Mangaka: Hino Matsuri
Years running: 2004 – 2013
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural
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I have to say honestly, this title is really hard to review because of how similar it is to Twilight in terms of love triangles and forbidden romances. I know for a fact that quite a number of fans of this series are also fans of Twilight or if not, know both series pretty well. I put this manga in my list for beginners because I know how ubiquitous Twilight is compared to Vampire Knight itself so I thought that by providing something with a similar concept, new manga fans are able to be properly introduced to the fandom.
Related post: Manga for Beginners
Yuki Cross is part of the Disciplinary Committee, maintaining the order in Cross Academy. Her partner is Zero Kiryu, her close friend who hates vampires to the core and is a vampire hunter. In this academy, humans and vampires coexist which is why the Disciplinary Committee exists, to protect humans and maintain peace. However, have vampires really renounced their evil ways? The story becomes less and less straightforward especially when Yuki discovers who she truly is and what it means for her relationship with Zero and her childhood crush Kaname and her feelings for both of them.
Vampire Knight (or VK) is a little different from most shoujo manga in that it actually has an overarching plot. However, there are no arcs defining said plot so to prevent major spoilage, I will summarise really briefly what goes down in this roller coaster of emotions that is this manga.
1. Yuki finds out she isn’t human but a pureblood vampire which strains her relationship with Zero
2. Kaname reveals her familial connection to Yuki, confusing her feelings even more
3. Yuki vows to save her two loves even though she is understandably in emotional turmoil
Although a little shocking for some of you out there, I think the feelings that are involved in this story is worth the read.
The Love Triangle
Personally, I don’t like love triangles. This is because they are usually written SO BADLY (҂⌣̀_⌣́)
I think that a love triangle is done right if it actually makes sense — aka. it is vital to the manga storyline. However, shoujo manga especially tends to just add in a love triangle just because the drama is irresistible to the eyes of the readers. A love triangle shunted in as a side plot just becomes a major annoyance because some poor person suddenly becomes a first-rate jerk as they realise their feelings for a certain main character but, oh no! Someone else already loves this person since the beginning so let me become an ass (sorry for the crude language) just for kicks.
VK is one of those shuojo manga that has the love triangle established at the beginning of the series. Both Zero and Kaname love Yuki, no doubt about that. With a plot device such as this sets the tone for the story, all the drama that comes with having two people that love you at the same time makes more sense.
If you have given up on love triangles because of all the horrible ones you’ve seen so far, I suggest you give this one a go. I believe it won’t annoy you as much. Take me at my word: If I could change my mind on love triangles with series Vampire Knight and Golden Time than you will too ( ◞･౪･)
This manga was created around the same time that Vampire-based romances were starting to become popular. Series like Twilight was hitting the cinemas to great fanfares and if I can recall, Vampire Knight suddenly increased in popularity during that time as well.
This series is insanely detailed for a simple vampire romance. Instead of a boy-meets-girl scenario that we are all familiar with, we have a boy-already-knows-girl-and-gets-more-complicated thing going on. There’s a lot more to this particular romance that meets the eye and as a result, this title was even quoted by fans to be “better than Twilight” on occasion.
For me, the romance is indeed a lot more unpredictable and keeps me at the edge of my seat which made me anticipate the next chapter every single time. Some may not like the unclear plot at times but I guess this series requires quite a lot of patience on your part.
A Shoujo That Transcends Just Romance
Another reason why VK is so well-known among one of the most best-told romances in manga is that it is a series that transcends just romantic resolution.
What do I mean by this?
Well, you see most shoujo just focuses on character and romantic development than the overarching storyline. Don’t get me wrong! I love my shoujo fluff but at times, I want action and adventure plus romance. I can turn to shounen but romance mostly lacking in that genre so I will just make do with series that barely meet that minimum.
Vampire Knight ties the romance with the plot which allows the romance to make even more sense as it is the relationship that drives the story along or vice versa.
The number of shoujo manga that actually does this is incredibly few and I can understand why. Girls like fluff so just focus on feelings and nothing else. But what if you’re the few that wish for something else? Even the mangaka expressed her non-willingness to create a cliche school-based vampire story and came up with VK to break the mold.
If you’re not aware of this term, it basically means ‘pretty boy’.
