"The bloody academy of fate, do not run away from this destiny."
The story begins with a young girl waking up in the middle of a snowstorm. Seconds later, she is attacked by a rather scary vampire, and she is then saved by another vampire, Kaname Kuran. She is brought to Cross Academy and is adopted by its headmaster, Kaien Cross, and is given the name Yuuki Cross. Ten years later, she is the prefect of Cross Academy, a school divided into two classes: The Day and Night Class. While the Day Class are normal humans, the Night Class are actually Vampires, who take classes at Night and are known for being absolutely gorgeous. This also leads to a large number of Day Class girls to have crushes on them. Yuuki and Zero are prefects, but their actual job is to protect the secret that the Night Class is full of Vampires.The anime has been licensed by Viz Media. It aired in Australia on ABC3 and became one of the channel's more popular shows. The manga became a victim to Executive Meddling which caused it to end at 93 chapters while the author had originally meant for it to have been more than a hundred. Later it's mostly remembered as the shoujo that used to have its famous Glory Days, ranking top spots in several shoujo lists in Japan, until Seasonal Rot heavily kicked in and it ultimately ended on an abrupt note, culminating in the story being considered the mangaka's Creator Killer instead.
Adult Fear: The blood of children is apparently more desirable than the blood of grown humans.
Aerith and Bob: Yuuki, Ichijou, Haruka, Kaname, Aidou, Zero, Ichiru, Juri and... Maria and Sara?
After the End: It's easy to miss the fact that the series is set in the far future, after the apocalypse, long enough after for things to have been rebuilt to about the same level. In a recent flashback, Juri tells a story of her adolescence to the young Yuuki; we've heard before that she was about three thousand years old, and the architecture and setting appears to be roughly modern day Japan, certainly within the last 30 years or so.
It's more likely that the setting of time everything takes place in is fictional. During another flashback where Juri reveals her first pregnancy, the setting here appears to be set around more ancient times again, with a horse carriage and old fashioned clothes. We don't know how long after the "Umbrella" bonus Juri and Haruka had their first child, and as most of the story centers around the Cross Academy school, Kuran's mansion and the Hunter Association's headquarters, we know very little about how the rest of the world looks like in terms of what era it is.
Alas, Poor Villain: Rido had to suffer the toll of unrequited love for a good three thousand years. It's kinda hard not to feel the slightest bit sorry for him when in his dying moment, he caresses Yuuki whom he called out for looking like her mother, asking "Why won't you love me, Juri..."
Shizuka, when it turns out her attack on the Kiryuu family was from despair over her ex-human lover who had been manipulated into being put on the vampire hunter's list.
Ambiguously Gay: Aidou and Ichijou. Their affections for Kaname just cross the line between platonic and romantic a tiny bit sometimes...
A Minor Kidroduction: The serie begins with showing us Yuuki as a child, before skipping ahead in time to when she's 16.
And I Must Scream: Kaname kills the vampire senate by manipulating them into ripping off their own heads.
Aido is unable to resist Rido calling him with mind control with the intent to eat him. Yuuki saves him at the last minute however.
The pureblood Hanadagi pulls the same on Aido's father, who is then saved by Kaname.
Animal Eye Spy: Four characters in all use this: Kaname with bats, Shizuka as Maria with a crow, Maria with an owl, and Sara with spiders.
Animal Motifs: Kaname transforms parts of himself into bats and occasionally a wolf, Yuuki is often shown with a plushy rabbit in covers (her Zodiac animal and personality according to it) and portrayed with butterfly wings (gentleness, arguably re/birth), while Zero's loyal and self sacrificing personality very much reminds of his Zodiac, the Dog, along with having a white horse to compliment his debatable role as the Knight.
Sara frequently uses spiders as her spies, and is once even seen transforming her entire body into a big pile of the creatures. It's nothing new that spiders are usually associated with bad omens when used in such a manner.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Played straight with Ichijou's grandfather, averted with the rest of the main aristocrats cast (Aidou, Ichijou, Kain etc).
Arranged Marriage: All pureblood marriages seem to be this in order to keep the pure blood line.
Art Evolution: You'll notice the progress in quality of the art as the series progresses.
Sadly it also suffers from a decrease in quality halfway through the second arc.
Asskicking Equals Authority: According to Yagari Touga in chapter 52, the president of the Hunter Association is chosen for his ability to dominate the hunters. Zero having become the strongest hunter is therefore chosen as Kaien Cross' successor.
Author Avatar: Some of Yuuki's personality traits are apparently based off Hino Matsuri herself, though she stated she gave all three characters bits of herself; Yuuki is her "just" side, Kaname her "evil" side and Zero her "hesistant" side.
Awful Truth: Zero doesn't take the revelation of Yuuki being a pureblood vampire all along rather well.
