Title: Vampire Knight
Author: Matsuri Hino
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 12 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2010 by Hakusensha in Japan, June 2011 by Viz Media
Genre: Vampires, romance, drama
Spoiler note: If you’re not at least through volume 8 of this series, I advise you not to read this review.
In volume 11, everyone was gathered for a vampire soirée, including multiple pureblood vampires and several hunters, including Zero and Headmaster Cross. Kaname is using the party to help rebuild the vampire society (after he pretty much single-handedly destroyed it and sent it into chaos), but it is also serving as a public debut for Yuki. Yuki, now officially and publicly a pureblood vampire as well as Kaname’s fiancée, is understandably nervous. Kaname is handling things with great care, as usual, warning Yuki about the nature of the vampires who desire the power of the purebloods for themselves, and carefully sheltering her from their less desirable intentions. Or, put another way, Kaname is one super controlling boyfriend. He’s had Yuki literally locked away in their house for months, and still guards her like a hawk. It’s not totally without reason, as her position in vampire society is a dangerous one, but really, Yuki is fairly capable of taking care of herself. Ever since she became a vampire, it’s like she’s totally helpless (or, maybe that’s the way Kaname wants her). In fact, during the ball, Yuki fairly deftly handles whatever situation she finds herself in. In particular, when her best friend from school, Yori Wakaba, sneaks into the party and is (obviously) noted by the vampires, Yuki immediately steps in and quells the situation. Things get dangerous for everyone, however, when the dead body of a Hunter is found in one room, and the dust of a fallen pureblood in another. Meanwhile, Rima and Shiki confront Ichijo to find out why he has been staying with the pureblood Sara Shirabuki. When Yuki tries to get to the bottom of things, she is immediately sent away by Kaname. Later, knowing that it’s impossible to contain Yuki, Kaname gives in and returns Artemis (Yuki’s hunter/guardian weapon) to her for her protection. Yuki doesn’t waste any time and leaves the house, accompanied by a flustered Aido, to set her own plans into motion. She approaches the pureblood Isaya Shoto, and, intending to prevent another incident like the one at the soirée, offers to kill Shoto with her own hands if he ever feels the desire to end his life, so that no one else becomes involved. A cute little bonus story treats us to some background on Headmaster Cross, including his official meeting with Yuki’s mother, Juri.
I enjoy this series, but I mentioned one of its more serious problems above. And that’s Kaname’s control over Yuki. It’s pretty severe, and while Yuki does fight against it at times, it’s usually only when Kaname isn’t around to stop her himself. It’s an issue you kind of have to ignore to enjoy the series. Sometimes I’m willing to do that (like I do for Vampire Knight and Black Bird), other times I’m not (like in Ai Ore!). It depends on if I can find something of merit that I enjoy enough to push aside the uglier parts of the story. In the case of Vampire Knight (and Black Bird), I enjoy the overall story/plot, and I love Hino’s artwork. In the case of something like Ai Ore!, there wasn’t much of anything to redeem it; it was all sorts of awful. I’ll also buy Kaname’s excuse that he’s just trying to protect her while he can, because he knows that all too soon she’ll be a part of the larger world; that he can’t contain her because she wants to be free, and also because it’s impossible to hide her away forever. But, I mean, geez, the guy even forces her to dress in dainty heels and dresses so that it’s harder for her run and fight. OK, enough of that. Let’s talk purebloods. Something’s about to go down. Sara Shirabuki has been gathering power, even if she claims, in this instance, that she was only aiding another pureblood in ending his life by his own will. Doing so certainly didn’t bother her in the slightest. We already know Kaname has been doing the same, though in his case, those he has removed have been highly dangerous and unstable. I can easily see a war brewing between them. Sara has an obvious lust for power, though Kaname claims to be doing everything just to protect Yuki. However, he’s not so selfless that I’ll completely buy into that reasoning; he loves Yuki, sure, but I highly doubt his machinations are solely for her protection and not at all for his own gain. There’s also something dark going on within him, which is hinted at in the last pages of the volume’s main story chapters. Even with his murder of Shizuka, his taking down of Rido, and his slaughter of the entire vampire Senate, there hasn’t been any real sign of something deeply sinister going on with Kaname until this volume (that I can recall). I’m definitely anxious for some more revelations.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.