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Vampire Knight, Volume 1 by Matsuri Hino
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Vampire Knight, Volume 1

by Matsuri Hino

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I heard this was a "Twilight" Manga, and in a way it was, but I was really happy that there were tons of differences! At Cross Academy you can find both humans and vampires. The vampires go to class at night and are called the Night Class, however the humans (Day Class) don't know that the Night Class are vampires, they just know that they are extremely pretty.

Yuki Cross who can be seen as the main character was strangely not my favorite - she was a bit irritating. I like the brooding Zero Kiryu, but I am dreading the love-triangle that I see forming! Although I didn't love it to death, I would give the next volume a try, just because I hear great things about where this series is going!



Note on my review copy: There was a "For review purposes only" watermark right in the middle of every single page, and when there was a text bubble on that section 50% of the time I couldn't make out what it said. At least I could figure out what was going on from the panes I could see.

Illustrations: 3 stars
Story: 3.5 stars
Overall: 3 stars ( )
  Sugar_and_Snark | Sep 24, 2013 |
Yuki Cross is a member of the Disciplinary Committee at Cross Academy and a Day Class student. She and the other member of the Disciplinary Committe, Zero Kiryu, have been given the task of keeping the Day Class away from the Night Class as much as possible, not an easy task considering the beauty of the members of the Night Class. What most of the Day Class students don't know is that the Night Class is composed of vampires - the headmaster of Cross Academy hopes that this school can foster peace between humans and vampires. This volume introduces the main characters and sets up a lot of the relationships between the characters.

Kaname Kuran, a pureblood vampire, found and rescued a bloody and amnesiac 5-year-old Yuki from a vicious vampire. Since that day, Yuki has had something of a crush on Kaname. Yuki was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and their "family" grew a bit when the headmaster took in Zero, whose entire family was killed by vampires. Although Yuki has a crush on Kaname, she also cares for Zero, which complicates things. In addition, Zero is hiding a terrible secret.

I first started reading this series in the magazine Shojo Beat, so I know a bit more about where the plot is going to go than is revealed in this volume. As far as the artwork goes, this is a lovely manga. Hino does a wonderful job at capturing the beauty of her vampires. Even when Kaname and Zero do things that I don't like (I believe one of the editors for Shojo Beat mentioned that Zero's nickname among some of the staff is "Neck Rapist" - he earns that nickname in this volume, by the way), I can still appreciate their character designs. I recently found out that this series has been made into an anime that I think has only just started airing in Japan [back when I originally wrote this review] - I hope that it eventually makes its way to the US, because I think this would be an enjoyable series to see in action and in color.

As far as the story goes, it's sometimes hard to tell what Hino is trying to do. I've never seen any of Hino's other works, but her freetalks in the sidebars of this volume indicate that she's mostly done romantic comedies. It's still possible to see that influence in Vampire Knight, which is part of the reason why this volume is so odd. It's clear that Hino is trying to write a serious story, with dark character pasts and lots of blood. However, there are lots of panels in this first volume where Yuki and Zero are like some kind of comedy team. The headmaster is also a big source of comedy, as he teases Zero, gushes over Yuki, and sparkles with the force of his apparently naive dream to promote peace between humans and vampires. The difference between the more light-hearted scenes and the darker scenes is so great that the more infrequent light-hearted scenes become jarring.

Readers who are looking for a lot of action may be disappointed by this series. Although there are occasional action scenes throughout this first volume (and later in the series), the focus is on character development and the relationships between the characters, making this a slower-paced story than some might expect.

I'm sure every reader will have their own preferences for how things should turn out with Yuki and her guys (at this point, Zero and Kaname - no idea if the number will grow). Despite my love of tragic characters like Zero, I, personally, am rooting for Kaname - he's just so cool and elegant. I do worry, though, since there are indications, even this early in the series, that Kaname might not be the nice, trustworthy vampire Yuki thinks he is. I sometimes wonder if he wasn't responsible for whatever it was the wiped 5-year-old Yuki's memory - if, in some later volume, I find out that he was, I imagine I'll end up siding with Zero. Until then, yay for the long-haired vampire aristocrat!

