with his hair short and wearing a black suit with green earrings.
Vincent is referred to as androgynous in extracanonical materials, and in general took on a less masculine, more delicate appearance than his elder brother, despite his more masculine personality. Narration also emphasizes Vincent's attractiveness; even Gilbert feels it appropriate to refer to him as "beautiful."
Vincent's most prominent trait was his extreme obsession with his biological elder brother Gilbert, juxtaposed with his general lack of care for any matters not to do with him. He was shown to be ruthless and cold, committing acts of extreme violence for even minor slights against his brother, though his more petty actions seemed to be reserved for women. His open obsession with his brother disturbed even his allies, to the point of Lottie Baskerville breaking off sexual relations with him after he began talking about his brother while in the midst of an affair.
Vincent was frequently characterized as sleepy or lethargic, spilling over into laziness. However, this generally did not pose a problem for him, as he was able to manipulate others into doing what was necessary, and his remarkable intelligence allowed him to acquire most skills without hard work. His lethargy was at least partially instilled by the Dormouse's influence, however, some of his words and behaviors seems to suggest Vincent lacked motivation and energy in general. In particular, he apparently allows his room to become messy "to the point of self injury."
To those aside from his brother, with whom he was overtly and excessively affectionate, Vincent displayed a cold ond often outright cruel personality. He beat and degraded his servant, Echo, and his behavior towards her at times bordered on sexual assault. He fantasized about "defiling" Ada Vessalius, who he resented as a noblewoman. He took apparent pleasure in torturing a cultist and organizing the death of Xerxes Break, who he later physically assaulted while the other was immobile. However, he showed incredible restraint, only harming others when it was advantageous to do so even when under extreme stress. All of his actions were a means of expressing his love for Gilbert.
While Vincent's love for his brother was earnest, he regarded Gilbert as both weak and cruel. It was Vincent's honest belief that his brother would shatter were he to ever overcome his amnesia, and was thus willing to go to any lengths possible to prevent the recovery of Gilbert's memories. He was also completely willing to cause pain to his brother, so long as he believes it will be ultimately to his benefit, attacking him as the Headhunter so as to prevent suspicion from falling on Gilbert. At times, he expressed a desire to hurt those close to Gilbert simply because he wanted to see his reactions. However, he was very sensitive and proactive when it came to his brother's desires, and took a vested interest in protecting Oz, despite this being in opposition to his goals as a Baskerville, as he understood that Oz was very important to his brother. This is not to say that he easily accosted to his wishes-- ultimately, Vincent believed he knew what was best for Gil more than Gil did, and thus acted even in direct opposition to his brother's wishes.
Despite his obsession, affection, and dangerous protectiveness over Gil, Vincent did not actually desire that his feelings be returned. As a matter of fact, Vincent forced Gilbert to touch him with affection as a means of self harm, entering the brink of a panic attack and pushing his brother away when reluctantly given a hug. He declared that he desired his relationship with Gilbert only to be that where Vincent chases and Gilbert runs, as Vincent found himself too disgusting to be a worthy object of pursuit, and believed he would taint Gilbert were Gilbert to ever reach out for Vincent.
This philosophy of being "fine with approaching others, but hat[ing] being approached" extended to all of his relationships, Vincent pushing away or resenting those who approach him, though he frequently manipulated and approached others. He admitted to having 'shared the beds' of several high-class women and felt nothing but hatred, pity and disgust for all of them and their trusting natures. He expressed violent disgust with women as a whole, specifically attacking Gilbert's female suitors, and is referred to as a misogynist in omake.
Vincent's self defeating and masochistic tendencies stem from his self loathing born through his traumatic childhood. He declared that he had lived his entire life in such a way that there would be nothing left of him when he disappeared, desiring the resentment and scorn of others such that none would stop him when he destroyed his own existence. His trauma manifests in a number of other ways-- some time after being adopted by the Nightrays and before reuniting with Gil, he developed a tic in which he would compulsively destroy fabric materials, including pillows and curtains, but especially stuffed dolls. It is unclear whether his fixation was on the destruction of material or the use of scissors to do so-- however, the specifics of his tic suggest it was a subconscious mirror to the suicide by stabbing of Alice Baskerville, to which he bore witness as a child. Many of his mannerisms suggested obsessive compulsive disorder, and he was strongly implied to have post-traumatic stress.
