Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Vampire Knight Review
“You must never get close to a vampire. If you do, their gaze will enslave you.”
Vampire Knight is a Romance/Supernatural anime based on the manga by Matsuri Hino and published by Hakusensha. Viz Media is the english publisher for the series. The 13 episode anime comes from Studio Deen, with Viz Media licensing it in America. It originally aired from April to July 2008. A second season called Vampire Knight Guilty, from the same production company and also has 13 episodes, airing in October of the same year as the first season.
Yuki Cross's earliest memory is of being attacked by a vampire and saved by Kaname Kuran, also a vampire. Ten years later, Yuki and the vampire hunter, Zero Kiryu are at Cross Academy as school guardians. Their job is to protect the "Day Class" human students, from the "Night Class” vampire students. The story follows Yuki's discovery that her childhood friend, Zero has spent the last four years trying to fight his transformation into a vampire and he has finally succumbed. Yuki struggles to help Zero fight his bloodlust and to recover her own lost memories, while suspecting that Kaname knows more than he’s letting on.
The look and animation is well done, with the art style looking like your typical Shoujo series. Plus the drama piece is there as well. The animation is very well done, adding little funny bits as well; even though the comedy in the series is unnecessary and awkward to begin with. The music of the series is mostly whimsical, using organs. There are other bits at points like a harp or some singing, but for a dark series like this, it works.
The main plot of the story isn’t to bad, but it isn’t a great one either. The story of VK is told through, mostly, Yuki; however, the main plot of the series is about Zero. There have been other stories that have used this method of storytelling before, and used it well. VK is not one of them. This is a show aimed for females and, understandably, it would mean you mainly focus on a female character and tell the story through her. But this story would probably be a million times more interesting if it was told through the person experiencing these problems.
The characters in Vampire Knight don’t really go through any development at all. The one person who really goes through anything is Zero due to his struggle to become a vampire. Yuki is just obnoxious and thinks she can fix anything. While Kaname is shown as kind of the bad guy in this series, even though he isn’t really suppose to be. All the other characters are just one note and can be irritating to watch, with lack of anything interesting in them.
If you’re going to pick a language to watch this series in, I highly suggest the Japanese version over the English, hands down. Not much of the voice acting in the dub is enjoyable, or even likable for that matter. I will admit that Mela Lee (Fate/Stay Night) as Yuki and Vic Mignogna (Full Metal Alchemist) as Zero do play off of each other fairly well. However, Lee, Mignogna, and Ethan Murray (Gankutsuou) as Kaname just do not fit the roles at all! Not one voice actor could give the characters justice! This astounded me! The only one who could come barely close is Vic Mignogna’s Zero, but even he can’t play it as well as the Japanese counterpart. And Mela Lee just makes me want to claw my eyes out she’s so annoying and dull! The only voice acting choice in the series that I liked was Laura Bailey as Maria Kurnenai. That was it! But just as a heads up, some other voice talents include: Troy Baker, Bryce Papenbrook, Carrie Savage, Travis Willingham, and Wendee Lee.
Now, after watching this series, I couldn’t help but make some comparisons to another popular vampire franchise: Twilight. Now your three main characters are basically like Twilight: You have Yuki as Bella, Kaname as Edward, and Zero as Jacob. The difference is, Yuki is a bigger dimwit, Kaname is just a big abuser, and Zero isn’t a werewolf. Then there’s the idea of humans never finding out about vampires, but that’s a given anyway. However, VK does have the Vampire Hunters, which make things a bit more interesting. A good amount of the romance plot in general is similar to Twilight, but obviously it’s not. Just the general idea of the entire series is eerily similar. Then there’s the second season of the series where someone becomes a vampire but they’re also..... Yeah, I’m sorry to spoil this now, but it must be done. In the second season Yuki, who has decided to be with Edward-- I mean Kaname, is actually a vampire.... And is Kaname’s sister..... Ewwwwwwwwwww!
Overall, Vampire Knight is an amazing Shoujo visual with an okay story. But has major problems with its cast of characters and bad matches in the English dub. I will say VK is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, so if there are any ladies who haven’t seen it yet I recommend you do. For guys, however, I don’t think this is a good anime for you to be watching. Probably because it’s a sappy love story with vampires, and we all know how much guys are big fans of things like that. *cough* Twilight *cough cough*.