The male characters are extremely beautiful. So beautiful that they can be sculptures. Of course, this is because quite a number of them are vampires BUT they don’t sparkle lol (*~▽~)
I just find the art just stunning to look at and I could honestly stare for hours on end hehe~~
A Strong Heroine
Some may agree, some may disagree but I like to believe that Yuki Cross is a wonderful heroine who is able to handle all the emotional extremes of both Kaname, her saviour and first love, and Zero, her childhood friend who she wants to protect with all her heart.
I really don’t want to spoil too much but mentioning Yuki herself will yield the consequences of some plot reveal so bear with me a little.
It takes balls of steel (again, sorry for the crude language) to pine for someone who is too afraid to love you and to care for someone else who cannot control their feelings for you. Kaname always has this distance with Yuki, yet she still loves him dearly to the point where she is willing to sacrifice all she has to ensure his dream of co-existence between vampires and humans. Yuki also cares for Zero who has violent and anger tendencies due to his blood-lust to the point where she gives him blood, to the distraught of Kaname.
Her managing her feelings for both guys is quite admirable and I personally like to cite Yuki as one of the better shoujo heroines if I am being really honest. Some may think she is being really indecisive but she has good reason to be confused. Both guys have done so much for her over the years and Yuki herself has a strong sense of justice to help those in need, vampire or not. It’s natural she’ll be confused because she wants to ensure happiness for both of them.
Good for Beginners?
I once stated Vampire Knight is good for beginners because it is similar to Twilight.
This comparison is pretty lame honestly because there are more differences between the two than similarities but I think that having something that is conceptually similar can open the gates to the anime and manga fandom. Having something that people are sort of familiar with can make the transition easier.
Besides, this series has a huge fanbase and is popular among young girls because the story is so engaging and dramatic. It is a shoujo manga after all and no doubt will there be more fans in the future.
Like I mentioned earlier, some people are not so fond of Yuki because she is so indecisive. I knew one Youtube channel that lists her as one of the most annoying anime characters because she can’t make up her mind. I don’t really think she’s being indecisive for the sake of being so. Like I mentioned earlier, the story of vampire knight is complicated and involves a ton of secrets that confuse Yuki and her feelings. It is natural to be confused in those circumstances. Of course, there will always be some people who wish she was a little more forthcoming but where’s the fun in that? In Japan, a moment of indecisiveness between your two loves is often the most entertaining part of the series because it appeals to our greatest wish (as women) of being adored by many guys, let alone two.
4.5 out of 5 mangabooks
First, my general review.
A shoujo romance that transcends romantic resolution, Vampire Knight will take you on a roller coaster of feels and heartache as you understand the story and secrets behind the events that occurr in the past and the present. Yuki and her two loves will move you along this exciting series as they try to solve the problems and make a better future for generations to come. Although Yuki herself may be seen as fickle and too passive, you will be surprised by her determination despite her bouts of confusion which is always lovely to see. In addition, seeing pretty boys is always a plus!
Now, my personal review.
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of vampire romances because I’ve seen too much of the supernatural-boy-and-normal-girl trope and even in my teens when I first picked up this series, I wanted a little more than just a subversion of Twilight.
My pretty high score for VK is really only because of the plot being central to the romance and vice versa. As I’ve said on this blog thousands of times, I like a good story so I was pretty invested in VK for a time due to that.
Not only was the story worth reading, but there were also a few plot twists that pleasantly surprised me. If you think VK follows the normal tropes then you’ll be wrong. As Hino said so herself, she didn’t want the usual school-based vampire romance so she decided to spice it up a little.
Yuki being indecisive was something that a lot of shoujo heroines have and that didn’t bother me that much because I knew that it’s what most audiences in Japan would like to see, even if there are good reasons for the confusion and fickleness.
Kaname and Yuki’s familial connections didn’t bother me as much as I thought I would be. I guess it’s because I’m used to Japan’s cultural idiosyncracies (at least to those outside Japan) so I was kinda expecting that twist. If this bothers you, just take it as it is. I really don’t know how to make it any better I’m sorry o(´д｀o)
In all, Vampire Knight is a series that’s worth reading. A shoujo manga with a plot as well as romance. An engaging story with much to learn and understand. I think you should give it a shot regardless of culture or opinion of fickle-minded heroines.
There is also a spin-off of this popular series called Vampire Knight: Memories so if you want to continue reading after the end of the original, you can.
If you want to own your own copy of Vampire Knight, click here to buy the first volume today on rightstufanime.com
As always, if you have anything to mention about my review, feel free to comment down below, I’d love to hear it 🙂