While his thoughts and behaviors seemed nonsensical to others, Vincent was completely lucid in his actions. He was aware that what he did hurt others, and chose to act of his own free will. However, he actually treasured morality in others, praising Xerxes Break for his selflessness in choosing Sharon Rainsworth over his own desires, admiring his adoptive younger brother Elliot for being kind and honorable and, eventually, coming to respect Ada Vessalius for her kindness and bravery, in spite of his misogyny. His idolization of Jack Vessalius came from the belief that Jack had saved Vincent and his brother for selfless reasons, and learning that Jack had manipulated Vincent during his childhood likely contributed to Vincent's eventual breakdown. Similarly, he found immoral or selfish actions to be disgusting, up to and including his own. He specifically compared his adoptive father to himself as he killed him, saying he found his own reflection to be sickening. The reason Vincent continued to commit atrocities is because of his desire to disappear, believing that if he were to act out of kindness he would not be allowed his erasure, and that the destruction of his existence would mean that no harmful acts would be committed to begin with.
Born as a Child of Ill Omen prior to the Tragedy of Sablier, Vincent was brought up to believe his existence was a curse, sold along with his brother to a freak show at a very young age and subsequently facing severe abuse. This led to him developing a complex about his eye, particularly as a child, though this seemed to be more about the burden his curse placed on his elder brother than the curse itself. He grew to be extremely critical of the world around him, harboring resentment for those who did not question themselves or their surroundings. However, he still internalized much of his abuse, feeling personally responsible for his brother's misfortune and deeming himself unable to exist among other people even as a small child. This was the foundation for his relationship with Noise Baskerville, also isolated even among Baskervilles due to possessing a dangerous curse. While originally their relationship was sibling-like, Vincent referring to Noise like he would a sister (お姉さん, onee-san), their relationship became sexual as adults. Each exploited the other, doling out harsh punishments if one perceived the other as having formed a constructive relationship with another person. How their relationship became sexual is uncertain, however, it was not a relationship built on mutual love or attraction. Their relationship is exemplary of Vincent's self defeating and contrary behavior.
Similarly, his relationship with Leo, who became his master once it was discovered that he carries the soul of Glen Baskerville, was based on a mutual feeling of being a cursed existence. Both felt responsible for the suffering of their loved ones, and, thus, sought to change the past. Unlike his relationship with Noise, however, Vincent's affection for Leo was genuine, and he swore servitude to him in sincerity, despite having no relationship prior to Elliot's death. His affection for Leo may have come from their mutual admiration for Elliot, a feeling of companionship born from their similar perspectives on love, or simply circumstance. However, their bond led to Leo going against Vincent's wishes to die-- the original condition of his servitude-- instead protecting him when Oswald used Leo's body in an attempt to execute Vincent. Vincent specified that his loyalty is to Leo, not to Glen, and he would not follow Oswald if it went against his true master's wishes.
Though he usually behaved in a very rational and collected manner (outside of interpersonal relationships), reminders of his abuse and trauma, particularly in relation to the Tragedy of Sablier, have been shown to have caused Vincent to act in more vulnerable or contrary ways. Being exposed to Ada's interest in the occult-- something which reminded him of Miranda-- caused him to snap at her, despite the fact that he was attempting to seduce her. Scenes which parallel the Tragedy of Sablier (or, in fact, the Tragedy itself) are shown to send him into dissociative episodes, causing him to become confused and paranoid.
Shows of kindness also seemed to send him into a confused state, in part because Vincent had difficulty adapting when others behaved in a manner he did not expect. Towards the end of the manga, he began to slowly enter a breakdown, beginning approximately at when Gilbert regained his memories and asked that Vincent ally with him in support of Oz. Vincent seemed unable to understand why Gilbert would not reject him, and later claimed that by saying he wanted to remain beside him, Gilbert had destroyed Vincent's life work. Similarly, when Break prevented Vincent's willing death at the hands of Glen, telling Vincent that killing himself would not bring happiness to those he loved, Vincent began to behave in an increasingly erratic manner, conflicted as to whether he should or should not destroy his own existence. However, Gilbert's attempts to support him only worsened the matter, causing Vincent to become more desperate to die. Glen claimed that Vincent was unable to distinguish between encouragement and rejection, seeing both as an reason to die.
Vincent was ultimately able to be won over by Ada Vessalius, who refused to abandon him even when he attacked her with Demios. Claiming that she would take his life into her own hands were he to throw it away, resolutely believing that the world held many wonderful things, she forgave him, causing the dissapation of Miranda Barma's spirit and allowing Vincent catharsis. Subsequently, he became more open and willing to receive affection, no longer pursuing the end of his existence and dramatically improving his relationship with his brother. However, he felt a relationship between a human and a Baskerville would be cruel due to the different manners in which they aged, and thus broke up with Ada and faked his death so that she could find someone else.
