Vampire Knight Guilty starts to go into the true darkness that this series seemed to imply by the end of the series. Not a sequel but a continuation, a lot of questions are asked, but answers are given, and with more of the vampires slowly getting involved and Yuki's role being showcased more, it's slowly becoming the series I wanted it to be.
What They Say
Yuki Cross is a general education student at Cross Academy. As a member of the school's Disciplinary Committee, along with her childhood friend Zero Kiryu, her duty is to keep the infatuated students of the Day Class from chasing the beautiful Night Class students, all while performing the important task of protecting the dark secret of the Night Class - that all its members are vampires!
Each day at twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school and it is Yuki and Zero's job to ensure the two groups remain separate. This bizarre arrangement was created in the hope of bringing an end to the long history of conflict between humans and vampires by promoting a peaceful coexistence between the two. But such ideals don't come easy. Although Yuki believes there is a chance for peace, Zero sees the vampires as enemies, a view that is only reinforced when a member of the Night Class begins to develop an unhealthy interest in his friend.
For this disc I went for my usual trick of switching between English and Japanese, watching episodes 1 and 2 in English, and 3 and 4 in Japanese, which like the first series I can't fault at how well this release is in regarding the audio, it's simply not outstanding - it just works fine. Checking with the English audio shows only a slight bit of different regarding audio quality (sound is better on the English track but all the foley and sound effects are clearly heard on both tracks). No problems regarding with timing and subtitles either, as it flows fine in the Japanese, which I did feel in episode 3 felt a bit grainy audio wise but otherwise it does the job well, just felt it was weaker than the end of the first season.
The video had no problems, they were no glitches or slowdown, and linked in well with the Japanese subtitles, there are no transition problems and works very well in both widescreen and full screen format. No problems with the subtitles in correlation to the audio, and the animation with this combination of screen effects without any disturbances I noticed make it for a top quality release. It's very ehterial, has a good atmosphere and the effects do work well for a show like this, and I didn't get any problems switching menus from the main screen or subtitling issues so overall, a very good release.
There was no packaging for this test disc.
The menu is basic, in a similar vein to Vampire Knight, the selection is easy with the choices of play, audio and episodes 1-4 with no scene selection. It showcases shots of the anime on a grainy background with shots of Zero and Kaname with their arms outstretched. The Yuki animated touches on both the main menu and audio selection are nice touches, but the menu is very basic and easy to navigate.
There are no extras on this release.
Vampire Knight was a mixed bag for me. As a fan of the manga, the anime seemed to lower it's tone at times and be quite confusing and even dull at times. However, the dark atmosphere at the end of the first season suggested that it was going to heat up. Guilty continues the tradition of being a solid release, with more questions than answers, but it's building up to a rush as Kaname, the senate and Yuki all wonder what part Zero is playing in this bloody game?
It starts of mysteriously, with Kaname asking the Night Class to do him a special favour...whilst Yuki is worried about Zero especially as he's been accused of being the murderer of Shizuka. What's interesting is that Maria who was the host of Shizuka from last season, she awakes and basically tells Zero that the deal was to keep her healthy whilst Shizuka was seeking the pureblood vampire who changed the execution list of the Hunter's Association that resulted in the death of her lover. Zero, thanks to the blood of Kaname now in him, showcases that he is much stronger when he saves Yuki from vampires who have been asked to hunt Zero, but Kaname and the rest of the Night Class appear, as the favour appears to be to keep the assassins off Zero's back. However, as it was Kaname who has spread the rumour of Zero killing Shizuka, and Yuki knows this, it actually causes a slight strain in the relationship between Yuki and Kaname, which is quite deep as it is, and at least bringing the Yuki/Zero/Kaname triangle into full play.
