A boarding school has a day class of ordinary students, and a night class of glamorous vampires. The headmaster's adopted daughter Yuuki Cross protects and separates the two classes, assisted by the angsty Zero, whose family was slaughtered by vampires. Yuuki's probably was too, but she has total amnesia before the age of five... when she remembers blood-splashed snow, and being rescued by handsome vampire student Kaname.

There are some dull high school hijinks, especially starting out, but the meat of the story is the tangled dance of desire, hatred, and fear between Yuuki, Zero, and Kaname, and the ramifications of their incredibly complicated and angsty pasts.

Pure teenage girl id, sure to appeal to the teenage girl inside all of us. Vampirism is danger, but it's mostly sublimated sex. The thing you fear is the thing you desire. Would it really be so bad to become a vampire or feed a vampire, when the vampire is trembling with desire in front of you, enthralled by nothing more than a glimpse of your sweet smooth throat?

The series is full of gothic imagery, ominous organ music, gorgeous credit sequences, roses, vampire-killing magic guns, and lots and lots and lots of moments in which someone says in a voice shaky with longing, "You can feed from me. I don't mind. Really. It's only because you need it so much." Or this, from a male character to a female one who is currently straddling him on the floor with her hands around his throat, "Do whatever you want with me... Anything..." (Hopefully) "You can even torture me, if you like."

And if vampirism equals sex, and it definitely does, there is canonical het, slash, and femmeslash - all drawn and shot to make it absolutely clear that this is indeed sex. Sexy sex sex!

That would be enough for me, but as a bonus, there are a whole bunch of jaw-dropping plot twists - all of them, in retrospect, fully foreshadowed. Also, FYI, Yuuki is much less gormless in the anime's second season, Vampire Knight Guilty.

I like the anime better than the manga. The supporting vampire characters are much easier to tell apart when their hair and eyes are different colors. Plus the anime has music.

Warning! Warning! This is a series which is much better unspoiled. Below are spoilers for everything, including Vampire Knight Guilty and volumes of the manga that are not out in English.

If you haven't gotten that far, do not click or read comments! If you know anything that happens in the manga that is not covered in Guilty, don't tell me!



SHE WAS A VAMPIRE ALL ALONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND KANAME IS HER KNOWINGLY INCESTUOUS BROTHER!!!! THEY ARE BOTH THE INCEST SPAWN OF A VAMPIRE INCEST COUPLE, AND YUUKI WAS A VAMPIRE ALL ALONG!!!!!!!!!!

That is the best revelation since Godchild 8.

What is so hilarious is that I was convinced that the glowing eyes in the credit sequence meant Yuuki would become a vampire. And then her own suspiciously reddish eyes made me think she was a vampire-human hybrid like Twilight's Renesme. But no! She was ALWAYS a vampire!

When we got to the whole bizarre Zero-Ichiru evil devouring fetus thing, I guessed that they were originally quadruplets and each had devoured a sibling. Sadly, no.

I also guessed that Kaname is secretly Lucifer. If there's a third season, that is still possible!
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