Vampire Knight Vol. #2 - Mania.com



UK DVD Review

Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: NA
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: NA
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe/Japan
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: £12.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Vampire Knight

Vampire Knight Vol. #2

Vampire Knight Vol. #2 UK Anime DVD Review

By Christopher Homer     December 21, 2010
Release Date: December 13, 2010


Vampire Knight Vol. #2
© Manga Entertainment UK

The addition of the vampire hunter element had a bit more danger to the series, but at a cost of a reduction of interest as this volume was definitely a step down in terms of entertainment and characterization.

What They Say
Kaien gives Yuuki a protection bracelet that would stop Zero if he attempts to bite her again. A new ethics teacher, Toga Yagari, joins the school, and in his first class, Zero leaves. In the town, a Level E vampire attacks Yuuki and Zero, and they are saved by Night Class students Takuma Ichijo and Senri Shiki, who explain that they were hunting the Level E as part of their duties as noble-class vampires. Takuma invites Yuuki and Zero to his party, in which Kaname explains to Yuuki the continuing battle between vampires and vampire hunters. Zero, uncomfortable by the presence of so many vampires, leaves. Yuuki follows him and Zero attempts to bite her. Yuuki pulls Zero into a pool, and Yagari, revealing himself as a vampire hunter, shoots Zero in the shoulder...

The Review!

Audio:
As a rare one disc review, with my new routine of watching half in Japanese and half in English, I still continued to do so by watching episode 5 and 6 in English, and the episode 7 in Japanese. I can’t fault this release in terms of sound, – the first major thing you will get is that you don’t get much difference between the two languages in terms of audio quality despite it saying 5.1 for English and 2.0 for Japanese; the English is definitely superior but the Japanese is excellent as well. There were no problems for audio transition in combination with the visuals and the subtitles, and making it is a very solid audio release despite the lack of real scenes which could have really defined it.

Video:
The video quality like the audio is superb, being one of the few releases that manage to intertwine both full screen and widescreen effects effortlessly without drawing attention the viewer that the change actually has happened. As mention, 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. I didn’t get any problems switching menus from the main screen or subtitling issues so overall, a very good release.

Packaging:
There was no packaging for this test disc.

Menu:
The opening menu is quite flashy, with background animated shots of the disc with Kaname and Zero on either side on a black/red background – almost like they are watching Yuki in the shots before them. It’s basically the same screen as the first volume with slightly different poses for the two male leads. The screen is very basic though with the selections for play, audio and episodes – with no scene select screen.

Extras:
There were no extras on this disc.

Content:
The first disc supplied a good insight to the characters, with a bit of a reveal to say the least, adding good elements of comedy, mystery and even horror to an intriguing cast. The second disc does continue the fashion, but sadly I felt that it was quite weaker overall mainly due to the lack of intriguing new characters and the fact Yuki and Zero seemed to have toned down a bit.
 
After the incidents of Volume 1, Kaien Cross, the headmaster and Yuki’s adopted father gives her a bracelet to protect her if Zero tries to bite her again. With the revealing what descending to a Level E vampire entails, it’s quite painful to watch Zero at times holding his urges, but it does make him the most interesting character by far, mainly because up to this point, most of the cast bar Yuki and Kaien have been fairly uninteresting. When the two are attacked by some Level E cast, two of the night school vampires Takuma, a gentlemanly vampire, and Senri, a more happy type, explain their role within the Cross Academy as killing Level E vampires. This isn’t really elobarated much though so the plot still seems weak in why the Night Class do this apart from a sense of duty. However, it’s Takuma’s birthday and he invited Yuki and Zero to his party, where the pureblood Kaname is there, and decides to educate Yuki in the relationship between humans and vampires. Yuki comes off as actually being a normal girl (despite hints to the contarary) and finds it uncomfortable, so Zero follows her – his portrayal again as he tries to bite her but refuses is definitely a combination of angsty and edge of your seat, but they are rudely interrupted…
 
