What They Say :
Yuki’s earliest memory is of a stormy night in winter, wherein she was attacked by a vampire… And then rescued by another. Now 10 years later, Yuki Cross, the adopted daughter of the headmaster of Cross Academy, has grown up and become a guardian of the vampire race, protecting her savior, Kaname, from discovery as he leads a group of vampires at the elite boarding school.
For this disc I went for my usual trick of switching between English and Japanese, watching episodes 1 and 2 in English, and 3 in Japanese, which like the first disc – it just works fine. Checking with the English audio shows only a slight bit of different regarding audio quality (sound is better on the English track but all the foley and sound effects are clearly heard on both tracks). No problems regarding with timing and subtitles either, as it flows fine in the Japanese, for me it felt well done but a safe, standard release. No problems for the viewers.
The video had no problems, they were no glitches or slowdown, and linked in well with the Japanese subtitles, there are no transition problems and works very well in both widescreen and full screen format. No problems with the subtitles in correlation to the audio, and the animation with this combination of screen effects without any disturbances I noticed make it for a top quality release. It’s very ethereal, has a good atmosphere and the effects do work well for a show like this, and I didn’t get any problems switching menus from the main screen or subtitling issues so video wise, Vampire Knight Guilty continues to be a very good release.
No packaging was brought with this test disc.
The menu is basic, and pretty much exactly the same as all the previous discs in both Knight and Guilty, the selection is easy with the choices of play, audio and episodes 1-3 with no scene selection. It showcases shots of the anime on a grainy background with shots of Zero and Kaname with their arms outstretched. The Yuki animated touches on both the main menu and audio selection are nice touches, but the menu is very basic and easy to navigate, and pretty much no variety as it’s pretty much exactly the same as all the other discs, ironic as this is the disc where things are beginning to change.
There are no extras for this release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Vampire Knight has mostly plodded on its merry way through, whilst being O.K has been quite generic, despite the odd surprise. However, the final episode does a huge reveal in the lives of both Kaname and Yuki, effecting Zero’s own personal battle and morals, and sets up for hopefully a truly gripping final arc.
It starts with Yuki imagining her world is surrounded by blood, intermixed with Kaname giving his form of protection to Yuki, whilst Zero interferes due to his hatred for him as well as his own mixed feelings for Yuki. Yuki has always known that Kaname knows about her past, and yet he never tells. In this arc, he suggests he will tell her if she stays with him – but he continues to be as secretive as before, annoying Yuki. In the meantime, Zero is descending into Level E territory and is forced to drink Kaname’s blood to stop his descent. Kaname is quite clearly the key in both of their lives, almost enjoying the role he has as a pureblood with the power to determine anyone fate, yet hides it behind his pleasant persona, though he admits to hating Zero for his role in this triangle, yet has to rely on him for Yuki’s sake. Even worse for Zero, his brother Ichiru returns and even enrolls in his class, winning admirers for his personality compared to Zero – yet his role is strangely not important as his role doesn’t really seem to catch with the main arc as of yet, a weakness of Vampire Knight I’ve noticed when new characters introduce, they seem to fade away quickly.
Kaname basically gets members of the side characters…er, I mean Night Class (the other main weakness, they have several interesting side characters in the Night Class yet are barely given a mention outside some comedy, despite that the fact that one is a relative of what appears to be the big bad) to protect her, which ranges from comic to scowling – with Yuki’s blood-ridden dreams become more frequent, Ichiru definitely suspects something not right with her, but he is stopped before he can get too close. The hints are definitely showcase this episode about what Yuki truly is, especially as Ichiru tells Zero not to fall in love with her, but the fact that Kaname still doesn’t want to reveal about her past means that the real punch in the final episode is a real surprise…
The final episode gets a lot of the cast involved as the big bad, Shiki’s uncle, has possessed him, and tries to attack Kaname. This does get lost in the shuffle though as once again, the fact the other characters are so under-utilized that the fact it’s almost shrugged off is expected. However, Yuki’s wake up and for some reason wanting to attack Zero is not shrugged off as the power trio hits a big climax when Kaname finally reveals her past. Part of it I was expecting, as all the hints formed into what Yuki was…but a double whammy as something I wasn’t expecting when in regards to her relation to Kaname did surprise me. And all of this of course means that Zero has a real moral dilemma to say the least now that the truth is out…I won’t reveal the second half of the spoiler until the review of VK: Guilty #3 but it definitely sets up the gripping finale.
In one respect, VK #2 is probably the best disc overall because of the gripping end and the big reveal. There have been many hints about one part of the secret which was pretty obvious by midway episode 7. The second part of the shock however was not as obvious to see, and bar a few flashbacks possibly, it would have been tough to figure out. Zero’s relation to this is definitely interesting as he basically threw her into the arms of Kaname, and yet now is basically having to hate her. Kaname is pretty much a magnificent bastard in this scenario, with him loathing Zero to this point and almost feels like he’s won this particular battle, both physically and mentally. The dynamic of this three is so complex and invigorating that it basically makes this show what it is.
Unfortunately, that’s in its way, its biggest flaw. As the show revolves around the three, whenever they try to fit in a new subplot, it kind of gets lost. Ichiru’s return was mostly a non-entity, and bringing back a plotline to mess with Kaname through a member of the Kuran family basically goes nowhere. Whilst I get the feeling this will all integrate in the end, at the moment it just feels pointless. Also with the series getting darker, the comedy elements are few and far between. For a number of shows, this works but for Vampire Knight during a number of other scenes (even during some of Yuki and Kaname’s scenes), it just seems quite dull. Kaien, probably the most entertaining character in the show, is barely in and we get a glimpse of his past and badass mode, but again, just a glimpse. The rest of the Night Class is pretty much again just glimpses, which makes for a bit of a disappointment.
The characters do make or break a series, and in this case, it’s strictly down the middle. The focus on Zero, Kaname and Yuki works really well as the leads, and how this triangle will be resolved now that Yuki’s past has been revealed, and does make you look forward to the next few episodes. The problem is, it is just with those three characters you are looking forward to, as all the other plots that have been mentioned are literally thrown under the rug, and if they come up again, it will only because they have a connection with the main cast.
Vampire Knight Guilty #2 showcases the good and bad of character driven shows and plots. The good that the payoff seems to be pretty big with the reveal of Yuki’s true nature, and how her relationship with both Zero and Kaname will affect them is a big draw for the remaining episodes. Unfortunately, it fails for being a top release due to rather poor development on the side, some boring moments and a totally lack of care of the remaining cast. It’s still very dark and mysterious, and definitely still interested, but it needs to pick up now that everything is about to hit the fan, so will be on the lookout on a hopefully stand out finale.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: May 23rd, 2011
Running Time: 72 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.