Babies Ever After: A more trolling version. After a thousand years has passed in the last chapter, Yuuki is seen with two children, to which it's made ambiguous whether both of them are Zero's, or one is Kaname's. With the release of a bonus chapter however, the girl is confirmed to be Kaname's.
The ending also shows us Yori's grandchildren, who's grandfather is revealed to be Aidou.
Badass: Yagari Touga. At least his introduction is.
Badass Longcoat: Worn by Rido at his battle against Yuuki and Zero. Kaname likes to wear these too.
Because Destiny Says So: What is first mentioned by Kaname and later a few times by Yuuki in how purebloods only belong with each other.
Best Served Cold: Zero gets his revenge on Shizuka four years after the murder of his family. Granted, he isn't the one to kill her in the end, but he gets to shoot her several times with his Bloody Rose gun, enough to enable her death shortly afterwards by Kaname.
It doubles as a bit of a Pyrrhic Victory however as Zero feels his revenge was "stolen", and memories of Shizuka keeps tormenting him afterwards (then again, only for a little while.)
Big Bad Ensemble: While he's more of a Byronic Hero than a straight-up villain, Kaname Kuran's more questionable actions and decisions end up driving much of the conflict of the series. He shares this distinction with Shizuka Hio (who became a Disc One Final Boss) and Rido Kuran for the first arc, yet they're both defeated prior to the end, which leaves Kaname as the Final Boss.
Big Bad Wannabe: Despite being built up as a new threat, Sara Shirabuki ends up accomplishing very little, if anything at all, and ends up as a mere bump in the road.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sara. Shizuka too, while being in Maria's body. Averted at the end as it turns out Shizuka was never really evil.
Bittersweet Ending: Kaname gives his heart to the hunter's furnace and returns to slumber after an emotional goodbye with Yuuki. She and Zero then live happily together for presumably a thousand years until Zero eventually passes away. Afterwards, Yuuki arguably repays Kaname the happiness he allowed her in being with Zero by sacrificing herself to make him human.
Black Blood: In the anime. The manga actually has red blood in the colored pages.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: Zero telling Sara he's taking her to the "Church" rather than the actual word which was "Association", became almost a Memetic Mutation of jokes about the two of them getting married.
"Mr. kind hearted person" somehow got translated to "Mr. human lover"
Bloodless Carnage: When Kaname pulls out his own heart in the last chapter, barely any blood is spilled.
Bloody Murder: Shiki is able to throw his blood around rather like a whip.
Bodyguard Crush: Well, yes. Zero is used as Yuuki's "shield" by Kaname, and he falls for her, so...
Body Horror: Zero has a rather disturbing incident before going off to face Rido. Kaname could also count in the flashback that shows his rather decayed body at the moment he's awoken by Rido after a milleniums' long slumber.
Book Ends: The story begins with a memoryless Yuuki waking up as a human in a blizzard, and it ends with a memoryless Kaname waking up as a human in his tomb.
Broken Aesop: Apparently there's no use striving for coexistence between two different species/societies, in the end it never gets better, so the solution is to mass murder one of the societies in question and then create a cure that can transform everyone into the publically preferred society (in this case, turn vampires into humans.) Whether this will be done against their will or not? Never explained.
Brother-Sister Incest: Yuuki and Kaname. And their parents, Juri and Haruka. Normally done by pureblooded vampire families.
Cain and Abel: Averted with Zero and Ichiru. Though Ichiru did grow significantly twisted in his acts and went against Zero, he didn't become a villain, and was revealed in the end to still hold some genuine affectionate feelings towards Zero, ultimately giving his life to him in a very touching last moment.
Call Back: In chapter 65, when Zero is escorting Aidou to a cell, he apologizes for the linen not being lavender scented. This was a humorous nod to chapter 23, where Aidou upon bunking with Yuuki and Zero makes several demands that has Zero less than amused, one of them being lavender scented linen.
In the penultimate chapter, Zero attempts to talk Kaname out of sacrificing himself, explaining that what he does only brings pain to Yuuki rather than acting like compensation for his actions. This was possibly stemming from Zero's own self-destructive thinking throughout most of the story, not believing himself to be worthy of love and more deserving of dying, even before being turned into a vampire (for "stealing" part of Ichiru's life in the vomb). Having eventually realized his self-loathing mindset had only served to hurt both Ichiru and Yuuki however, rather than being a said compensation, he recognized this similar kind of mindset in Kaname and thus confronted him about it, epitomizing his Character Development.
Cannibalism Superpower: Devouring the flesh/heart or drinking the blood of a pureblood vampire enhances one's powers, even between one pureblood to another.
Zero becomes the most powerful vampire hunter living after devouring Ichiru, taking back the powers he was supposed to have been born with, next to having drunk a good amount of pureblood blood from both Yuuki and Kaname.
