Manga Village

I’ve never enjoyed Vampire Knight. Not from it’s first appearance in Shojo Beat magazine to its final issue. But with two volumes sitting the review pile and the Vampire Manga Movable Feast coming up, I decided to give the series another try. I didn’t have any real hope that I would change my mind, but it couldn’t get any worse, right?

Vampire Knight Volume 12

By Matsuri Hino ♦ Viz Media – Shojo Beat ♦ Older Teen ♦ Supernatural Romance – $9.99

After a year in isolation, Yuki comes out as the Pure Blood heir of the Kuran family, and makes her first appearance at a vampire soirée. But there’s trouble, and not just because Zero is there with Yuki’s best human friend Sayori. A pure blood vampire is killed, but after both the vampires and vampire hunters investigate, it doesn’t appear to be murder. But Yuki is so disturbed by what happened, that she decides to take matters into her own hands.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been as bored by a manga as I was with this volume. Absolutely nothing happened in this volume. There were a lot of people standing around ‘ooo’ing and ‘ahhh’ing Yuki, and the investigation into the Ouri’s death was glossed over. It was just a plot device to get Yuki riled up about something. Not that you could really tell she was upset about something. Her emotional range went from mopping to not so mopey. She is nothing like she was at the beginning, and not a good way. There was no life to her at all. Does becoming a vampire mean you lose all emotion and can only stare blankly at things? Because that is just about all anyone does in this volume. It seemed like all the characters were as bored as I was. All the melodrama that I annoyed in Shojo Beat was gone and replaced with boredom.

I hated how Yuki seemed to have become Kaname’s doll. She was trapped in an isolated mansion, not allowed to see anyone. He won’t let her cut her hair and makes her wear heeled shoes so he can keep some small part of her as his own. The old Yuki wouldn’t have tolerated this, but the new Yuki meekly accepts it. This just makes her decision to leave without Kaname’s explicit permission, his leaving Artemis for her is his implicit permission of course, seem hollow. What she does while she is out is about the only thing in character that she does. This volume did nothing to change my mind about Vampire Knight, and as if it was possible, made me think worse of it. The only thing it had going for it was that while Yuki was useless, she was at least a fighter. Now, even that’s gone.

Vampire Knight Volume 14

By Matsuri Hino ♦ Viz Media – Shojo Beat ♦ Older Teen ♦ Supernatural Romance – $9.99

Kaname finally shares his memories with Yuki which shows not just his past with another woman, but also how the Vampire Hunter Society received their weapons and their strange powers. Yuki makes up her mind that she wants to be with Kaname as his lover, but Shirabuki makes her move against another pure blood. Kaname intervenes, only to kill Aido’s father before Aido and Yuki, and in doing so becomes a threat the Vampire Hunter Society must hunt down.

This volume was a little better than the previous one I read, as it told the background of the Vampires and the origins of the Hunters and their weapons. I’ve always enjoyed learning the origins of stories and characters, and Vampire Knight is no different. The ‘it takes a vampire to kill a vampire’ is an interesting twist on the vampire myth, though the origin of the Hunters powers was fairly typical. They seem to take on a more traditional ‘dampir’ role which has already been done, and done better. I want to say this also explains Kaname’s attraction to Yuki, but I can’t say for sure. Hino’s characters all look-alike anyway! I can’t say for sure she resembles the Progenitor woman, but I get that strong impression.

Shirabuki is shaping up to be the next big bad for the series, as she hunts down Pure Bloods for their power and creates an army of willing human slaves. She looks so bored with everything, and yet she seems to want to rule the world. Or at least be its queen. She seems to be exactly the kind of Pure Blood that the woman Progenitor from the past wanted to stop, as does Kaname, it seems. The volume ends with a lot more questions and is even titles “Why?”, though I can’t seem I’m all that interested in knowing the answers. There is the tiniest feelings of curiosity for learning what Kaname’s plans are, but they will be quickly forgotten.

Despite getting some of my attention at the beginning, this volume of Vampire Knight fails at keeping it for more than a chapter or two. It at least doesn’t have the feeling of complete boredom the last volume did, and these is more action, but it’s not enough. Vampire Knight used to thrive on the triangle of Yuki, Kaname and Zero, but where has Zero been? Doing paperwork for the Vampire Hunters, and trying to scorn Yuki, but instead ends up dreaming about her. The dynamics of the series have changed so much since the triangle has broken up that is almost isn’t recognizable as the series I first read in Shojo Beat. While in some cases this can be a good thing, it’s actually made Vampire Knight worse, as if that were possible. At least I didn’t think so, until now.

About the author

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

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