The third volume of DMP’s signature title continues to add depth and complexity. That’s a good thing.
Story: Hideyuki Kikuchi
Art: Saiko Takaki
Adaptation: Saiko Takaki
Translation: Duane Johnson
What They Say
The vampire hunter known only as D has been hired by a wealthy, dying man to find his daughter, who was kidnapped by the powerful vampire Lord Meierlink. Though humans speak well of Meierlink, the price on his head is too high for D to ignore and he sets out to save her before she can be turned into an undead creature of the night. In the nightmare world of 12090 A.D., finding Meierlink before he reaches the spaceport in the Clayborn States and gets off the planet will be hard enough, but D has more than just Meierlink to worry about. The dying man is taking no chances, and has also enlisted the Marcus family, a renegade clan of ruthless mercenaries who don’t care who they kill as long as they get paid!
Originally written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, adapted by Saiko Takaki.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume of Vampire Hunter D sees D in a race against time to hunt a renegade noble before another group of hunters do. The Marcus Clan are ruthless and will stop at nothing to complete their jobs, willingly killing anybody who gets in their way. The noble in question, Mayerling, has run off with a human girl and has slaughtered her entire village. However, the reputation of this noble suggests he has never traded is position for personal benefit, even going out of his way to help and protect those he rules over. The more D delves into Mayerling’s situation, the more he is convinced he needs to find them before The Marcus Clan does.
One of the things I really liked about the last volume was that we started learning some of the history of the nobility and started to see them as more than just the enemies of humanity. Instead, we started to get a little bit into the physiology and psychology of the nobility, and it made things far more interesting than just D showing up to kill them. They started to have a little bit of depth, and I started to understand some of the motives for doing what they do.
While there were no discussions of this sort in this volume, the more we learn about Mayerling does a similar thing. As the volume starts out, he is the obvious antagonist of this particular story. But as the plot unfolds, he begins to appear more as a sympathetic subject more than an antagonist. The Marcus Clan, as well as a group of renegades from the village of Barbarois become the antagonists for this novel.
What this starts to introduce is the idea that D is not necessarily an automatic defender of humanity. Instead, he is a defender of righteousness, and it doesn’t matter who is being set upon—whether human or noble—he will fight against oppression and evil regardless of where it comes. It’s another layer of depth and texture from a series that is rapidly becoming more complex than I imagined it would. I like it.
My reviews of the first two volumes noted the production quality that DMP have put into this series. While virtually everything I said there is still the case, it should be noted that beginning with this volume, they have stopped producing them with separate dust covers. What was the dust cover before, is now just the regular cover, and they have stopped embossing sections of the cover. The dust flaps with the author and artist blurbs are still there, but there is no separate cover from this point on.
Vampire Hunter D continues to be a series that impresses. I loved the two anime movies, so I felt comfortable that I would enjoy this too. However, it is starting to prove a series with a lot more depth than I imagined it would have. Not that I thought it was shallow before, just that it is introducing concepts I never figured it would. That’s exciting, and I can’t wait to continue reading. Highly recommended.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
Release Date: June 2nd, 2009