Cannot Spit It Out: Any interaction between Yuuki and Zero in the second arc may count to this. It's bad, in other words.
Childhood Marriage Promise: Slightly averted with Yuuki and Kaname, where their lineage expects a Kuran born son and daughter to marry each other upon reaching adult age, as is custom to most pureblood lineages.
Chocolate of Romance: All of the vampires get incredible amounts of chocolate from the in-universe fan girls during "St. Chocolate's Day" (the story's version of Valentine's Day).
Coitus Ensues: In chapter 89, even though Kaname's established that Yuuki isn't happy with him, and Yuuki's established that Zero sated her (previously stated as what proves love between vampires), the two of them still randomly end up sleeping together, to which it's afterwards treated like it never happened. It became a Shark Jump to many.
Compelling Voice: This is a stated power of all pureblood vampires, although it seems the verbal component may be unnecessary.
Cool Guns: Zero's version of the Desert Eagle that eventually can be transformed into metal vines at his whim certainly counts.
Curse: Apparently, when a vampire huntress becomes pregnant with twins, a curse will leave one of the fetuses to devour the other, naming it the "twin curse". So far, Zero and Ichiru are said to be the only case in which this didn't happen, due to Zero having been "softhearted before he was even born."
Cycle of Revenge: Zero hates vampires because Hiou Shizuka, a pureblood, killed his vampire hunter parents AND turned him into a vampire. He hates them so much that he vows to kill her and every other pureblood vampire, even Yuuki once it's revealed that she herself is one. He also has no issue offing himself once the deed gets done. Later we find out Hiou Shizuka killed his parents because they killed someone very precious to her — only because this person's name was put on the "assassination list" for some malevolent reason, despite the fact he wasn't a Level E. It could have gotten worse had everyone continued to believe he killed Shizuka which, if not for Kaname, would have brought down the vengeance of the vampire senate on Zero.
Dark and Troubled Past: Zero and Kaname both. Zero witnessed his parents murdered at the hands of a pureblood as an 11-year old, next to being bit and transformed by the same pureblood and seeing his twin brother smiling at the scene. Kaname is an ancestor of vampires who had been alive thousands of years ago along with an unnamed pureblood woman who ended up sacrificing herself for the creation of the vampire hunters and furnace, leaving Kaname to lead the battle between purebloods and the misery of being alone, after which he decided to enter his slumber that was later interrupted by Rido.
Destructive Romance: Yuuki and Kaname, being prone to bring out the worst in each other. With him, Yuuki changes from her determined, energetic, joyful and relatively action-driven self to being a needy, insecure, whiny and timid Stay in the Kitchen girlfriend, being "reminded of her place" and how weak she is, should she ever oppose him. In turn, Kaname keeps manipulating and killing whoever he sees fit “for her sake” (awaiting no request from her), leaving her with the guilt and sadness from it afterwards. There are also very rare, if none, cases of the two looking happy together (unless you refer to five year old Yuuki.)
Although, they waver between this and Romanticized Abuse, given how the author still portray them in a romantic light despite all the unhealthy aspects.
Deus ex Machina: At the end, the solution to coexistence is a sudden discovery of an old theorized cure that can transform vampires into humans.
Dhampyr: The vampire hunters are these; it's widely theorised that the ancestors of the hunters actually ate a vampire and that this has been passed down through their genes. As of chapter 63, it is shown that it was actually a pureblood vampire who fed the hunters ancestors her own blood to give them the abilities to fight off the other vampires.
Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Averted. Yuuki is unconscious when Kaname first kisses her, but this is due to giving her blood via their mouths in the process of turning her back to a pureblood, rather than... well, just wanting to kiss her.
Easily Forgiven: Kaname, who can manipulate and kill whoever he wants, good or bad, as long as it's "for Yuuki" nearly everyone in the story will free pass him. It's even more ironic when people like Shizuka and Sara were labeled villains for doing far less crimes than that of Kaname's record. Even Rido lived with his unrequited love for a whole 3, 000 years before going mad, vs Kaname who couldn't help but treat Zero like dirt from very early on.
Yuuki herself counts. She's unable to give her heart fully to either Kaname or Zero and keeps two-timing them both, intentionally or not, but none of them ever reprimands her for it but continues to adore her.
Eastern Zodiac: The author is said to have modeled the main trio after their respective signs. Kaname is hinted to be the Tiger while Zero is canonly the Dog. Some confusion exists on whether Yuuki is the Rabbit or Boar.
Eccentric Mentor: Chairman Kaien Cross. Spends most of his onscreen time as a comic relief, providing humour and generally looking like an idiot, and is also revealed to be a former vampire hunter, even more experienced than Touga Yagari, who is ranked Number One Vampire hunter.
Enemy Mine: Averted. Zero appeared to have been siding with Sara in recent events to strike back at Kaname, but turns out he was merely using her as a means to get more powerful blood to take Kaname on, while he had no interest in her personal interference.
