Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 and Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Viz Media
- MSRP: 19.99
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Vampire Knight
Vampire Knight Vol. #3
Vampire Knight Vol. #3 Anime DVD Review
By Chris Beveridge
February 09, 2011
Release Date: November 16, 2010
© Viz Media
Zero's past comes back to haunt him as his maker wants him back.
What They Say
Yuki and Zero have their hands full trying to quell the Day Class's enthusiastic pursuit of the Night Class in anticipation of the upcoming dance. In the midst of it all, the Headmaster asks Yuki to show a new transfer student, Maria Kurenai, around the academy. Maria seems harmless, but what lies beneath her seemingly innocent exterior will turn their world upside down.
Contains episodes 9-13.
Vampire Knight gets a decent bilingual presentation here though it's not one that has much material with which to stretch itself. The show has two stereo tracks with both the English and Japanese languages encoded at 224kbps. It's primarily a dialogue driven show that's made a bit more intense at times with certain actions where the music adds to the atmosphere of it. It's not an action show but the mix for the series works well as it feels natural and has a good flow to it. The two tracks deal well with placement when necessary across the forward soundstage but there isn't a lot going on at any given time since it's trying to be moody and atmospheric. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2008, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Studio Deen has done a really nice job with the show with a fair bit of detail and excellent use of color with lots of darks balanced out by some key vibrant pieces. The transfer captures all of it well with generally very solid colors that avoid blocking and are very light on the noise. The main fault within the transfer comes from the source material in that there are some fairly visible gradients throughout it that stand out. They're never truly distracting and are fairly tame overall, but depending on the screen size they could be more noticeable for some. Cross coloration is blissfully absent and there's very little in the way of line noise during the panning sequences.
Vampire Knight's single disc release run gets a decent looking cover that features the three main characters head to head with the pools of blood and strings of it flowing around them. It's a very creepy piece overall but is something that works well with the dark colors overall and the slightly shadowed logo along the top. It's a decent looking cover overall, one that appeals to the fans of the property, but doesn't exactly cross over as one that will really catch the eyes of a casual browser. The back cover goes an interesting route by using fairly large print for the summary so it doesn't have to say a lot yet fills a certain amount of space. The right side features a decent strip of shots from the show that highlights the characters and the dark nature, which in itself is on top of the already dark blood splattered background and shadowed areas we have for the back cover overall. The discs features are well laid out in text form along with the episode count, which is useful since there is no proper technical grid here.
The menu layout for Vampire Knight is pretty basic with the characters from the cover being laid over a shot of the hallway of the campus in a static form. The navigation is along the left with the logo and the menu as a whole looks decent as the artwork is solid and there's some nice detail to it, but it's not exactly an engaging menu that draws you into it. It sets the atmosphere fairly well but it's a by the books menu with no real frills or anything that goes deep into a theme of the show and its story. Submenus load quickly and without problems while the language menu is like most other Viz Media releases in that it defaults to English language instead of reading our players' language presets.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The end of the first season of Vampire Knight is one that brings quite a few things to light and helps to clear up certain issues that have come up along the way. The series is one that has been alright overall but what's hampered it for me is the way it moves as slow as it does. This is a series that focuses heavily on mood and atmosphere but wraps it up in teenage romance. With these final five episodes of the season, it's a slow moving piece at first and at several other areas, but it does start to bring some level of progress and resolution to it.
Like a lot of other shows, what's needed here is a catalyst for change. That comes in the form of a new transfer student to the Night Class, a girl named Maria who has a very cool and careful look about her. A new student into that class isn't exactly normal but with those in power approving it, everything has moved along swiftly. Maria's a curious arrival to the school as she has this knowing look about her but she takes quickly to Yuki and finds herself drawn to her. This isn't too much of a surprise though as many of the vampires seem to be drawn to her and her blood. Yuki doesn't quite get this, but Maria has some very distinct moments where she draws her fingers along her that it's almost disturbing that Yuki seems to miss some of what's really going on here.
Others in the Night Class do get it thought and it's causing quite a few looks. Kaname for his part knows what the larger game is and he's furthering his nudging of things to where he wants it. But it's Zero that takes Maria's arrival the hardest because she looks almost exactly like a younger version of his maker, Shizuka. The connection between the two becomes clear as it moves toward the finale, but what makes the story here work is that we get a full understanding of what is that happened in Zero's past. And what makes it happen is the arrival of his younger twin brother Ichiru. Ichiru's resentment towards his brother is certainly pronounced, especially as he has not been made a vampire like he wants whereas his brother has when he didn't want that life.
The Kiryu family history is tied heavily to Shizuka as we see how their parents were very skilled hunters who ended up going off against a human that Shizuka had loved but ended up on a list that he shouldn't have been. Shizuka's never been the most stable of vampires, as we learn, and this incident had her bringing her style of revenge against the Kiryu family. It says a lot about these two young men by what Shizuka does. In killing their parents, she doesn't turn Ichiru because she knows she can control him easier by making him want it. With Zero, he's going to fight against it and yet still be drawn to her because she has the blood that can save him. That provides her with something that anyone who can live a long time truly wants, and that's a challenge.
Maria's presence and what Shizuka means is what the focal point of the finale tends to run on about, but with Vampire Knight it doesn't exactly have a really big moment to it. It's not a show that goes toward a big action sequence or anything but it has its confrontation that pushes everyone into different directions, especially when the two brothers find themselves facing each other down. What makes it all worse is that Zero is dealing with his spiral toward becoming a a Level E and he's getting more irrational. The only thing that keeps him going, and that of Kaname as well in his own way, is wanting to make sure that Yuki is safe. All of this pushes Vampire Knight towards a very soft ending that doesn't stand out strongly.
Vampire Knight has a lot of things going for it with its overall production, the character designs and the way the story itself unfolds. But like the rest of this season, it never really becomes exciting or completely enthralling. It's not exactly too leisurely in its pacing and style, but it lacks enough of the real urgency at times in order to make it connect well. The whole design of the school and the classes are things I wish we had seen a lot more of, especially with the Day Classes and how they view things, but the show naturally wants to spend its time in darkness. At the end of the season, I'm hard pressed to really feel one way or the other about it. It's a work that's there, it exists, but it doesn't pull me in any particular direction. There are some good moments to be had and some key scenes, but as a whole it feels average.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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