Vampire Knight Series Review: Tortured Teen Love Triangle With Fangs

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Vampire Knight Overview:

One of the few anime I did read the manga of (at a friend’s insistence) Vampire Knight is the story of Yuki Cross who’s first memory is of snow and blood when her family were killed by vampires and she was saved by the vampire Kaname. Years pass and she now goes to school where the day class are human and the night class are vampires. Yuki, aided by Zero (her adopted brother) work to keep the classes separate and the fact that the night class are vampires a secret.

Vampire Knight Review:

While I accept that vampire stories and sex are more or less intrinsically linked, I think books like Twilight and Vampire Knight (the manga) have a lot to answer for in how they represent romance to teenagers. That said, I’m not one of those people who thinks things always have to have a positive message, I just find it really odd that some people read or watch these things and think they are romantic. These stories have a romance in them, but they actually end up coming off pretty creepy when you think about the context so the romantic factor gets shot in the foot pretty quick.

So Vampire Knight? It is one of those shows I think needs a reboot now that the manga is finished because you could certainly clean up a lot of the character and story issues now that they know where it is going.

Also, having rewatched Vampire Knight to do this review, the animation is kind of bad. This isn’t something I usually complain about but it was amazing how many times this anime relies on a still image with a pan rather than actual animation. While this does show off the very nice character designs, and fans of the manga know just how gorgeous these characters can look when allowed to pose, it actually makes for a pretty dull viewing experience a lot of the time.

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Despite everything I’ve just said, I don’t actually dislike Vampire Knight as a story. Or rather as an introduction to a story. Much like Kaname spends a number of scenes in this first season staring at a chess board, the story itself is positioning the characters where they need to be. At times this leads to some awkward encounters and interactions but it does set up just the right amount of tension so that you know going into season 2 things are going to get explosive.

The main strength of the story is that it keeps the focus relatively tight on Yuki, Kaname and Zero as the love triangle at the centre of the story. While there are efforts to fill in other characters and organisations, these remain strictly background with the focus more on how those events impact on these three characters.


During Vampire Knight, the interactions between Zero and Yuki are really great to watch, even if I want to slap Yuki a lot of the time for some of her assumptions and feeling guilty about every single thing. Zero isn’t the best character ever written, but he is emotionally hamstrung by having watched his family die and is now turning into a vampire when he was trained to be a vampire hunter. So his angst is actually relatively understandable, more so than Yuki’s happy go lucky attitude she insists on putting forward even though inside she’s just a pit of hopeless despair.


Unfortunately the interactions between Kaname and Yuki aren’t so impressive. I get the show wants us to want these two together but he keeps Yuki at arms length most of the time and then gets jealous and possessive at others. His actions force her to distrust him and then he gets annoyed that she doesn’t trust him.

Amazingly enough when you don’t communicate and sit around and brood a lot, relationships don’t exactly work out easily which is a bit of an issue when it is a cornerstone for the plot of Vampire Knight. I know a lot of people will disagree but by the end of season 1 I’d really rather Yuki told Kaname where to go and headed off with Zero.

So yes, watching this you are in for a lot of teenage angst and the wondering if the choice they made was right and staring wistfully at the profile or back of the character they like and if you aren’t up for that Vampire Knight is not going to be your thing. Because basically everything else in this story falls flat.

The Chairman, (Yuki and Zero’s adopted father) acts a complete fool 90% of the time and is an irritant given he’s the one who set up the ridiculous school system. There’s enough moments in the show that point to him having a more serious side but we aren’t getting to see that in season 1 so basically he is a throw away character who seems to exist only to annoy Zero and cry when Yuki doesn’t call him father.


The rest of the vampires all have a serious Kaname fan club going on, and while this is explained, it means that their personalities are pretty fixed which makes them less than amazing characters in Vampire Knight. Someone touches Kaname they get super defensive. Zero says something to Kaname, they gather to go pick a fight but then walk away because actually having a fight would be lame.

