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October 22, 2010

Bento Bako Bonus: Vampire Knight Official Fanbook

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Vampire Knight Official Fanbook ($14.99)
Author: Matsuri Hino
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Vintage: 2008 by Hakusensha in Japan, October 2010 from Viz Media (out now)
Genre: Fanbook, vampires, romance

Let’s starts this out right. If you’re a hardcore Vampire Knight fan, you’ll love this book. Matsuri Hino knows what her readers like, and indeed, fans have participation in this book. Fan comments, questions, and suggestions are scattered throughout the pages. The majority of the book is done in character. The main characters answers questions from fans, and comment on various things from the series. There’s a fantastic collection of beautiful full color, glossy images (about sixteen pages), as well as never-before-seen drawings and sketches from Hino. The book is presented as a sort of guide book to all things Cross Academy. A book that prospective (or current!) students of the school might read to learn about school events, uniform designs, entry requirements and school rules, and the central students (like dorm presidents, the Disciplinary Committee, and other important people – main characters). Headmaster Cross has a large presence, as his comments are all over the book. Each of the main characters gets a special section, where Hino talks about their personality and role within the story, and fans ask questions for the character to answer. Of course Kaname, Zero, and Yuki have the largest sections. Though Aido, Kain, and Ichijo also have sizable sections. There are many details provided, like floor plans of their dorm rooms, notes about their school life, yearbook style comments from other characters, interviews, story highlights, and fan suggestions with character comments. And of course there are fan quizzes, like the “Heart-Racing Partner-Finding Test” which suggests your proper escort for the school ball (apparently it’s “Wild” Kain for me).

Hino also takes some time to detail her vampire mythology and history. Hino’s vampires differ from traditional vampires. They are not damaged by the sun (though they do not like it), and can only be killed by a beheading or the use of special vampire hunting weapons (like magically endowed bullets, not simple wooden stakes). They can breed amongst themselves, or with humans. Only pureblood vampires, those with no human blood in their lineage, can turn humans into vampires. She also lays out the social structure of the vampires, and describes their political system, as well as their relationship with the Hunter Society. There is also a section that reveals some of the big secrets of Vampire Knight, which Hino suggests skipping if you don’t want to know the truth about the main cast (or haven’t read that far). Fans choose which vampire they’d like to suck their blood, and their favorite lines from the series, before Hino takes over with a collection of never-before-seen rough sketches and designs. The books wraps up with an interview with Hino, notes from the main Japanese voice cast, a listing of LaLa magazine giveaways to make any American fan jealous (bedsheets, key chains, stickers, phone cards, and more), and a small glossary of phrases and objects from the series.

The book is a lot of fun for the most part, but it also drives home pretty heavily what makes the series rather ridiculous at times (like the literally dangerous obsessive nature the Day Class female student body has in regards to the vampire boys of the Night Class). The kind of things people tend to ignore so they can enjoy the story. Apparently I’ve been ignoring them myself, because a couple things in this book really drove a wedge into my fandom for the series. For example, there is a section called “Let’s learn from Kaname-sama! Ways to be popular with girls, in order of difficulty.” Number 1 – Help out like a gentleman. Number 2 – Dance Smarty. And here’s the one that made me a little sick, Number 3 – “Be scary on occasion…?! Simply being nice will only make the lady see you as a friend. You’ll score high points if you show a side that’s different from usual. How about being bold and punishing her? Yeah….. I realize that sort of thing is in this series, but I just sort of push it into the back of my mind. However, it’s not right for guys to think that it’s OK to treat girls like that. And, more importantly, since the series and this book are geared toward females, girls shouldn’t be taught to think that it’s OK for boys to treat them that way, and that it’s intended to be sexy. I know it’s in there, but it sort of took me off guard for Hino to spell it right out like that. I don’t think it’s meant to be taken that seriously, but some of the fan comments in this book are a little…scary. Though it’s hard to take anything seriously when there are probably more exclamation points in this book than there are actual sentences.

The fanbook is put together well. The color pages are beautiful, it’s designed to look like a school handbook, and it comes with a fan club card (printed on card stock) that you can cut out and fill in. The binding is a bit suspect, as I already have a page or two falling out (and I’m not one to mistreat my books). It’s great for hardcore fans, and also provides a wealth of information for the more casual fans. It’s up to date with information from the recent volumes published in America by Viz Media, so it won’t hold any real surprises (story/plot wise) for those who have been keeping up with the manga here, but new fans should avoid the back pages as there will be some major spoilers.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_Kris

Review copy provided by Viz Media.

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4 Comments



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by billy dunleavy, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New #manga review: Vampire Knight Official Fanbook from @Viz_Media https://comicattack.net/2010/10/bbbvampknightfanbook/ […]


  2. Jade

    I’m not really a fan of Vampire Knight, but this really is the way fanbooks should be done, at least for comics. Art books look pretty and all, but you want something interesting to read, a little more bonus info for the fans.


  3. Kristin

    Oh, it really is done right. It’s fun and entertaining, and caters to the fans in every way. Hino did a good job with the feel and presentation of the book.



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