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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Manga/Anime Review: Vampire Knight

Here's a link to my online 2011 Vampire Knight review for Random Lengths:

Should the link no longer work, here's what I wrote:

For vampire romance fans who've exhausted Anne Rice's vampire stories, along with Buffy and Angel, Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries--it's time to discover Matsui Hino's Vampire Knight, a manga and anime franchise that recasts Gothic traditions through a Japanese cultural perspective.
Publisher VIZ media put out the 13th of this manga (Japanese comic) series to coincide with the 2011 gift-giving season. These trans-genre paperback graphic novels, translated from the original Japanese, combine horror, teen angst, schoolgirl romance, class warfare, a little comic relief, and intricate artwork.
As happens so often with vampire romance, Vampire Knight tells the story of a young girl, Yuki Cross, who is privileged (or not) to share the dark secrets of a paranormal world, where she is protected (or not) by sensitive, brooding--even sexy--beasts embroiled in long-running wars, where vampires fight with humans and each other. Yuki Cross' powerful but sensitive vampire protector is Kaname Kuran. His rival is Zero Kiryu, whose relationship to both vampire and human worlds grows ever more complicated. It's easy to picture Vampire Knight fans dividing into Team Kaname and Team Zero.
Because the series is on-going and open-ended (note:  it concluded at 19 volumes in 2014), the plot more closely resembles a TV series than a novel or movie. There's no single beginning, middle, or end, only an ever-increasing number of twists, revelations, and new story arcs. The vampires of Hino's creation aren't the walking undead--they're a superior god-like race that humans can reproduce with--but watch out!  They may drink your blood, too!
Two animated Japanese TV series (anime) were based on the manga and VIZ has made these available on DVD in the USA as well. The first set (consisting of three DVDs packaged together) was titled Vampire Knight. This set roughly followed the plot of the first five volumes of manga. A subsequent three-DVD set, entitled Vampire Knight:  Guilty, followed he story through further developments.


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