Vampire Knight Box Set 2: Volumes 11-19 ReviewFebruary 10, 2015
Vampire Knight is a supernatural/romance manga written by Matsuri Hino, which premiered in 2005 and published its final (19th) volume on October 14th, 2014. The series revolves around Yuki Cross, daughter of the headmaster of Cross Academy. Unbeknownst to the Day Class, Cross Academy’s Night Class consists entirely of vampires – a fact that is known only by the headmaster and his two entrusted Guardians of the school, Yuki and Zero Kiryu. November 4th saw the release of Vampire Knight Manga Box Set 2, which consists of volumes 1-10 and an exclusive art book and decorative packaging.
Yuki Cross’ earliest memory is from ten years ago – a snowy night when she was attacked by a vicious “Level E” vampire that had gone mad with bloodlust. She was saved by Kaname Kuran, a 10,000 year-old noble pureblood vampire and head of the Kuran family (side note: she’s completely enamored with him). These days, Yuki patrols Cross Academy alongside Zero Kiryu, a white-haired ex-human vampire who… is also a vampire hunter.
Taken in by headmaster Kaien Cross at a young age after his parents were brutally murdered by vampires, Zero has become quite close to Yuki over the years – and has developed an intense hatred for the bloodsuckers of the Night Class. As he slowly transforms into a vampire, Zero suffers from painful bouts of bloodlust at night, and has to take blood tablets to control his urges. He tries to hide his symptoms but they slowly get worse, causing Yuki to worry that he will eventually succumb to madness and become a Level E vampire. In the world of Vampire Knight, there is a hierarchy of vampires: purebloods reside at the top of the social pyramid, while transformed humans like Zero are at the bottom. Eventually, all transformed humans lose their minds and become Level E vampires, who are nothing more than rabid animals and are hunted by both vampires and vampire hunters.
While the first ten volumes of Vampire Knight focused a lot on the love triangle between Yuki, Kaname and Zero, this second box set focuses more on the politics of the vampire society and Kaname’s place within it. Yuki is now a vampire, having been turned by the Pureblood Kaname and regaining her lost memories of her parents. Zero’s bloodlust begins to grow unbearable, as he takes in copious amounts of blood tablets to fight off his cravings – he is falling to a Level E. And it’s revealed that Kaname is actually Yuki’s brother, which is pretty weird. Zero struggles with his feelings for Yuki, as well as the fact that she is a Pureblood and he is both a vampire and vampire hunter. Kaname and Zero still despise each other, as Kaname thinks of Zero as nothing more than a shield for Yuki, but I have to say I was quite surprised at how everything played out by the final chapter. There are a lot of interesting twists and turns within these last volumes, and fans will likely be split over the ending. The story remains engaging, emotional, and beautifully drawn throughout.
Viz Media’s Vampire Knight Box Set 2 is a beautifully designed package that any fan of the manga or anime will love, with cool box art, a handy carrying case and a gorgeous art book. If you read the first ten volumes of Vampire Knight, you owe it to yourself to see the story through to the end, and this box set is a great way to complete the collection. While the ending will prove divisive, the high bar that Matsuri Hino set for herself with the first ten volumes’ artwork and story is retained all the way through to the final page of the last volume.