Reviewby Michelle Yu, Mar 4th 2011
Yuki's earliest memory is of a stormy night in winter, wherein she was attacked by a vampire... And the rescued by another. Now ten years later, at the prestigious Cross Academy, there are two sessions of classes: the Day Class and the Night Class. As the school's disciplinary committee, Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu keep watch over the Day Class students, who are all infatuated with the beautiful, elite Night Class students. As Guardians, Yuki and Zero must also protect the secret of the Night Class- they're all vampires!
As the title suggests, knights are not always in shining armour; or human for that matter. At first glance, Vampire Knight is just another series with a fantasy-based storyline centred on forbidden romance. Luckily after having watched the first volume, I believe that it can truthfully be said that this is not just Twilight: The Anime.
Vampire Knight is set in a place where the architecture and world is based on that of late Medieval Europe, yet everyone that seems to inhabit this world is Japanese— or at least with Japanese names. Cross Academy is an elite boarding school set up by our main character's adoptive father and headmaster in hopes of creating an ideal world where vampires and humans can coexist. The school itself is reminiscent of Harry Potter's Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The ceilings are high and adorned with chandeliers, the dormitories are segregated by sex as well as human/vampire. Yet unlike that of Hogwarts, the student body ratio of male-to-female students is decidedly less realistic with 99% of the Day Class (i.e. human students) being female and about 90% of the Night Class (the vampires) being male.
This series also does nothing to quell the notion that vampires are all incredibly good-looking and possess supernatural powers. The one who is presumably the titular “Vampire Knight” Kaname looks just like a member of an Asian boy band. However before anyone assumes that this is a frivolous story for love-starved females, some of the characters have been written quite well. It feels as though the relationship between our main character Yuki, upperclassman Kaname and her fellow classmate Zero could go in any direction.
The possibility of romance is kept subtle yet the idea is completely feasible and these three characters have been portrayed in a way that shows they are multi-dimensional. Being a series that involves vampires, there is blood but nothing to make the squeamish faint… yet. But there are some pretty dark themes already emerging early on in this series. Of course, not all is revealed in just this one disc and this writer certainly hopes that other characters in the series also manage to get some light shed on them and get developed above “mob” status. After all, Studio DEEN has gone to the trouble of creating fairly distinctive and different looks for each one, both vampires and humans.
The art and animation style is similar to that of other female-driven series such as those by CLAMP. Character limbs are long and almost gangly, their eyes are huge and have hair that has been drawn in that stringy, wind-responsive style. Aside from the whole vampire theme, this is probably one of the first indications that the series is geared towards female viewers. Granted it really is beautiful, however sometimes it makes me wonder if it is possible to create a series for a female audience that does not involve skinny men with perfectly coiffed hair. Pretty boys with pretty hair are a formula that works though and like many before them, the character designers did not hold back in Vampire Knight.
The music is also female-oriented with the opening theme being a J-Rock track whose title translates to 'Two Heartbeats and the Red Sin', and the closing being a sort of dark ballad titled 'still doll'. The opening track is somewhat forgettable, however the closing is quite exquisite. The melody is reminiscent of something that may be found in an antique music box, yet it is not at all comforting. Find an English translation of the lyrics and it even starts to sound a bit creepy.
Although it pains me somewhat, I must say I did find myself enjoying Vampire Knight once I allowed myself to watch without prejudice. I would even go as far as saying that I want to see more. Female anime fans certainly have another title to check out now.
Overall (dub) : C+
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B
Art : B+
Music : B
+ Nice art and music
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