Sunday, May 20, 2012

Manga review: Vampire Knight, Vol. 12 by Matsuri Hino

Sequential art: Manga
Genre: YA paranormal
Format: Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by VIZ Media LLC (first published July 5th 2010)

Blurb: It's been one year since Yuki left Cross Academy with Kaname, and tonight is her first vampire soirée as a pureblood. Her best friend Sayori has snuck into the party to see her, but will Yuki and Zero be able to protect a human girl amid a bevy of vampires?

My thoughts: My comments about Volume 11 lacking in direction also apply with this next installment. During the soiree Yuki is formally introduced to the vampires then senses Zero there. Finding him in the crowd, he causes a scene and is hurtfully cold to her. When the murder of a pureblood and the suicide of a hunter is revealed, the party ends (as all extravagant events in this series does). 

Much emphasis is placed on pureblood Sara Shirabuki. She tries to take Yuki's human friend, Yori, away from the party but is stopped by Zero. After Zero takes the girl out of the ballroom, Sara approaches Yuki, asking her to be her 'friend.' Poor Yuki has enough to contend with instead of making another 'problematic' friend. Level E's are supposed to be unsteady but I find many of the purebood vamps to be  way more crazy (or at least on their way). 

Sara confesses to Zero her fiance, Ouri, wanted her to end his life and she did (also taking his powers in the process), then she 'ordered' the female hunter to kill herself to place the blame on her. I was confused here since it looked like the hunter offed herself after being bitten and didn't want to become a blood drinker. Many times I find myself rereading pages and going back, or checking my extensive notes to see if I missed something, trying to figure out exactly what's going on. The best way I can explain my problem with this series is Vampire Knight has become disjointed. Main story lines and plot lines take a backseat to the sudden appearance of secondary characters with their story arcs thrown in so their later appearance will make sense, but this takes away from the immediacy of Yuki/Kaname/Zero if not done correctly. And often times it is not, resulting in choppy segments.

Sara is then shown walking around a girl's school on a tour where she feints illness to stay behind. Instead, she befriends some students to 'accept' her in true vampire fashion so she can drink from them. Meanwhile, Zero can smell the fresh blood on her but can't kill her (as dictated under the "new treaty" which gives him authority to take out any vamp that forces a human to give their blood) since the students willingly gave their blood.

More confusion ensued for me when there's a scene with Kaname, inside that 'secret room' (with the symbol on the door) in the lower level of his mountain house, and he's talking to Rido? Rido? I thought he was killed earlier but Matsuri Hino has thrown us another curve ball and we readers have to decipher just what the heck is going on with Kaname. WTH? He's not the innocent young man devoted to protect his little sister until she's old enough to learn her true heritage and then live happily ever after with him playing husband and wife? I expected a transition scene here, some background/backstory, to help explain what's going on but did not find it. 

As for the artwork, I find much of Hino's work softer, eyes are still emotive and expressive, and there are smaller moments of tenderness like touches or looks that grab me. I've invested a lot of time in this series and don't want to stop reading it but since I find myself frustrated--yet am still a staunch fan of Hino's art--I will borrow the remaining Vampire Knight books from the library and not spend anymore of my money on a manga series that lacks continuity and direction.

Rating: I liked it when I wasn't confused.

Cover comment: The art of Yuki and Kaname makes one think this volume contains a lot about them but it doesn't, just some moments. Sara's face should be lurking above them since so much is spent on her becoming the new antagonist.

Book source: Borrowed from library.

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