Article first published as Manga Review: Vampire Knight Volume One by Matsuri Hino on Blogcritics.
Vampire Knight Volume One is a manga by Matsuri Hino, and it was published by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.
The story is set at Cross Academy, a school that is attended by two groups of students, which are known as the Day Class and the Night Class. When the Day Class students return to their dorm at twilight, they cross paths with the Night Class students as they’re heading off to class. It turns out the Night Class students have a secret that is unknown to all but two of the Day Class students; the Night Class students are all vampires.
Two of the Day Class students are the “Disciplinary Committee”: Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu. Ten years before the start of the series, Yuki was saved from being attacked by a vampire; her rescuer was another vampire named Kaname Kuran, and he is Night School student. Yuki has no memory of her past prior to being rescued by Kaname and being taken in by the headmaster of Cross Academy. Yuki also seems to have a crush on Kaname.
Zero Kiryu and his family had been attacked by vampires, and Zero was the only survivor. The headmaster of Cross Academy also took him in. However, Zero has a secret that only the headmaster and Kaname know. As I read the manga, it also looked as if Zero might have a crush on Yuki.
From the description, you can see that the basic shojo trope of two boys being interested in the series heroine is utilized for this series. The series also uses the shojo trope of having the two potential love interests with a “bishonen” look. However, Vampire Knight is able to add in elements in regards to the vampires and how this affects the relationship between the three lead characters to help the series start to rise above a typical shojo story.
Since this is a vampire story, it should probably be mentioned that there is blood depicted in the art. I also noticed that Hino also seems to rely more on darker backgrounds in her panels than most other shojo titles that I am personally familiar with. Without this darker feel to the art, there wouldn’t be much else to make this series stand out art-wise from the look typically employed in other shojo manga series.
Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of vampires, so I wasn’t entirely sure how I would like this series. It’s not bad at all for what it is, and it seems to have a little more to offer than some other shojo manga titles that I have sampled. Perhaps at some point in the future, I might be willing to read more volumes of the series.
Vampire Knight would probably hold the most appeal for female manga readers who enjoy vampire stories. It might also have an appeal to fans of the Twilight book series.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of Vampire Knight Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.