Web Crush Wednesdays: Siren’s Lament

webcrush picEvery Saturday I diligently click on my bookmark for Always Human, the queer sci-fi shoujo webcomic I recced on this blog back in January, and catch up with the latest happenings of Austen and Sunati. It’s quickly become one of my favorite webcomics for its love story and its discussion of disability, race, and gender, and so I recently decided to explore Webtoons, the website on which it’s hosted, to see if it had any more hidden gems. After a while, I got caught up in another great story—today’s web crush, Siren’s Lament.

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Manga Mondays: Time for a vampire-filled love polygon…

It’s that time again, readers! Let’s talk about Vampire Knight today.

Vampire Knight is a Shoujo Beat regular, and boy oh boy does in bring the shoujo.  Yuki Cross, our lovely female lead, is the adopted daughter of the the headmaster of Cross Academy.  She works with her classmate Zero to make sure the school’s Day Class and Night Class stay separate, because, as only a few people know, the Night Class is entirely made up of vampires.

The mixed school is the Headmaster’s brainchild, a way of trying to bring peace between the human and vampire worlds after centuries of struggle by raising the next generation of vampire aristocrats in close proximity to the human elite.  But because of the continuing tension between the two races, the Night Class’s true identity must be kept sooper sekrit. Of course this leads to all sorts of shenaniganery, with close calls and hijinks galore. The drama comes in the form of a love triangle between Yuki and Zero (who is from a renowned vampire-hunting family) and the head of the Night Class, Kaname Kuran, who saved Yuki’s life when she was a child.

This story isn’t so much great reading as it is junk food for the brain.  There’s not a lot of deep themes to discuss here, although I’m sure we could dredge some up if we tried.  Yuki’s not a particularly annoying lead, and she has some badass moments (and would have more in the boys weren’t constantly trying to protect her). She definitely marches to her own beat, even when her eventual beau tries to get her to do otherwise. Another thing that I like about VK is that Headmaster Cross is gay in canon, but he’s not a horrible fruity stereotype and can actually be pretty badass himself.  (He’s my favorite, by the by.)

Also, I don’t know who went there first, honestly, (I’m not going to go cross-reference publication dates for everything I’ve read in the last year or two) but Matsuri Hino is a writing genius if she’s doing this stuff intentionally, because in nine volumes she has played to every recent YA trope I can think of:
-The Person You Love Is Actually Your Brother
-and the somewhat related You Have A Secret Sibling (this happens to at least two characters)
-You Have Powers You Didn’t Know About
-Vampire Love
-Boys Compete For Ditzy Girl’s Affection
-You’ll Always Be The Best Friend
-You Can’t Remember Your Traumatic Childhood
-You Thought You Were A Loser But Actually You’re The Most Powerful Of All
-Immortal/Mortal Love Drama
-the somewhat awkward I’ve Wanted To Marry You Since You Were A Little Girl
-Overprotective Vampire Love Interest
-We Both Love You But We Will Have A Truce Because You’re Brainless And We Want To Keep You Safe
-The Gay Friend Has A Crush On The Main Character’s Hot Love Interest
…and the list goes on.

The story has gotten a little political recently, with a lot of drama and tension between the humans’ Hunter Council and the vampire aristocracy, and is rife with big reveals and shocking tweests, and I am guessing from the rising action that it will be wrapping up entirely in another five volumes or so. (I currently own about 12 of them, so I’ll round that up and guess there’ll be a nice round 20 before Hino-sensei calls it quits.)

Like I said, the story’s nothing to write home about. but Vampire Knight is a fun read and, let’s face it, still a better vampire romance than Twilight. Check it out.