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Vampire Knight Volume 1

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Vampire Knight Volume 1 by Matsuri Hino, published by Shojo Beat / VIZ Media

Vampire Knight Volume 1

© Matsuri Hino

The Bottom Line

Vampire manga, like vampire lit (ala Anne Rice, etc.) relies on some predictable plot elements. Vampire has angst about eternal life / blood-sucking habit. Falls in love or wants to kill human. Eventually, said vampire's eternal life problem is solved when they get killed by the usual means (silver bullets, beheading, etc.) The end.

Vampire Knight doesn't stray too far from this formula, but at least Matsuri Hino wraps it all up in a very pretty package and tosses in some interesting plot twists. Vampire Knight Volume 1 is a lusciously drawn shojo manga horror / romance that will leave goth girls swooning.

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Pros

  • Page-turner plot includes lots of dramatic tension and twists
  • Lovely artwork, with lots of beautifully-rendered gothic details
  • Loads of gorgeous guys dripping with teen sex appeal
  • Day school / night school offers interesting twist on the vampire manga story
  • Includes a few funny side stories to lighten things up a bit

Cons

  • Plot includes some far-fetched presumptions about vampires
  • With so many similar faces, it's hard to tell those pretty boy characters apart
  • Lots of overblown vampire angst, which can get tedious after a while

Description

Guide Review - Vampire Knight Volume 1

Let's be blunt. Most vampire manga sucks because they all operate on the same predictable principle: girl meets boy. Boy / girl vampire wants to suck girl / boy human's blood. Toss in some overdramatic angst, implied erotic tension and lots of blood, plus the occasional beheading for kicks. The end.

Vampire Knight doesn't stray too far from this formula, but it does offer shojo readers a slightly different twist. Vampires and humans co-exist at the same school, but go to school in different sessions: day classes for the humans and night classes for the vampires.

Admittedly, this plot premise requires that you forgo all of your attempts to make sense out of all this. Why bother going to school with humans if you're a vampire? Why bother going to school at all? And if they're vampires, how come the day students see them at dusk when the sun's rays are still out? Why don't the day students question why the night students are separated? My advice? Don't think too hard about it, it'll ruin the fun.

As she did in MeruPuri, Hino-sensei has a knack for drawing drop-dead sexy bishonen and setting up stories that crackle with sexual tension. Never mind that the pretty boys essentially look alike; the artwork is lovely and it sets the stage for gothic fantasy perfectly.

There's a lot of angst going on in Vampire Knight Volume 1 and not too much explanation why the characters are so tormented, but it's a vampire manga, so this is par for the course.

Vampire Knight is a decadent delight for gothic manga fans. It's not the greatest story I've ever read, but at least it doesn't totally suck.

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