An iconic Shojo from the 2000s, Matsuri Hino’s Vampire Knight is an ode to love that transcends the worst: accepting the unacceptable in others. Unfortunately, the Vampire Knight anime adaptation does no honor to this outstanding work and its complex characters.
Here are Three Excellent Reasons To Why You Must Read Vampire Knight!
Vampire Knight Information
- Synonyms Title: Watashi to Fukigen na Panya-san, The Sour-Faced Baker and Me, The Sullen Baker and Me
- Type: Manga
- Volumes: 19
- Chapters: 102
- Status: Finished
- Published: From November 24th, 2004 to May 24th, 2013
- Genres: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Supernatural, School, Vampire
- Demographic: Shoujo
- Serialization: LaLa
- Authors: Hino Matsuri
Vampire Knight Story
The Vampire Knight story begins with a little girl named Yuki. Lost and alone in the middle of a white carpet in the middle of winter, the child faces for the first time of his existence a creature with a human face: a vampire.
Recognizable by his eyes blood red, the man who speaks to her announces that he is thirsty and that she is his next meal. Before the worst happens, the little girl is saved by a boy named Kaname Kuran who will, in a very strong way, mark her life forever.
A few years later, Yûki attended Cross High School administered by her adoptive father. She forms with Zero, a boy also raised by the director, the duo of «guardians of the academy» whose mission is to ensure the smooth running of the campus nightlife.
The Cross Academy, is indeed, separated into two non-mixed classes: the Day Class composed of humans studying by day and the Night Class gathering only vampires cramming by night.
All these students live in separate pavilions and no inter-specific connections are allowed to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
As a result, only Yuki, Zero and Director Cross are aware of the existence of vampires and the true nature of the Night Class. This is a major mission for Yuki, who must learn to compose between his admiration for Kaname Kuran, his savior, and his friendship with Zero Kiryu, hostile to the very existence of vampires.
Vampire Knight is a mirror society
Vampire Knight is anchored in a vampire universe where these night beings pose a danger to humans. The latter are real prey subjected to the whims of vampires who can decide to take their life in a few seconds.
Very quickly, we immerse ourselves in the daily life of Vampire Knight from the first pages and we learn more about the functioning of the «night» society: several categories of vampires coexist and not all are equal. There are indeed 5 classes of vampires depending on the purity of their blood from Level A to Level E.
The majority of the community is made up of ordinary vampires and without special distinctions: the Level C. These vampires result from a mix between vampires and humans over generations, and therefore have a status of half-breed.
They are framed by the aristocratic families; in other words nobles whose ancestors were very little mixed with humans. They are therefore at Level B. They also possess various supernatural powers ranging from the manipulation of one’s own blood to the ability to create electricity.
At the very top of the societal pyramid are divinized beings, feared and respected by the whole community: they are pure-bloods at Level A. They belong to old families who have, as their name suggests, no drop of human blood in their DNA.
However, it should be noted that humans can be transformed into vampires and when this happens, they are considered to be at Level D. There are not many of them since they are only blood-pure who have this power of transformation and that they are a minority in vampire society.
This is how the character of Yuki, the main protagonist of Vampire Knight, is brought to interact with this society because of his role within the Cross Academy, but also through his special relationship with Kaname.
This society depicted by the mangaka in Vampire Knight can reflect ours: the most senior figures have full powers and decide on the major directives that will be imposed on all vampires without them having a say.
In the same way, pure-bloods possess many powerful powers and are the crowned heads of society. Moreover, the Kuran clan has for centuries been the inherited monarchical family of this well-defined system.
It should be noted, however, that at the time of Yuki’s adventures, it is the Senate that controls daily life and imposes decisions, a Senate composed of members of the aristocracy, some of whom are over a thousand years old.
In spite of everything, this does not prevent all vampires to show an almost divine respect to Kaname, the purest of the pure-bloods, during his public appearances.
This social mirror goes beyond appearances since despite their great beauty, these pure-blooded vampires are like capricious children who demand and order. It must be said that with an army of partisans, it is easy to have everything you want.
