Note: There are no spoilers in this review. Everything I talk about is revealed in the 1st episode.
Cross Academy has two sets of students, the Day Students and the Night Students, and the Night Students happen to be vampires. The goal of the school is to create a peaceful environment for both humans and vampires to live in and put to rest the age old war between the two races, although the Day Students don’t know that the eerily beautiful Night Students are actually vampires. The vampires at the school thrive on a pill that allows vampires to receive nutrition without harming humans for their blood. But a vampire’s hunting instinct is still difficult to control…
Yuki is the adopted daughter of the chairman at Cross Academy. She is one of two students from the Day Class that are aware that the Night Class students are actually vampires. Thus she acts as a prefect that guards the Day Class from interacting too much with the Night Class. Although her first memory is of being attacked by a blood thirsty vampire her second memory is of another vampire (Kaname) saving her. All her memories prior to this event have been forgotten, including knowing the identity of her family. Yuki loves Kaname very much and bears no ill will towards vampires, even though she acknowledges that there is a high possibility that her family was attacked by vampires. Vampires seem to be especially attracted to Yuki’s blood and she often finds herself under assualt. Yuki is a positive and accepting person that just wants to see those around her happy. Although Yuki loves Kaname she stops herself from acting on her feelings because she is very aware that vampires are completely different creatures from humans. Her weapon of choice is a staff named Artemis that can only be wielded by humans.
Zero could be considered the polar opposite of Yuki, his entire family was slaughted by a vampire and he loathes them entirely. Zero distrusts almost everyone and wants to put himself at a distance from others. He was also taken in and raised by the chairman (although not adopted). He acts as the other prefect with Yuki because he distrusts the vampires and their promise not to drink the blood of humans. His weapon of choice is a gun named Crossing that can only harm vampires.
Kaname is one of the few Pureblood vampires. Pureblood vampires are the most powerful vampires that exist and if they will it, they can wield complete control over all other vampires (whether they want to be controlled or not). It’s because of Kaname’s influence that the delicate peace of Cross Academy is maintained. Kaname rescued Yuki from a vampire when she was young.
The art style and animation of this series is absolutely beautiful. Every scene is a little bit of eye candy for the viewer, I’m especially fond of how Zero was drawn (a.k.a. he is my favorite piece of eye candy). I greatly admire the manga-ka that created this series, I think she has a uniquely beautiful approach in her character designs. I’m especially fond of the uniform designs, they’re not too plain or too overdone and succeed in being quite original in comparison to other shoujo anime uniforms. The best part of the uniforms is how the Day Students wear dark uniforms with light trim and the Night Students where white uniforms with dark trim, not only is it ironic but it’s also functional (since dark colors are best seen during the day and light colors are best seen during the night).
Initially I disliked the opening when a friend linked it to me as a “great anime opening”, but when I began actually watching the series it grew on me. There is so much symbolism that perfectly reflects the events that are ocurring and subtley foreshadows what will occur without really giving away anything. I also really like the song choice, the animation matches the fast pace of the song so there is a lot to look at in this opening.
My only complaint about the opening is that at the very end it shows Yuki asleep on a bed in an ugly purple dress and waking up when ‘someone’ puts their hand on her shoulder to wake her up. The way the dress looks and the way she moves her head as she wakes up looks weird/dumb to me. Such an odd little thing to dislike but I do.
The closing sequence takes things a bit slower and has more of a gothic feel to it. I usually hate songs that have a slow pace…but I love this one. Both the opening and closing songs are on my MP3 player, but this is the song I’ll hit repeat for every time it pops up on my playlist. The ending is just as symbolic of the plot as the opening, I like the dark and eerie feel it gives off.
Whats on her lap that looks like a light saber? I have ABSOLUTELY no idea. I’ve watched the ending almost every single episode and I can’t figure out what it is. Seems like it should be her staff Artemis but I don’t think thats quite it. EDIT: It’s the mirror!!! I don’t know why I didn’t see that.
My favorite aspect of the series is how Zero and Yuki interact. They have a great relationship even though Zero holds everyone around him (Yuki included) at an arm’s length or more away. Despite this Yuki has a fairly good understanding of Zero and his mannersims. One of my favorite parts is in the image below where Yuki interprets Zero’s angry face for the chairman.
This shoujo series has something that few shoujo series has…action! I love fighting scenes but I also love when the characters have relationships that may lead to romance. In a Shonen series it might hint at romance between 2 characters but they generally tend to steer clear of too many details. Whereas many Shojo series fully explore the budding relationship between two characters but there is little to no action. A series like this is the solution to that dilemna!
The director brought out the humor in this series really well. He uses backgrounds (such as the one pictured below) to emphasive the comical situation and the faces the characters make are too preciously funny. Nothing makes me attach to characters more then when they cause me to smile…thats probably why I don’t care for Kaname so much in comparison to the rest of the cast. Kaname doesn’t really invoke any humor in the series, but it makes sense that the ‘dark prince’ of vampires wouldn’t be full of chuckles. Although I suspect as the series progresses and the plot gets more and more serious, humor might have to take a backseat. I’ll just have to see when I watch the next series (Vampire Knight Guilty).
How is the manga?
I know this is a review on the anime but I can’t help but comment on the manga. I read the manga first (I’m caught up to Japan in the manga) yet I think the anime is better. The anime stays truthful (so far) to the manga but adds more humor. I also like seeing these particular characters in color more…mmmm Zero especially. This is, to date, only the second shoujo series where I would recommend the anime over the manga (Fruits Basket being the first). As of right now the anime is incomplete compared to the manga though.
A bit too many pictures? I admit I got a bit carried away taking screenshots. There are just too many cute/beautiful/dark scenes just even in the first episode for me to resist not going overboard.