In the final chapter, it was revealed that Vincent and Gilbert had not contacted one another in several years. Vincent returned to the Baskerville commune so he could see his brother a final time before he died, explaining that he had traveled the world in search of redemption. The two were openly affectionate with one another despite their years of distance, and making it clear that they have reached a point where they are no longer codependent, due to Vincent's active efforts. Immediately after his death, it was revealed that he had in fact been searching for the reincarnations of Oz and Alice, hoping to reunite his brother with the two of them, showing that Vincent had made considerable strides in self sufficiency while still seeking to do good for his brother.
As a child he was much more nervous and shy, hiding behind his brother and covering his face when possible. He felt responsible for his brother's abuse, particularly in his brother's attempts to protect him, and believed that their mother only abandoned them due to Vincent's curse. He was aware of the resentment his brother held for him, and knew that Gilbert had tried to abandon him many times. However, he only felt guilt with the burden he placed on him, and came to believe he needed to repay his brother for the protection he gave him as children. After being discovered by Jack Vessalius, Vincent became more confident, still insecure about his red eye but no longer inclined to hide his face. He took to copying his brother's mannerisms, referring to Jack as "master" in parallel to how Gil referred to Glen. With Jack and among the Baskervilles, Vincent felt his brother had found a place of security and happiness, and subsequently became fiercely protective of their position. When Gilbert becomes angry after seeing how Alice treated Vincent out of jealousy over Jack, Vincent grew resentful towards Alice (specifically, the Intention of Abyss, though he did not seem to know she had two personalities at the time), believing she was a threat to Gilbert and Jack's happiness, and thus blinded and killed her cat, Cheshire. The conflict between the two of them escalated due to Jack's manipulation, eventually leading to Alice threatening Gilbert's life. Desperate to protect him, Vincent listened to words he felt had come from the Devil and unknowingly caused the Tragedy of Sablier.
During the initial events of the Tragedy of Sablier, Vincent behaved erratically, seeming to switch rapidly between emotions as he attempted to process its events. He declared Sablier's dead to have been only dolls, playing with their corpses while insisting that what had happened was not actually his fault, as he had only wanted to protect Gil. However, despite his attempts to dehumanize those involved and distance himself from the Tragedy, Vincent was clearly deeply traumatized. Upon discovering what he believes to be a living person, he is immensely relieved, but upon learning he cannot touch them he falls back into despair. Though he expressed hatred for Alice prior to the Tragedy, he was traumatized by her death, and upon discovering her corpse he first thought to ask if she was alright.
Powers and Abilities
- Sleep: Using Dormouse, he could put his opponent to sleep if he maintained a hold on the victim's head for several seconds. However, the Dormouse also induced seemingly random bouts of sleep in Vincent, to the dismay of those around him.
- Decapitation: Using Demios, Vincent could decapitate victims near-instantly.
- Torture - Vincent was shown to be a skilled torturer.
- Chess - Vincent was shown to be good at chess.
- Markmanship - Vincent's sharpshooting exceeded that of even Gilbert, apparently having a natural skill with guns, to his brother's pride and dismay.
- Limited Immortality - As a Baskerville, Vincent's body was more similar in construction to that of a Chain than a human, and thus could not be killed by mortal weapons, though he could be harmed or disabled. Only weapons charged by Chain Killers or exceptionally powerful Chains are capable of causing fatal wounds to Baskervilles.
- Eternal Youth - Vincent did not appear to age over the course of a century; however, his youth was only superficial, and he did eventually die of old age.
- Reality Warping - Due to being born a Child of Ill Omen, Vincent possessed passive abilities to warp reality, specifically because he could not be perceived by the Lurking Eyes. The Lurking Eyes, as the creators and controllers of reality, cannot be defied, except through the power of a Child of Ill Omen.
- All denizens of Abyss, Baskervilles included, have the passive ability to slightly warp reality for humans. However, this is not considered advantageous, as it generally encourages humans to act in a violent manner, and makes Baskervilles far more likely to be subjected to abuse.
- Extraplanar Vision - As a Child of Ill Omen, Vincent could see dimensions beyond the one he normally occupies, including that occupied by the Lurking Eyes. He was also able to see time travelers, and while he could not touch nor be touched by them, he could still hear and speak to them.
- Immunity to Abyss - Children of Ill Omen are the only individuals capable of freely interacting with Abyss, and the only ones capable of friendship and communication with the Core of Abyss, due to being beyond the perception of the Lurking Eyes. Similarly, they are not susceptible to the negative effects of at least some Chains, one of the older Echoes of Noise drawing a direct connection between his red eye and her complete inability to use her Chain on him.
- This may also have given him resistance or immunity to the natural Baskerville compulsion to obey Glen without question, as he specified that his loyalty lies only with Leo and not Glen in general.
- All Baskervilles have an increased resistance to the negative effects of Abyss, due to being denizens of Abyss themselves. They are able to maintain "illegal" contracts indefinitely, and do not suffer the same madness induced in humans who interact with Abyss.
