Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D (吸血鬼(バンパイア)ハンターD Vanpaia Hantā Dī) is a series of Japanese novels written by Hideyuki Kikuchi and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano since 1983.

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.

Vampire Hunter D
Vampire Hunter D Volume 1 Cover
Cover of the English edition of Vampire Hunter D Volume 1

Vampire Hunter D
Raiser of Gales
Demon Deathchase
Tale of the Dead Town
The Stuff of Dreams
Pilgrimage of the Sacred and the Profane
Mysterious Journey to the North Sea
The Rose Princess
Pale Fallen Angel
Twin-Shadowed Knight
Dark Road
Tyrant's Stars
Fortress of the Elder God
Mercenary Road
Scenes from an Unholy War
Record of the Blood Battle
White Devil Mountain
Iriya the Berserker
Throng of Heretics
Undead Island
Bedeviled Stagecoach
Nightmare Village
The Royal Tiger of Winter
Battlefront of the Nobility
The Golden Demon
Sylvia's Road Home
AuthorHideyuki Kikuchi
TranslatorKevin Leahy
IllustratorYoshitaka Amano
PublisherAsahi Sonorama
Published in English2005–present
Media typePrint (Paperback)

Plot introduction

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.

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.

Unlike vampires from traditional lore, the Nobility have the ability to reproduce sexually, although their offspring will permanently cease aging after reaching physical maturity, having inherited their vampire parent's immortality.

Main characters


D is a dhampir, the half-breed child of a vampire father and human mother, the ideal vampire hunter. He is renowned for his consummate skill and unearthly grace, but feared and despised for his mixed lineage: born of both races but belonging to neither. Often underestimated by his opponents, D possesses surprising power and resourcefulness, having most of the strengths of the Nobility and only mild levels of their common weaknesses. It has been seen in both movies that his power is not only physical, but extends into the magical realm as well. His supernatural powers make him one of the strongest beings in the world, if not the second strongest (second only to his father). However, D prefers his physical abilities, only using his magic in times of great need. Unlike most dhampirs, D is able to live as a "normal" human; however, he is marked by his unearthly beauty and exceptionally powerful aura, and thus rarely accepted by human settlements. In terms of weaknesses, he is randomly susceptible to sun-sickness, a severe type of sunstroke, about once every five years (far less than most dhampirs). D also recovers from it at a rate far greater than other dhampirs. Usually it takes several days to recover from sunlight syndrome, longer if the dhampir is exceedingly powerful, but D recovered in a few hours (around 1–6 hours approximately) despite being one of the strongest dhampirs alive. Otherwise, D does not appear to suffer from other vampiric weaknesses usual to dhampirs, being able to physically restrain opponents with his aura and having godlike reflexes surpassing even those of Nobles.

His symbiotic left hand states, in "Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust: "The three of you became impatient with the heartless Bastet and impaled her on 'The Sword'". Speculation on whether "The Sword" is D's sword or not is debatable. It is important to note here, however, that the movie differs sharply from the book it takes its story from, Vampire Hunter D: Demon Deathchase, and future entries in the novel series do not differentiate between Dracula, The Vampire King, The Sacred Ancestor and D's father, proposing that they are one and the same.

D rides a cybernetic horse with mechanical legs and other enhancements, 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. 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 millennia from working properly, and allows him to enter their sealed castles. In the novels and game, he also uses wooden needles which he can throw with super speed. He protects his milk-white face from the noonday sun with long black hair, flowing black clothing and cape, and the shadow of a wide-brimmed hat. D is described as being a youth between 17-18 years, D's age is unknown (although in the novel Pale Fallen Angel parts I and II, it is made known that he is at least 5,000 years old). His beauty is mesmerizing, often unintentionally wooing women and sometimes flustering men.

Very little is known of D's past and the identity of his parents is ambiguous, but his innate power suggests that his father is an extraordinarily powerful vampire. Regarding D's birth, some Nobles whisper dark rumors about their vampire progenitor, the Sacred Ancestor known as Count Dracula, bedding a human woman called "Mina the Fair" (implied to be Mina Harker). Dracula conducted bizarre crossbreeding experiments involving himself and countless human women or even other vampires, with the only successful product of the experiments being D. D, wanting nothing to do with his father save for killing him, refuses to go by his true name. Instead, he shortens it to the first letter. In Twin Shadowed Knight it is revealed that D has a twin who goes unnamed. The twin states that he and D were born from the same woman in exactly the same conditions.

