Vampire Hunter D

Books: Manga

Vampire Hunter D: Volume 1 (1983) 

Volume 1 (1983) Hideyuki Kikuchi, Yoshitaka Amano, translated by Kevin Leahy

I first encountered Yoshitaka Amano's work in his collaboration with Neil Gaiman on Sandman The Dream Hunters. I loved both the story and the art, and ended up buying his "Fairies" which is just as gorgeous. So when I picked up Vampire Hunter D for Michael, I decided to give it a try.

The story is very interesting, part supernatural fantasy, part science fiction, as in the future future world humans live in the fringe and are preyed upon by vampires. When a young woman, Doris, is preyed upon by a Vampire, she goes in search of a Vampire Hunter who can save her, and thus her younger brother and their farm.

So what did I think about the book. I liked the story, but disliked the writing. My assumption is that the problem is with the translation, though I may be wrong. My problem is that the language is clunky and uneven. The dialog was stilted, and it felt like robots rather than humans were speaking. And the choice of words often seemed plain wrong. In other words, despite an interesting story, the writing constantly and continually threw me out of the story.

Because of the language, it took me months to read this book, instead of the couple of hours it should have taken me, mostly because I would get frustrated by the dialog and put the book down, often regardless of how much I wanted to find out where the story was going.

Besides the color cover, there were eight illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano. The cover image was my favorite, but the other eight images did fit the tone of the story-black and white drawings most of which were predominately dark.

Did I enjoy the book? I liked the story, but had a very hard time getting past the writing. Will I read the next book in the series? I don't know. Should I have been able to get past the writing/language? Probably, but I obviously couldn't. Was that a failing of the story, or of me?

Rating: 5/10