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.
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.
Seeing it animated in all its (and Zero's shirtless) glory thrilled this fangirl to no end.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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's gentleness around Yuki
- Aido attacking Yuki and
- Kaname smacking Aido for attacking Yuki
- the sheer ridiculousness of Cross Rijichou
- 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.)
PS. I can't say much about the animation except it's shōjo and all that implies.