Erotic Eating: When Yuuki cuts her fingers on a broken plate, she asks for Zero to lick the blood. Cue quite freudian faces from them both in the following scene.
After Yuuki's returned to be a pureblood, Ruka makes a comment on how "she'll have it worse than me", indicating Yuuki's grieve over losing Zero rather than the joy she should be feeling at finding out she's Kaname's fiancee.
Kaname tells Yuuki he's aware that half her heart is still with Zero, and later accepts that he can't sate her because of that attachment. Throughout the first arc he would often show jealous tendensies over the growing affection Yuuki had for Zero as well.
Before this Aidou questions Yuuki's sating issue and is implied to understand why, specially when he later on tells Zero to fight for Yuuki. He also witnesses Yuuki biting him.
Maria appears with the apparent intention to "steal Zero away", however all she does is ask Zero about Yuuki and have him reveal he never felt betrayed by her, then telling Yuuki she can't do anything for his hunger in an attempt to make Yuuki offer her blood instead.
Kaito expresses sadness over the Association apparently intending to use Yuuki and Zero's feelings for each other to their own gain.
Sara makes several teasing remarks on their behaviour whenever she sees them together.
Kaien refers to Yuuki as Zero's "sunlight" and is completely supportive of him leaving the Association temporarily to journey with Yuuki in the pursuit for Kaname, although other hunters such as Yagari and Kaito are against it.
Kaname epitomizes it in the last chapter, telling them how they "have been shining so radiantly that I've been squinting my eyes at the brightness. That's how I've come to understand... that the two of you should be together."
Fate Worse than Death: Being turned into a vampire was this for Zero. Though he gradually learns to live with it.
Fangirl: The Day Class seems to be filled with fangirls who like the night class.
The series itself also has a really large amount of fangirls, but that's a given with shoujo.
Faux Action Girl: Yuuki. Despite wielding an anti-vampire weapon, and even despite being a pureblood, she rarely keeps up a fight for long and alot of the plot revolves around her having to be saved by either Zero or Kaname. It does make her a Damsel Scrappy to some.
Finger Muzzle: Zero does this to Yuuki at the masquerade in chapter 87.
Flower Motifs: Especially when it comes to the kanji used for the Night Class names.
Force Feeding: A version of this in chapter 30 where Kaname forces Zero to drink his blood, with the explanation that it will delay his fall to a level E (while to Kaname's gain; enable Zero to continue working as Yuuki's "shield" and gain power to fight Rido).
Forceful Kiss: Kaname gives Yuuki one upon turning her back to a vampire.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Rido, who had lived peacefully with Juri and Haruka for three thousand years before them eventually having a child set him off into his full on Yandere mode, causing him to kill the child, eventually arranging his sister and brother's deaths as well, and then torment and threaten his remaining relatives for a decade.
Generation Xerox: The Zero/Yuuki/Kaname love triangle greatly resembles the Kaien/Juri/Haruka love triangle.
Only if you take it at face value. The dynamics in Juri and Haruka's relationship are alot different from Yuuki and Kaname's, and it's nowhere implied that Juri and Kaien had a thing for each other. Instead, Kaien's "love at first sight" apparently applied to both Juri and Haruka, indicating his feelings to be platonic. The real former LT belonged to Haruka/Juri/Rido, seeing as Rido being the oldest was the one Juri were supposed to marry. She, however, fell for Haruka instead.
Ironically, the author made a deal out of parallelling Kaname with Rido, and more subtly Yuuki/Zero with Juri/Haruka.
Hates Being Touched: Zero to a degree. In the beginning, the only one he doesn't mind touching him is (eventually) Yuuki. Otherwise he'd rather avoid physical contact, even from Yuuki, after The Reveal.
The unnamed pureblood woman from Kaname's past took his place as a sacrifical lamb in order to give humans powers to fight vampires, resulting in the creation of vampire hunters.
Homage: A big part of, if not the entire story seems to be based upon knight tales, what with the whole "Kings, queens/princesses and knights" theme (along with the title), highly different social status/positions in society and lineage, plus the frequent use of and reference to chess games and pieces (mainly by Kaname). It makes even more sense if one looks at the dynamics of Yuuki and Zero's relationship throughout the story, where Yuuki is the "princess" while Zero is both her and arguably the serie's "knight".
More specifically, the story seems to reference alot of its theme from Lewis Carrol's book; "Alice Through The Looking Glass", which is about a girl who enters a world where everything is predetermined for her due to being the pawn in a great game of Chess. Her only true friend is a White Knight whom she has to separate with when becoming Queen, much like how Yuuki has to separate with Zero once it's revealed that she's a pureblood princess, belonging by Kaname's (the King's) side. There's also a cover of Yuuki and Kaname where Yuuki is reaching for herself through a mirror (much like "Alice" does in alot of portrayals from the book), and the name "Alice" is even mentioned in the anime's ending theme with lyrics resembling LC's story.
