Vampire Knight (ヴァンパイア騎士 Vanpaia Naito?) is a shōjo manga and anime series written by Matsuri Hino. The series premiered in the January 2005 issue of LaLa magazine and is still on-going. Chapters are collected and published in collected volumes by Hakusensha, with eleven volumes currently released in Japan. The manga series is licensed in English by Viz Media, who has released ten volumes so far. The English adaptation premiered in the July 2006 issue of Viz's Shojo Beat magazine, with the collected volumes being published on a quarterly basis.
Two drama CDs were created for the series, as well as a twenty-six episode anime adaptation. Produced by Studio Deen, the anime series' first season aired in Japan on TV Tokyo between April 8, 2008 and July 1, 2008. The second season, titled Vampire Knight Guilty aired on the same station from October 7, 2008 and December 30, 2008. The anime uses many of the same voice actors as were used for the drama CDs. The anime adaptations have been licensed for release in North America by Viz Media, the DVD will be released on July 20, 2010.
Yuki Cross' earliest memory is of being all alone on a snowy night in winter, when she was attacked by an evil "Level E" vampire and saved by a powerful but kind vampire named Kaname Kuran. Ten years later, Yuki, along with her childhood friend, Zero Kiryu are school guardians at the prestigious Cross Academy where her adopted father is the headmaster. The school is hosting an experimental program that is trying to prove that humans and vampires can live together peacefully, in a quest for coexistance.
The job of the guardians is to make sure that peace is maintained and to protect the human "Day Class" students from the vampire "Night Class" students if necessary. They also make sure that the human students do not discover that the Night Class members are all actually vampires. They go by the guise as "prefects" or "disciplinary committee members" so as to not blow their secret. The day class students try to follow the night class students around, as they are all very beautiful, intelligent, and often flirts.
The night class is made up of high-class vampires (Levels A and B), as there is a hierarchy among vampire society. Level A includes only pure bloods, the rarest, most elite, and most powerful class, whose bloodlines have never mixed with humans. Pure bloods are also the only kind of vampires who can bite a human and turn them into another vampire, and a pure blood's blood gives whoever drinks it greater powers. Level B are known as "Nobles" or "Aristocrats." These are also very powerful vampires, but not as much so as pure bloods. They also have a small amount of human blood in their ancestry. Levels C,D, and E include humans who have been turned by a pure blood rather than born as a vampire. These ex-humans will eventually go mad with blood lust and become a "Level E" if they are not stabilized by drinking the blood of the one who originally bit them in the first place. Stabilized ex-humans are known as "Level C" or "regular vampires", and humans who have been bitten but have not gone mad are "Level D".
The story follows Yuki's discovery that Zero had been turned into a vampire and her struggle to keep him sane, since he had not been stabilized, and prevent his condition from deteriorating into the lowest form of vampire, the monstrous Level E. Zero's parents were vampire hunters, killed by a pure blood out for revenge, and who also bit him in the process and took his twin brother, assumed to be dead. He hates what he has become, and fears that he will succumb to blood lust and murder everyone. He feels that the only option is to kill himself, which Yuki tries to help him avoid. Meanwhile, she also tries to deal with her seemingly unobtainable love for her hero, Kaname, who also happens to be a pure blood- the only one in the night class.
Yuki faces a difficult decision with the arrival of Shizuka Hio. She is the pure blood vampire who killed Zero's family and turned Zero into a vampire. She offers Yuki a deal to help him; either by having her kill Kaname or allow her to drink Yuki's blood and become a vampire herself. Yuki decides to give up her humanity to save both Zero and Kaname, but is stopped by Zero, who would rather kill Shizuka. Neither occurs when Zero's assumed dead twin shows up, and Kaname ends up killing Shizuka and drinking her blood in order to protect Yuki and reluctantly, Zero. With the loss of his salvation, Yuki continues to help Zero fight his bloodlust while also seeking to recover the memories she lost as a young child before Kaname found her. As the series progresses, Zero's thirst for blood leads to his drinking from Yuki, by her consent, to avoid becoming a level E vampire and losing himself to his monstrous instincts. This is difficult for him, since he secretly loves her and doesn't want to hurt anybody. Kaname loves Yuki as well, and is very protective of her, and to stop her from having to do this, he gives Zero his own "pure" blood. Also, since he had consumed the blood of Shizuka Hio, his own helps keep Zero from going insane and from needing to feed from Yuki.
