Posted by: Teeif | 18 April, 2008

Vampire Knight 01: Goth has never been so cute!

I’ll also show you a sweet dream next night.” – (22:24)
Engrish for “To be continued”, apparently!

Vampire Knight 01 - KanameVampire Knight 01 - ending theme

Vampire Knight: The 1st Night
Night of the Vampires

I’ve always found something glamorous about Gothic romanticism, there’s something in the aesthetic that is really cool. I will watch Vampire Knight just for all the music and the art. Let me explain.

It’s quite concerning how many things are invented in Britain and made better by the Japanese. Take for example, Steel, Trains, Cars and Goths. Goths have found a better life in the land of the Rising Sun. Partially because being a Goth is likely to get you tragically kicked to death by the nearest Chav but mostly because being a Neo-Goth, an Emo, is just being vain. Gothic Lolita, which is Goth without the straightjacket, is far better!

Although I say Goth has turned into something better in Japan, the Goths probably wouldn’t like it. Probably the only place in the world where you could turn something as dark, rebellious and anti-establishment as goth rock into sexy frilly costumes, stripped of all statement (although Goth was not supposed to have a political statement), is Japan. The Gothic Lolita or style of fashion is adopted mostly by adolescence from the epicentre of Harajuku, Tokyo. Those crazy kids have somehow managed to make the Gothic horror and romanticism into something cute.

Vampire Knight is the condensation of Japanification of old Vampire and Goth themes. The Vampires here are far removed from the Bram Stoker Transylvanian variety; they go to school and are told to get along. While I can see the influence of gothic iconography plus themes of horror and romance, it is all relentlessly cute and Bishounen, although not arguably worse for it.

Vampire Knight is like taking Victorian Gothic stories and discovering that they’re not really scary. Take Jane Eyre, which is supposed to have Gothic themes, only I never realised because the mad woman in the attic is no worse than the old lady down the street. So, by softening all the Horror, we are left with the Romance and this is what Vampire knight really is about.

It’s somewhat a new undertaking for animé. While there have had anime about Vampires in Blood, Hellsing and Karin or Loli-goths in Le Portrait de Petite Cossette and Rozen Maiden, none have attempted to replicated the Gothic atmosphere. I don’t expect too much in the way of substance in this animé and to go into doing so would be expecting too much. From the beginning, Goth has been about the aesthetic.

~ Teeif

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Responses

  1. I didn’t have this show on my list but this review might change that…

    I’m a big admirer of the gothic aesthetic too (not those emo wannabes, mind) – especially the EGL fashion from Tokyo. I can only agree that it’s very cute and elegant – Petit Cosette is a fantastic OAV by the way. It’s artsy if a little confusing in places…hard to believe it’s by the same director as Zetsubo-sensei actually.

  2. I love the opening and ending themes. Really reminds me of those vampire flicks. =)


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