Ruka gets a little bit of development as she pours out an unrequited love for Kaname but that’s a very minor side story and Aidou gets to be a complete pain in the neck as he regularly over steps the rules mostly so Kaname can show how cool he is in settling things down, but again this isn’t really a focus point and mostly makes Aidou look like an idiot.


Even the idea that Yuki and Zero are guardians in the school is kind of a throw away plot line to explain why they are wandering around at all hours and not abiding by a sensible curfew. While Zero can fight due to his hunter training, he isn’t really interested in looking out for the interests of the school and regularly exacerbates issues between the vampires or stirs up the day class with his cold attitude.

Yuki on the other hand is useless for pretty much Vampire Knight’s entire run. She has a weapon (Artemis) but in season 1, the three times she draws it she pretty much never actually hits a vampire and almost always has the weapon either taken away from her or drops it. About the only purpose Yuki actually serves outside of the romance is bait because every time she steps outside she literally gets attacked by a vampire. Again, this plot point will be explained later, but it makes for a really silly story during the early stages where you just feel like she has to have some sort of vampire magnet attached to her.

Before I finish though, a point needs to be made that the opening and ending themes to season 1 of this show are fantastic. Definitely exactly what the show needed and they keep you hooked. While the animation of the show is less than impressive, the visuals themselves are really detailed with repeated visual motifs to be found  and plenty of other interesting details and symbolism if you pay attention. Plus, the colour scheme works really well for the show.


Basically, if you don’t mind watching three teenagers in a love triangle with the occasional vampire attack thrown in and some back story about a school trying to build peace between humans and vampires, you will probably find a lot to enjoy here. It is strictly set up for the events of season 2, but it paints an interesting picture of the characters and sketches in the world they live in enough to keep you on board for the story.

While not my favourite story by a long shot, I don’t mind the occasional rewatch of this, though part of me still wishes that Zero would actually use his gun on some of the vampire students earlier in the show.

I’d love to know your thoughts on Vampire Knight if you’ve watched it and hopefully you will check out my review of season 2 out later this week.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

12 Days of Anime Characters – Kaname Chidori

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One day to go for the 12 Days of Anime. Yesterday we looked at a support character who deserved his own series (Goro from Darling in the Franxx) and today we’re going to turn our attention to a girl who did an amazing job in the original series but in the most recent iteration – Invisible Victory –  got completely sidelined. Yes, we’re looking at Kaname Chidori from Full Metal Panic and one of my all time favourite female characters.


Kaname Chidori starts out as your ordinary high school girl. Then a new student comes along who is a little bit weird. For Kaname, Sousuke is just a little unbalanced, doesn’t really get how things works, and over-reacts to everything. He’s a pain but one she can’t leave alone as she works to ‘correct’ his behaviour in a Japanese school. All too soon though she realises the military maniac is actually trying to protect her from various militia forces that would like to kidnap her because of some knowledge she has in her head.

It’s a lot to take in.

During the first season of Full Metal Panic, Kaname is very much trying to just live her normal life however when push comes to shove, Kaname is ultimately the one who saves the day. Admittedly with some help from Tessa.


Fumoffu gives us more of an inside look at Kaname and Sousuke’s daily lives as high school students and here is where Kaname shines. While she might be out of her element on the battlefield, in a high school setting Kaname has her feet very solidly on the ground and everyone, including Sousuke better watch out if they cross her.

And then we had Second Raid. Second Raid gave Kaname a chance to rise to a military challenge and while she understandably ended up in tears, Kaname’s bravery, endurance and resilience were amazing to behold. To be perfectly franks she came out of Second Raid as the best character in the series.


All of this would have been fine, except that Full Metal Panic felt a need to bring us Invisible Victory. While I wasn’t upset to see more of these characters, the experience was ultimately underwhelming, more so because Kaname gets kidnapped at the end of episode 4 and that’s it for her character essentially for the remainder of the run time. Sousuke is great and all but the show works best when the two are kept together. Still, I won’t turn down the scene with Sousuke and Kaname at the shrine. If Invisible Victory did one thing right, it was definitely that scene.