Left Hand

The symbiote that resides in D's left hand

D is the host for a sentient symbiote, Left Hand, a wisecracking human face residing in his left palm, who can suck in massive amounts of matter through a wind void or vacuum tunnel. Left Hand enjoys needling the poker-faced D, but only appears as needed, rarely witnessed or heard by anyone other than D, yet aware of many of D's thoughts and actions. At all other times, D's left hand appears normal. Besides providing a contrast to D's reserved demeanor, Left Hand is incredibly useful, possessing many mysterious powers such as psychometry, inducing sleep, determining the medical condition of a victim, and the ability to size up the supernatural powers or prowess of an enemy, even beyond D's keen senses.

In the first and second novels, Left Hand can also revive D when his physical condition is suffering, by consuming the four elements and converting the resulting energy into life force. This ability even saved D from the usually fatal stake through the heart he received from Rei-Ginsei in the first novel. Left Hand has its own mind and will, and acts as D's guide and sole permanent companion, providing a reservoir of knowledge pertaining to the lost Noble culture. So far, Left Hand's origins are unknown, and it is unclear how they came to be joined. However, some of its nature is revealed in the third book, which features a similar creature; it is implied he was one of the Barbarois (human/monster hybrids) who served in the personal retinue of Count Dracula.


Dracula's role in the novels is very mixed, appearing both as the bane and savior to isolated towns, and deified as a legendary god-king to the vampires, many of whom have never even met him in person. D quotes Dracula's precepts ("Transient guests are we"—implied to refer to the Nobility) in the first novel. Dracula appears both as a lawgiver honored for his intelligence, who showed some interest in preserving humans, and as a ruthless scientist (in the second novel), conducting hybrid breeding experiments with humans in order to perpetuate his own dwindling species. D appears to have encountered his alleged father on at least one occasion, as when at times D reaches a place where the imprint of Dracula's power remains, D remembers Dracula telling him that "You are my only success." Like D, Dracula is portrayed as a mysterious and handsome young wanderer who deals with both life and death. However, in the English dub of the anime, D states that Dracula respected humanity and did not feed on innocent people.

Publication history

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 (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.


1985 animated film

Vampire Hunter D remains a cult classic among English-speaking audiences. Billed by the Japanese producers as a "dark future science-fiction romance" Vampire Hunter D is set in the year 12,090 AD, in a post-nuclear holocaust world where vampires, mutants and demons "slither through a world of darkness" (in the words of the film's opening introduction).

1988–1990 audio dramas

Asashi Sonorama created audio drama adaptations of three of the novels, in five parts:

  1. Raiser of Gales "D" (January 1988) (the book it was based on was published May 1984)
  2. D – Demon Deathchase (June 1988)
  3. D – Mysterious Journey to the North Sea I: To the North Sea (March 1990)
  4. D – Mysterious Journey to the North Sea II: Summer at Last (May 1990)
  5. D – Mysterious Journey to the North Sea III: When Winter Comes Again (June 1990).

Most of the voice cast for the original OVA reprised their roles. Originally released on cassette tape, in 2005 they were re-released as a special edition, five-disc Vampire Hunter D Audio Drama Box, including a small supplemental booklet with a new short story by Kikuchi and an "art cloth" with an illustration by Amano.

1999 video game

A video game based on Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust was also made for the PlayStation game console, titled Vampire Hunter D. It is a survival horror game, but also similar to a standard adventure title. The player can see D from different pre-rendered angles throughout the game, and allow D to attack enemies with his sword. D can also use magic, Left Hand's abilities, and items. The story of the game is similar to that of Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust, although it takes place entirely within the castle as D fights all the enemies. Only two of the Barbarois mutants appear as enemies. There are 3 endings, 1 of which is similar to the end of the anime.

2000 animated film

The second film, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust garnered respect for its advanced animation techniques, detailed art style and character designs, voice acting originally recorded in English (English voice casting/direction by Jack Fletcher), and its sophisticated orchestral soundtrack composed, arranged and conducted by Marco D'Ambrosio. Its art style closely mirrored that of the illustrator and original character designer of the first movie, Yoshitaka Amano.

The storyline features a larger cast than the first film. The second Vampire Hunter D movie (known as Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust outside of Japan) is based on the third of Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D novels (Demon Deathchase in English). Unlike the first film, which was released in 1985, this movie is rated NC-16 in Singapore, M in Australia, 15 in the UK, R13 in New Zealand and R for violence/gore in the USA (except for the Blu-ray release, which is unrated).[1]

2007 manga adaptation

On November 2007, the first volume of Saiko Takaki's manga adaptation of Hideyuki Kikuchi's series was published simultaneously in the U.S., Japan, and Europe. The project, overseen by Digital Manga Publishing and Hideyuki Kikuchi, aimed to adapt the entire catalogue of Vampire Hunter D novels into a manga form, however it had concluded after the eighth volume due in part to an injury affecting Takaki's ability to illustrate the series.

