(CREDIT: created by Matsuri Hino.)
Rank: 2 out of 5 <-- average
Yuki Cross remebers her earliest memory of being attacked by a vampire and saved by another named Kaname Kuran. Ten years later, Yuki and a vampire hunter named Zero attend Cross Academy as guardians protecting the "Day Class" human students from the "Night Class" vampire students. The story follows Yuki having suspicions about Kaname, helping Zero deal with his turning into a vampire, recovering her lost memories, and dealing with vampire society.
After a while, I have come to realize that this story is Vampire Academy without traveling, controversy, sex, and any form of humor. Reading Vampire Knight is the equivilent of taking a class and realizing over time that you are unable to absorb anymore reasonable information without wanting out. The course might be interesting, but you have hit the point when the information has exhausted you.
The overall storytelling strikes as one of the biggest unavoidable flaws of Vampire Knight. I brought this up with a friend on Pandora a few months back, and he said that though he liked the artwork (he especially liked the rose design - see to the left), he found the plot to be very overdramatic and cheesy. On one hand I agree with him; however, this is not my biggest concern. Maybe it has to do with the "women liking cheesy drama and romance" stereotype box that I fit in every now and then. Hey, I'm not ashamed.
I find that this series indulges too much in being too vague and one-dimensional. Though far better than one particular "vampire" interpretation, these vampires are still lame. We get it: they are gorgeous, they sleep in the day, they crave the blood of their lovers, and they have proper manners. Some characteristics that are never brought into question are how they react to sunlight, how long do they live on average, and why the hell are they so human? Sure, I enjoy the vampires with guilty consciousnesses in other stories (*cAoNuGgEhLs* *cMoIuCgKh*), but Vampire Knight doesn't bring up the fact that most vampires... KILL HUMANS. Having cunning, evil vampires haunt and terrorize the most royal of their people doesn't quite satisfy. Even in a human world, that whole concept is esseintailly boring in its basic form.
Want vampires terrorizing society? Once again, Vampire Academy has it, and does it better.
Not to mention that chess references and symbolism are splattered all over the story. If only I knew how to play would I understand what is going on with the story 75% of the time. Damn that cursed exposition (which plagues the "plot" by the way)!As for people... either they were major and important from day one, or they are one-dimensional and forgettable. No character stands out in a unique way, except maybe Zero, the most stubbornly unbreakable and indifferent character I have ever seen. He makes all hard-skinned bad boys look like cry babies. Yuki fits one of the several typical shojo heroine types: enthusiastic, thoughtful, curious, big-eyed, selfless, always hungry, not very school-oriented, etc. etc. But until a certain point, she was pretty enjoyable for what she was. No freaking out like Tohru (Fruits Basket) and not a crybaby like Mikan (Gakuen Alice.) And for Kaname... about that guy... He is the Edward Cullen that finally had the balls to come out and say "I have emotional issues and I express it by being possessive and treating Yuki like a child."
Until this series is done, I am still for Yuki and Zero being a pair because at least they had a real relationship as opposed to Yuki and Kaname's... I probably shouldn't spoil anything.
But one might wonder why I didn't rate this any lower: the series started off cliched, but decent. The anime had more humerous moments than the manga, but character interaction stimulated a few chuckles, especially when Akatsuki and Hanabusa are around. Yuki and Zero's growing friendship marks as a definite highlight. But once Yuki gets her memories back, the storyline gets annoying and I start to care less about everyone (except Zero. ^_^) The "plot" flows rather awkwardly because it often fails at introducing and fleshing out secondary characters. Sometimes in order to enjoy a story, the characters must be likable when they face conflict.
So overall, I give Vampire Knight a 2.0: there are might be three decent characters with interesting pasts, but a better sense of direction and less vagueness might have made it a 3.0.
I am still yet to figure out why I still keep an eye on this series. Maybe I invest too much energy and hope into certain relationships between characters...
(REEDIT: Sept. 10, 2011)
(REEDIT: Sept. 10, 2011)