So here is to Kaname and hoping that if they continue Full Metal Panic beyond this that her character gets back in the spot light where it belongs.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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Vampire Knight Guilty Series Review: The Dark Side of Obsession



On Wednesday I reviewed season 1 of Vampire Knight and now I’m finishing off the show with a review of season 2. Our characters pick up from where season ended with the death of a pure blood vampire and Zero is the one being blamed. The plot thickens however as more and more conspiracies are deeply held secrets are dragged into the light and Kaname’s plans finally come to fruition.

There will definitely be some spoilers below.


The main issue with season 1 is it is strictly background for the events that we will see unfold in season 2. As a result, there’s a lot of filler sequences and throw away moments as well as a lot of characters sitting around brooding and wondering what other characters are brooding about. What we see in Guilty is the result of all of these plans and intentions and what we realise is that most of these characters should have just walked away. I know that there are a lot of contrived reasons about how these characters are getting dragged along or getting the short stick because of destiny or fate, but really, most of the things that happen to them are the result of their own choices and not all of those choices have been great.


Zero continues to descend into madness as a level E vampire because he didn’t drink the blood of pure blood vampire. This leads me to question whether or not Kaname could have solved this issue much easier by just giving Zero his blood way back when it was first noted that the tablets weren’t working. Then Kaname wouldn’t have had to have gotten jealous over Yuki feeding Zero her blood or worried that Zero was actually going to hurt her. While Kaname might find Zero feeding off him personally repulsive, it would have solved a lot of other issues, and considering how dirty Kaname is happy to get his hands, feeding Zero really shouldn’t have been that much of an issue.

Zero on the other hand throws away any sympathy I had for him as a character. In season one he was the only character I actually felt sorry for because he really was dealt a crappy hand at life. In season two, he actively pushes Yuki aside and ultimately rejects her for being who she is. Zero, you are a fool. One of the things I was hoping when I read the manga was it would clarify why Zero would act so idiotically. No, it didn’t. In fact I’m pretty sure Zero is more stubborn and irritating in the manga than he appears here. So basically he’s going to be unhappy and it is by his own choice. Good for you Zero. Have fun with that. Okay, the stuff with his brother was kind of a low blow and hard for him to cope with but emotional trauma only lets you get away with so much before the audience expects the character to use some common sense.


Outside of the two boys both being idiotically stubborn and making the story messier than it needs to be we have Yuki who has decided to stop being bait for vampires and instead goes into mental break down land. Now we do get a decent enough back story as to what is going on here and it makes sense that Yuki is going through a lot, but it doesn’t make her character particularly interesting in this season. By the time she pulls it together to get proactive, the vast majority of the story has already played out and there is very little left for her to do.


Still, where the love triangle was the strength of season 1, it is the politics of the vampire world and the meddling of hunter association that take control of season 2 and the end result is a far more satisfying look at this dark world. The conflict playing out at the school has a fairly grand scale and while it seems unlikely that any student would ever return to the school again by the end, it makes for an impressive setting for the final act of this story.


Still, if you get to the end of Guilty and feel like the story is incomplete, you would be correct. It is one where the anime finished before the manga did so there is definitely more to the story. My personal recommendation is just to skip the anime altogether and read the manga. The anime isn’t impressive enough on its own and the unfinished story just leaves you with way too many questions.

That said, it isn’t unwatchable and it does bring us to the end of the immediate conflict as well as offers a solution of sorts to the love triangle. So without reading the manga you will get some closure and won’t just be left entirely hanging. The theme song to Guilty isn’t quite as good as season one, but is still pretty impressive, and the action is definitely better in season 2 given we actually get some decent action sequences. Also a fair sized body count by the end, somewhere along the lines this show got quite dark.


All and all, it isn’t a bad watch though there are certainly better shows out there. It really depends if you are up for a supernatural teen romance or not.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.