There is something of the night about Andrew Osmond, as he takes on 007 and Vampire Knight Guilty…
Previously on this site, we conclusively “proved” that Vampire Knight was better than the Twilight franchise. But as the anime enters its second half, with the new title of Vampire Knight Guilty, it’s time to consider another way the series advances the vampire myth.
Roald Dahl, writer of grotesqueries for adults and children, once described how he was hired to script You Only Live Twice – not a vampire film, but James Bond’s Japanese adventure. Dahl was told there were two things he couldn’t mess with. One was Bond’s character; the other was the “girl formula.” Dahl asked what the girl formula was. “There’s nothing to it,” he was told. “You use three different girls, and Bond has them all.”
“Separately,” Dahl asked, “or en masse?”
If you think the sexual politics are a little… dated, remember You Only Live Twice has the memorable line: “In Japan, men come first, women come second.”
But Dahl’s story could equally apply to a traditional vampire film, such as many Hammer romps with Christopher Lee. Dracula, of course, is expected to devour girls with impunity. Even when Francis Ford Coppola turned him into a romantic heart-throb in the revisionist 1992 film, crossing oceans of time like a moustachioed diCaprio, no-one questions why Dracula gobbles up his true love’s best friend (Lucy) before turning to the main course, Winona Ryder.
Which leads us to Vampire Knight. One of the most interesting things about the show’s development is the brazen (by anime standards) conduct of the heroine, Yuki. Yes, she’s a demure and vulnerable lass in romantic shojo fashion, but she’s also extremely adept at getting the best of both worlds – or rather the best of two vampire pretty boys. In one scene, she can be offering herself as an all-you-can-drink bloodbank for Zero; but soon afterwards, she’s in an intimate clinch with Zero’s rival Kaname, and thinking about getting herself vampirised!
Some viewers may see Yuki as a heartless hussy, but there’s something rather refreshing about her two-timing. It brings the viewer up short to realise how pedestrian it would have been if Vampire Knight were instead about a boy and two vampire girls. For men, promiscuity is the norm in vampire tales; it doesn’t even matter if you have long teeth or short. Remember how lucky Jonathan Harker got sandwiched in a sexy female foursome in Dracula.
True, Buffy scandalously played around with Spike in later episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, subverting the Angel stuff from earlier; while the Twilight films at least pretend that Bella has a choice between her favourite vamp and a hairier hunk (“I am hotter than you,” indeed!). But Vampire Knight’s take is blithely fresh… not that vampire fantasies are ever cosily PC. Ian Fleming once stupidly suggested in The Spy Who Loved Me that all women secretly wanted to be “semi-raped”. When it comes to women, Bond’s on the side of Dracula….