Horror Hunger: The tragic state of level E's that ultimately leads to their death sentences, as it causes them to attack and feed on any human avaliable. This is the main cause of Zero's struggle in the first arc, though thanks to Yuuki and their "forbidden acts", he manages to avoid it.
Horsing Around: The horse Lily in an early chapter goes on a brief rampage which involves literally kicking Yuuki's butt, apparently due to sensing vampires.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Zero, despite outward appearances. He remains a kind-hearted character no matter how much he's put through (as Yuuki even calls him out on at one point), and is considered unique in his nigh immunity to pureblood's charisma and control, which is hinted to be one of the reasons Kaname (and nearly all other purebloods we've seen) are so intrigued by, and interested in using him.
Indirect Kiss: Debatable, but an easy to miss one as early as chapter 2: Yuuki feeds her homemade chocolate to Zero, then as an additional page at the end of the chapter she's licking the same finger she fed him with.
Interrupted Suicide: Zero is stopped by Yuuki from using "Bloody Rose" (his anti-vampire gun) at himself shortly after becoming a full fledged vampire.
Interspecies Friendship: Zero and Yuuki in the first arc, being a human and a vampire, though taken even further when their relationship transgresses into...
Interspecies Romance: Yuuki and Kaname (human and pureblood vampire) in the first arc, Yuuki and Zero (pureblood vampire and level D vampire/vampire hunter) in the second. They also couple with Interclass Romance.
Also, Shizuka and her level D vampire lover.
Shizuka and Ichiru as well. Though Shizuka apparently didn't return his feelings, they were still shown to share a close and rather touching bond.
Irony: Zero's vampire hunter family is killed by a pureblood vampire, next to turning Zero to a vampire himself and making his brother betray him, all in one night. This causes him to hate vampires, purebloods especially. It's then revealed that Yuuki whom he lives with for four years afterwards, who helps healing his heart and who he falls in love with, is a pureblood vampire.
Zero just can't catch a break. The first woman he had a crush on was his school's nurse. She turned out to be a level E vampire.
Not only Zero. Both of the rare vampire hunter twins ended up falling in love with a pureblood vampire.
In Vampire Knight, society is divided between vampires and humans/hunters, who don't go very well along. Then you have the fandom mostly divided in two major groups as well; Zero/Yuuki and Kaname/Yuuki supporters. It's hard to decide in which of the two opposing sides you'd rather not end up in the crossfire of.
Throughout the story Kaname's death would often be hinted towards/foreshadowed, while most believed Yuuki and Zero to be relatively safe considering their age and "innocence". By the end of the story however, Yuuki and Zero are dead while Kaname's alive (though he did "die" beforehand.)
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kaname and Zero both about Yuuki, though Zero a bit more obviously as he several times in the first arc mentioned how he only wants Yuuki to smile "from the bottom of her heart". Even after The Reveal that alienates him, his main reason for separating with Yuuki is apparently because he believes she doesn't need him and will be happy with Kaname.
He takes this Up to Eleven recently when he even ignores the fact that it was Kaname who murdered his family in favor for desperately asking him to live so that Yuuki won't grieve.
Ironically Kaname then reverses it again in the final chapter by telling Yuuki to be with Zero, because they've been "shining so radiantly that I've been squinting my eyes at the brightness. That's how I've come to understand... that you two should be together."
I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: To an extent. Kaname after the one year time skip is shown to make Yuuki wear high heeled shoes, and forbid her from cutting her hair, apparently trying to recapitulate their childish habits.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zero, who usually appears cold, hateful and generalizing, when really he's (as Yuuki herself calls him on a later occasion) the story's most kindhearted person, always putting himself last, forgiving his own brother for smiling at the murder of their parents, and never demanding nor expecting any fortune to come his way despite how unfairly the narrative keeps treating him. Even Kaname once described him as having been "softhearted before he was even born", due to not having devoured Ichiru entirely in the womb which apparently, any other twin fetus would do as a part of the hunters' "twin curse."
Karma Houdini: Kaname to a degree. Although he admits to have committed many sins and gives his life at the end to become the hunter's furnace, he equally confesses to not have any regrets, offers no apology to Zero for causing his family tragedy and subsequently treating him bad (unless allowing him and Yuuki to be together is interpreted as his apology) and ultimately gets a happy ending by Yuuki turning him human a thousand years later.
Zero: "Because you were there, Yuuki, I might have been able to live on...".
Yuuki essentially tells Zero he's the same to her in chapter 34.