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. 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 is an adaptation of the 2005 short story Message from Cecile and acts as a prequel to the then-in-development animated series. The series is written by Brandon M. 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 written by F. Wesley Schneider.[2] The campaign reached its $25,000 funding goal on July 1, 2016 and its initial $50,000 stretch goal on July 7, 2016.[3] The campaign concluded on August 9, 2016, with 1,736 backers pledging a total of $107,025, reaching four out of five stretch goals.[2] Following the first issue the series was placed on temporary hiatus due to a serious medical emergency in Broussard's family, resuming production in early 2018 with new artists Ryan Benjamin and Richard Friend.[4]

Upcoming animated series

In June 2015, a new CGI animated series tentatively titled Vampire Hunter D: Resurrection was announced, produced by Unified Pictures and Digital Frontier.[5] The series would 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 was currently in pre-production, and is 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.[6] As of June 2016 the series is still in pre-production, with plans to begin shipping the project to distributors by the end of the year.[7] Given the abundance of source material, the current plan is to produce as many as seven seasons, without revisiting the source material that was adapted into the first two films.[8] In February 2018 it was announced that the pilot episode would be written by Brandon M. Easton, writer for the Message from Mars comic book series.[4] The first draft of the pilot was completed in October 2018.[9]

Other media

In July 2008, Devils Due Publishing announced that it had acquired the rights to publish an English-language Vampire Hunter D comic book mini-series titled Vampire Hunter D: American Wasteland, to be written by Jimmy Palmiotti and pencilled by Tim Seeley, however the project was cancelled in 2009.[10] Intended to infuse the standard Vampire Hunter D formula and mythos with more Western sensibilities,[11] it would have told an original story about D departing the Frontier to embark on a journey to a new land still ruled by the vampiric Nobility.[12]

In 2010, it was reported in Japanese horror magazine Rue Morgue that Hideyuki Kikuchi was in talks with one of the producers for Capcom's Resident Evil video game series to develop a live-action Vampire Hunter D adaptation.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust on IMDb, The Internet Movie Database, September 26, 2008
  2. ^ a b "Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars".
  3. ^ "Update 3: Funded! · Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars".
  4. ^ a b "Exclusive: Vampire Hunter D Comic Switches Artists".
  5. ^ "Exclusive: Vampire Hunter D Has New Animated Series in the Works". Anime News Network. June 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Bertschy, Zac (July 3, 2015). "Interview: Unified Pictures and Vampire Hunter D". Anime News Network.
  7. ^ Surat, Daryl (June 30, 2016). "Interview: Unified Pictures and Vampire Hunter D". Anime News Network.
  8. ^ Topel, Fred (August 4, 2016). "Interview: How the 'Vampire Hunter D' TV Series Will Avoid the 'Game of Thrones' Problem". Slash Film.
  9. ^ "New 'Vampire Hunter D' Series Takes Big Step Forward".
  10. ^ LBCC '09: Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex, Powergirl and More) ComicVine, October 6, 2009
  11. ^ "Palmiotti Stakes Claim to".
  12. ^ Palmiotti, Jimmy; Blaylock, Josh (2009). Vampire Hunter D: American Wasteland. Devil's Due Publishing. ASIN 1934692646.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)}}
  13. ^ 'Vampire Hunter D' Live-Action Movie In The Works? MTV News, February 20, 2010

External links

Hideyuki Kikuchi

Hideyuki Kikuchi (菊地 秀行, Kikuchi Hideyuki, born September 25, 1949) is a Japanese author known for his horror novels. His most famous works include the Vampire Hunter D series, Darkside Blues and Wicked City.

Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D

Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D, known simply as Vampire Hunter D (バンパイアハンターD, Vanpaiya Hantā 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 is a 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 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.

Last adapted volume 8 is available in English only digital since April 17, 2018 by Publisher KADOKAWA via BookWalker.

Left hand

The Left Hand or Left hand may refer to:

One of a pair of organs of the primate body, called hands, attached to the arms at the wrists

Left-handedness, a term referring to a person who primarily uses their left hand to accomplish tasks and activities

Left Hand (comics), a comic book character owned by Marvel Comics

Left Hand (Vampire Hunter D), a character from the Vampire Hunter D series of books, published in Japan

Left Hand (manga), a Japanese manga

Left Hand, West Virginia, a community in the United States

Left Hand Brewing Company, a brewery located in Longmont, Colorado

Left-hand path and right-hand path describing the two different/opposing belief systems

LeftHand StoreVirtual, Hewlett-Packard storage products for computing, see HP StorageWorks

"The Left Hand" (Dollhouse), a 2009 episode of the television series Dollhouse

The Left Hand, a pen-name used by Benjamin Franklin

List of Vampire Hunter D novels

This is a listing of all light novels in the Vampire Hunter D series, written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, Ayami Kojima and Vincent Chong, and translated by Kevin Leahy and Takami Nieda.

