Vampire Knight (vol.7,8) with story and artwork by Matsuri Hino (Viz Media 2009) is about aristocratic vampires secretly co-existing with humans in a private school created for the purpose of peace and understanding. Vampire Knight has beautiful vampires romanticized in a continuing story that is chock full of action, romance and drama. I love it.
Overview of the Vampire Knight series
Pacifism is the reason why vampires and humans are brought together. Headmaster Cross, an ex-vampire hunter, knows of the secret history between humans and vampires and has championed the cause to make peace to end the war between them. So he created the Cross Academy school where there are two classes in attendance: the Day Class and the Night Class with the latter attended by, what else, vampires.
The security personnel of the school helps to maintain distance between humans and vampires. There are vampires who have no interest in peace and who actually want to continue their war with humans. The school is supposed act as a bridge between the two in the hopes of building a better understanding of each other but the school has its detractors.
Disciplinary committee members and recurring characters Yuki Cross and her childhood friend, Zero Kiryu make up the security personnel of the school. As mentioned earlier, humans are unaware that vampires are welcome to study at the Night Class and only a handful of people are aware of their presence. Yuki and Zero patrol the school grounds to make sure that humans, who make up the Day Class, don’t interact with any of the vampires at the school.
Yuki Cross knows all too well about how vicious vampires can be since she had a run in with one on a cold winter’s day ten years ago. She has no further memories of the event other remembering Kuname Kuran, who is president of the Night Class and a pureblood vampire, saving her on that fateful day. Since the attack, Yuki has had a crush on Kuname, who is quite beautiful yet authoritative and mysterious and forbidden to her because she’s human and he’s not.
Further on in the series, other secrets start to emerge and a dangerous element surfaces to challenge Yuki, Zero and Kuname. Zero and Kuname form an uneasy alliance for the sole purpose of one thing: to protect Yuki even though each of them has feelings for her. The heroine seems to be the center of attention of two dangerous vampires who is also unwitting pawn in a dangerous game of power and politics with the enemy.
As for the romantic drama & angst, there’s plenty of that. Let’s start with Zero, who was the only victim left alive after a vampire attack on his family several years ago. As vampire hunters, his family was reviled and targeted for a reason. Zero hates vampires but he himself was bitten by a pureblood vampire and thus, the self-loathing begins when he realizes that he has become what he hates.
Zero’s fate is dicey since he is expected to become a Level E vampire (rogue and uncontrollable) and poor Yuki, she’s afraid for him. Her sympathies lie with Zero but her heart belongs to Kuname. This triangle of sorts between Yuki/Zero/Kuname is at the heart of this series. The chemistry and tension between them is nice. There’s a lot of romantic feelings flowing from all three characters. I actually like both Kuname and Zero but Zero’s a bit more edgy and unpredictable.
Vampire Knight vol. 7 & 8
But after reading vol. 7 & 8, it is clear who Yuki belongs to and that wasn’t all that big of a surprise. Also, Yukie’s memories of her past are unlocked and we learn about her true heritage. The romantic relationship has also made a dramatic turn that might make some people squeamish but not me which gives a nod to Greek mythology.
There are several reasons why I enjoy this series and one of them happens to be the romantic entanglements between the three principal characters that has now devolved into a somewhat twisted relationship. There’s also the dangerous, violent vampires who want no part of the pacifist views of the Cross Academy vampires and who mete out justice from ancient times. Kuname has enemies who fear him and want to kill him and the people he cares about. It seems that as a pureblood aristocrat, he is and will forever be a target.
This series started off so so good. I just ate up all the romantic bits and the action bits weren’t bad either. I fear that this series will drown in it’s own convolution. At the start of the series, the story arcs were clear and easy to follow but as the series progresses, the characters and story are getting bogged down in a lot of angst ridden melodrama.
I like the politics, the danger, the surprises and twists. Hope we see more of what made this series so good to me at the start. Vol. 8 progressed the series along nicely while Vol.7’s plot was lost in a circle of repetition. I fear my interest might wane unless there’s something new and exciting introduced to keep me on the edge of my seat like the first three or four stories in the series. C+ for vol.7 and vol. 8 is a B. I think Vol. 8 did contribute significantly to the series and I look forward to what’s coming up next in the series.
The artwork in Vampire Knight is just lovely. The men are truly beautiful to look at, too. If you enjoy vampire romances then this series would be right up your alley. This series is ongoing with no end in sight as yet. In the Japanese style, the manga reads from right to left. There are currently, 8 volumes translated in English and available in paperback at the moment, with vol. 9 tentatively due out Feb 2010.