Eventually, it is revealed that Yuki is a pure blood vampire herself; the Pure blood Princess of the Kuran family, who had been transformed into a human before she lost her memories. It is also revealed that Kaname is Yuki's older 'brother' and that they were engaged as children to be married. This is a common practice among pure bloods to preserve blood lines and due to the fact that vampires are immune to inbreeding. Despite this, Kaname is not Yuki's true blood brother, but an ancient and powerful ancestor of the royal Kuran family who was resurrected by Rido Kuran so that Rido could prey on him, drink his blood, and become more powerful. He escaped and was raised by Yuki's parents, Juuri and Haruka Kuran, after Rido had kidnapped and sacrificed their first child to bring him back to life. To protect Yuki from her monstrous uncle and the corrupt vampire senate who wished to exploit their pure blood, her mother sacrificed her life in order to perform a spell that would seal Yuki's memories and allow her to live as a human. After Yuki reawakens to her vampire nature, Rido again tries to kill her and consume her power. As Kaname kills the members of the vampire senate who they had discovered were working together with their uncle to not only get Yuki, but destroy the night class and their hopes for peace. During a fierce battle, Zero kills Rido, but later on tells Yuki he will have to kill her when he sees her once again, since she is a pure blood. She tells him that she will keep running, so that he will have a reason to live. Although this is where the anime ends, the manga continues the story and is updated monthly in LaLa Magazine.
- Yuki Cross/Yuki Kuran (黒主 優姫 Kurosu Yūki/Kuran Yūki?, 玖蘭 優姫) is the adoptive daughter of the headmaster of Cross Academy, Kaien Cross, and serves as a school guardian. Ten years prior to the start of the series, Yuki was attacked by a vampire, and rescued by another, Kaname Kuran. Having lost all memories prior to the attack, she was adopted by Headmaster Cross. After her best friend Zero's vampire nature started to reveal itself, she began giving him her blood to drink, hoping to halt the degradation of his human nature. Despite her dedication to her best friend, Yuki was in love with Kaname, the man whom had always been in her memories looking out for her. When Rido Kuran and his Clan of followers resurfaced at Cross Academy, it was revealed that all along, Yuki was unknowingly a pureblood vampire herself; Not to mention Kaname's sister and fiancée. The revelation of her pureblood status caused a deep rift between Zero and Yuki. She was now a pureblood princess, often approaching and offering her services to any suicidal purebloods. In spite of all of the strain and trials put between them, Yuki came to terms with her feelings and realized she loved Zero as well, but could not stray from the man who saved her life ten years ago.
- Zero Kiryuu (錐生 零 Kiryū Zero?), who is one year older than Yuki Cross, came from a family of vampire hunters. Four years prior to the beginning of the story, his parents and brother were killed by the pureblood vampire, Shizuka Hiou, after they followed orders to assassinate her lover. The now orphaned Zero was taken in by Kaien Cross and became a school guardian, alongside Yuki. Because of what happened to his family, Zero grew to have a deep hatred for all vampires. Despite his grudge, it was later revealed that in result of the attack, Zero had been turned into a vampire himself. As his ravenous side began to surface, his best friend, Yuki, began offering her blood to him, to subdue his true vampire nature.  It was also later revealed that his twin brother, Ichiru, also survived the attack and was willingly living by Shizuka's side. Upon consuming Shizuka, and despite the undeniable tension between the two men, Kaname let Zero drink some of his blood to keep Zero from losing control of himself in order to protect Yuki. After Yuki was transformed into a vampire, his feelings for Yuki were revealed, he was indeed in love with her. But Zero and Yuki were now standing on opposing sides; Yuki being a pureblood princess, and Zero becoming the president of the vampire hunters.
- Kaname Kuran (玖蘭 枢 Kuran Kaname?), a Pureblood vampire and one of the last remaining members of the oldest and most powerful vampire family- the Kurans. He saved Yuki from an attack by a Level E vampire when she was five years old. Aside from his status, he was the Night Class dorm leader and class president, and was highly respected by all of the other Night Class students. While he is cold and authoritative towards his fellows in the Night Class, he is always kind and sweet to Yuki, whom he refers to as his "dear girl". From the beginning, it was revealed that he cared deeply for Yuki, and grew to love her, having been attached to her since she was born. Despite his cold feelings and anger towards Zero, he allowed him to live, out of sympathy for Yuki, who cared deeply for him. He also knew Zero could protect her when he could not. Prior to Yuki's memory loss, Kaname was believed to be her brother, and at a young age, the two pledged to marry each other, just as their parents, who were siblings as well, had done. In truth, he was actually an ancient ancestor of the Kurans, resurrected by Rido Kuran, who had intended to consume him and gain a huge amount of power. Kaname escaped and ended up being raised by Juuri and Haruka Kuran, as Yuki's brother, in place of the son that Rido took and used as a sacrifice to revive Kaname. He later became the leader of Vampire Society, pursuing peace between humans and vampires.