Episode 2 is also interesting as with the knowledge of Zero becoming a Level E and the assassins after him, he is asked by Kaien to observe a vampire party. At the same party, a young vampire boy gets lost and Yuki helps him to the party. In return, he kisses her and she falls unconscious. This leads to a Kaname/Yuki apparently reconciliation but what is interesting is that Kaname is much more forward, actually nearly biting Yuki - something he hasn't done at all throughout the series. It appears he wants Yuki to become a vampire...but there definitely seems something more with him. Kaname is probably the most interesting character at the moment, as he is such an enigma, from cold to having many marriage requests because of his pureblood status, there is definitely something off about him...
Episode 3 however brings some interest as it slowly brings a number of the lesser vampires into the story. Aido as I mentioned in my previous review was definitely the most interesting of the bunch, but the vampire Senri, who was the most disinterested of all the vampires in Season 1, seems to be going to be party of the big story now, as there is a plot involving his uncle - someone who appears to be very powerful. There is a flashback story with Aido in how he, Ruka and Akatsuki meet Kaname for the first time. There is a bit of comedy here, with Aido's admiration for Kaname changing from hate (and almost on a crush like level) - with Kaname being mysterious about his plans for the senate and Yuki showing fear but also trying to keep Zero's thirst in check...
Episode 4 has Senri meet his uncle and later is greeted by a man who is told he is his father, and can grant him the power he needs. This causes Kaname some worry who has to return to the Academy - but with the Night Class being the most focused, this episode goes onto the Yuki/Zero route, as they travel to the Hunter's Association headquarters, where Yuki discovers that Kaien was formerly a vampire hunter. This was something that I expected but it was fun to see the goofy Kaien actually was a total badass. The Association president confronts Zero, and reveals he can only save himself from becoming a Level E by drinking a pureblood vampire's blood or reversing something known as the "Cursed Twins". It actually leads to Zero and Yuki getting closer, giving fans of both Kaname and Zero something to think about, but the big cliffhanger is that Aido confronts Kaname about his plans, and Kaname reveals that his parents were murdered..and Senri's father is greeted as someone even more powerful than Kaname...
This definitely felt a combination of continue where we left off, but also felt a bit rushed - Zero's drinking of Kaname is only briefly shown mainly due to his increased strength, yet he still has a thirst for blood and could descend to a Level E. However all three of the leads get their moments in this disc, and yet at the same time also managed to get the other vampires into it albeit briefly. Senri who was literally just one of the 'other vampires' seems to be at least get a decent role with the role his family seems to be about to play, and others like Takuma, Ruka and Aido got their moments as well. However, the main strength is that the plot is slowly becoming full circle. Kaname has got some sort of cunning plan, yet a spanner in the works appears to be thrown in regards to Senri's family, Yuki is learning more about her past and how her relationship with Zero and Kaname effects both her and them, whilst Zero seems more and more indebted to Yuki, trying hard to resist her blood and at the same time still holding onto his principles despite the new threat for him after the whole Shizuka incident. I didn't mention in the review that Ichijo returns briefly as he's part of the senate now, and the Cursed Twins motif suggests them but Vampire Knight is as cryptic as ever.
Actually, that was both one of the best and worst things about Guilty. Kaname is drawing our attention with whatever he is planning, yet at the same time it still makes us confused. Granted, the plot is slowly coming and more things are becoming clear, with the characters all getting involved, but it still feels like there is something missing. It's almost like Vampire Knight doesn't know what it wants to me - an action series, a romance, a mystery, a blood fest...it has all these elements to it, but it can't decide on one as its main genre, and it hampers it, as it does have these slow moments which can bore the viewer. It's definitely interesting, and it's going in the right direction, but it's not quite there yet. Small revelations like Kaien being a vampire hunter and Senri's uncle I get the feeling will be big issues in future episodes, but at the same time, won't be surprised if they are also brushed away.
Vampire Knight: Guilty continues where it left off, and overall a decent start. Good animation, main characters starting to come together both in a mystery and a romance style, and the plot thickens and does draw you in. There are still problems with it which doesn't make it a complete top tier series for me yet, but as vampire mysteries go, it's definitely worth checking out. With the comedy getting lower and lower, you know that the climax is coming, and with as many questions stills as answers, there's going to be a lot to look forward to in the next few volumes.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.