Monday, June 21, 2010

Vampire Knight Volume 10

By Matsuri Hino. Released in Japan by Hakusensha, serialization ongoing in the magazine LaLa. Released in North America by Viz.

Plot and continuity continue to be the main weakness of this manga, but I'm not sure it matters much when you have this much style. Much of this volume is taken up with big fights that don't actually happen. Yuki and Zero's confrontation is interrupted by Kaname, Kaien Cross's fights are either offscreen or aborted, Kaname and Zero are stopped by Yuki... and this takes almost 200 pages to happen. And yes, I'm still flipping to the cast list at the back constantly, trying to determine which brooding bishonen is which.

I was amused by the cover, which features the four main females of the series. Yuki and Sayori's pose is reminiscent of so many other shoujo (and boy's love) manga that I can only regard it as parody now, and luckily they have two cool-headed vampires to protect their yuri tease. Not that Vampire Knight has any yuri tease. But at least we have the cover.

The pacing is glacial in this volume, which, while a bit frustrating, also allows you to admire the artist's craft as she draws her gothic nights and sensuous killers. The last chapter was the most interesting to me, as it showed a flashback to the vampires' childhood and gives us the explanation for Ruka's crush. And no doubt it dashes the hopes of many fans by showing that Kain has a crush on Ruka, also unrequited. Silly Hino-san, keep your vampires ambiguously gay!

Meanwhile, I found the omake chapter with Yuki and Kaname's parents incredibly funny as well, if only as it was so utterly normal. Walking in the rain after school, grumpy tsundere girl, smirking teasing guy... and seeing them as lovey-dovey adorable parents makes you wonder how many of the other shoujo couples that we follow end up like that. (And then there's the last panel where Yuki says she wants her and her brother to grow up to be like her parents, but then if you're reading Vampire Knight you'll have come to terms with the incest by now.)

In my previous review I noted this was a series for people who likes to moon over attractive vampires, and that hasn't really changed. Nothing of consequence happens here besides everyone retreating and Zero saying that he's going to kill Yuki the next time they meet. Yeah, somehow I wouldn't bet on that. But Yuki still makes a better heroine than most, and the series still holds that guilty pleasure attraction.

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