Sunday, May 20, 2012

Manga review: Vampire Knight, Volume 11 by Matsuri Hino

Sequential art: Manga
Genre: YA paranormal
Format: Paperback, 200 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by VIZ Media LLC (first published December 4th 2009)

Blurb: Ichijo wakes up and finds himself in the care of Sara Shirabuki, who saved his life after he tried sacrificing himself to kill Ichio. She asks him to tell her all he knows about Kaname...

Yuki returns to the Kuran manor with Kaname, and he admits all of his past wrongdoings to her...

After that there is a one year time-skip, and the focus changes to Zero, who saves a little girl from being kidnapped by some ex-human vampires...

My thoughts: What has always attracted me to the Vampire Knight series--both the manga and then the anime--is Matsuri Hino's artwork. The emotions she captures on the faces of her three main characters--Yuki, Kaname and Zero--is outstanding, but her crafting of their story has been.... lacking. This has become obvious in this installment. After everything that happened in book ten, this volume begins with a slight continuation and then jumps--all the way to the next year. What the? Nothing important happened to these people in that time span?

Uncle Rido is gone, as is the entire Senate. The tormented Zero is living in his own apartment and still going to Cross Academy. We learn this when his adopted dad pays a visit. We also learn that Mr. Cross, headmaster, had been placed under house arrest for his role in the Hunter/Senate take down and was pursued by both societies at one point. Now they don't know what to do with him. While he's dealing with his own problems, we see Zero is still dangling between sanity and insanity (worrying he may 'lose it' and become a full-blown lunatic Level E vampire). There's mention of "hostile" vampires raising mayhem and Zero tells his dad he's been busy hunting and destroying them at night, while trying to be a student by day. Mr. Cross lets him know that Kaname has resurfaced and has requested a meeting with the "new Vampire Hunter society."

I'm not sure I buy Zero as being groomed to take over this new society. He's too unstable and needs to get his act together first. Supposedly, Mr. Cross and (Zero's teacher) Yagari are waiting for Zero to "mature" enough in order for him to take over this new role. I wonder if he even wants this role or is it being forced upon him?

Yuki is being tutored by Aido and is kept locked up by brother Kaname for her own protection. Seems there are now two types of vampires: the ones who are enemies and the ones who aren't. OK.This go round Yuki is finally showing some moments of maturity through her scenes of introspection. She is a pureblood exhibiting sure signs of hunger but refuses to use her fangs. Kaname is patiently waiting for her to drink from his neck but since this is done by vamps who love the one they drink from, he accepts that she loves him, yet still harbors feelings for Zero. The fact that Yuki is still letting Kaname rule her life and every move bothers me. 

Thankfully, there was an incredibly tender scene between brother and sister which shows her slight maturity when Yuki thinks about the ever suffering Kaname, "What kind of world has he been forced to face all alone?" Then she spills to him "I don't mind if you're tainted! Then taint me too. I love these hands." But in Kaname style he continues to suffer alone in silence.

Next is news that the Hunter Society is throwing a "soiree" as a symbol of the peace treaty between them and the vampires. Cross informs Zero that Yuki will be in attendance and since Zero threatened her by saying he'd hunt her down and kill her, dad tells him he will "protect Yuki from you with everything I got." Finally! Mr. Cross has sprouted a spine and stood up to Zero whom he adopted after taking in Yuki. Gone is his silly, immature comedic antics which I had grown tired of. In fact, this volume in general is very somber, the tone has changed. 

Yuki is formally introduced at the party then whisked away to meet with her human friend from school until their meeting is cut short when a murder/suicide is revealed. Some characters are finally showing signs of growth, while others continue to swallow in despair. Volume 11 certainly had its share of soap opera-ish drama and a huge jump in the timeline. As a loyal fan, I'll continue to read this series but it is certainly showing signs of age and a lack of direction.

Rating: I liked it.

Cover comment: It is interesting to see Zero pointing a knife above Yuki's heart instead of his special vampire-killing gun.

Book source: Borrowed from the library.

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