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 episode 1 in English, and 2 and 3 in Japanese, which at the end of this release I went back and checked something after trying the episode on my PC – for some reason, it defaults immediately to the Japanese but even if you switch it to English, it automatically changes into Japanese for the next episode. This did not occur in the DVD player or Playstation 3, but something felt was a bit strange and annoying, and with the audio not really outstanding, it just adds to the annoyance, especially after 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, as it flows fine in the Japanese, which I did feel in episode 13 felt a bit grainy audio wise but otherwise it does the job well, just felt it was overall weaker than the first season.
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, however there were definitely some issues in some grainy effects and also some issues when pausing, there was a lot of freeze frame issues when the picture becomes very blurry – only an issue if you regularly pause but something I’m starting to pick up on a few releases. Overall though, still a good release.
There was no packaging for this release.
The menu hasn’t changed throughout the whole season, with the same pics of Kaname and Zero (Zero on the left, Kaname on the right) with shots from the disc in the grainy background. The selection is easy with the choices of play, audio and episodes 1-4 with no scene selection. No problems with navigation or selection, but with it being very basic and the only changes being the background video images, it showed a distinct style of laziness now we get to the last disc, which I felt does knock it down a little.
There are no extras for this release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The finale of Vampire Knight Guilty hits us, and overall I’ve enjoyed the series, however as it ends, many of the big weaknesses that have plagued the series hit full throttle, and overall the final episode whilst ending on a sequel hook, doesn’t hold enough interest to really bring in people to go for the sequel apart from a casual interest.
In the final three episodes, we get a hint of Ichiru vs. Zero, and Kaien is confronted by the Association president who wants to gain control of Zero. Kaien refuses, and we get to see glimpses of how good he was as a vampire hunter, which both really interests me as up until now he’s basically been a whipping boy of comic relief for Zero and Yuki, yet seeing how badass he was here just pains me that I wanted so much more from this character, yet this as much as we were getting sadly. Another problem was we get a quick resolution between Senri and Rima, two characters who like most of the cast really got shafted in terms of plot and airtime and the show felt like it was rushing to get something for everyone to do. And of course, the revelation of the main bad guy Rido, again he has been built up so poorly with just 3 episodes to go that it really didn’t add anything more that the flashback the previous disc didn’t already do. The main three plus Ichiru do get involved though, with Zero being shot by Ichiru, Kaname speaking to Yuki about what happened to Zero, and confesses to killing Shizuka. It does lead to Zero finally coming out of his funk, and basically uses Ichiru as a sacrifice to not become a Level E and to go hunt Rido.
The problem with Rido is that he’s quite clearly shown as the final boss, drinking blood from his servants combined with flashbacks to show he’s all powerful, yet because he himself has hardly spoken, even though we know his deeds, it’s hard to really hate him…or like him, because he’s hardly had any chance to speak or explain anything. He just seems there as a way to get the main cast an excuse to finally get out their aggressions since the big twist of Yuki turning into a vampire. He is literally waiting for Yuki so he can finish off the Cross family blood line which for me, is one part he still hasn’t recovered and one part he’s not interesting enough for him to actually do anything. And again, the big problem with not really developing the background characters hits hard, as the Night students are used as fodder for Rido’s servants whilst Yagari fights the vampires from the Hunters Association. Like Kaien, he is quite clearly a hidden badass, but he rarely has had the chance to use these skills and he seems again just a very poorly developed character. Same with the Takuma/Ichijo relationship, this was really rushed; and it’s only because Kaname was there that it’s even mentioned at all because he kills all the vampires expect Ichijo, leaving Takuma to take on his grandfather himself. The action is very good but predictable, even with Kaien joining the frey. The final part though before the last episode brings what Vampire Knight has done well, that being it’s focus on the three leads, when Yuki arrives and Rido defeats the vampires, he attempts to drink Yuki’s blood, Yuki transforms her Artemis (which she couldn’t touch when she was a vampire) into a scythe and injures him. However the key is the relationship between her and Zero when he arrives because he has vowed to kill all purebloods, so it’s his friendship with Yuki vs. his hatred for vampires, which causes Yuki to instinctively strike…
The final episode both answers and asks many questions. We get Kaname and Zero vs. Rido, with an interesting finale, especially when it comes to Zero and Yuki, where his feelings for her still make him hesitate killing her, and basically does something to convince him that she is a vampire, it also leads to the truth of his feelings for her, both in love and hate. It’s an interesting finale because the Zero/Yuki relationship has been the most complex in many ways, as whilst the Kaname/Zero relationship took a new twist with the realization of their sibling relationship, it’s Zero who has been the main corner stone for her. So for her to basically be told mentally that Zero is in love with her, and verbally that he will kill her, it does set up for some potential fireworks if the series does get a sequel (and I’m pretty sure I heard it was going to). It ends with both key relationships (Yuki with Zero, and Yuki with Kaname) both getting their moments, with a very bittersweet ending, which definitely at least leaves fans interested and hopeful.
The three episodes here do good, and if I was reviewing it stand alone without any knowledge of everything up to date, I would say it was a good disc. The action scenes were good despite some grainy animation at times being a bit too dark, a lot of things are neatly wrapped up, yet at the same time more questions asked bringing the viewer interested. A lot of the characters get a brief moment in the spotlight, the ambiguous ending makes you think if it’s a happy ending or not, and the led three characters still hold your interest, especially Zero as after his angst moments, he has a clear mind now with some painful decisions he will need to make, whether he follows his head or heart. The trouble is, if they had intermixed a lot of the elements from this more often earlier in the series (the use of the Night class, development them, Kaien and Yagari more, making the villain more interesting) this series would have been much better. Kaname wasn’t as impactful this disc and it was more Zero and Yuki’s story, which I was fine with as I preferred those two more, but it just felt that this could have been so much more. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a masterpiece, and it had so much potential which I felt in the end, it wasted.
Vampire Knight Guilty ends as it begins – the three main leads taking the stage, although there were enough moments from people like Kaien and Takuma which at least gave some thought to most of the other cast. Sadly, it feels like it was hacked on, too little, too late, and whilst the ending of Guilty raises a lot of questions and gives a lot to think about, I felt in the end it lost a lot on the way it presents the non-main cast and it’s villain. Still a good series, but overall felt it was severely weakened by the end.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: C+
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: August 8th, 2011
Running Time: 72 minutes
Review Equipment: Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.