Vampire Knight as a manga has been around for a little while now but like all good manga doesn’t reach peak popularity until a few years into its cycle, where it is now enjoying the success it has deservedly earned. It has also been made into an anime, but that is a different review for a different time 🙂 But first a brief background into the Vampire Knight mythology for those of you still needing to get into this great title from series creator, Matsuri Hino.
Kiriyu Zero and Yuki Cross are the two night time guardians at the prestigious Cross Academy boarding school, guardians that protect the day time students from the massive secret that the academy holds, the night time students are actually vampires. Vampires that are kept in line by an ages old vampire called Kaname Kuran who has his fair share of secrets. Yuki’s earliest memory is being attacked by a vampire in the snow when she was five years old and being rescued by Kaname Kuran. Kiriyu himself also comes with heavy baggage due to his family having been wiped out by a vampire leaving him as the sole surviving member and with a hatred of all vampires but Zero harbours a secret that may prove to be his undoing, one that will no doubt unravel as the storyline progresses.
The chapters in the manga are broken up into “nights” which is where the events take place all amongst the backdrop of teenage angst and the usual dramas that face any student in school with friendships, school life and relationships all being tested especially the love triangle that involves Yuki, Zero and Kaname. The first couple of chapters gradually break the reader into the different characters, both human and vampire as we see what the daily life is like for the Day class at the academy and as the guardians come into play in the evening which is when the night class takes over for their studies.
During patrol at night, Yuki catches two female day students taking pictures of the night class, injuring themselves in the process which draws the attention of Hanabusa Aido and Akatsuki Kain, two night class vampires. No spoilers here so you’ll just have to read the manga to find out what happens! Zero’s secret is also revealed in this first volume as more is revealed about his shady past.
This first volume is filled with much tension and drama but is beautifully drawn with great panel work and an even tighter script, there is much detail in most pages and there is great bonus artwork in the inner sleeves of the book. I am thoroughly enjoyed reading this first instalment and found the characters have been fleshed out particularly well and you find that you’ll be developing favourites early on in the piece. This is a great manga and you could do far worse than this, really recommend this title for anyone into vampires, Japanese school life or just great story telling in general.