Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 6
Saiko Takaki’s adaption of Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D novel saga continues with the sixth and latest installment. D finds himself accompanying a group of hunters across a mysterious desert. With the revelation of the desert being a living creature, will D and company survive the deadly crossing?
Well, D will obviously since the novel series is up to volume 20 or so, so that was never really in question. Then again Vampire Hunter D is less about D himself and more about his supporting cast for that particular story. Discovering who they are, uncovering tidbits about the post apocalyptic world they inhabit and the sheer weirdness are really the driving points for the series and here they’re in fine display. A massive, sentient desert? A girl who was the prisoner of the Nobles (vampires) for years? A mysterious old lady who’s also a bounty hunter? Plenty of interesting hooks in this volume and it is rather interesting to see how they all play out. Unfortunately certain elements of Kikuchi’s formula are starting to show through and become incredibly predictable at times. Hopefully in future volumes he’ll vary it up a bit more, but about three pages into this book and two of the characters practically have “will be dead by the end” written on their faces.
Takaki’s art is getting more and more polished with each volume. Her layouts are becoming easier to follow and her action sequences are getting clearer with each new release. It’s fascinating to watch her grow and develop as an artist. Her use of heavy black to contrast the stark white pages does a fantastic job at conveying the bleakness of the desert and the weird, threatening nature of the forests or stone formations that pop up. Her characters are expressive and interesting to look at, particularly the older woman. She does a fantastic job at rendering some of the more bizarre and weird powers and abilities I’ve seen in a Kikuchi novel too. I mean, deadly bubbles that snare you into a dream state? And on top of that the man using them looks like Alan Moore in a duster!
The Vampire Hunter D are rarely life changing reads that challenge or change the way we view things. No, they’re pure entertainment and Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 6 is no exception. Kikuchi’s plot is light and enjoyable, despite not being as fast paced as some of the previous volumes, and Takaki’s artwork is the best I’ve seen from her so far. It’s definitely a fun, enjoyable romp in the weird hell scape that is the world of D.