Vampires are the supernatural creatures of the Vampire Knight universe. As in traditional folklore, they are sensitive to the sun and are active during the night; however, in reality, sunlight only hurts their eyes and does not actually cause them any physical damage.
When killed, vampires will turn into sand, though Purebloods are an exception when they die, as they shatter into shards of glass instead. The most effective way to kill any vampire is to cut off their head or stab their heart using an anti-vampire weapon. Blood tablets had been developed to take the place of actual blood feeding, despite having a bad taste. Vampires also have a bloodlust that can only be quenched by the blood of their beloved.
Vampires have existed for well over 10,000 years, first appearing when mankind's civilizations began to crumble. At one point, they waged a war against humans, during which Purebloods began turning humans into vampires. When the number of vampires began to increase, a monarchy was established to rule the vampire race, with the Kurans as the royal family.
However, two generations ago in current times, the former king and head of the Kuran family (Rido, Haruka and Juri's father) abolished the monarchy in order to avoid authoritarianism. The Senate was established to govern the vampire realm, with high-ranking vampire aristocrats in the seats. Despite their demoted status, however, the Kuran family still holds the title as the highest standing family, and it is well known that there are many vampire families who would support Kaname Kuran if he chose to take back the kingship.
There are 5 types of vampires, ranked according to the purity of their blood. The more diluted by human blood, the lower their ranking is.
Level A are the Purebloods; the rarest, most elite, and most powerful class, whose blood lines have never mixed with any humans. They are the monarchy of the vampire race, meaning that they are very powerful and demonstrate many abilities such as being the only vampires able to turn humans into their own kind. However, these former human vampires are not powerful and will eventually lose their sanity and falling into Level E.
Level B are known as the Aristocrats. Every Aristocrat has a special ability (e.g. Hanabusa's ability to freeze vampires, humans and objects etc.) and the power to heal faster, have more strength and move more quickly. They have a small amount of human blood in their ancestry.
Levels C, D and E include humans who have been turned into a vampire by a Pureblood rather than being born as a vampire. These ex-humans would eventually go mad with bloodlust and become a "Level E" if they are not stabilized by drinking the blood of the one who originally bit them. Stabilized ex-humans are known as "Level C" or "regular vampires", and humans that have been bitten, but have not gone mad are "Level D".
- Main article: Purebloods
Level A Vampires. The heritage of these vampires haven't been diluted by human blood. They are the strongest type of vampires and have the most significant powers, and can destroy any lower vampire with ease. However, despite the fact Purebloods are very powerful, they only make up only a very small portion of the vampire population. The Senate holds Purebloods in extremely high regard, to the point where it is taboo to kill or even harm a Pureblood vampire. As a result, they are treated like royalty. The powers a Pureblood vampire are dangerous to both their fellow vampires and humans. Purebloods have the ability to compel lesser vampires to do their bidding. In recent chapters, Kaname Kuran demonstrated why Purebloods are feared and respected by single-handedly killing the members of the Vampire Council. If a human is bitten by a Pureblood, that human will either die of blood loss or turn into an ex-human vampire, slowly falling into a Level E. The Pureblood and ex-human in question would become bonded as Master and Servant. The master is able to completely control their servant, while the servant becomes incapable of ever killing their master, even if they wish to. When a Pureblood vampire dies, their bodies slowly disperse into small sparkles (as shown by Shizuka Hio's death in the anime) before shattering into shards of glass.
Also known as level B vampires, they are elite vampires with specialized abilities beyond normal vampires. These are also very powerful vampires, but not as powerful as Purebloods, due to having a small amount of human blood in their ancestry. They have super strength and speed, as well as specialized powers such as mind control or freezing matter. When an aristocrat is killed, they turn to dust like all other vampires, excluding Purebloods. These vampires are still able to be compelled by Purebloods, but enjoy a much more independent lifestyle in general. The Vampire Council is usually made up from their ranks.
Level C vampires. These are average vampires with no significant powers. Level C vampires are not usually seen in the anime but have several different appearances throughout the manga. They only have super speed, strength and they heal faster than a normal human.
- Main article: Ex-human vampire
Ex-human vampires, also known as level D and level E, are the lowest form of vampires, humans who have been turned into vampires by being bitten by a Pureblood vampire. The E in Level E represents the word "end" because after falling to level E, it's usually the end of their life after losing control. If they don't want to die, they'll have to drink the blood of the Pureblood that bit them. The consequence is that the Pureblood would have complete control over the person and that person would truly become a vampire.
Elite vampires, such as Level B and Purebloods are known to have special powers. The following powers have been demonstrated:
- All vampires display an accelerated healing. The purer the vampire blood, the stronger the healing factor.
- Decelerated aging: the purer the vampire blood, the longer the life of the vampire. Purebloods are immortal. They age very slowly and they can only be killed if someone cuts off their head or if they are continuously immobilized and shot/stabbed in the heart with an anti-vampire weapon.
- Ability to erase memories.
- Ability to use animals as a familiar, to watch and listen.
- Telekinetic powers, able to use these highly destructively.
- Aristocrats most commonly display the ability to control an individual element, such as fire, ice, lightning, etc.
- All vampires have heightened senses like their ability to smell blood from a great distance.
- Super strength, vampires can tear through flesh with ease and destroy large concrete structures (walls, pillars, etc.) and can leap great distances
- All vampires have accelerated speed, they are able to appear beside someone instantly.