Manga Village

Vampire Hunter D Volume 2

August 18, 2009

Towering above the sleepy village of Tepes are ancient ruins once erected by the Nobility.  One day, four of the town’s children wander into the ruins and vanish without a trace, only to mysteriously reappear a few weeks later.  But only three return, bearing no memory of what had happened to them.

Vampire Hunter D 2Adapted by Saiko Takaki; Story by Hideyuki Kikuchi
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishers
Age Rating: 16+
Genre: Horror
ISBN: 9781569707876
Price: $12.95

Ten years later, a new breed of vampire emerges; one which can seemingly hunt during the daytime.  Losing the safety daylight offers, panic and mass hysteria begins to grip the townspeople–inciting riots and lynch-mobs.  Amidst the turmoil, the enigmatic vampire slayer known only as “D” is called in to investigate.  Can he solve the mystery of the walking dead’s newfound powers and unravel the truth behind the missing children’s connection to the secret of the ruins?

After all the action in the first volume for this series, volume 2 pulls back a little, letting D flex his brain more than his brawn.  There’s a lot more talk than taking of heads, mostly about the nature of the Nobility.  Those who like more variety in their manga will enjoy the slowdown, but action junkies may be disappointed with the fewer fight scenes.

I loved the first volume of Vampire Hunter D, so looked forward to this second volume with some anticipation.  The sudden change from nearly non-stop action to lots of talking between D and Lina, the story’s female protagonist, was a little surprising, but none the less interesting.  This volume seems to play the part of expanding D’s universe.  As D is investigating the origin of the vampire attacks during the day, Lina is constantly asking him questions about the Nobility.  Through her curiosity, we learn about the Nobility’s weaknesses, and the existence of the “gene of Darkness”.

We also learn about D’s limitations as a dhampir.  How he’s affected by the same things as the Nobility, but not to the same degree.  There are also a few more clues dropped about D’s past.  He almost says the name of his father (4 letters get out).  We learn that D was the “one and only success”, implying a connection to the mystery of the story, but not much more is given.

We also see more of the technology of the world, something the first volume didn’t get into.  D has a laptop computer that lets him do chemical analysis, and the Nobility could project holograms and create artificial life.  The town also has a tank, though against even old Nobility technology, is still useless.  So even though the outer villages appear less sophisticated, there does seem to be quite a bit of advanced technology around.

The action, as I said above was few and far between.  D confronts some lower creatures before facing the antagonist in a duel, but otherwise there aren’t a lot of battles.  Lina sees more “action”, or attempted “action”.  It really sucks being a woman in D’s universe.  If you aren’t being bitten by Nobility, you’re getting raped or threatened to be.  These scenes are the ones I disliked the most in this volume.  It almost seemed like a subplot of ‘who’s gonna try to do Lina next?’ But, almost as an offset, there are several scenes with D looking hot and acting cool.  It almost makes it worth it.  Almost.  One thing I do appreciate about Takaki’s adaptation, is that in the comedic moments (of which there are a few), other characters can go silly, or near-chibi, but never D.  It wouldn’t be right for his character, and I’m glad to see she respects that.

The art was better in this volume, but the pacing was still a little off.  DMP’s presentation of the volume is of course, top-notch.  There is a color plate at the beginning, and the book has a true dust cover, not a pseudo cover that tries to mimic one.  There’s a short afterward from Takaki as well.

Overall, this was another good read.  The background about the Nobility and D really made it worth it, though the resolution of the mystery was a little confusing.  Still I enjoyed the volume, and would have scored it higher if it weren’t for all the rape/attempted rape.  It just didn’t seem relevent to the story.  I still recommend this title of real vampire action.

About the author

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

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