- Abyssal Conduit - Due to being Ill Omened, Vincent's body could be used as a conduit between Abyss and the physical world. This is what allows him to open the Gate of Abyss during the Raven ceremony, causing the Tragedy of Sablier.
Vincent is the only character known to possess both a legal and illegal Chain simultaneously, and one of only two characters to possess more than one Chain at any given time, the other being Glen Baskerville. He referred to himself as a "double contractor" (二重契約者, nijuu keiyakusha).
- Dormouse (眠り鼠 (ヤマネ), Nemuri-Nezumi "Yamane", lit. The Sleeping Mouse, Dormouse) was his legally contracted Chain, contracted during his time in Pandora. It took the form of a large stuffed mouse with its eyes sewn permanently shut, and gave its contractor the ability to put others to sleep if they are able to touch their heads for a few seconds. Due to its weak power and difficult conditions necessary to activate it, Vincent generally regarded this Chain as useless. In addition to this, it apparently induced narcolepsy in its contractor, causing Vincent to collapse and fall asleep at times inconvenient to those around him. Though it is considered bad form to do such, Vincent seemed to take no issue with allowing his Chain to be visible while he is not using it.
- Demios (死刑執行人 (ディミオス), Shikeishikkounin "'Dimiosu", lit. The Executioner, Demios) was Vincent's illegally contracted Chain, implied to have been contracted while Vincent was in Abyss at around eight years old. She took the skeletal form of a large, quadrepedal mammal with a head similar to a goat skull, with two bladed limbs extending like wings from her back. She used these limbs to decapitate her victims, apparently able to do this near-instantly. Vincent used her to commit many of the Headhunter murders, starting with his adoptive uncle and adoptive brother Fred. Her silhouette, along with her method of killing, caused her, and by extension, Vincent, to be dubbed the Queen of Hearts (首狩りの女王 (クイーン・オブ・ザ・ハート), Kubikari no Joou "Kuiin obu za Haato", lit. Headhunting Queen, Queen of the Heart), a name for which he expresses displeasure. Though he was not aware of this at the time of contracting her, Demios was in fact what became of Miranda Barma, a sexually sadistic serial killer obsessed with decapitating Glen Baskerville, after she had been dragged into Abyss during the Tragedy of Sablier. As it was her influence that led Vincent to cause the Tragedy of Sablier, he considered her responsible for his brother's suffering, repeatedly comparing her to the devil. Though to what exact extent is uncertain, Demios ate at Vincent's mind, contributing to his breakdown prior to the manga's finale. He was eventually able to overcome her influence, however, dissapating that which remained of Miranda Barma and becoming able to use her powers while unbound from her manipulation.
- He ranked second in the Pandora Hearts 24.5: Last Dance volume popularity contest, despite asking fans to vote for his brother. He expressed grief at ranking below Break (who ranked first) and above Gilbert (who ranked third.)
- According to Pandora Hearts 18.5: Evidence, Vincent was a Virgo, though he was born on the day of the Virgo/Libra cusp, and by many charts would actually be a Libra.
- His likes were, in order, Gilbert, Break, Jack, sleep, scissors, and dolls.
- His dislikes were, in order, Break and carrots.
- Omake states that he disliked sports and physical activity, claiming to be too lethargic. Other canon sources state he spent most days tired.
- He preferred dogs to cats, as he appreciated obedience in pets.
- He prevented Gilbert from piercing his ears, saying his brother should not seek to hurt himself, despite having pierced ears himself.
- Though he was consistently referred to as 23, his actual age is unknown. According to Pandora Hearts 18.5, he began to declare his age as 23 once he learned Gil (who does not remember his actual age, and declares his age on the assumption he is one year younger than Oz) was declaring himself to be 24.
- In the Gil in Wonderland omake, he played the role of the Dormouse, and his character is likely intended to be a loose parallel to that of the Dormouse. The Dormouse was an attendant of the Unbirthday Party accompanied by the Mad Hatter, hosted by the March Hare. When Alice first encounters the Unbirthday Party, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare are using the sleeping Dormouse as a cushion.
- Gilbert may be a parallel to the Mouse in Alice in Wonderland, furthering the connection and giving a meta-explanation for Gilbert's ailurophobia.
- His name is often shortened to Vin (ヴィン, Vin) by Japanese fans, particularly in the context of shipping.
- He is frequently referred to as a "brothercon" (ブラコン, burakon or ブラザーコン, burazaakon) a Japanese-origin slang word for someone who is sexually attracted to their brother. However, the word and similar (such as siscon or lolicon) are often used in a humorous or hyperbolic manner, including in the source material, so some consider sexual attraction to his brother to be non-canonical.