Ever read a story that haunted you long after you put it down? Vampire Knight: Memories is a continuation of the story from the popular Vampire Knight series. The story follows what happens to the lead characters in between the ending of the story and the flash forward featured in the epilogue. The story centers around Yuki Cross, who is tasked with keeping the peace between the vampire and human students at Cross Academy. The arrangement has the human students studying during the day while the vampire students attend classes at night. Her childhood friend, Zero Kiryu is also a guard at the Academy. He has an intense hatred against vampires and strong feelings for Yuki. Yuki finds herself fascinated and drawn to a vampire student named Kaname. This leads to a romantic triangle between Yuki, Zero, and Kaname.
Vampire Knight: Memories is told through fragments which makes the story feeling disjointed. The manga does not follow a linear storyline: each chapter contains a memory that is set in the past or the future. Several of these memories fill in back stories for side characters. Some of the chapters tell the story from the side characters’ perspective.
The manga tonally breaks up the moody romantic atmosphere with bits of humor. In Volume 1, the focus is heavily on the love story between Zero and Yuki, covering the time they spent together as husband and wife. In a moment of humor, their daughter Ai encourages her parents to get romantic. She says, “I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to stay in bed sulking until you two give birth to a little sister for me!”
In Volume 2, we see more memories from the point of view of Ai. She struggles with her own feelings about her two fathers. Zero is the father who raised her, but Kaname is her biological father. When she is young, she has a crush on Zero and admits her feelings to him. He lets her down gently, saying that he is in love with her mother. Ai notes that it would take several years for Yuki and Zero to finally get together. We see them in several segments having clandestine, romantic meetings.
Matsuri Hino has given great detail to each character she has drawn. The hairstyle or the shape of the eyes are different. Each character has a distinct look so it is easier to distinguish between the different characters. The editor reveals in the back of the manga that each character’s name has a distinct meaning. For example, Yuki’s daughter’s name is Ai, which means love in the form of unconditional or unending affection. Yuki has another daughter named Ren, which stands for a romantic love. It is interesting how much thought the author put into how she named the characters and what it reflected about who they are and what they represent.
I highly recommend that libraries purchase Vampire Knight: Memories for their collection. It is important that the complete Vampire Knight series is part of the collection. I do not recommend that anybody who is a newbie to Vampire Knight to start out with this story first. As someone who has only seen the anime but never completed it, I had a hard time following the story. This series is perfect for teens that are fans of vampires and romance.
Vampire Knight: Memories, vols. 1-2
by Matsuri Hino
vol 1 ISBN: 9781421594309
vol 2 ISBN: 9781974700240
Viz Media, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: T+ for older teens
Series Reading Order: https://www.goodreads.com/series/219074