A problem I had here was that at the end of the first disc, we had the appearance of a new character, but it takes to the end of the first ep of the second disc to really reveal him, meaning any build up of the semi-cliffhanger of the first disc was mostly nullified. The next episode make up for that, and reveal the presence of vampire hunters. The new character is named Yagari, a handsome, dandy man who has come under the guise as a teacher, apparently through Kaien’s influence. He seems to have a past with Zero, but also wants to kill him because of his work. Yuki stops this, but when it’s revealed that he’s also going to be both Zero’s teacher AND a teacher of the night class, hell breaks up in the student’s/vampire’s minds. Zero promptly disappears. This potential disruption of the classes however doesn’t last long – with the only real interaction Yagari has is a talk with Kaname, asking him why he hasn’t killed Zero. Kaname definitely seems to have an interest in both Zero and Yuki, as he seems to be the only person who knows that Zero is drinking Yuki’s blood and seems to hate Zero for that. The only major other thing that Yagari brings though is that he informs Zero that someone named Shizuka is still alive, a name that seems to have a major impact to Zero…
 
The final episode is mostly a flashback told from Yuki’s perspective which is actually quite a good episode because it brings us the past of how Kaname and Yuki truly met, how Zero was brought into the Cross household, how Kaien established the Cross Academy, and how and why he came up with the night and day classes with his unique sense of pacifism. It does give a bit of depth to both Zero (in how he hated the way classes form, and how he knows of Yuki’s feelings of Kaname) and Yuki (the fact that she learned the man she loved was a vampire considering what happened to her true parents). It ends when Zero finds Yuki in another moment of temptation, only for Kaname to stand in his way and reveal what he thinks of Zero…
I will confess that I did feel a little underwhelmed by the second disc. Episode 5 in particular wasn’t really noteworthy, they were trying to get away from a few of the comedy spots that the first disc had and bring a bit more drama to the series, but it did feel rushed in that episode which all it did was briefly explain the Level E crisis without really expanding why the Night Class do it bar Kaien’s attempts at pacifism, and shows us Zero’s pain in trying to resist drinking blood because he hates what he has become. And the introduction of Yagari only really added the fact of the vampire hunters to the story, which was actually more effective in the flashback episode when it’s reveal of Kaien’s origins. Whilst it did expand what Zero’s role is in Kaname’s world, it didn’t really do enough – granted it is a one cour series, but it definitely felt rushed.
 
However, that doesn’t mean volume 2 of Vampire Knight was bad. Indeed, the flashback episode was very good because it really brought in the background of the main characters in one episode, without feeling rushed. The mini-talk between Kaname and Zero was really well done, because whilst Kaname hates Zero and would like to see him dead, he doesn’t because he’s the main person that can take care of Yuki. Kaname actually grew a little bit as a character in this volume as his motives seem to be pure and despite his fear and/or jealousy, he does respect Zero to an extent and only forgives him for the crime of drinking Yuki’s blood because of that respect. Also, the fact that the story has taken a much darker tone in story, along with the end of episode 6 suggesting a big plot coming on, it does mean there is a lot of anticipation for the future volumes. Combined with a visual and audio spectacle, it’s certainly not one I want to dismiss just because of seems to be a rushed plot but told with such little interest. So many characters doesn’t help either, especially when only 3 (Yuki, Zero and Kaname) really hold major interest, with Kaien as a possible fourth so it does get confusing with all the other Night Class in particular (even more so when you consider Eido was a big part of the first volume but is barely mentioned in this one). That said though, the leads are still interesting, with Kaname starting to become more noticeable, and the Zero/Yuki dynamic is still good to watch, and Kaien is also starting to show he’s not just the comic guardian he appears to be…

In summary:
Vampire Knight Volume 2 blips a little from Volume 1 mainly to a story that both appears rushed and yet also seems to slow down the interest – the introduction of Yagari didn’t add much, and the plot is barely explained at times. However, little bits here and there from conversations slowly add up, and the flashback episode was excellent saving this volume from being an average release. It’s audio and video quality is still among the best, and the Yuki/Zero characterization is still there, with Kaname slowly becoming more intriguing as is Kaien. Still a good release, but not absolutely recommended as of yet – it depends where they take it in the next couple of volumes.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37C3030 - 37" Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV '" Tangent Ht-50 Home Theatre System Multi-Regional DVD Players/Speakers '" Tangent Subwoofer 50-150 Hz, Impedenced 8 OHM.


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