If you grew up on VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat magazine, odds are good that you read Matsuri Hino’s Vampire Knight. The manga continued long after the magazine ended its publication and fans will soon have the chance to read the sequel, Vampire Knight Memories.
The first volume switches between different periods in time frequently and changes up which main characters are in focus several times. The beginning of the book does not address the first series’ vampiric heroine, Yuki, as one might expect but her human friend, Sayori. We see snippets of her past relationship with Yuki but the main focus is on her blossoming love for the vampire Hanabusa. After that storyline, the spotlight is then granted to Yuki. I felt like hers was the shortest of the plots in this volume, which seemed a little odd given that she was on the cover. Yuki’s story then transitions to that of her children and Kaname, the vampire-now-turned-human.
Vampire Knight Memories does a good job of being true to its roots. It contains the haunting, melancholy tones that one might anticipate with a vampire-based series, interspersed with more energetic or emotionally-charged scenes (see the panel directly above for an example).
You need to finish the original series to have the full experience from Vampire Knight Memories. The beginning of the manga has a very quick summary of the important points but if that is all you have to go on, it will leave you feeling like you are missing something. However, I think it is fine that it is written this way. I doubt that people buying this book haven’t read through the Vampire Knight series cover-to-cover.
Vampire Knight Memories, Volume 1, is a little hard to grade because of its sequel status. In the situation in which you have read the previous series and know the backstory, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5. Fans will love to learn more about their favorite characters and see what has been going on since that final page of Vampire Knight.
If you are diving into this volume with no background knowledge whatsoever (which I don’t recommend), I would have to grade it a 1 out of 5. There simply is too much backstory that is incorporated into the plot (as it should be) for a new reader to understand what is going on entirely. Just start with the original series first and you will be much happier when you get to this volume. Trust me.
[This review is based on a sample provided by VIZ Media. All opinions are my own.]