Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 3
Original story by Hideyuki Kikuchi, Adaption by Saiko Takaki
DMP, 266 pp.
Rating: M (Mature Readers)
The manga adaption of the third novel is quite possibly the most well known Vampire Hunter D tale to date as it’s the basis for the second Vampire Hunter D anime, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. D is hired on by a wealthy father and asked to rescue his daughter from the clutches of a Noble, but D’s not the only hunter to respond to the summons and offer of millions of gold. The infamous Marcus Brothers also take the job. What ensues is a three way chase with twists, turns and tragedy on all sides.
This volume takes a distinctly more action oriented tone than the previous ones. The entire set up is perfect for insane, over the top, non-stop action and for the most part it deliveries on this. When it does slow down it’s usually to introduce a new character or give us a few brief flashbacks to expand upon the relationships of several of the characters. The flashbacks, while imformative, actually didn’t really work for me here. They almost felt forced into the story and the transition from the present to the flashbacks wasn’t really handled well either. Usually in comics and manga there’s something to denote that the time has changed when it comes to flashbacks, borderless panels, rounded panels, black gutters, etc. but none of that is present here. It’s simply a matter of turning the page and finding yourself in a scene that doesn’t really click with what had occured on the previous page.
Saiko Takaki’s artwork doesn’t feel quite as on the ball here as it has in the past. There are a few moments when Leila comes off looking nothing like she does throughout the rest of the volume. It’s really jarring and surprising since Takaki’s usually pretty consistent. On the other hand, the ridiculously long necks that appear in other volumes aren’t quite as noticeable here. The action scene’s are energetic as always and are really entertaining thanks in part to the various unique abilities and fighting styles that the myriad of anatagonists utilize. Beyond that it’s the usual highly detailed, ornate artwork that I’ve come to expect from Takaki’s work.
This volume highlights one of the things I really like about Vampire Hunter D. While the concept for each book is fairly similar, there are a myriad of ways that the events can play out. Up until now we’ve seen slightly more straight forward vampire hunter fare, a strong mystery oriented story and now an action packed thrill ride. The break neck speed at which it moves, the variety in the antagonists and the twists within the story all click wonderfully and make it a surprisingly quick and enjoyable read.
Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 3 is available now at Emanga.com. Review copy provided by the publisher.