Vampire Knight Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 8.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0822-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Vampire Knight

Vampire Knight Vol. #01

By Connie Zhang     May 01, 2007
Release Date: January 02, 2007


Vampire Knight Vol.#01
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hino Matsuri
Translated by:Tomo Kimura
Adapted by:Tomo Kimura

What They Say
Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. 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. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy's dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires!

Yuki Cross has no memory of her past prior to the moment she was saved from a vampire attack ten years ago. She as adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and now works along Zero to guard the Academy's secret. Yuki believes that vampires and humans can coexist peacefully, but her partner has different ideas...


The Review
Go ahead and wince at the names "Yuki Cross" and "Zero Kiryu." Done? Then, prepare to sink your fangs into a bloody good treat of love, secrets and betrayal.

Packaging:
There's no question that the cover art makes you look twice. The Japanese tankouban cover is transferred in its entirety onto Viz's glossy release. The three main characters " heroine Yuki, hero Zero and vampire Kaname " are dressed in severely tailored gothic uniforms, with Yuki featured prominently toting a gun against a backdrop of the other two (read: drop dead gorgeous) men. However, the logo, made to resemble blood, is a questionable choice that screams "shoujo" like nothing else.

As terrific as the front is, the back is cluttered with unnecessary logos, insignias and other verbage. The (small) art shows Cross Academy students posing draped in Night Class uniforms " identical to Day Class ones, except pristine white. The print reproduction is clean, with sharp lines and no distortions whatsoever. Extras include Day Class uniform schematics, analyses of character names and mangaka commentary.

Artwork:
Coming off the success of works like Merupuri, Matsuri has firmly established her unique art style in the shoujo scene. Unlike Merupuri, however, she relies too heavily on hairstyles to differentiate the various characters; too often, it's impossible to tell who is who from just the face alone. But that's really only one of three weaknesses in her otherwise entirely consistent, detailed and unique art. Matsuri injects comedy into every chapter and the transition to the funnier deformed figures is seamless. Her only other weak points are disproportionate hands and the absence of backgrounds, but that's a staple deficiency in most shoujo works, although Matsuri supplements blank spaces with action lines and foggy granulations.

In particular, her school uniforms are rendered in precise detail and the eyes are always drawn exquisitely, especially when filled with bloodlust. While Zero and Kaname can only be described as hot bishies, heroine Yuki is a very plain girl by comparison. Whether this was done on purpose to emphasize her every-girlness is unclear, but considering that Matsuri is capable of drawing distinctive females (see Airi in Merupuri), this may not have been the best decision.

Text/SFX:
With the exception of an awkward translation in the opening pages, the rest of the dialogue is crisp, straightforward and error-free. In several anguishing scenes, the dialogue is dead-on when merged with the sometimes haunting art. However, considering that most of the vampires are much older than their human counterparts, it's odd that their speech lacks any anachronisms or formalities not present in modern day slang. SFX is translated and it mostly meshes well with the art, only being occasionally distracting.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Yuki Cross almost died ten years ago in a vampire attack. Saved by pureblood vampire Kaname Kuran, she is adopted by Headmaster Cross of the Cross Academy, the only boarding school of its kind to promote pacifism between vampires and humans. The catch? The Day Class doesn't know that the beautiful, brilliant students of the Night Class are actually a long-lived nocturnal race ruled by bloodlust. As a member of the Disciplinary Committee, Yuki has the unenviable job of patrolling the grounds in the evening to protect the human students from the vampiric Night Class.

Despite suffering from memory loss, Yuki is surprisingly cheerful and compassionate, albeit prone to clumsiness and being teased by her Disciplinary partner and "adopted brother," Zero Kiryu. Orphaned when a pureblood vampire murdered his vampire hunter family four years earlier, Zero was taken in by the Crosses and has stayed close to Yuki ever since. In fact, Zero is very curt with everyone else, reserving all his affection for Yuki. What she doesn't know, however, is that Zero has been hiding a terrible truth all this time. Intense and aloof, Zero makes no secret of his hatred towards "beasts in human form," and their leader, Kaname.

As the last Kuran descendent and belonging to the highest vampire caste, Kaname commands absolute obedience from his fellow vampires and forbids them from feeding on humans. But whenever Yuki bleeds " even if only from a scrape " the scent of her blood is so potent that no vampire can resist its lure. It's strongly hinted that Yuki may be special in some way, as even Kaname claims that she is "his dear girl." This favorable treatment predictably rubs some of Kaname's followers the wrong way and Yuki (along with Zero) become targets. But they're both more formidable than they seem.

By the time Zero's secret unravels, the stage is set for a love triangle of vampiric dimensions. And Yuki must choose to accept or reject Zero's true nature...

Comments
Matsuri perfects the use of flashbacks in this formative volume " from Yuki's rescue to Zero's past. The anguish that Zero suffers is especially poignant, because we see him through the eyes of a fifteen year old girl who is refreshingly realistic in her naiveté, in her humor and in her empathy. Not only are the main characters memorable, but the pacing is excellent with a plot that doesn't drag its feet: halfway through the book, Zero's secret is already revealed and everyone else must deal with the fallout. In fact, the only point of unoriginality is in the characterization of Kaname, who fits "tall, dark and handsome" (not to mention dangerous) to a tee, but has yet to exhibit any qualities outside of popular vampire stereotypes.

Vampire Knight takes some imaginative leaps and infuses new blood into the shoujo vampire subgenre. Highly recommended.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
corawashereandthere 4/9/2010 1:13:38 PM

I'd have to strongly disagree with the grade on this one. :/ The art is fantastic and I agree with you that all the characters look the same just different hair styles. However, the dialogue is EXTREMLY poor! There are far too many suspension points (...), and half the time the dialogue sounds down right cheesy. Yuki also has a tendency to fall under the Mary Sue guidelines later on through out the series. >_> But this is meant for Volume 1 so I'll give you that. Plus there are many moments that are just like... not right. I'm not sure how to put it, xD; But one moment in the manga after she jumps out of the window and she scrapes herself, then a vampire comes you find out that the Vampire is of course strong than her. :/ How can she protect the Day class if she can't even fight off a vampire? LAter on through out the series shes constantly being saved. I suppose it's nonsensical. I suppose if you're a Vampire fan and already of fan of Matsuri Hino, you will like the series, but otherwise you probably won't. :/ I think that this manga should have received the grade of a C. It's far too cliché and full of fan service in my opinion.

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