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DVD Review

DVD cover

Vampire Knight
Volume 1


Starring (voice): Daisuke Kishio, Mamoru Miyano and Yui Horie
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 12
Available 22 November 2010

Yuki Cross finds herself stuck between two worlds as a ‘Day Class’ Guardian at the Cross Academy, run by her adoptive father Kaien Cross. Her job is to protect the female students of the day class from the boys of the night class. It’s not just their womanhood that needs protecting as the attractive boys of the night class are all vampires, led by Kaname Kuran. The principle, Kaien Cross, hopes to foster understanding between the two races, but some cannot forgive the vampires for what they are, including Yuki’s partner and childhood friend, vampire hunter Zero Kiryuu...

Vampire Knight: Volume 1 (2008) is a gothic romance, based on a manga written by Matsuri Hino. The show was directed by Kiyoko Sayama, and produced by Studio Deen and Nihon Ad Systems. Both seasons one and two ran for thirteen episodes. Volume one contains the first four, which will make this a very expensive series to collect, so expensive that unless you’re a real fan, this is most probably not worth buying blind unless you can rent it first.

I remember reading the manga a while ago and from memory, the anime follows the manga closely both in narrative content and in the visual style. The story remains the same eclectic mix as the original manga with the show swinging wildly between broad, almost slapstick, comedy and slow burning malice. I presume that given the amount of references within the show to the attractiveness of the male vampires by the lovelorn young girls, and various plot lines, that the show is aimed at a female, teenage, audience.

The show opens with episode one, Night of Vampires, which has a lot of ground to cover as it shows how Yuki was originally rescued from a wild vampire, who the main players are and the set up at the school. With all that to get into a single episode, the only thing of note which happens is a run in between Yuki and some of the more raucous members of the night school.

With all the characters in place the story continues in episode two with Memories of Blood and as Valentine’s Day approaches the school holds its annual gift giving ceremony between the classes, with the young girls contesting with each other to give their chocolates to the cutest boys. Against this romantic backdrop Zero is tempted by Yuki

Episode Three, The Fang of Penitence, and Yuki and Zero are sent through the school looking for contraband items, only Yuki finds that Zero has blood pills, the blood substitute used by the vampire, but why should Zero have them? But after Yuki is led into an ambush by a young vampire and attacked, she is rescued by Zero and Kaname, but the cuts sustained by Yuki finally drive Zero's bloodlust to the surface, revealing him to be a vampire.

The disc finishes with episode four, Trigger of Condemnation, and while Kaname tends to Yuki, Kaien tells her how Zero’s family were attacked by a pureblood vampire, whose bite turned Zero. With his secret out, there is discussion about transferring him to the night class, but Zero has other ideas and plans to kill himself.

Given that the disc only holds four episodes I was surprised that the disc contained no extras, not even the traditional production art and textless credits that we have all come to look forward to and love. Audio is also limited to 2.0 stereo English or Japanese with English subtitles. The English dub is pretty good and up to the job, though less frantic than the original Japanese track. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is at the higher end of transfers, so the show looks pretty good.

If the anime continues to follow the manga, then the story should continue to darken as it goes on, if not then the first four episodes represent a nice anime but not a spectacular one.


Charles Packer

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