Their vanity is crystallized in the existence of the vampires Level End, known as Level E, these ancient humans transformed into Level D vampires whose destiny ends imperatively in madness and in murder.
To regulate all these vampire problems and the excesses that they engender, a group of super powerful humans was formed from the first light of “vampiranity” (vampire humanity version), and are known as vampire hunters. Their mission is to track down Level E and eliminate them when they have degenerated.
This vampire society therefore has several elements inherent to each other, all the workings of a political system that proves to be more complex than expected through the volumes and narration.
Vampire Knight Complex Characters
Vampire Knight allows you to focus on a large number of characters whether they are human or vampires with relatively strong developments.
Of course, the vast majority of them are vampires and live in the aristocratic circle of society, even pure-blooded families for some of them. They are therefore part of the Night Class presided by Kaname.
In my opinion, Matsuri Hino’s drawing sublimates these fictional characters, especially since vampires are famous and known for their beauty and charm. Proof of this is that a large majority of the Night Class is adored by human students and is a source of fantasies.
To better build a coherent narrative, the characters are all different and bring a developed evolution that is very often at the antipodes of what they were initially. Their style complements a range of possible characters, some of which are presented below.
Hanabusa Aidô is the archetype of the indolent and capricious teenager. Great immature at the beginning of the manga, Hanabusa often shows a breach of the rules established in the Cross academy, regularly defying Yūki and Zero who are the guardians and causing many blunders that earned him severe corrections from Kaname Kuran.
Takuma Ichijo is the right-hand man of Kaname, vice-president of the night pavilion. Of a natural calm, it is reasonable but has a teasing side that brings lightness to the beginning of the story. He is the grandson of the Patriarch of the Senate and is given many responsibilities by the Patriarch who will at some point turn against him.
Rima Tôya shows unfailing friendship and loyalty to her comrade Senri Shiki. Not very talkative and rather lazy, she does everything to help her friend when he is in great danger.
We can also address the case of Zero Kiryu who, against all odds, ends up embracing a reality that he rejected body and soul in its beginnings.
Vampire Knight: Love Above All
Vampire Knight allows to highlight strong values through love and the acceptance of the other in its entirety and complexity.
The two main male characters in Vampire Knight, Kaname Kuran and Zero Kiryu, have this ability to feel sincere joy for the happiness of the other even if we are not part of it.
Yuki knows many complex relationships throughout her evolution, all placed under the sign of the sun despite the cold crossing of the night.
On the one hand, Kaname, her savior and the figure of authority for her. He gradually reveals his attachment to Yuki until declaring his love. His jealous nature and possessive attitude lead him not to make any concessions when it comes to his sweetheart: Yuki must dedicate herself solely to him, and put in the past his very strong relationship with Zero Kiryu.
As their bond deepened, Kaname had to face the fact that he had to accept that Yuki had his own will, and did not follow the least of his desires to the letter.
On the other side, Zero Kiryu, a young man who shares a conflictual and ambiguous relationship with Yûki as a night adventure comrade. With a mutinous temperament, Zero is often a spectator of the actions that take place around him.
And despite his desire to become an actor and to fully invest himself, he struggles to assert himself and express what he feels, especially as his hostility towards vampires is growing as his own transformation into a vampire.
Indeed, we learn in the first volume that Zero is destined to end his days in Level E, bitten during his childhood by a pure-blooded vampire who now haunts his steps since his childhood.
Each in their own way, Kaname and Zero care about Yuki and set themselves the goal of making her happy. They are victims of the inclinations of the girl and the path she continues without worrying about looking back. So, they have to accept that she makes their own choices without necessarily including them in the equation.
To conclude, Vampire Knight teaches us in a touching and sometimes brutal way that loving also means giving up. Despite everything, and for these three good reasons, it is pleasant and sweet to immerse yourself in the reading of Matsuri Hino’s iconic manga “Vampire Knight”.
As Vampire Knight is finished since May 2013, you can buy all its volumes on Amazon.