Vampire Hunter D is a series of Japanese novels written by Hideyuki Kikuchi and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano since 1983. To date, thirty-three novels have been published in the main series, with some novels comprising as many as four volumes. To date, twenty-six novels have been published in the main series, with some novels comprising as many as four volumes. The series has also spawned anime, audio drama, manga, and comic adaptations, as well as a short story collection, art books, and a supplemental guide book.
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 (吸血鬼ハンター／アナザー 貴族グレイランサー Kyūketsuki Hantā/Anazā: Kizoku Gureiransā), 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.
In 1999, nuclear war broke out, nearly killing all life on Earth. It is unspecified if the destruction was caused the vampires or if they simply knew humanity would eventually destroy itself. All that is known is that after the fall of our society, they took control and dubbed themselves the Nobility, enslaving humanity and using their scientific knowledge and magical abilities to rebuild the world in their image. During this time the Nobility began building technological wonders, cities, castles and creating strange creatures and set them free to roam with other mutants that were created from nuclear fallout. They also started manipulating human genetics, removing the ability to retain knowledge on vampire weaknesses and placing an inescapable fear of vampires in their subconscious.
Now many years later, in 12,090 A.D., many Vampire Hunters are hired to rid the planet of the few remaining Nobles that still terrorize certain sectors of the Frontier, despite the decline of their society. Vampire Hunters are the most specific and feared breed of hunter, and D is arguably the most feared of all.
Despite his immense beauty, D has an aura that is known to make even the most sturdy of creatures cower. D's past and origin is a very vague topic. It is heavily implied that he is the son of the Nobility's Sacred Ancestor and a common woman named Mina the Fair. The Sacred Ancestor often performed strange cross-breeding rituals with countless women over the years.
After he impregnated the women, he would have them bear his children, then deem newborns failures, kill them and have the women bear more. He believes D to be the only one of these "experiments" that was a success. D's exact age is unknown and although he looks very young, he is assumed to be at least hundreds of years old, but many rumors say that he's near 10,000 years of age.
Powers and Abilities
- D's abilities range very wide considering his upbringing. D is not very muscular but he is super strong. He has been able to punch through solid stone walls and put enough muscle behind his sword to effectively slice through thick stone pillars. He is also very fast and extremely agile. Being able to dodge and outrun a volley of spears or arrows, not to mention being physically strong enough to successfully cross swords with the Nobility time and again.
- D has shown the ability to destroy a hologram and prevents its reformation, with a mere strike from his blade. D's powers also extend to the negation of healing abilities, meaning that a strike from his sword which would normally heal in seconds, takes years to properly correct itself, if it heals at all.
- D's stamina is nearly unmatched so long as he is not exposed to prolonged direct sunlight. As a Dhampir, D is susceptible to Sun Sickness, but due to his highly unique physiology, it only occurs once every five years or so, unlike the usual month or so that was expected for Dhampirs. On the rare occasion D does suffer from Sun Sickness, he will recover far quicker than any other Dhampir.
- In keeping with his noble lineage, D is nearly invulnerable, only really being damaged by overexposure to sunlight, extremely long periods without blood, or a fatal stake through the heart. However, he has displayed an immunity to the latter after his initial few staking's. Normal cuts or bruises heal almost instantly while major cuts and lacerations heal in a matter of minutes.
- D is also a seasoned weapons master. However, he is most revered for his sword play. Most of the prey that fall to his sword only ever see a silver flash before thay die. He was able to decimate Rei-Ginsei's gang, who were renowned among the Frontier as some of the greatest Monster Hunters in the world, within 15 seconds each. Despite only using a normal sword, D has used it to accomplish many superhuman feats. He was able to slice a bolt of lightning as it was approaching a person he was watching and he has been shown to pierce the exterior of an invulnerable Nobility protective enclosure on a molecular level.
- To compliment his swordsmanship, he is also an extremely accurate marksman. Able to hurl foot long wooden spikes at what ever target he has in his sights with deadly accuracy. Additionally, the speed at which D is capable of throwing these stakes is sufficient to have them incandesce from friction in mid-air. D is also an amazing tracker. He has hightened senses of smell, sight and hearing that he uses to pin point a mark. Additionally, D has several millennia worth of battle experience, and on the rare instance that he cannot decimate his opponent by physical means, he is able to out-smart and out-strategize them, such as when he used Rei-Ginsei's matter redirection ability against him.
