Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Manga review: Vampire Knight, Vol. 16

Vampire Knight, Vol. 16 (Vampire Knight #16) by Matsuri Hino
Paranormal romance manga*Paperback, 200 pages
Published: March 5th 2013 by VIZ Media LLC (first published May 2nd 2012)

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!

I have to begin my review by stating this is my first time reading an electronic manga galley and it took some time to adjust seeing the company logo silhouetted behind the art work. Most of the time, it wasn't a problem and there was one pane which I had trouble reading.

Some of my issues with this series continue, but I can happily say I'm once again understanding the story line (yay me). The last volume ended with Zero yanking a blood starved Yuki outside to feed her, after everything that has transpired between them. Matsuri Hino's artwork truly touches readers when her characters are gazing at each other with the intensity Yuki regards Zero with.

Yuki: I just wanted to take a good look at the person whose blood I'm going to drink...I'm not...Doing this becasue you persuaded me to...Mr. Future Hunter Society President.

And then we have that picture--aww, seems like old times! This scene is powerful and restores my hope in the series.

Zero: I don't...Have anything inside my mind that I don't want you...To see.

Another aww... And then comes the zinger I won't reveal. Yuki is continuing to step up as he interim leader of the Kuran family in Kaname's absence and strikes a deal with Zero so they can walk around the school and treat each other with a modicum of respect. Zero runs into the Headmaster and it's weird to see family members treat each other with such a distance edged between them. Their dialogue is rife with innuendos, simmering threats and digs, talk about love, hate and detesting. Sad.

Sara crushes Yuki in the voting for Night Class President. No surprise there since this just strengthens Sara's plans. Yuki tries to talk to Ichijo about what he told her the day before but Sara jumps in and he denies his accusation, placating Yuki by admitting he is wrong and the new supply of tablets is good. Yeah, right, at least Yuki begins to wake up and suspect he's lying.

We see Kaname and his two accomplices (Akatsuki and Ruka) show up at the residence of Isaya Shoto-Sama. Kaname asks Ruka to use her powers and they're interrupted by Hunter Society President Cross. Can we say "Showdown?!" Cross draws a blade on Kaname and is told by the always cool Kaname not to get in his way or he'll be eliminated too just like the purebloods. Yes, this volume has some tension!

Yuki learns Aido has left the school to help in her search, but he didn't tell her--curious. There's a secret meeting of Hunters Yuki barges in on, only to hear the Hunters don't plan on stop on stopping Kaname on his bloody quest. Cross and Kaname continue their conversation as we learn what Kuran wants. Maria reveals her feelings about the new tablets and the quiet one shows us how deep she can be. Her thoughts helped clear up any confusion I had about the Senate and the pureblood Progenitor.

Cross demands a reason from Kaname. His response?
Kuran: My reasons are so simple that I don't need to utter them. I've taken a different path...But my goal has always been the same.

The story progression is still dragged out. At least the scenes between Yuki and Zero reveal something about their motives and feelings.

Yuki: You're one of the kindest people I've ever met.
His reaction is pure Zero.

Ichijo pulls a Jekyll and Hyde. The Hunters want Yuki on their side since she's a pureblood who can surprisingly use their weapons. Cross takes a beating from both sides simply because he desires peace and Yuki finally stands up to Sara. Could it be the little girl is beginning to grow up? Will she stand up to Kaname in the future? To Zero? Matsuri Hino has some emotionally charged scenes which are beautifully rendered. If Vampire Knight Vol. 16 is any indication of Yuki's shift in character, I hope the changes keep on coming in future issues. Oh, and that cliffhanger ending has me really wanting Volume 17. It's good to still be a Vampire Knight fan gurl.

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
Ooohhh, the masks are off of Zero and Kaname. What does that mean?

Book source:
Edelweiss. Thanks to Viz Media.

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