Beginning in 1983, Kikuchi has so far written 31 Vampire Hunter novels spanning 44 volumes. All of the official publications in the series were originally published by Asahi Sonorama until the Sonorama branch went out of business in September 2007. The release of D – Throng of Heretics in October 2007 under the Asahi Bunko – Sonorama Selection label marked the transition to the new publisher, Asahi Shimbun Publishing, a division of Asahi Sonorama’s parent company. From December 2007 through January 2008, Asahi Shimbun Publishing reprinted the complete Vampire Hunter catalogue under the Sonorama Selection label.
On May 11, 2005, the first official English translation was released under DH Press, translated by Kevin Leahy. As of November 2016, 21 novels have been translated into and released in English, spanning 24 volumes.
In January 2011, Hideyuki Kikuchi published the first spinoff set in the Vampire Hunter universe, a series of prequels titled Another Vampire Hunter: The Noble Greylancer, illustrated by Ayami Kojima, artist and character designer for the Castlevania series of video games. It takes place over 5,000 years before Vampire Hunter D and focuses on expanding the history of the Nobility, following the exploits of the vampire warrior Lord Greylancer.
In 2013, Viz Media’s Haikasoru imprint released the first official English translation of the prequel series, retitled Noble V: Greylancer, translated by Takami Nieda with newly commissioned cover artwork by Vincent Chong.
D wanders through a far-future post-nuclear Earth that combines elements of pulp genres: western, science fiction, horror, high fantasy, H. P. Lovecraftian mythos, folklore and occult science. The planet, once terrified by the elegant but cruel Nobles (vampires), ancient demons, mutants and their technological creations, is now slowly returning to a semblance of order and human control — thanks in part to the decadence that brought about the downfall of the vampire race, to the continued stubbornness of frontier dwellers and, to the rise of a caste of independent hunters-for-hire who eliminate supernatural threats.
The year is approximately 12,090 AD. Some time in 1999, a nuclear war occurred. The Nobility were vampires that planned for a possible nuclear war and sequestered all that was needed to rebuild civilization in their shelters. They use their science combined with magic to restore the world in their image. Nearly all magical creatures are engineered, with a very small number being demons who survived the holocaust. Despite their technology being great enough to create a blood substitute as food, they still prefer to feed on humans. As such, they create a civilization where vampires and humans coexist, eventually developing the planet into parklands and cities. The society eventually stagnates when vampire technology perfects scientific prophecy, which determines they are at their zenith of existence and thus are doomed to fall, overthrown by humans. The human race was also transformed at this time, with fear for the vampires being woven into the genetic level, and the inability to remember vampire weaknesses such as garlic and crucifixes.