This is one of my favorite stories. As a youth, I greatly enjoyed watching the anime version, and as many anime fans know the majority of “anime” out there finds its beginnings in the form of manga. However, “Vampire Hunter D” is one of the few that actually came from a series of novels.
Once I found out this fact, I searched high and low for any possible way to read the original, but alas no options were available at the time.
On May 10, 2005, Dark Horse Books released an English translation to the US. By this time I was an “adult” (if you can call me that), though it didn’t hinder me in the slightest to re-visit one of my favorite teen stories.
In the distant future, very distant (12090 in fact), the world has regressed into a ruined “Frontier” state. However, many forms of technology still exist. Vampires, called the Nobility, have taken over the world and contaminated it with bizarre and aggressive creatures of their own creation. Mankind is forced to struggle to survive in this land by becoming farmers, hunters, or citizens of small communities.
A farm girl named Doris waits on the roadside and greets a dark rider (on a cyborg horse) by attacking him. Once he evades her attacks, with little effort, she determines that he is worthy of helping her. She was bitten by a vampire named, Magnus Lee, who becomes obsessed with the young girl and intends to force her to become his wife. Doris on the other hand, who lives only with her younger brother, Dan, wants no part of this.
She finds that D–although he presents an elusive and dark demeanor–has a heart of gold and will do anything to save her and her brother.
I quite enjoyed reading the full story, as the Anime only covered a small part of it, and it was well worth the many years of waiting. The translation may not be perfect, but it’s clear enough to understand the flow of the story. It’s hard to fit this into a specific genre since it can easily go under: vampires, fantasy, science fiction and horror, but no matter which genre you like, it does a good job at fulfilling expectations.
Things to consider:
I would say the proper reading age for this book would be around fifteen, and is definitely targeted more towards boys. There are some sexual situations and descriptions of nudity, along with cursing and quite a bit of violence – I know, sounds bad, but keep in mind that these things are done with a fair amount of tact.
Opportunities for discussion:
D, the main character, shows us that caring for a person can help you to overcome all odds. D also shows us that one should struggle against their inner nature rather than giving into its evil temptations. Furthermore, one other great lesson is that it shows how we should not judge a person based on external appearance. One final discussion point would be that looking down on others based on arrogance will only lead to downfall. Pride becomes humbled, and the humbled show greater strength in the end.