D has another edge over most anything he encounters on the Frontier. He has a parasite that lives in his Left Hand, appropriately named Left Hand. The parasite can talk and think just like a person, although it only appears as a set of eyes, a nose and a mouth in D's palm. "Left Hand" can be very useful, it has aided D by smelling prey that D could not, by seeing through solid objects to locate people on the other side, and was even able to bring D back from death after being staked through the heart.
Left hand can absorb any form of energy, and the four cardinal elements of Fire (all forms of heat), Water (any liquid, including blood and urine), Air, and Earth to grant D more power or revive him when his life is extinguished. Left hand has absorbed of note: a hundred billion volt pillar of lightning, the energy from a detonating nuke, energy straight from the heart of an anti-matter reactor, and a particle beam from a space cannon that burned through half the asteroid belt with enough power to punch through a planet two to three times Earth's size.
In the 6th novel, it absorbed hurricane force winds capable of blowing D away. He can also invade the minds of those it touches, drawing forth knowledge, or anything else it desires. Left hand once drained a lake of water to revive D after he was staked in the heart, and removed that weakness. Lefty can also generate gale force winds, blast of heat/water, and freeze objects in blocks of ice.
Left Hand, after being severed from D, also displayed the ability to operate D's hand autonomously. As far as gadgets are concerned, D has only ever needed one.
Weapons and Equipment
D wields a crescent longsword which looks similar to Yoshitaka Amano's scimitar sword design found in many of his works of art, but the sword has a hefty length, similar to that of a Japanese nodachi. The blade is about 66 inches long, double edged and made of unknown metal. It is amazingly strong, incredibly sharp and highly aerodynamic, though It is unknown if this is do to his powers or the weapon itself. D is able to use this weapon single-handed or two-handed and is highly effective at both slashing and thrusting.
D always wears a mystical blue pendant; it prevents many of the automatic defenses (such as laser fields and small nuclear blasters) created by the Nobility in past millennium from working properly, and allows him to enter their sealed castles.
D utilizes an array of different weapons such as Broad-Blades Knife, Dagger, Wooden Needles, and Caltrops.
The first anime adaptation of Hideyuki Kickuchi's Vampire Hunter D series was the 1985 cult-hit, based on the first novel, Vampire Hunter D. D is voiced by Kaneto Shiozawa in the original Japanese and Michael McConnohie in the English dub. D is hired by the farmer, Doris Lang, in order to assassinate the Vampire Count Magnus Lee who had attacked her several nights earlier. After D met her brother, Dan, Doris eventually came to fall in love with the Hunter, but he could not reciprocate her feelings. After contending with the forces of Magnus Lee, and the hatred of the xenophobic townspeople, D and Count Lee finally come together in a climactic showdown. Lee had kidnapped Doris in order to wed her and complete her transformation into a Vampire. Lee's daughter, Larmica, admired the noble Hunter and began to grow weary of her father's consorting with "lesser beings".
After being initially overwhelmed by the powerful Count's telekinesis (cape manipulation and reformation in the novel), D ultimately defeats Lee by unleashing his Vampiric powers (using a technique taught to him by the Sacred Ancestor in the novel). Larmica chooses to stay behind in the crumbling castle, bidding farewell to D, and inquiring as to his lineage. D leaves a grateful Doris and Dan behind.
The second Vampire Hunter D film, released in 2000, is very loosely based on the third Vampire Hunter D novel; Demon Deathchase. He is voiced by Andy Philpot. D is once again commissioned to hunt a member of the Nobility, this time a Vampire known as Meier Link (Mayerling in the novel) who has apparently kidnapped a young girl named Charlotte. D is not the only hunter pursuing Link however, the Marcus Clan, a group of ruthless genetically enhanced humans, are also involved. Meier Link, through an anonymous benefactor, enlists the help of the Barborois; a community of powerful of mutants, Dhampirs and monsters. The Barbarois manage impede the progress of D and the Marcus Clan, but are ultimately killed. Though they managed to slay two Marcus'; Nolt and Kyle.
