Vampire Knight Vol. #4 - Mania.com



UK DVD Review

Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 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. #4

Vampire Knight Vol. #4 UK Anime DVD Review

By Christopher Homer     February 16, 2011
Release Date: February 07, 2011


Vampire Knight Vol. #4
© Manga Entertainment UK

I’m happy to say that the sparkling vampires’ syndrome you may get from Vampire Knight turns into a blood curdling finish...

What They Say
This dark and mysterious release from the fantastical anime series VAMPIRE KNIGHT includes the fourth set of episodes, following the students of the Cross Academy, where Yuki and Zero watch over the Disciplinary Committee guard a careful secret about the school's night classes - that they're entirely populated by vampires.

The Review!
Audio:
For this disc I went for the Japanese track in 2.0 Stereo, which again – I can’t fault at how well this release is in regarding the audio – 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, the first episode (11) I felt was really good during the flashback sequences between Ichiru and Shizuka, you can literally hear the emotions powering through the screen.
 
Video:
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 in widescreen format I viewed it in specifically for the atmosphere because the final disc has some beautiful moments, especially considering it does well in comparison from the ball sequences to the finale between Zero and Kaname. 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 the same as discs 1-3 so it loses a mark due to unoriginality (no shots of Yuki or Kaien, or the other vampires?), 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. The screen is very basic though with the selections for play, audio and episodes - with no scene select screen.

Extras:
No extras were included in this disc.

Content:
Vampire Knight has been a mixed bag, ranging from entertaining, atmospheric and enjoyable, to dull and predictable. The final disc is a mix of both, with the revelation of Ichiru being quite predictable, but the finale being surprisingly gripping.
 
Ichiru reveals his motives in attacking Zero and his alliance to Shizuka, the one who killed Zero’s parents and turned him to a vampire – it basically boils down to simple jealousy, both of Zero as a person, and the fact that Shizuka doesn’t want to turn him into a vampire. With Zero slowly descending into becoming a Level E vampire, Yuki recalls Maria's proposal to save Zero: either give Maria her blood or kill Kaname. Whilst Yuki decides on her choice, the ball is going on – which actually gives us a few good comedy moments and brings in a number of the vampires back into the play (Ruka being the one I enjoyed the most in her ‘rejection’ scene). Kaname gives Yuki a ball dress, and during the ball, they dance on the terrace. It’s interesting when you watch the end of the series what this relationship between Yuki and Kaname seems to be, whether love, friendship or something more intriguing. The story leaves it open to interpretation especially considering the sequel hook and when Hanabusa and Akatsuki find Shizuka’s ‘real’ body...
 
In the weakest episode of this disc in my opinion, Yuki tells Shizuka to drink her blood in exchange for saving Zero, and Zero arrives to stop her. Shizuka uses her voice to compel Zero to restrain Yuki but he injures Shizuka, which leaves Ichiru to fight Zero. It leads to a bit of snarking between the two brothers, which doesn’t really pick up much until the end when a confrontation occurs between Kaname and Shizuka, which leads in Shizuka’s ultimate defeat and Ichiru fleeing to find her – whilst the conversations between Yagari and Kaien were interesting especially considering Yagari finally makes himself know in this disc due to his relationship with both Kiryuu’s, the battle and the conclusion was very predictable, and Ichiru’s angst towards Zero doesn’t make the viewer sympathise with him, and instead makes it more eager for Zero to take him apart, mainly as Ichiru’s motives are not really forthright, as in the end it’s petty jealousy over what is in fact, his parent’s murderess. On the other hand, Kaname showcases finally that he is really the person to be looked up to in the night dormitory as his true power is finally shown in his fight of Shizuka, where he drinks the pureblood’s blood.
 
The final episode hits home though, with two good moments in particular – the fact that the vampires think it was Zero who killed Shizuka, which according to the senate, no matter the reason, killing a pureblood vampire is the biggest taboo. Secondly, what Kaname does to atone for his role in his framing, also as a way to make sure Yuki gets the protection he wants. We get flashbacks of Shizuka’s past with her dying thoughts and how the Kiryuu’s parents played a role in it. It’s kind of sad as Shizuka despite her crime seemed to be a fairly interesting villain, not evil per see, and whilst powerful seemed to be interested in Zero in other ways, and her past with a human lover goes a long way to showcasing her as something other than the monster that she was portrayed as. Ichiru leaves with Shizuka's body as we don’t know what’s going to happen to him, but Zero collapses shortly afterwards due to his blood thirst. As he’s able to turn into Level E, Kaname forces a unique proposal on him to finish the first arc of Vampire Knight...
 
My thoughts on the final disc are almost the same as they were on the first disc – a show that has lots of potential and at times delivers, and other times doesn’t. My main problem with this disc was again the fact that a lot of the characters really played back foot to the Shizuka storyline. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that Yuki herself (i.e. the lead female) was barely in it, bar deciding whether to offer her blood to Shizuka and a few conversations with Zero and Kaien, a dance with Kaname and helping Zero contain his thirst. And whilst a number of the other vampires had a few moments at the ball, the most that was done was Akatsuki and Hanabusa finding ‘Shizuka’ and one fun comment by Ruka. The focus was entirely on the Ichiru/Kero dynamic and the battle with Shizuka. It was a bit hit and miss mainly because of my lack of interest towards Ichiru as an antagonist – his motives didn’t make sense in a respect that he was jealous of his brother and joined the person that murdered his parents. His motives seemed petty and if there was more to it, it wasn’t explained very well so if the UK gets VK: Guilty, hopefully there will be more explanation.
 
The good thing is that it does leave on a very good cliff-hanger, because we don’t know what Zero’s reaction is to the big spoiler involving him and Kaname. What Zero does is something he hates, but thanks to the knowledge of the amount of pureblood inside him, combined with whatever secret Yuki seems to be hiding (just why her blood is so delicious, and why is Kaname so focused on protecting her, and not doing it himself and relying on Zero?) – there are a lot of questions still remaining to be answered, and Vampire Knight keeps the answers open – preparing for Vampire Knight Guilty, which is set to be released in the UK, at least it does keep the viewer interested at what is going to happen next.

In summary:
Vampire Knight has been a mostly above average series. It has some slow moments, and the fact there are a lot of characters but only a few get select focus, with even the main characters having to take a back seat at time, it can be confusing at times, and in this disc, the fact that Ichiru’s plight wasn’t that interesting or sympathetic made it seems like the finale would be outright weak. However, the battle with Shizuka combined with Zero’s plight and his final choice means that this show is far from over, and with so many questions unanswered, the sequel will hopefully bring those answers to light. Overall, not bad – recommended for those with a thirst for the dark.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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