- Rido Kuran (玖蘭 李土 Kuran Rido?), A Pureblood Vampire, the elder brother of Juuri and Haruka Kuran, whom had ordered Zero's parents to kill his fiancee's (Shizuka Hiou) lover, a level D vampire. He resurrected the ancestor of the Kuran Clan by sacrificing the infant, Kaname Kuran, whom the vampire in the story took the identity of. Rido was in love with his younger sister, Juuri, and upon rejection and seeing her fall in love with Haruka, he fell into madness. Eventually, due to his instability, he mistook Yuki for Juuri, and attempted to drink her blood. Rido was later killed at hands the Zero and Yuki, but was shown to have a vestige remain of himself, because of his connection to Kaname.
The first chapter of Matsuri Hino's Vampire Knight premiered in the January 2005 issue of LaLa, where the series is still running. The individual chapters are being collected and published in tankōbon volumes by Hakusensha, with eleven volumes released in Japan as of June 2009[update]. The series is licensed for an English language release in North America by Viz Media. In addition to publishing the individual volumes, the series was serialized in Viz's Shojo Beat manga anthology from the July 2006 issue until the magazine was discontinued after the July 2009 issue. It is licensed for English release in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment, which has released ten volumes as of March 2010[update].
Two drama CDs have been released for Vampire Knight. The first, LaLa Kirameki, was released as an extra with the September 2005 issue of LaLa. The second, Vampire Knight Midnight CD-Pack, was released only via mail order.
Studio Deen produced a twenty-six episode anime adaptation of the Vampire Knight manga, using many of the same voice actors featured on the drama CDs and directed by Kiyoko Sayama. The episodes started airing on TV Tokyo in Japan on April 8, 2008 and ran until the season conclusion on July 1, 2008. The episodes were also aired at later dates on TV Aichi, TV Hokkaido, TV Osaka, TV Setouchi, and TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting Co. The second season, named Vampire Knight Guilty, premiered on the same station October 7, 2008. The final episode aired on December 30, 2008. On July 24, 2009, Viz Media announced it had acquired the license for the Vampire Knight anime and would begin releasing it to DVD in July 20, 2010.
The series uses four pieces of theme music. The opening themes of both the first and second season are performed by the duo On/Off, with "Futatsu no Kodō to Akai Tsumi" (ふたつの鼓動と赤い罪?) as the opening for the first season, and "Rondo" (輪廻 -ロンド-Rinne?) as the opening for the second. Kanon Wakeshima performs the first season ending theme, "Still Doll", and also the second season's ending theme "Suna no Oshiro" (砂のお城?). The soundtrack is composed by Haketa Takefumi and consists of 30 tracks (including the opening theme and ending theme).
Two light novels created by Matsuri Hino and Ayuna Fujisaki were published in Japan by Hakusensha in 2008. Both novels feature two individual side-stories that use the characters of the manga, but are not specifically based on chapters from the series. The first novel, Vampire Knight: Ice Blue's Sin (ヴァンパイア騎士 憂氷の罪 Vanpaia Naito: Aisu Burū no Tsumi?), was published on April 5, 2008. The first story within the novel looks at events that occurred at Cross Academy in the year preceding Yuki's arrival, while the second story details an accident that occurred while Zero was still in training to be a vampire hunter.
The second novel, Vampire Knight: Noir's Trap (ヴァンパイア騎士 凝黒の罠 Vanpaia Naito: Nowāru no Wana?), was published on October 3, 2008. It details some of the Cross Academy romances, as well as detailing the accident that happened when Kain and Ruka go to visit Shiki and Rima's modeling studio.
Vampire Knight DS (ヴァンパイア騎士 DS Vanpaia Naito Dīesu?) is a dating simulation game using the characters from the series, but telling a unique story. It's in Japanese. It was released by D3 Publisher in Japan in January 2009.
In November 2008, the official Vampire Knight Fanbook, titled Vampire Knight Fanbook: Cross (ヴァンパイア騎士 ファンブックX Vanpaia Naito Fanbukku Kurosu?), was published in Japan. In addition to providing additional information about the series characters and story, it includes images and details from Hino's storyboard. The fanbook has been licensed by Viz Media and will be released in October 19, 2010.
Lala magazine announced the upcoming release of a Vampire Knight Artbook, to be released on July 5th in Japan simultaneously with the release of volume 12.
- Voice Actors Named for Animated Series Vampire Knight
- Vampire Knight, 35th Night
- Vampire Knight, 6th Night
- Vampire Knight, 12th Night
- Vampire Knight, 3rd Night
- "Vampire Knight". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Vampire Knight (TV)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- "Vampire Knight 2nd Season to Air in Japan in October". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- "Vampire Knight Guilty Sequel's Promo Video Streamed". Anime News Network. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
- "Vampire Knight Licensed by Viz Media". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
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- "Vampire Knight Comic" (in Japanese). Hakusensha. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "ヴァンパイア騎士凝黒の罠" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved 2008-10-04.
- "Viz Gets Gente, Library Wars, Grand Guignol Orchestra, Nice to Meet You, Kamisama (Update 2)". Anime News Network. 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
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