Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: VAMPIRE KNIGHT Volume 19


CARTOONIST: Matsuri Hino
TRANSLATION: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
LETTERS: Inori Fukuda Trant
EDITOR: Nancy Thislethwaite
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7391-5; paperback (October 2014); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
208pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Vampire Knight is a shojo manga series written and drawn by manga creator, Matsuri Hino.  The series premiered and was serialized in the Japanese manga magazine, LaLa.  VIZ Media publishes Vampire Knight in North America, collecting the manga in a series of graphic novels.  VIZ Media recently published Vampire Knight Volume 19, the final volume of the graphic novel series.

Vampire Knight is set in and around Cross Academy.  This is a private boarding school with two classes:  the Day Class and the Night Class.  At twilight, the Day Class students return to their dorm and cross paths with the Night Class.  They don't know that the Night Class students are actually vampires.  Yuki Cross is the adopted daughter of Headmaster Kaien Cross, and she is also a pure-blood vampire.  Zero Kiryu is a human suffering from the curse of the vampire.  Together, they are the Guardians of the school, patrolling the hallways and school grounds to protect the Day Class humans from the Night Class vampires.

As Vampire Knight, Vol. 19 (Chapters 89 to 92 to The Final Night) opens, Cross Academy will be closed again.  This time it will become the headquarters of the Hunter Society.  Meanwhile, Yuki has stolen Zero's memories of her to free him, and she plans on giving her own life to turn her brother, the pure-blood vampire, Kaname Kuran, into a human.

Kaname, however, plans to die so that his body can create new vampire-killing weapons for the Hunter Society.  The other vampires are determined to stop him, and that means war between humans and vampires.  Eternity is at stake, and Yuki and Kaname try to change destiny.

So the Vampire Knight manga has come to an end, and I didn't see it coming.  I don't know if other regular readers of the series will be satisfied with this finale.  I'm not.  Vampire Knight Volume 19 is not of poor quality.  It just seems like an untidy semi-rush job on the part of creator, Matsuri Hino.  Or maybe I'm in denial.

Vampire Knight has always been melodramatic, edgy, and bloody, and Vol. 19 is certainly that.  As usual, all the characters seem emotionally, if not mentally unhinged in this final graphic novel, and that offers some enjoyable vampire soap opera.  To the end, it's all crazy love, so at least the narrative is consistent to the end.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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