As far as the extras go, there's author freetalks in the sidebars focusing on how Hino developed this series and its characters, notes on the Day Class uniform, a 3-page humorous continuation of the volume focusing on the Night Class, a few humorous 4-panel comics, notes explaining the kanji used in several characters' names (Aido Hanabusa, Kain Akatsuki, Souen Ruka, Kiryu Zero, and Kuran Kaname), plus notes on a couple terms (-sama, Xocolatl).

I kind of wish that the notes for the names had gone into a little more depth - as far as I can tell, the order of the names in the notes reflects the original Japanese order (Kuran Kaname), while the order used in the manga reflects Shojo Beat's decision to use a Western order (Kaname Kuran). This sort of thing is really confusing, especially when Shojo Beat decides not to even mention anything about their decision to go with a Western name order everywhere but in the explanations in the back. Another thing I would've liked is a few cultural notes - I believe that the magazine had several useful notes that weren't included in this volume (like a little bit about Kaname's comment to Yuki: "You always speak so formally to me. It makes me feel a little lonely...").

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 24, 2013 |
3032
  BRCSBooks | Sep 23, 2013 |
I would probably classify this as a "guilty pleasure" read as a first impulse if I was asked how I felt about it, but it's honestly a fairly decent story. It's very easy to dismiss Vampire Knight appearing as it does on the heels of the vampire explosion in fiction in the past decade or so, but it manages to stand well on its own merits due to its careful character construction, excellent pacing, and attention to detail in narrative and mythology.

The story followed Yuki Cross, the adopted daughter of Headmaster Cross, who has recently founded a unique school -- one that offers classes during both the day and the night so that it can cater to not only its ordinary students but the enigmatic night class students, who, as you may have already guessed, are vampires. Yuki and Zero Kiryu, a boy whose family was murdered by vampires and who is also under the care of Headmaster Cross, are charged with being the only human students that are aware of the true identity Cross Academy's secret students.

The story develops rapidly from there but never gets ahead of itself. It's quite easy to follow and the art, though apparently quite ordinary for shojo manga, is clean and well-suited to the genre. A love triangle becomes apparent early on, but carries itself naturally. I am partial to Zero at this point, as the other boy vying for Yuki's attention (Kaname Kuran), is a bit too pretentious for me. He is a "pureblood vampire" and thus the leader of the small group of vampires that agreed to be educated at Cross Academy. As of this first volume he seems to have very little faults and the conflicted and tortured (really exceedingly so, to be honest) is much more interesting and relate-able.

There are some violent and borderline erotic scenes but nothing too over the top at this point. I'm very happy to continue with the series. ( )
  vombatiformes | Aug 31, 2013 |
This could have been awesome, but why is the main character so useless?

I still read this because I've started it, but I do not enjoy it. I don't follow the plot very well, which is either because it's confusing or I don't pay enough attention to it because I do not like it. As of chapter 88, this is starting to get terrible on another level, but not so terrible yet that it's amusing. The characters are just so vapid it's impossible for me to like any of them.

edit- As of chapter 91 it is that terrible.

edit- And as of chapter 93 it unexpectedly ended. I am so happy I can stop reading it now, it really was one of the most atrocious mangas I've ever read. It makes me sad that it's so often the first manga or the only manga a person reads. ( )
  Anoplophora | Apr 5, 2013 |
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White snow... it's cold... What is "white"? What is "snow"? It is something that is not red. Something that is "red"... is what?
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well i give all the vampire knight series a 5 star rating. I think every anime fan or lover should really read this!!

(to all new anime lovers, If this is your first read, youll love it!!)
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Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the day class and the night class. 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!

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