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 8 and 9 in English, and 10 in Japanese, which like the first series it just works fine. Checking with the English audio shows only a slight bit of different regarding audio quality though (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, felt it was a bit grainy audio wise but otherwise it does the job well, just felt it was weaker than what I’ve been used to, although the English audio track on Episode 8 during the flashback scenes definitely seemed to pick their weight the most.
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 overall, a very good release.
No packaging was brought with this test disc.
The menu is pretty much expected as it’s sticking with the same motif, in a similar vein to Vampire Knight, the selection is easy with the choices of play, audio and episodes 7-9 separately 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 as is per standard, but marks deducted as it’s pretty lazy using the same motif each disc as per the first season
There are no extras for this release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Vampire Knight hit us with a big cliffhanger as all the mysteries about Yuki were revealed, and from this, her relationships past, present and future, all take a dark twist which really delves into how she sees herself now as a person, and what she is to Kaname, Zero and all of her old and new friends.
Episode 8 gives us basically the whole of Yuki’s past before her memories were sealed as a vampire. We learn that her and Kaname are indeed brother and sister, their parents Haruka and Juri were protecting them over Kaname’s uncle and Haruka’s brother Rido, who is in the form of being resurrected in the present day and currently in control over night class vampire Shiki’s body. Kaname was told basically to protect Yuki and just before their deaths, they sealed Yuki’s vampiric memories. Yuki, after drinking some of Kaname’s blood, realizes what she has now become and the return of a pureblood brings some real twists in her life, namely that the other vampires now treat her on the same level as Kaname (with Hanabusa in particular getting a rare amusing moment about now he calls her Lady Yuki as Yuki muses this would have never happened before). With the day class now being forced to remain as Rido’s plot begins to heat up, with one of the female night warriors that sadly, like most of the night class, rarely gets much spotlight Rima, battles the possessed Shiki and manages to begin to snap him out of it…just as Yuki wonders what Zero might think of her. Cue visit to Zero and sensing a gun at her…
It does bring up the idea that Zero’s most trusted friend Yuki, who shared her blood with him to stop him transforming into a Level E, is now the thing he hates most, a pureblood vampire. The turmoil is explored briefly, with Yuki playing devil’s, or in this case vampire’s advocate by pretty much agreeing with his statements, almost wanting him to hate her so that they can move on their new separate paths. With Rido however, with Shiki no longer a puppet, Kaname goes to his original body along with Ichiru – where it’s revealed that Rido is the one person that he cannot kill, making for an interesting battle both physically and psychologically. Even Kaien and Yagari get their moments in, with Yagari in particular finally getting a bit more involved as he refuses to kill Zero even when he wishes it – interesting where his few moments we saw him shine in the first season that his main goal was to kill Zero, and now he wants to protect him. The problem is that this comes too quick with just a few brief conversations with Kaien to really bring out this, and it’s just one of the many problems I had with character development in this show, that if your name wasn’t Yuki, Zero or Kaname, you only got bits and bobs to explore their character, and then big things like this happen, it feels way too rushed.
This happens in episode 10 as well, as one character I really would have loved to see more of and sadly have barely mentioned, was Yuki’s friend Yori. Considering the fact her best friend is a student council officer basically battling vampires, she could have easily been used as the viewer’s way to find an insight to Yuki outside of her vampire duties. Instead, she’s literally thrown to the background and only here do we get an insight, which is sadly clouded because now Yuki is a vampire herself, all it does is cement their friendship that no matter what happens to Yuki, she’ll still be her friend. The one good thing is proves that Yuki’s with Zero were false, as she’s upset with Kaname that won’t allow her out of her room for her own protection, when Yuki wants to protect her friends. With a little help from Hanabusa, she escapes – with Zero and Kaname once again meeting, with the new roles in their lives in reference to Yuki, it brings yet another interesting cliffhanger…
There are lot of little things that make this volume both good and bad. With the fact Yuki is now a vampire, it brings a lot of turmoil. How light effects her, the fact her vampire hunter weapon doesn’t work against hunters, and how Kaien now actively wants to stop the vampire hunters and to protect Zero with Yagari’s help. Kaname’s confrontation with Zero at the end alludes to the fact Zero has the blood of three purebloods him in and despite his hatred, will not betray Yuki. Also bit by bit, a lot of the characters do get their moments. Sadly, it does feel too little, too late – the fact that once again, the core group is excellent in their roles, especially with the fact Yuki’s life means that Zero has to think what he means to her and what he’s supposed to do, combined with the relationship between Yuki and Kaname taking a new twist means the potential with those three is more explored than ever. However, it suffers that despite a very good flashback episode, the fact that Zero’s emotions are barely explored and instead it focuses on Yuki and how it’s changed her more, means that you don’t get into why Zero must hate Yuki now. There isn’t much dialogue exchanged between the two and despite the last part with Kaname and Zero, it doesn’t really excite the viewer enough to really approach the finale with too much excitement.
Another problem is the villain has been very poorly development – this happened with Shizuka last season but this time it’s worse, Rido is basically a corpse that has taken over a second string Night Class member, and when that’s stopped, Kaname is waiting for him to be resurrected, just so he can kill him…yet he then says he can’t kill him for a not very well explored reason, and the fact he even states he will hunt down Yuki – there are definitely a lot of unanswered questions and with only a few episodes to go, I doubt it will clear up completely by the end. I don’t really feel anything regarding Rido’s motives for killing the Kurans or why Kaname is saying he can’t kill him – it’s not explained well and not really building up to a climactic battle or anything.
The best part really was the first episode which explored the Kuran’s past – seeing Yuki and Kaname’s parents and how the story is explained about their past, and why they sealed Yuki’s memories whilst explaining why Kaname was so devoted to her from episode 1, it was all made crystal clear and managed to avoid any Kaname crypticness. There is some good animation and battle sequences as well there, which gave me hope that this was going to be good. Sadly, the next two episodes, whilst interesting and explorative, really were disappointing in taking this real bomb shell of a secret, and really downgrading it.
Vampire Knight Guilty Vol 3 ending with a shock twist, and it looked strong in explaining the twist, and looked like was going to head to a showdown with Yuki’s new vampire ways vs. Zero’s hatred of them. However, the lack of exploration combined with a very poorly written villain means that the potential this had is severly hampened by poor story telling. There’s definitely a lot of interest still holding out for the finale volume, but in the end it’s just a dark story with some interesting elements hampered by a few things. Still worthwhile, but not amazing.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 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
Release Date: 27th June 2011
Running Time: 75 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.