Monday, September 17, 2007

A vampire manga

Okay, so I'm not completely off the vampire kick yet. I saw this series on the shelf at the library and couldn't resist taking a look. The premise is fun: there is a day class and a night class at a private school called Cross Academy. The day class is comprised of normal school kids in their cute little uniforms. These kids love to hang around after school to see the night class arrive. The night class is comprised of incredibly hot kids that all the day kids have huge crushes on. Little do they know the deep, dark secret of the school: the night class students are all vampires.

Enter students Yuki Cross (the adopted daughter of the headmaster) and Zero Kiryu. They are the Guardians of the school, whose duty it is to keep the day class from learning about the vampires - and also to keep them safe. How two teenagers are supposed to protect one half of the school from the other half, who are vampires, is never completely explained. The headmaster's vision is a world in which vampires and humans can coexist peacefully, without violence (the night class students subsist on "blood tablets," for example).

There is a bit of a love triangle going on between Yuki, Zero, and the sexy vampire/student president of the night class, Kaname Kuran. Kaname saved Yuki's life from rogue vampires when she was a little girl, and he's been her hero ever since. Zero believes that all vampires are little more than beasts and refuses to trust any of them.

For the most part, this was an interesting beginning to a series. Because it appeared in serial form in magazines, there is a bit too much recapping of the story with each chapter, though. And there was a scene that I found a bit disturbing. At one point the headmaster offers his blood to a desperate vampire student, and in the next frame there's a little circle that says "gay" on the headmaster, and the student slugs him, saying it is sexual harassment. In the following frame, there's a thought cloud over the student that says, ambiguously, "He's been sexually harassed before?" So I was left to wonder what sort of school this was, and what the headmaster's true motives were. Or if it was a mean-spirited comment about homosexuality. Or was it meant to be funny? I'm not sure - the scene was a weird departure from the rest of the story, where the headmaster was portrayed as a sort of inscrutable but wise administrator with a noble agenda. Maybe I'm missing something?

It's hard to judge a manga series from the first volume - there is (I hope) still a lot more character development to come. The second volume is usually the one that determines whether or not I'll keep reading. We'll see how volume 2 goes - I'll keep you posted.

Vampire Knight, Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino (VIZ Media, 2007)

4 comments:

  1. Interesting..Can't leave these vampires alone, huh? lol! This sounds like something Megan would like, I'll have to let her know about it!

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  2. Yes, it is sad. I have a slightly obsessive nature. What can I say? :-) I'll be interested to hear what Megan thinks if she ever reads them.

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  3. AnonymousJune 05, 2008

    I've read up to the present Japanese release. This is a marvelous manga, but it does get rather tangled. Your comment on the headmaster, well, that was not meant to be mean-spirited. He is a rather effusive man...watch some of the anime that is the process of coming out.

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  4. Thanks for stopping by, Anonymous. I'm glad to hear you say that! This week I just brought home Volume 4 from my library, so I'm looking forward to reading that. How many more volumes have come out in Japan so far?

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