Twilight of the Cockroaches

Twilight of the Cockroaches (ゴキブリたちの黄昏, Gokiburi-tachi no Tasogare) is a 1987 anime/live-action film written and directed by Hiroaki Yoshida that combines live-action footage with animation. The plot concerns a society of cockroaches who live peacefully in the apartment of a bachelor named Seito until a woman moves in and the humans begin to exterminate the cockroaches. The cockroaches are depicted through animation, and the humans are depicted through live-action footage. Famed Japanese illustrator Yoshitaka Amano worked on the film as an art director and character designer.

Director Yoshida has stated that the film is "about Japan" and that the "concept of a 'hated' species is like the racial and cultural enmity with which Japan is perceived". In his New York Times review, Vincent Canby wrote: "The publicity material for Twilight of the Cockroaches describes the film as an allegory about the fate in store for affluent Japan if it doesn't meet its international responsibilities. The film may read that way in Japan. In this country, it looks somewhat darker and more muddled".The English dub of the film was produced by Streamline Pictures. During the early-to-mid 1990s, the film was shown frequently on Turner Broadcasting stations such as TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network, often paired with Vampire Hunter D and Robot Carnival. As a result, it was one of the first exposures to anime for many American anime fans.

The soundtrack is by Morgan Fisher.

The film was released on to DVD by Discotek Media on February 26, 2019.

Tōku Made

"Tōku Made" (遠くまで) is the eighth single by Do As Infinity, released in 2001. "Tōku Made" was the theme song to the anime movie Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust and was also used during the final episode of the first series of the Japanese TV drama "Waterboys". "Signal" was the theme song to a Lavenus hair care TV commercial which starred the lead vocalist, Tomiko Van.

This song was included in the band's compilation albums Do the Best and Do the A-side.

Vampire Hunter D (1985 film)

Vampire Hunter D (Japanese: 吸血鬼ハンターD, Hepburn: Vanpaia Hantā Dī) is a 1985 Japanese horror OVA film produced by Ashi Productions, in association with Epic/Sony Records, CBS Sony Group Inc. and Movic. The screenplay is based on the first in the long-running series of light novels written by Hideyuki Kikuchi.

Billed by the Japanese producers as a "dark future science-fiction romance", the film, like the novel before it, is set in the year 12,090 AD, in a post-nuclear holocaust world where a young woman hires a mysterious half-vampire, half-human vampire hunter to protect her from a powerful vampire lord.

Vampire Hunter D (disambiguation)

Vampire Hunter D may refer to:

Vampire Hunter D media franchise

"D", the Vampire Hunter, titular character

Vampire Hunter D (novel series)

Vampire Hunter D (novel)

Vampire Hunter D (1985 film)

Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D (manga series)

Vampire Hunter D (video game)

Vampire Hunter D (novel)

Vampire Hunter D Volume 1 is a Japanese novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi. It was first published in Japan in 1983, and was translated into English in 2005.

Vampire Hunter D (soundtrack)

Vampire Hunter D is a soundtrack album for the film of the same name. This was Tetsuya Komuro's first solo work.

Vampire Hunter D (video game)

Vampire Hunter D is a PlayStation video game based on the series of books and movies of the same name. Along with Countdown Vampires, it is one of the few survival horror games to revolve around vampires.

Yoshiaki Kawajiri

Yoshiaki Kawajiri (川尻 善昭, Kawajiri Yoshiaki, born November 18, 1950) is a writer and director of Japanese animation. He is the creator of titles such as Wicked City, Ninja Scroll, and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano (天野 喜孝 (formerly 天野 嘉孝), born March 26, 1952) is a Japanese artist, character designer, illustrator and a theatre and film scenic designer and costume designer. He first came into prominence in the late 1960s working on the anime adaptation of Speed Racer. Amano later became the creator of iconic and influential characters such as Gatchaman, Tekkaman: The Space Knight, Hutch the Honeybee and Casshan. In 1982 he went independent and became a freelance artist, finding success as an illustrator for numerous authors, and worked on best-selling novel series, such as The Guin Saga and Vampire Hunter D. He is also known for his commissioned illustrations for the popular video-game franchise Final Fantasy.Since the 1990s Amano has been creating and exhibiting paintings featuring his iconic retro pop icons in galleries around the world, primarily painting on aluminium box panels with acrylic and automotive paint. He is a 5-time winner of the Seiun Award, and also won the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for his collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Sandman: The Dream Hunters.Amano's influences include early Western comic books, Orientalism, art nouveau, and Japanese woodblock prints. In early 2010, he established Studio Devaloka, a film production company.

Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi


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