Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Manga review: Vampire Knight, Vol. 15 by Matsuri Hino

Vampire Knight, Vol. 15 (Vampire Knight #15) by Matsuri Hino
Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by VIZ Media LLC (first published 2011)

Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy’s dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires! With Kaname missing, Yuki must now step in as acting head of her clan to maintain the fragile peace between the human and vampire societies. Will she be able to regain the trust of the vampire aristocrats, much less Aido?

I think I'm finally figuring out what's going on in Vampire Knight after reading Volume 15 three times. The head of the vampires, Kaname, is missing. Word is out that he killed Aido's father and the head of the Hanadagi clan so the humans are worried, hurrying home before dark. His absence has allowed the vamps to act as though there's anarchy. The Hunter Society hauls Yuki in for questioning and she candidly informs them she doesn't know her brother's whereabouts.

Yuki has moments when I see a mature young woman emerging (as happens when she's addressing the Hunters) but then Yagari later insults her (calling her an "idiot") and she's back to her meek little girl self, peering around doors and asking permission.

We see Yuki absorb memories from a traumatized child after she was grabbed by a vampire. Yuki sees images of Zero. She also asks to leave Hunter headquarters to search for the vampire who got away from Zero. President Cross grants her request. Yuki steps up as interim leader hoping the vampires will accept her. I laughed when she finds the one she's searching for and knocks him out with her handbag. Zero alert! He's standing outside and he exchanges words with Yuki. I was glad to see him actually speak to her.

Yuki also addresses a group of vampire aristocrats, asking for their help to bring back the Night Class. hey don't respect her until Shiki and Rima step up, saying they understand what she's trying to do (adhere to Kaname's treaty with the Hunters for peace). Still, the group doesn't agree until Lord Aido's son steps in and gives Yuki his pledge.

Once the Night Class begins to gather at the school, Yuki thanks them in true Yuki fashion by saying the wrong thing (she needs to understand how to speak as a pureblood leader and not a simple school girl) and asks them to promise not to hurt humans. Zero is back in Cross Academy uniform.

Zero: Vampires are nothing but beasts in human form. You can never lower your guard.
Yuki: We disagree...Don't we?
Zero: We always have on this.

The next day Yuki enlists help from the Night Class to search for vamps breaking the treaty. A group is auctioning off humans and stop when hunters approach. Yuki confronts one, holding him off until his girlfriend shows up, holding a knife to Yuki's throat. Zero appears, taking out the man with his special gun.

Zero: If you don't like the way I do things...You've still got the bracelet on your wrist, don't you? Use it. Subdue me. That spell still has an effect on me.
Yuki: There's no need. Unless you become a Level E.

Their faces when he is pressing her hand at the side of his neck is like old times with the tension turned up about 90%. We then see Kaname at some location having to do with lava and a house before shifting back to the school. Sara makes a grand entrance in dramatic fashion, begging President Cross to allow her into the school since Kaname wants to kill her. She then implies Kaname is on a killing spree and Cross admits a sleeping pureblood was dispatched of and Kaname was witnessed leaving the crime scene. Poor Yuki is then begged by Sara to allow her to remain by the girl's side for protection. Oh Sara-sama, you conniving long haired witch. Later, Yuki has a meltdown in her room, angst-ing over Kaname. Zero pops his head in to tell her Ichijo wants to see her as Yuki's popping blood tablets. She doesn't like the taste. Zero heads outside and leans against a tree where Sara finds him, asking him if he's hungry. Meanwhile, Maria approaches Yuki, noting Zero and her don't talk like old times. Surprisingly, Maria states maybe she'll take Zero away from Yuki. As if.

Yuki runs into her old bestie Yori outside. She asks her friend why she's not afraid of her now that she's a vampire. Yori laughs, telling her she's not afraid. Yuki thinks she lacks dignity, charisma and isn't an imposing fearful figure. She's nothing like Kaname but she can't doubt herself. Maria goes after Zero, trying to get him to admit hating Yuki for her betraying him.

Maria: After all, she betrayed you, didn't she? Even if she didn't realize it herself...She made you believe that she was human...For such a long time. It was--
Zero: I've never considered...What she did to be a betrayal.
Maria: I see.

Maria collapses and Zero picks her up. She remarks that this reminds her of Ichiru, how she also fell and he carried her, scolding her just like Zero. She's been searching for Ichiru but he's right here and she touches Zero's chest. If I didn't trust her, I'd say this scene was touching but Maria is part of Sara's group.

Maria: he's inside you, Zero...A fragment of Shizuka-sama is inside you...And so is Ichiru. I can sense it.

Yuki runs into Takuma inside the building. He inquires about Kaname and she tells him what she's told everyone--she doesn't know. He tells her she's a better ally than he and he's been with Kaname longer. Yuki blurts out he loves Kaname. Takuma gets weird, then changes the subject to the new tablets and how he doesn't think she should try them. Sara pops in, chastising him for putting down the new tablets and it's obvious he's trying to warn Yuki. In private, Sara slaps Takuma for defying her. Wow, her true colors are beginning to show.

Volume 15 had a lot of scenes between Yuki and Zero but the best was saved for last. Passing him on the stairs, Yuki apologizes for the previous day's problems. Zero asks why she lets them look down on her. Yuki retorts with she wants them to talk like they used to. He grabs her, yanking her down the stairs, informing her she's not herself, she's blood starved. Outside, she shoves him away but he bites his skin, telling her to drink. Fighting him and herself, Yuki then gives in and sips. But since she mentioned old times, she grabs a hold of Zero and goes for his neck. Hmm, what an ending to a tense volume.

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
A fitting cover since Yuki and Zero have so many scenes together and that ending.

Book source:

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