The Hunter or the Hunted?
Whichever path I choose, blood shall be spilled.
Another Tuesday, another excellent anime series is being released. This time it’s Vampire Knight: Guilty, which is the highly anticipated second half of the story laid out in Vampire Knight.
It should be no secret by now, dear reader, that I am a huge fan of shojo anime and manga. Vampire Knight is the quintessential shojo tale, the shojo’s shojo, if you will. Our story takes place at an upstanding boarding school with a rather odd schedule: the students who wear black uniforms attend the day classes, which are pretty much your run-of-the-mill lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, the students in the white uniforms are part of an elite group who attend night classes. And every single one of them is so beautiful that hordes of the day class students fawn over them every evening as they make their way from the “moon dorm” to their night classes. What the day class doesn’t know is the real reason why the night class is so alluring, and why they keep to themselves and attend classes at night: each and every member of the night class is a vampire.
The leader of the night class is a particularly powerful vampire named Kaname Kuran. He keeps the other vampires in line and helps the headmaster try to achieve his goal of unity between vampires and humans. He is also one-third of the central love triangle that is the swooning heart of this series. The other male part of the equation is Zero Kiryu, a day class student who is also a member of the disciplinary committee. This is a group composed of two day students who know about the vampires and are charged with the task of keeping the peace as well as the secret of the vampires from the rest of the school. Zero comes from a long line of vampire hunters, and he despises all of them, especially Kaname, because both have the hots for day class student (and other disciplinary committee member) Yuki Cross. Yuki is the adopted daughter of headmaster Cross, and her earliest memory is of being saved from an evil vampire’s clutches by Kaname one snowy evening. Several years after being brought to the headmaster, Zero also goes to live with him and Yuki after his family is massacred, again by an evil vampire. So Yuki thinks of Zero like a brother and a best friend, perhaps even a love interest. And yet Kaname has a strange hold on her, for she can never forget how he rescued her…
And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of this intensely tangled tale of love and bloody revenge. I would dare to compare this tale to Twilight (which, in this author’s opinion, is a clumsy American version of a shojo story) only with all of the things that one might love about Twilight (the love story, the drama of having to choose, the fantasy of having powerful, beautiful boys willing to die for you) minus the questionable parts (Vampire Knight has better writing, a far more complex storyline, an identifiable heroine who actually has a clue…)
This was another anime that I magically managed to stumble into. The title intrigued me, as I’ve been a lover of vampire fiction since birth, but I really didn’t know what to expect. After watching all of the anime version of Vampire Knight my sister and I became obsessed. She immediately ordered the box set of Matsuri Hino’s manga and proceeded to read it in record time. I borrowed it immediately and read books 1 through 11 in just over 48 hours. And I am by no means a speed-reader. The story is just that engrossing: you can’t wait to find out what happens next, and then next, and then next. And there are some major twists and turns that you just don’t see coming at all! In terms of the complete package, you absolutely can’t go wrong with this series. The anime and the manga are equally great, with gorgeous artwork and a story that will blow your socks off. I’m now a huge fan of Matsuri Hino, and I can’t wait to see where her career, and this wonderful series, go next.