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So after hearing some of my friends ramble on and on and on about the various anime that they watch, I decided that enough was enough and I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. If you really want to know why I picked Vampire Knight as my first anime, it's because I won a round of pictionary when the person was depicting Vampire Knight. I was extremely surprised and proud of myself to have guessed it correctly despite the fact that I'd never ever watched it and there was an extreme anime fanatic in the room. The second reason was because it had the word 'vampire' in it and I'm a massive supernatural fan and the final reason being that I really couldn't be bothered to embark on the long and tiresome journey of trying to catch up on all 331 episodes of Bleach, so I chose something considerably shorter (26 episodes in total, each episode is around 22 minutes long).
I was actually very surpised by Vampire Knight; I expected it to have a lot more action or horror or gore since the two boys who recommended it to me are... shall we say, very masculine, and the last thing I expected was for Vampire Knight to be a romance. But indeed there is quite a strong romantic theme throughout the two seasons.
Two boys, one girl, typical love triangle? I think not. Kaname is a 'pure-blood', one of the most powerful vampires in town. So, I hear you ask, what the hell is he doing at Cross Academy, going to school, when he clearly has better things to do? Why, also, is he so interested in Yuki Cross, adopted daughter of the Chairman (headmaster) when she is a mere human whose life he saved many moons ago? He is probably any anime fan girls dream, tall, dark, handsome AND the most powerful, but kind, pure-blooded vampire. He is always immaculately dressed and has a strange aura of mystery around him. All the vampires want to be his friend and he always receives the most chocolates on Valentine's Day (that's how they roll in Japan, girls openly give their crushes hand-made chocolates). Anyways, you get the point, Kaname is the envy of every boy and the dream of every girl, vampire or human. Moving on to boy number two...
Initially, Zero is even more mysterious than Kaname, but his dark secret is soon revealed as he struggles in his battle against the raging force rapidly growing inside of him. Zero is the Chairman's adopted son, and Yuki's 'brother', but it is clear from the beginning that Zero has stronger feelings for Yuki. Zero's character develops and changes the most throughout the series, but there's something Edward Cullen-esque about him with his tortured air and his desperation to separate himself from Yuki, because 'it's for her own good'. What's Zero's secret?
Yuki is the cute, loveable, loyal 'guardian' and prefect of all the human students from the 'Day class' (the vampire students attend 'Night Class'). She takes her job very seriously and it's not an easy job pushing hoards of screaming girls away from the gorgeous Night Class students. Yuki keeps her emotions under wraps as I could never figure out which guy she was gunning for, right until the very end. Who will she choose?
In total there are two seasons: Vampire Knight and Vampire Knight Guilty, the first season is focussed on finding out more about the characters and their lives but things really come two a heat in Vampire Knight Guilty and this is where the main action happens. There are lots of unanswered questions from season 1 but all the secrets are revealed in season 2. There is definitely more mystery in season 2 and the atmosphere is noticeably darker whereas season 1 seemed to be a lot calmer and there was more focus on the romantic aspects.
I think that what appeals most to people about this series is the sense of mystery. I could never quite figure out who was feeling what, when and why. The ending is a shocker. I have to say I was extremely surprised and it is one of the most unexpected twists that I have ever encountered. I literally had to pause the DVD so that I could run around the garden a couple of times screaming 'WHAT?! WHY, GOD, WHY?!' before returning to my seat and finishing the series.
Overall this is a fantastic series that will appeal to both boys and girls, girls for the romance, boys for the mystery and action. If you're looking to start watching anime, personally I think that Vampire Knight is a great place to start. The animation itself looks excellent as a screenshot; however, the movements of the characters can be a little jerky and awkward at times and this lessens the effect of the action sequences considerably. However, from the vague glimpses of anime that I've seen in the past, no anime character has completely fluid and normal movements, that's just the style. I became addicted to the opening theme tune as soon as I heard it, even though I didn't have a clue what the lyrics meant because it's in Japanese it is a very catchy song that fits well with the series.
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Vampire Knight the anime series is based on the still ongoing shojo manga, Vampire Knight. The series begins with a flashback to Yuki's earliest memory of being saved one snowy knight from a bloodthirsty vampire by Kaname.
Yuki Cross is the heroine of the series. She is the adopted daughter of the headmaster of Cross Academy, Kaien Cross. Cross Academy has two classes, the day class and the night class and the night class has a secret, the night class are all vampires. It is Yuki's job as a guardian of Cross Academy to stop the day class from discovering this and to patrol the school at night preventing any dangerous contact between the two classes.
Zero Kiryu is her fellow guardian. His parents were part of the vampire hunter association and were killed by a pureblood vampire, Shizuka Hio. Zero now wishes to kill all vampires and refuses to trust any of them. On the same night his parents were killed Zero was bitten by the pureblood and it is a cruel irony that he is now turning into what he hates the most, a vampire.
Kaname Kuran is a pureblood vampire and is president of the nightclass, he is also the one who saved Yuki when she was younger. He is generally cold to the others in the night class yet he is kind to Yuki.
Over the series Yuki discovers some of her forgotten past and Zero struggles against his developing Vampire instincts. At one point he loses control and bites Yuki revealing to her that he is a vampire. He attempts to run away from the school but Yuki stops him. Shizuka Hio, the pureblood who killed Zero's parents comes to the academy disguised as a vampire called Maria Kurenai and when her true identity is revealed Zero discovers that her servant is his twin brother Ichiru who he thought had died along with his parents. Zero fights with Shizuka and injures her however after she has fled and he has fought with Ichiru he passes out due to his vampire thirst and by the time he awakens she has been killed by Kaname.
Vampire Knight is an amazing series that I would highly recommend, it is a perfect mix of action, romance and the supernatural.
Yuki's earliest memory is of a stormy night in winter, when she was attacked by a vampire...then rescued by another. Now 10 years later, Yuki Cross, the adopted daughter of the headmaster of Cross Academy, has grown up and become a guardian of the vampire race, protecting her savior, Kaname, from discovery as he leads a group of vampires at the elite boarding school.