Lonely at the Top: The nigh immortal, extremely powerful, most desired and equally feared purebloods; the "kings and queens" of vampires. Repeatedly admitting how their longevity and capability to control both humans and other vampires leaves them tired of life and/or feeling desperate of experiencing real love, and not what might simply be manipulated feelings, should they ever receive or feel affection for a non-pureblood being. A big portion of them is said to go for centuries- or even millennium long slumbers every once in a while simply because they can't think of anything better to do with their time. If not, they will find some unfortunate souls among any lesser being to "play games" with.
Kaname had this at the worst who is the longest living and is the "King" even among the purebloods.
And Shizuka and Rido, who both apparently went crazy and turned villains because of this trope (Shizuka when her lover was killed and Rido when his love for Juri turned out unrequited.)
Kaname no doubt was hurt a great deal upon losing the hooded pureblood woman from his past and realizing that Yuuki also loves Zero.
Don't forget Kain, who's always been hopelessly in love with Ruka. There's still no signs of her returning his feelings.
This would count for Yuuki too. Being aware of the attachment she has for Zero, she continues to feel "unworthy" for Kaname. Kaname is not too happy by the bond she and Zero shares either.
There's also Ichiru who fell in love with Shizuka, who while dying in his arms explains how she could never return his feelings, apparently in fear of hurting him like she did with her late level D vampire lover.
Love Makes You Crazy: Rido's reaction to his love being unrequited was to murder his love interest's child and terrorize a school, among others.
Zero gets a sword stabbed straight through his arm by Ichiru, yet his only reaction is to look surprised.
Lampshaded by Ichiru after he's shot Zero in his shoulder with the Bloody Rose, explaining how any other ex-human vampire would have been killed by that, yet Zero's only reaction is to briefly pass out, proving Kaname's earlier statement of him being close to be the most powerful vampire hunter.
Mama Bear: Juri Kuran, who is implied to have done some very painful things to herself, all of which were part of her idea of saving her daughter by turning her human; apparently, turning a vampire human kills the vampire casting the spell. Ironically, far from saving said daughter from life as what she was born, the spell malfunctioned and almost destroyed Yuuki's sanity once she tried to remember her past. Kaname had to turn her back to save her.
Mayfly-December Romance: With Yuuki and Zero. In the last chapter Zero's implied to have died from old age while Yuuki's still a young pureblood, being "only" one thousand years old. Never having wanted to live an eternity however, she sacrifices herself in order to give Kaname a human life and limited lifespan as well.
Also, Aidou and Yori, who are revealed to have become a couple in a recent bonus chapter. Towards the end of the chapter we're treated to Yori's funeral where a depressed Aidou explains how he had tried convincing her to become a vampire several times, but she had refused, being happy living with him as a normal human.
Meaningful Name: All the characters are carefully named to symbolize their personality and/or purpose in the story, which can be seen in the name descriptions at the end of every volume.
Memento MacGuffin: Yuuki has one with both guys; a resin rose with Kaname and a hunter bracelet with Zero.
Mercy Kill: Killing level E's (ex-humans gone crazy from hunger) is technically this. Made clear from Zero's first time hunting one (not counting the novel), to which the level E expresses relief upon being captured, in the words of "... but now I don't have to kill anymore...".
Mind Rape: Kaname does mild forms of this on Zero on several occasions, though the worst is probably in chapter 30:
Kaname (while Zero is drinking from him): "You're supposed to hate vampires more than anyone, yet you need blood more than any other vampire. I think you're the most vampire like of us all."
Mood Whiplash: Kaien musing about his hilarious past involving his first meeting with Juri and Haruka is very sweet... until the end of the chapter, where Kaien explains in inner monologue that the reason that began his love/obsession for photography was after his shocked realization that Juri and Haruka — two precious people to Kaien — died without leaving behind a single photograph of themselves. It can double as a bit of a Tearjerker.
Moral Dissonance: According to the author early on, Yuuki is meant to represent justice. However, because of either her guilt and/or love towards Kaname, she never expresses any anger towards his crimes, perhaps some discomfort at most, and even proceeds to sleep with him despite the knowledge of him having caused Zero's tragedy. Although, as this was something stated early in the first arc, it may have deliberately changed with Yuuki's own change during the switch of arcs... that, or one can only wonder just what Hino Matsuri's idea of justice is...
Muggle Foster Parents: Considering that Yuuki was a pureblood Vampire all this time, Chairman Cross definitely counts. Unlike most, however, he is still alive to this chapter.
Averted however, as Kaien isn't an ordinary human.
Mundane Made Awesome: Throwing a (pureblood vampire's) heart into a furnace will result in it fueling weapons for hundreds and thousands of years.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Although their hatred of each other doesn't have that much to do with the Love Triangle, Zero and Kaname really wouldn't mind killing the other. Possibly subverted in that the reason they don't seems to be BECAUSE of the Love Triangle more than anything.
Named Weapons: Yuuki's staff/scythe and Zero's gun, named Artemis and Bloody Rose respectively.
