It can’t be easy to be a vampire hunter, especially for someone like D, who is part vampire himself. Recognizable for his somber expressions and floppy hat, he’s made quite a name for himself in a whole slew of best-selling books. The fifth book in the manga series, to be sure, dishes up some spooky good fun.
It all starts when D is shot by an arrow. But instead of dying, he slips into a dream. In that dream he visits a mansion where he sees an ethereal couple dancing. He wakes up, unhurt, and travels into a village where it seems everyone dreamed about him the night before. They didn’t necessarily like him in their dreams, though, and some people are wary of him.
Still, they know there’s something special and peculiar about him. He’s taken to a sleeping young woman named Sybille who’s been asleep for thirty years but hasn’t aged a day. Her sleeping spell began when she was bitten by a vampire, so can D do anything to help her? There’s certainly something afoot here, considering the fact that Sybille was the dancing woman he saw in his dream.
The mysterious dreams continue. In fact, vampires play a background role in this storyline, with dreams taking up the bulk of the volume. Reality and dreams shift back and forth, blurring what is real and what isn’t. This creates a moody, atmospheric tale where dreams are more than glimpses into the subconscious. Dreams here can have psychic powers—so is it no wonder the one character is named Sybille? The sibyls of ancient Rome were said to be prophets.
There’s also quite a bit of action in this book, and the art works really well for it. Saiko Takaki can make her characters beautiful or gruesome, and some of the details are quite amazing to see. Though it takes place in the future (by about ten thousand years), there’s something very Western going on here, with cowboy-like images. Be that as it may, Vampire Hunter D is a solid mixture of horror, sci-fi and fantasy.
Another thing worth noting is that one can read this volume without having read anything previously in the series and still get something out of it. It can both be read as a continuation of earlier volumes or as a stand-alone tale. Floppy hats may not go well as a fashion statement, but D has still made himself quite popular.
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Original story: Hideyuki Kikuchi
Adaptation and art: Saiko Takaki