Vampire Knight 1st Night: What about that Zero x Yuki bathroom scene?

Vampire Knight anime title

I wanted to post this before the second episode aired but the Internet wouldn't let me. *shrugs* Delayed or not, this first impressions, What about that Zero x Yuki bathroom scene? commentary on Vampire Knight anime episode one is GO!

But before continuing, let me set up my caveats (the not-so hidden premises that underpin my less-than substantial ramblings) and warnings:
1) I read the manga;
2) I adore Hino Matsuri-sensei's art;
3) I adore Hino Matsuri-sensei's stories;
4) I've listened to the drama CDs (not that I understood half of what I heard);
5) This puppy jumps into the impressions without so much ado (you can read the plot here);
6) Oh, and did I mention I adore Hino Matsuri-sensei's art and stories?

These provisos of a VK fangirl notwithstanding, I didn't really have problems with the anime's opening salvo but watching did bring up these considerations/digressions.

Vampire Knight
Based on the manga by Hino Matsuri, originally serialized in Hakusensha LaLa
First aired on TV Tokyo (2008.04.07)
© Hino Matsuri, Hakusensha / Vampire Knight Production Committee

Kaname (Vampire Knight EP1)

Manga faithfulness
My main beef with the first episode of Vampire Knight (Vampire Night) rests on the reported production plan to follow the manga faithfully, a scheme that, judging by First Night, seems to be proceeding on track. Because if there were ever an anime too faithful to its source manga, this episode would be it. As I watched, I felt like the production team basically took the first chapter of the manga, made it their (its) shooting board, and followed it down to the action lines skritched on the original panel. With premises 2, 3, and 6 as background, I felt like I should've just reread volume 1. (I didn't. I rewatched Ghost Hunt after instead.)

Could this perceived lack of "confidence" and dependence on the manga stem from Sayama Kiyoko-sensei's still short filmography? I wouldn't know. I don't have any issues with this director's work, especially as it wasn't as though the anime adaptation didn't contribute anything that wouldn't make it into a fanfic down the line. I'm referring to that bathroom scene of Zero and Yuki.

Zero undressing in front of Yuki (Vampire Knight EP1)

Seeing it animated in all its (and Zero's shirtless) glory thrilled this fangirl to no end.

Zero sniffs Yuki (Vampire Knight EP1)

I am still ambivalent though about the anime being more comic than the manga. I think I have to watch a few more episodes to clarify how I really feel about this development. That sed, I loved the Punch-punch, push-push antics of Zero and Yuki in this episode.

Yuki punch (Vampire Knight EP1) Zero shove (Vampire Knight EP1)

Character design
I've grown to expect from anime better looking (of course that's subjective), less edgy/more conventional-accessible characters than those in the original manga (Ghost Hunt, Bleach) or at the very least, comparable to the master design (Ouran, Hatenkou Yugi). But owing to points 2 and 6, I was disappointed by the chara designs of VK.

Zero aims Bloody Rose at Aido-senpai (Vampire Knight EP1)

Zero, especially seems to lack the depth with which his manga-ka imbued him and while still undoubtedly bishounen, doesn't resonate as emotionally (loud) as his manga self. I have nothing (again) against Nishida Asako-sensei, it's just I do heart Hino Matsuri-sensei's art muchness and seeing the VK characters deprecated (is that too strong?) pains.

Kaname (Vampire Knight EP1)

Seiyuu performance (Oy! Rambling alert!)
Horie Yui-san as Yuki—which I had felt on my less generous days after listening to the drama CDs was a miscast—surprised me by actually turning in a sympathetic performance. Additionally, her Yuki interpretation was not as shrieky/squeaky as the drama CDs'; I put down her adjustment to the mandatory coolness of the TV medium.

Action Yuki (Vampire Knight EP1)

Miyano Mamoru-san as Zero: Disregarding the fact that I fangirl Mamo, his anime Zero was also better than the drama CDs'. I don't know how to describe it but it felt like he was more comfortable with the Zero role this outing. Perhaps that comfort level derives from all the accolades his seiyuu performances have been getting?

Kishio Daisuke-san as Kuran Kaname: Just going by the drama CDs, I wouldn't have minded had they replaced Kishio Daisuke-san as Kaname, but post Yunoki in La Corda D'Oro ~primo passo~, I would've thrown a fit had they done so. The production team didn't which was a fortuitous thing because Kishio Daisuke-san's Kaname is appropriately regal, kind, and menacing.

Vampire Kaname (Vampire Knight EP1)

Goda Hozumi-san as Headmaster Kaien Cross (also the series sound director): While I did miss Koyasu Takehito-san portraying this role, Hozumi-sensei's Cross Rijichou was a sawayaka-refreshing rendition. But funnily enough, I thought his portrayal reminiscent of how Koyasu-san did Ranka (Fujioka Ryoji) in Ouran *sweatdrop*—albeit without the trap trappings.

Fukuyama Jun-san as Hanabusa Aido: Fukuyama Jun-san's second vampire after Black Blood Brothers' Zelman Clock I loved. He switches between funny and ominous with credible flair.

Aid-OW! (Vampire Knight EP1)

Honorable mentions
Hoshi Souichirou-san as Senri Shiki: While he had only a few seconds of screen time, that handful made me sit up and Kyaaa! like nobody's business. The reaction he got was akin to my forever remembering the one line Nabeshin voiced as Sunako's former crush in YamaNade.

Chiba Susumu-san as Takuma Ichijou is still love but that was to be expected as he's one of my top 10 favorite male seiyuu.

Favorites moments plus
Aside from the bathroom scene (I can't forget it), these are the moments that made the first episode of Vampire Knight for me:

Kaname x Yuki (Vampire Knight EP1)

- Kaname's gentleness around Yuki

Aido x Yuki

- Aido attacking Yuki and
- Kaname smacking Aido for attacking Yuki

Cross Rijichou (Vampire Knight EP1)

- the sheer ridiculousness of Cross Rijichou

Zero bites lip (Vampire Knight EP1)

- the discovery of what Zero really is

- the OP ("Futatsu no Kodou to Akai Tsumi" (Two Beats and Red Sins) by ON/OFF) and the ED ("still doll" by Wakeshima Kanon, produced by MANA): They fit! Gasp!

So would I recommend Vampire Knight? If you're already a fan, you might as well watch to complete the VK experience. If you don't/haven't read the manga, I suggest you give the anime a spin anyway. (You can always stop way before the reported 26 episodes this Studio DEEN production nabbed.)

End (Vampire Knight EP1)

~niki DBA 花木蘭03 who first posted this Vampire Knight first impressions in Japanator (where people have commented on how premature was the Zero revelation)

PS. I can't say much about the animation except it's shōjo and all that implies.


Sero said...

OMG. This was a pretty amusing post, as I'm very much obsessed with Vampire Knight. I really like how you explained a lot of things and gave your own opinions on the anime (as for me, I've only seen the first 4 episodes...I think). I agree with you on your points that Zero's anime character is a bit lacking compared to his manga character. You have a great blog! Love the Veni, Vidi, Velcro! XD

huamulan03 said...

Thanks for the back pat ^^ I also love VK regardless that the anime turned into so much emo Zero ^^;

emoluvvrr said...

I LOVE THE ANIME!!! it's way better in japanese then in english. i first watched the japanese version and fell completely in love with it. when i watched the english... i cried my eyes out!!
im one fan XP

huamulan03 said...

@ emoluvvrr-san,
Yup, yup, in the Japanese dub you can treat yourself to so much emo Mamo :D (Zero's CV)
Thanks for commenting!

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