Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D, known simply as Vampire Hunter D in Japan, is a manga adaptation of the Vampire Hunter D novel series by acclaimed horror writer, Hideyuki Kikuchi.
Announced at Anime Expo 2006, the Vampire Hunter D manga project is currently underway in collaboration between Hideyuki Kikuchi and Digital Manga Publishing. Kikuchi, who has always had a close relationship with his fans, has personally selected doujinshi artist Saiko Takaki as illustrator for the project.
The first volume was published on 14 November 2007, and was subsequently nominated as the third best new seinen manga of 2007 in an About.com reader’s poll, and placed fifth in the SPJA Industry Awards in the “best action manga” category.
The plan was to adapt the entire catalogue of Vampire Hunter D novels into manga form. However, the series was officially reported to be cancelled by DMP in November 2015, with no plans to release volume 8 in the USA.
I am going to be laying out the plots of two of the manga volumes that the two Vampire Hunter D movies were based one and discussing the differences between the novels and movies.
Movie 1 Vampire Hunter D
The year is 12,090 A.D., and what little is left of humanity has finally crawled out from the ashes of war and destruction. From the darkness of the fallout, mutants and a race of vampires known as the Nobility have spawned. They rule the weak with no remorse. Once bitten by a Nobility, one is cursed to become a member of the undead. Villagers cower in fear, hoping and praying for a savior to rid them of their undying nightmare. All they have to battle this danger is a different kind of danger – a Vampire Hunter.
Enter D – a lone, mysterious Vampire Hunter sought out by the desperate Doris Lang. Bitten by the vampire lord Count Lee, Doris is destined to her eternal fate… Can D deliver her from her curse and bring her to salvation, or will she forever be part of the unholy dead?
Differences from the Novel and film While the story remains intact, the manga takes some liberties with the narrative and character designs. Larmica returns to being blonde, but Doris is depicted with Red hair in the colored splash page after the cover. Certain events are shuffled around while others are slightly changed to take place at the same time as another. In the original Novel, Greco is killed by Larmica, but in the manga he is fatally wounded by Rei Ginsei (much like in the film). D’s fight against Golem, Gimlet and Chullah remains the same as the novel (though Chullah may have survived this time around) while his triumph over Rei is slightly different (in the novel, D exploited Rei Ginsei’s powers to finish the mutant, while in the manga he severs Rei’s other hand, causing him to be decapitated by his own shrike blade). The ending appears to take elements from both the novel and film, in which D is seen safe and sound, leaving on horse back (in the novel, he doesn’t appear after his conversation with Larmica-the film has Dorris and Dan bidding their bodyguard farewell). It is interesting to note that D left his pendant in the care of Dan, not even returning to retrieve it after he vanquishes Count Lee.
Movie 2 Vampire Hunter D- Bloodlust
The vampire hunter known only as D has been hired by a wealthy, dying man to find his daughter, who was kidnapped by the powerful vampire Lord Meier Link. Though humans speak well of Meier Link, the price on his head is too high for D to ignore and he sets out to save her before she can be turned into an undead creature of the night. In the nightmare world of 12090 A.D., finding Meier Link before he reaches the spaceport in the Clayborn States and gets off the planet will be hard enough, but D has more than just Meier Link to worry about. The dying man is taking no chances, and has also enlisted the Marcus family, a renegade clan of ruthless mercenaries who don’t care who they kill as long as they get paid!
Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D Volume 3 adapts Demon Deathchase, the third Vampire Hunter D light novel.
Differences between the original light novel and film, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust Much like the first manga, volume 3 remains faithful to the novel with little changes within the story.
2016 comic book series
On June 30, 2016, a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for a five-issue Vampire Hunter D comic book series titled Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars was announced. To be published by Stranger Comics with supervision from series creator Hideyuki Kikuchi and support from the creative teams at Unified Pictures and Digital Frontier, Message from Mars will be an adaptation of the 2005 short story Message from Cecile and will act as a prequel to the in-development animated series. The series will be written by Brandon Easton and illustrated by Michael Broussard, with visual development by Christopher Shy. The campaign’s stretch goals also include an official Vampire Hunter D Pathfinder Roleplaying Game supplement to be written by F. Wesley Schneider. The campaign reached its $25,000 funding goal on July 1, 2016 and its initial $50,000 stretch goal on July 7, 2016. The campaign concluded on August 9, 2016, with 1,736 backers pledging a total of $107,025, reaching four out of five stretch goals.