Sunday, November 01, 2009

'Vampire Knight, v. 1-3'



Written and Illustrated by Matsuri Hino
Original Japanese title: ヴァンパイア騎士
Fiction/manga, 2005 (Japan), 2007 (English translation)
Published in the US by Viz Media
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 adapted 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. But also at her side is Zero Kiryu, a childhood friend who’s hatred for the creatures that destroyed everything he held dear, is now determined never to trust them. This coexisting arrangement seems all well and good, but have the vampires truly renounced their murderous ways, or is there a darker truth behind their actions. Is Kaname's infatuation with Yuki the beginning of a forbidden romance, or is it something in her forgotten past that draws him to her? Because in this world of secrets, nothing is as it seems. And the price of misplaced trust may even be worse than death. [From mangafox.com]
One of the first applications I downloaded onto my new iPhone (after Echofon for Twitter, and a couple of other essential ones) was an app for reading manga*. Then, since it was October and the season of Halloween, I decided to try out the Vampire Knight series, which I had heard about previously. I had soon read my way through the first 5 chapters comprising volume one. The first volume essentially just introduced the main characters but I was curious enough, so I kept going.

Volume 2 was a little more confusing as more characters were introduced, who I sometimes had a hard time keeping straight since they tend to look alike, at least to me. And I have to admit that the translation was sometimes pretty awkward. I should explain that the manga application for iPhone sources its manga from online websites onemanga.com, mangafox.com, or mangavolume.com, and these sites consist of scanlations, as they are called, done by fans**. These aren’t official translations, and one manga series is usually scanned and translated by different people. Sometimes it’s quite obvious that whoever translated a particular chapter, that their first language is not English. I think the original idea behind these sites is to provide English versions of manga that are not yet available in English, or that are harder to find. However, even when they have been officially published in the US, like the Vampire Knight series has, the publishers seem to accept these websites and the sites in turn, encourage their readers to buy the manga when they are available. Anyway, all that to explain that the version of the manga that I’m reading isn’t an official one, so it sometimes doesn’t quite read naturally. However, even the publishers themselves sometimes offer the manga online for free. The link below to read Vampire Knight online is actually through the American publishers website, and perfectly legit, but for me the convenience of reading on my iPhone instead of my laptop wins out over reading the official version.

One of the reasons I am enjoying this series is because of the art. It’s quite detailed, and even though I think some of the characters are too similar, it is quite fun to look at. I can certainly see where some of the cosplay costumes one might see around originated.



But back to the story… in the middle of volume 2 I wasn’t sure I’d bother continuing, but something kept me turning the pages, digitally, and luckily volume 3 was more interesting. And volume 3 has ended with a new character that I want to see what happens to so I guess I’m going to have to read on after all. The series currently has 11 volumes so we’ll see how far I get. I can honestly say though that at this point, while it’s fun to read this series on my phone when I’m waiting for the train, or whatnot, I doubt I’d continue with the series if I had to buy it.

Read Vampire Knight online

Buy Vampire Knight at: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | BookDepository.co.uk | BookDepository.com

My Rating: (overall for volumes 1-3) 3/5
(#52 for 2009***, Hello Japan! October mini-challenge, R.I.P. IV Challenge, Manga Challenge)

Also reviewed at:
Bart's Bookshelf - volume 1
Bold. Blue. Adventure. - volume 1 & 2
Books & other thoughts - volume 1, volume 2, volume 3
Have I missed yours? If so, let me know and I'll link to it here.

*Incidentally, after I mentioned this on Twitter, I heard from some people working on a new, different manga app, which I was able to try out in a beta version. If you’re curious, it’s called MangaDL. They’ve just submitted it to Apple but I hope it gets approved because it has lots of great features that the first one I tried didn’t have.

**I would usually try to avoid these kinds of sites hosting unofficial translations, but there is also no way I would ever be able to buy all the manga that I’m remotely interested in. Since I’m still new to reading manga this also gives me an opportunity to try out some series without the risk of buying them but then not liking them (see my review of xxxHolic, vol. 1). So in my mind I’m equating it with borrowing books from the library. If I could read the Japanese originals I would be able to do just that, or be able to buy ridiculously cheap used copies, but since I can’t, and the English translations are considerably more expensive… Plus I won’t be keeping the downloaded chapters on my phone indefinitely, just until I’ve read them, and for any series that I do fall in love with, like Emma, I will buy them to add to my personal library. Just thought I’d clarify.

***For the purposes of my yearly book stats, counted as 1 book.

The small print: Links in this post to Amazon (including book covers) and The Book Depository contain my Associates or Affiliates ID respectively.  Purchases made via these links earn me a small commission.  For more information visit my About Page.

9 comments:

  1. Oh man, vampire KNight sounds awesome! I'm definitely going to have to check it out!!!!

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  2. Sigh, so much for me reading a spooky manga series in time for Hello Japan :( I'm SO behind on everything! Anyway, this sounds like one I'd enjoy. And I think of those sites as libraries too, since I don't actually have access to any that would carry manga.

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  3. Dang, Vampire Knight would have counted for the mini-challenge? Ah well!
    I absolutely love this series and can't get enough of Yuki, Kiryu, Kaname.sempai and the others :-D

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  4. brizmus - I haven't had a chance to read any further yet but I'm sure I'll continue with the series. I hope you enjoy it!

    Nymeth - It's ok. I'm so behind on everything too so I completely understand. :)

    Kathrin - Well, it wasn't overly scary or spooky but it does involve vampires, so why not? :P
    I am curious to see how the relationships between Yuki, Zero and Kaname develop. How far have you read in the series?

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  5. I read Vampire Knight(1)earlier this and I have say, I didn't really enjoy it enough to continue it. :(

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  6. You've got a point there! Vampires are vampires... I'm not sure how faar into Vampire Knight I am as I read part of the series in the Daisuki, a manga magazine that published one chapter in each mag for I don't know how long...

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  7. Bart's Bookshelf - I'm not absolutely loving it, it seems to move rather slowly, but I suppose I'm curious enough to read a bit further and see how it goes. And there are plenty of other manga for you to try instead. :)

    Kathrin - I think they're up to about 58 chapters now. Volume 3 only took me up to chapter 14 so I have a ways to go. Do you read a lot of manga? I'm still pretty new to it but would love some recommendations.

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  8. Oh, then I have a bit to read, still. Good to know!
    I binge-read mangas. About once a year I read maybe 20, 30 (or more?) manga one after the other, and then I don't read any for a couple months until I feel like reading a ton of them again. Does that answer your question to a degree? :-)

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  9. Kathrin - LOL. Kind of. I can see how it would be a mood thing. I haven't read any manga since Vampire Knight last month but I'm sure I will again the next time I'm in the mood.

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