Vampire Knight

Vol: 19; Ch: 93
2004 - 2013
3.82 out of 5 from 5,696 votes
Rank #10,887
Vampire Knight

Yuki Cross' earliest memory is of snow and blood - she was attacked by a vampire only to be rescued by another. Ten years later and Yuki has been adopted by the headmaster of the prestigious Cross Academy. This school is unique in that it consists of 2 classes - a Day Class and a Night Class. The Night Class is made up of vampires led by Yuki's rescuer all those years ago, Kaname Kuran. Together with Zero Kiryu, a childhood friend who despises everything to do with vampires since his family was murdered, Yuki must serve as a Guardian of the school to keep the two classes separated. Secrets lie beneath a peaceful exterior and not everything is as it seems, as Yuki learns the truth about Kaname, Zero and her own forgotten past.

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This is just a review of what I think, so none of that summary stuff, and there are probably going to be spoilers in this so prepare your eyeballs! I have a love/hate relationship with this manga, which I will discuss here, sort of: Art: It is absolutely gorgeous. Just, wow. The eyes are of a style all their own, very large glassy looking mirrors full of color (at least when there are color spreads, ha) and stylishly drawn uniforms. I don't think I've ever encountered a panel in the manga where I thought "Well, that's awkwardly drawn" whihc you can find sometimes if the angle is off or the artist flubs up anatomy. Only thing conspicuously missing would be nipples on the guys when they're shirtless and it's pretty easy to spot if there's a large panel devoted to their torso, but details details (important ones though!) Story: It's simple enough, a little mystery and some unrequited love but once Yuuki is turned back into a vampire that's when it all goes to hell. How? Everyone starts speaking cryptically and "poetically". It's so over-the-top that I had long since stopped trying to understand what the hell they were saying. I don't know if it's simply the translation and how the words are put together syntax-wise or grammatically but reading their thoughts and dialogues quickly started giving me a headache. It was really pushing the conflicted feelings of Yuuki towards Kaname and Zero, and the "psychological" aspect felt really MPD Psycho to me in that you don't know what the hell is happening but you still want to read because you hope that hopefully in a future chapter they'll reiterate those thoughts in simpler terms or analogies. Rarely was that the case. There is also a lot of back-and-forth on Yuuki's part between Kaname and Zero. Personally I believe that Zero deserves her love and respect much more than Kaname. Man, this is a big parallel to Twilight, isn't it? Characters: Yuuki's sudden shift from happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic and a bit whiny girl to a very pensive and oh-so-delicately woeful and remorseful (and yet at the same time not) pureblood vampire was so..What? Wait, what? Like I mentioned in the story chunk above, her interactions with Zero after becoming a vampire are very confusing. It's almost like they're saying words that technically mean what they say but at the same time they're NOT saying it. Again, it could just be the translators' attempts to uphold the poetic and gothic run-around kind of speech that this situation and genre supposedly "needs" but it's kind of painful when I can't get any more clarity of the situation whether it's from fan translators or the official English volume translations. Pretty sad. So sad in fact that I actually went on the manga's wiki page and read the synopsis of the last 20 chapters to even begin to decipher what was happening. That's where I hate it. I hate that it's not spelled out. I've read other manga where it was psychological and conflicted but it didn't beat around the bush and it didn't use flowery language and analogies or implication to "illustrate" shit. The supporting cast is a bit flat and does their part but the story really revolves around Yuuki, Zero, and Kaname, and Kaien Cross and Ichiru and a few of the hunters do admittedly have a bit of personality, though I really couldn't care less about Kaien, AT ALL. Of the supporting cast, Aidou becomes prominent in his own way as well as Ichijou and Shiki (the latter kind of indirectly since his body was being used by his father). Maybe it's because of my Asperger's and I can't intuitively "see" relationships, and maybe this story is actually a wonderful piece of work in that regard about a multi-layered love triangle, but for me I just can't see it.  Overall: Matsuri Hino is a phenomenal artist, one of the best I've seen in any genre of manga ever, no joke (well, for the manga's plot and content it's the best). Her characters are okay but at times repeat themselves over and over and seem to be voice boxes for some poem-vomit to really sell the "tragic" story. This story is full of angst, but not the typical angst. Still, it gets a bit annoying at times. But that's just me. I will reiterate that maybe I don't have the mindset to TRULY enjoy this manga but I enjoyed it while it wasn't as complicated in the beginning and for the art.

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