Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mini book review: Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi

Vampire Hunter D should have been right up my alley: a science fiction/fantasy/horror novel, set in post-apocalyptic (year 12,090 A.D.) Earth where the vampires, who for millennia after the nuclear devastation ruled the planet, are finally dying out.  The humans are trying to rebuild, although pockets of vampires still exist and their superior physiology and technology allow them to prey on the poor humans, much as they have always done.  In one village, a beautiful young orphan is being stalked by a vampire and she has to hire a Vampire Hunter - himself half-vamp - to do battle on her behalf.

The first problem with my Vampire Hunter D experience was that I thought I had ordered the graphic novel from the library but when I picked up the book, it was an actual word novel, translated from the Japanese by one Kevin Leahy.  The second problem was with the story - the words themselves, not the plot which was interesting enough.  I hated how it was written.  The tone shifted wildly all over the place; the names and the dialects of the characters didn't fit the surroundings; the sentences were choppy, often incomplete, and unpolished.  I don't know if I've read any other modern Japanese literature in translation (and I certainly haven't read any in the original) so I don't know if the way it was written is a style particular to the Japanese culture, or if the translation was just really sloppy. 

Regardless, I hated it and had to force myself to finish the book.  The reason I didn't just abandon it was because there are two animated movies based on this series (there are something like 23 novels in the Vampire Hunter D line, as well as some new graphic novels) that I want to see, and I do prefer to read the source material before seeing the movie if at all possible.  I'd still be interested in taking a look at the graphic novel because Vampire Hunter D Volume 1 was very visual and I can see how it might work well as manga.  But I will not be picking up Volume 2 of the regular books.


  1. I actually thought it was quite good so I don't know what youre talking about.

  2. Fantastic - I'm glad you liked it and from what I've read, a great many people do. I may just have stylistic differences with Japanese fiction. I do like anime and J-horror, if that gets me any extra credit.