Never Found the Body: Zero believed Ichiru to have been killed by Shizuka as well because of not having seen him ever since the night of his family tragedy, only to find out four years later that not only was his twin brother alive, he had been with Shizuka all along as her willing servant.
No Body Left Behind: When a vampire dies, regardless what kind of vampire it is, the body will immediately dissolve into dust or, in the case of a pureblood; diamond/glass shards.
No Romantic Resolution: Nope. Regardless how canon either fandom should percieve their interpretation to be, Yuuki never makes it official which man she loves more. It doesn't help that the ending can also be taken as Kaname either telling Yuuki to be with Zero, or letting her.
There's also a non-vampire example with Kaien Cross, who in one chapter is revealed to be over 200 years old. Till now the only stated reason for this is that he has more vampire genes than the average vampire hunter has.
One Head Taller: It seems that about every male character is significantly taller than Yuuki.
Vampires are mutated humans rather than undead creatures from humans.
There are different types of vampires ranked by a pyramid. On top are the "pureblood" vampires with not a single drop of human blood in their veins. They're considered the "kings and queens" of vampires, are the most powerful and most desired ones, and can live forever if they're not killed (which is also extremely hard to do.) They're also the only type that can transform humans into vampires.
Beneath them are the "noble" vampires, ranked from "level B" to "level C", born vampires who also possess longevity and impressive powers, but not to the extent a pureblood vampire does.
Then there are the ex-humans, who fall into into either one of two categories; if the ex-human fails to recieve the blood of the pureblood who bit him/her, the ex-human will eventually fall into "level E(End)", a state of Horror Hunger that causes him/her to attack humans indiscriminetly and left with no other fate but to be executed by vampire hunters. If the ex-human recieves blood from the pureblood offender however, he/she will become a "level D", the safe state of an ex-human vampire.
Sunlight weakens and lightly hurts the vampires, but not to a dangerous level.
They do not lack mirror reflections.
They sleep in regular beds. Purebloods in slumber sleep in tombs rather than coffins.
Memories and feelings can be seen/felt through blood drinking.
Purebloods can transform other purebloods or lower vampire types into humans, killing themselves in the process. It's not guaranteed that the transformation will remain permanent however.
Apparently, purebloods are also the only vampires who can transform themselves, or part of themselves, into animals. Some noble vampires (like Maria) are capable of using Animal Eye Spy however.
When a human is bitten/transformed by a pureblood, that pureblood will become the ex-human's "master", being able to control the ex-human like a puppet with the sole control of his/her voice. The "servant" will also be unable to kill his/her master. Later we also learn that even purebloods can become each other's masters if one is awakened by another from slumber.
The most desirable blood to a vampire is also ranked by a pyramid. On top is the blood of purebloods, second is a beloved's blood, third is the blood of children, and fourth the blood of grown humans.
Noble vampires' powers (of the ones we've seen) differs between one another. Shiki can control blood outside his body like a whip, Aidou controls ice and Kain controls fire.
Purebloods can lose limbs, have their heart torn out and apparently even get decapitated without dying. The only way they'll be killed is by self-sacrifice or a combination of having their heart torn out or pierced while being badly wounded by an anti-vampire weapon.
Purebloods become diamond/glass shards when they die, all other vampire types becomes dust/sand.
Painful Transformation: Being turned into a vampire. As Zero demonstrates early on, it's the newly awaken hunger that can reach torterous levels unless blood is consumed.
Parental Abandonment: This is apparently the case with Yuuki's parents, until The Reveal where we learn that her parents, Juri and Haruka Kuran, died protecting her from Rido. Kaname, her foster brother, brought her to Kaien Cross.
Red Herring: The second arc eventually seemed to leave hints towards Kaname having a greater plan for Zero than just using him to kill Rido, but in the end it never went anywhere. Although some fans' interpretion of his hinted plan was simply that Zero'd take care of Yuuki for him when he died.
Replacement Goldfish: After noticing Yuuki's resemblence to her mother Juuri, Yuuki's uncle Rido (who was in love with Juuri) changed his plans from devouring Yuuki to keeping her as a substitute for Juuri. Doubles as No Yay.
Also, played with in Chapter 64 when Yuuki asks this to Kaname after learning of Kaname's attachment to a woman when he was the Ancestor of the Kurans.
Maria seems to want to do this to Zero because Ichiru is inside him.
Rescue Romance: The beginning to Yuuki and Kaname's relationship though it's later revealed that they actually knew each other.
Romantic False Lead: Maria seems to have been brought back in for this purpose considering recent events.
Rule of Symbolism: Hino's artwork is filled with all manner of this, to the point it appears to be a fetish.
Secret Keepers: The few Day Class students who allowed to keep their memories of the Rido attack intact and not have it erased include Yori, the president of the Day Class's girls' dorm, and the president of the Day Class's boys' dorm.