At the same time, D befriends Leila, a member of the Marcus Clan, who while ultimately hostile towards him, begins to care for the Vampire Hunter. The two eventually follow Meier Link, after learning that Charlotte is actually in reciprocated love with the Vampire and left of her own accord, to the Castle Chaythe; the home of the Sacred Ancestor's deceased former wife; Carmilla.
It is revealed that Carmilla was Mayerling's benefactor, and actually wishes to transport her spirit into the body of Charlotte. Meier Link and Charlotte had wished to escape Earth via rocket and journey to the stars, so as to live together in peace. Ultmately, D defeats numerous obstacles, the magically powerful Groveck Marcus, a possessed Borgoff Marcus, and the apparitions of Carmilla's home to confront the Vampiress herself.
While initially overcome by Carmilla's magical power, D releases his inner Vampire powers and destroys her spirit with his sword, while Link simultaneously destroys her blood-form. D then battles Mayerling, only to retrieve the now wounded Charlotte's wedding ring, feeling it proof enough that she was "dead", and thus sufficient evidence to collect his bounty, D left Meier and his love to continue their journey to the stars, their fate unknown.
The film's epilogue shows a physically unchanged D visiting the grave of Leila Marcus, who had had earlier revealed her fear that she would die alone with no one to leave flowers at her funeral. There, D meets her granddaughter, who knows of D through Leila's stories and invites D to dinner with family. He politely declines, commenting that he is glad that her grandmother was so wrong about her fate. The girl then wishes D farewell as he rides off.
Vampire Hunter D: Resurrection
In June 2015, a new CGI animated series tentatively titled Vampire Hunter D: Resurrection was announced, to be produced by Unified Pictures and Digital Frontier. The series will be produced by Kurt Rauer and Scott McLean, and directed by Yoichi Mori, with Bloodlust director Yoshiaki Kawajiri acting as supervising director and series creator Hideyuki Kikuchi providing editorial supervision. The series is currently in pre-production, and is being developed as an hour-long serial drama with the intent of being broadcast on a major American cable network or on-demand provider, with Japanese distribution to follow.
Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D
Released in 2007, the Manga retells the storylines from the Novels very closely, having no real noticeable changes in the main events.
Comic Book Series
Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars
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.
Vampire Hunter D
Released for the PlayStation in 1999 and developed by Victor Interactive Software. The gameplay is similar to the earlier games in the Resident Evil series; because characters are fully polygonal, whereas the backgrounds are pre-rendered. The story of the game is similar to that of the second movie, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. He is voiced by John DeMita. Essentially, D, a Dhampir (transliterated as Dunpeal) vampire hunter is hired by an old man named Elbourne to save his daughter Charlotte, who was kidnapped by a vampire, Meier Link. If his daughter was already transformed into a vampire, then D should kill her humanely. Also, Elbourne's son hired a team of human vampire hunters known as the Marcus Brothers to serve as backup. There are though, some differences between the game and the movie.
Only two of the Barbarois mutants (Benge and Mashira) appear as enemies, Caroline not being featured. Borgoff and Leila were the only members of the Marcus brothers which were notably featured; Kyle, Nolt, and Grove just make some cameos in cut-scenes, and later are found dead. The game shares some of the voice actors of the film.
There are three separate endings based on your actions in-game.
- Best Ending - The best ending slightly resembles the ending of the film, with D and Leila watching as Carmilla's ship takes off with Meier Link and Chartlotte's corpse on board, and Leila stating that she's going to ride back into town with D. However, Leila's funeral doesn't make an appearance, and the scene in the film where D makes a pact with Leila involving bringing flowers to the survivor's grave is never mentioned.
- Medium Ending - The medium ending is largely the same as the previous, but instead of Leila stating that she's going to escort D back into town, she mentions that she's going to head north and settle down with someone she knows.
- Worst Ending - In the worst ending, everyone in the castle dies as it crumbles, and only D makes it out alive, as he mournfully recants the voices of those who have passed. One of them is Leila stating that D can bring some flowers to her grave.