Seven volumes in, and I’ve come to a definite conclusion: D is a badass.
Story: Hideyuki Kikuchi
Art: Saiko Takaki
Adaptation: Saiko Takaki
Translation: Sachiko Sato
What They Say
In a fleeting last breath, a beautiful woman on her deathbed hands a strange gemstone to D and asks that he deliver it to her sister in a remote North Sea fishing village. As D cuts across never-ending expanses of Frontier in search of his seaside destination, he is relentlessly attacked by wave after wave of mercenary and monster… all employed by the man who murdered the young girl.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
In a bustling town, a woman named Wu-Lin looks to sell a strange pearl she found near her house. However, people in the know realize this bead is more than just an ordinary pearl, and she is killed in their attempts to find it. Instead, D is tasked to carry the bead to her sister Su-In. And with that task, D finds himself drawn into a conflict that has lasted thousands of years.
The last volume of Vampire Hunter D spent a lot of time self-examining D as the mystery surrounding him started to be unraveled a little. I was hoping that would continue to be the case here, but it really hasn’t been, so far. However, what we do have is D outside of his natural element. What I mean by that is that despite being a great hero in many places, D tends to be a loner, shunned even by those he would help. The fear of influence by the nobility as well as the general disgust at the inbreeding necessary to create a Dhampir causes people to give him the cold shoulder, if not act out-right hostile towards him.
Instead, in the town of Florence, people are pretty friendly to him. The only person who acts out towards him is Dwight, though that is just because he fears the threat of D’s presence on his ability to woo Su-In, and he even comes around after seeing exactly what D is capable of and understanding that D has no designs on her. The end result is that for the first time, we see D start to open up a little bit. He carves a new flute for a little boy who has broken his, joins the party celebrating the opening of the new school, and even (hesitantly) engages in some healthy jocularity. He’s still D when all is said and done, but we do get to see a bit of a different side to him
Interestingly, this is the first volume of the manga that ends on a ‘To Be Continued…” Every one to this point has been a self-contained story, but this one will be at least a two-parter. Hopefully the next volume will be released soon, however there have been anywhere between six and eighteen months between releases, so I am not holding my breath. Yet. The flip side to it is that with the extra space available, they’ve done a good job of putting a slow build on the story. To this point, it is probably the best story in the series so far, though I’ll withhold full judgment until I can read the rest. I mean, I don’t really want to wait a year-and-a-half to finish this story (if that ends up being the case), but I’d rather them take their time and do it right than try and shove it into a single volume just because the rest of the series has been that way.
I have recently read all seven releases of Digital Manga’s flagship series, and I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire run. I wish they could pump out the volumes a little faster, but that’s an issue on the production end, since DMP does a simultaneous release of them here in the US. Still, again, I would rather them take their time and do them right than rush and give us a lesser product. It’s obvious the care that both the creators and the publishers have put into this series. The storytelling is superb and the production quality is fantastic. I can’t wait for future releases. 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 12th, 2013