Second Love: Yuuki's first love is Kaname, but she ends up with Zero.
Simple Staff: Yuuki's weapon until after The Reveal is a collapsible bo, the Artemis Rod, which she keeps hidden strapped to her thigh under her skirt. Since the skirt's pretty short, albeit flared and pleated, it's hard to tell how it doesn't show all the time. The Rod is powerful against vampires, with an arcing, electric-like energy.
Sinister Scythe: The Artemis transformed into a scythe by the hands of Yuuki, Juri, and Kaname.
Teen Genius: Zero. He either skips classes or sleeps through them, and yet has excellent grades. According to the fanbook this is because he only needs to hear things once to understand it. Also Aidou Hanabusa who was called "child genius".
The Beautiful Elite: The vampires. Later, possible deconstructed with characters that, despite everything, still suffer and hide their pain under this.
Zero: Coming here to talk? You don't really think that would make a difference, do you? Discussing things like turning humans into vampires. But of course you transformed from a vampire into a human. On the other side of this door, I sense an arrogant Pureblood who does nothing but torment people.
Took a Level in Badass: Yuuki becoming an Action Girl post-transforming back into a vampire, and subverted with Kaien, who was badass before, and demonstrated it in later chapters.
Zero, when arriving at the battle against Rido, really qualifies.
Kaname, who attacked the Hunter's headquarters with very little support and even with a burden on his hand because of the anti-vampire sword.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Both Yuuki and Zero pull this on each other after Yuuki's returned to be a pureblood. Zero's reaction to Yuuki attempting to talk to him is to pull his gun at her, to which Yuuki responds by smirking and telling him that the Yuuki he knew is gone because the vampire Yuuki devoured her.
Tragic Hero: Yuuki in the second arc, believing everything that happens to the guys, or whatever actions they perform such as Kaname's genocide mission, is ultimately her fault, making it her responsibility to mend everything. It goes so far that she makes the devastated decision to erase Zero's memories of her in order to be able to separate with him, all so she can sacrifice her life to stop Kaname from his mission and equally self-destructive path. At the end however, Kaname finally tells her she's not at fault and that she can be with Zero, however, she's still hinted to never quite letting go of the guilt.
Throw the Dog a Bone: In chapter 87, Zero finally learns that Yuuki returns his feelings (though it can be debated that he's had a feeling for a while, and 87 simply served the confirmation.) Although, his chain is yanked again immediately afterwards.
At the end of the story, we're told how he and Yuuki lived happily together, with two children, for presumably a thousand years.
The Unfavorite: Ichiru believes he is this to his parents after overhearing a conversation they had comparing him to Zero. This prompted many of his actions later on.
Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Arguably this applies to recent events, since Yuuki figured her feelings for Zero were stronger than what she initially thought and is eager to rebuild a relationship with him, all the while she's convinced he no longer loves her to which she's shown expressing sadness over on several occasions.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Not so much Kaname and Yuuki since Yuuki has always been quite open about her feelings for him (the same goes for Kaname), but there is a lot of this between Yuuki and Zero, especially given recent events.
Utopia Justifies the Means: What seems to be Kaname's reasoning for his recent actions of wiping out all purebloods and manipulating any necessary soul on the way: to create a safe environment for Yuuki.
Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Averted as upon learning that Zero is a vampire, Yuuki willingly lets him drink from her on several occasions during the first arc in order to keep him from becoming a level E.
What Could Have Been: Questioned in-universe: in chapter 88, Yuuki wonders what her and Zero's relationship would have been like if they had both been human.
In the post-ending bonus chapter, Zero similarily questions what would have happened if, when learning that Yuuki was a pureblood, he had embraced her and asked her not to leave instead of pushing her away.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Shindo, the braided day class girl with a crush on Zero disappeared from the story after the turn of arcs.
At the end, only the lives of the three main characters are described. Apart from Yori who is shown as an old woman with her grandchildren, we know nothing about what became of everyone else.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Yuuki is shown feeling uneasy about the thought of never dying upon the one year time skip and discovery of her being a pureblood. Most of the purebloods however, including Kaname, can be seen expressing discomfort over their endless lives.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Sara uses this to try and gain sympathy and shelter with the hunters and even Yuuki, by blaming Kaname for Ouri and Hanadagi's deaths (though he really did cause the latter) and pretend she's frightened that he's coming for her next.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Zero really can't catch a break from purebloods wanting to use him in one way or another.
In the first arc, he also had a bad case of having to watch Yuuki's adoration and fawning over Kaname one too many times, one occasion being right after Kaname had just been torturing him.
Your Cheating Heart: In the vampire sense, Yuuki nearly cheats on Kaname in chapter 60, and then completes the cheating in chapter 74 by drinking Zero's blood, which she had promised Kaname she wouldn't.