The vampire-slaying hunter known only as “D,” with a reputation of taking care of business by way of the sword, is on another bounty run– this time to resuce the beautiful daughter of a wealthy village elder, kidnapped by the vampire Noble, Mayerling. But what happens when another group of bounty hunters have taken up the same assignment? Head of the notorious mercenary clan, the Marcus family, older Borgoff leads his not-so-merry band of ruthless renegades not only on a mission of pursuit and retrieval, but also on a path of destruction that’ll hopefully wipe out anything that gets in the way from their payday, including D.
In this adaptation of the third novel, we get to see more the world D is living in, which in this case, isn’t necessarily a good thing. Hideyuki Kikuchi continues to build on D’s background and mystery, but his misogynistic portrayals will only turn away women with any self-worth that might enjoy a good sci-fi/horror series.
This third volume in the Vampire Hunter D series was the basis for the anime Bloodlust, which was popular in the US. The villain in the story this time isn’t a Noble, despite appearances. D is one of two Hunters hired to rescue the village elder’s daughter. The other Hunters, know as the Marcus Clan. They are three brothers and one sister, and are about as ruthless and despicable as any group of people can get. They kill indiscriminately, and don’t really like competition, thus making them the villains for D to beat.
The story itself makes a good chase. Mayerling and the girl, whose name is never mentioned, are a sort of Romeo and Juliet. They are truly in love and are running away to find a safe haven to live together in peace. Mayerling thinks he knows just the place and they race off in his carriage, hiring mercenaries from a mutant village along the way. The confrontations along the way are first between D and the Marcus Clan, and then between both Hunters and the mercenaries. But neither the Marcus Clan nor the mercenaries can last long against D. He has the final confrontation with Mayerling in a sword fight. The ending is bittersweet, much like the story it takes inspiration from.
A few more tidbits of information about D are released in this volume. We learn about another of his Dhampir weaknesses; sunlight syndrome. Apparently, dhampirs suffer from this about every 6 months and the best way to recover from it is to lie in the earth. D is different in some respect of course. He’s gone 5 years. But, it’s got to happen in the middle of this chase. There’s another hint about his heritage, with the elder of the mutant village recognizing him as Dracula’s progeny, and treating him with respect that D tries to brush off. He doesn’t seem to want to admit to his parentage.
While I’ve enjoyed this series so far, there is something that has really started to get on my nerves; the blatant misogyny. It practically runs rampant in this volume. The men of D’s world can’t see a woman without trying to drop trou. The sister in the Marcus Clan, Leila, is raped by her brothers. All of them. They tell her constantly that she belongs to them. The girl with Mayerling is left alone, and is nearly raped twice; once by a passerby and once by one of the mutant mercenaries. It’s like the moment the men see breasts, they’re unbuckling their belt. Women are treated like things, not persons. It’s not just disturbing. It’s getting disgusting.
And this makes me sad. I love D. I want to know more about him, his past, and the Nobles in general. There looks to be a great story to be told there. But, this misogyny really seems to be taking over the series. It keeps becoming more prevalent, and really makes me want to just put the book down and walk away. Vampire Hunter D could be a good sci-fi/horror series if it doesn’t continue this trend. Less rape and more action can only do this series good.