In 1985, there came Vampire Hunter D, an orginal video animation, adapted from a novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi, about a world overrun by vampires and the vampire hunters who sought to bring them under control. It became a classic, not just because it is one of the best animated vampire movies around, but because of the compelling story, interesting visual style and wonderful characters.
Now, Saiko Takaki is bringing Hideyuki Kikuchi’s novels to the printed page. To date, there have been 17 novels featuring D and the world of the far, dark future and hopefully, all of them will be manga-ized.
Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D Manga Volume 1
Adapted & Illustrated by Saiko Takaki
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Age Rating: Young Adult 16+
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
In the far future of 12,090 A.D., mankind has ruined the planet. Through nuclear attacks and pollution, mutants have arisen, including the return of supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves. It is the vampires, incredibly, that actually save mankind and return order to the world where they reign as nobles for more than 5000 years. However, the nobles have largely become corrupt and decadent over the years, living in luxury and viewing the humans as little more than cattle.
Into this world comes D, half-human, half-vampire with a score to settle with the nobles. He is hired by Doris Lang, a beautiful farmer who has caught the eye, and the fangs, of the local ruling noble, Count Magnus Lee. He seeks to turn her and marry her, much to the dismay of his vampiric daughter Lamica. Can D save Doris from the final bite of Magnus Lee, the claws of the jealous Lamica and the swords of the townspeople who fear Doris bringing the wrath of the vampires down upon them all?
The first volume is basically a retelling of the 1985 movie with a few new characters and a few alterations. If you’re familiar with the original movie, this is going to seem very familiar, but that doesn’t make the manga bad. Far from it in fact, we get to see a lot of elements that either didn’t make it into the movie or were altered for the movie. The art style is very similar to that in the film which makes it easy for those who have seen it to feel at home in the vampire world.
I did say that there are some elements that changed and one of those is the inclusion of a lot more nudity and suggestive dialogue. When Doris hires D in the manga, her payment to him includes his use of her body and she shows it off several times in the first volume. While I shouldn’t have to point out that this is for an older audience and has plenty of blood and body parts flying, anyone who is seriously opposed to nudity may want to think twice.
If the movie was something you enjoyed, this manga is right up your alley. It captures the feel of the movie perfectly, so much so that I kept thinking about the Japanese voice actors as I read their lines. This is a manga for fans of the horror, fantasy and action genres who are looking for something a little different than the standard fare. Pick up the first volume, I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed.