Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 5
Original story by Hideyuki Kikuchi, Adaption by Saiko Takaki
DMP, 242 pp.
Rating: M (Mature Readers)
Just in time for Halloween, the fifth volume of Saiko Takaki’s adaption of the Vampire Hunter D series arrives! After a mysterious dream D finds himself drawn to a town where Nobles and humans once lived side by side in peace, but times have changed and the Nobles left long ago. Despite this the town still seems to prosper, but beneath the apparently idyllic surface lies a secret. A woman named Sybille was attacked thirty years ago by a Noble and she’s been in an ageless, coma like sleep ever since. Now D must unravel the mystery surrounding her and the shared dreams of the towns people
The mystery is interesting enough but the story itself plays out in a rather confusing manner. It relies heavily upon dream logic and plays with the idea of dreams within dreams making it fairly difficult to tell what’s going on and exactly what’s happening at times. Of course this does kind of add to the dreamlike feel of it, but generally clarity in a story is a good thing. Despite the faintly confusing plot, there are some nice character moments throughout the volume, particularly the love triangle between Ai-Ling, Sybille and Sheriff Krutz. There’s a certain doomed and hopeless air to it which I just found touching. Another pleasant surprise is that the women are actually handled surprisingly well in this volume, with none truly fitting into the damsel in distress motif that often populate Kikuchi’s works.
After five volumes it’s getting a bit difficult to find new things to say about Takaki’s artwork, but I think I may have lucked out this time around. It might just be my imagination, but the artwork looks different this time around. It looks a bit cleaner and sharper with more emphasis placed on the use and contrast between the blacks and whites. While there’s still plenty of shading and toning used it really felt like it took a bit of a back seat to the blacks and whites. In addition the line work seemed a bit slicker and cleaner as well. I was especially keen on how she rendered one of the towns older citizens, a 120 year old woman whose face is wonderfully worn and heavy with lines and wrinkles. She looks her age and I found myself lingering upon the details of her face from time to time.
This is definitely the weirdest of the five Vampire Hunter D volumes out at the moment. While it’s in no danger of becoming my favorite story in the series, it’s definitely an interesting read with some engaging and enjoyable characters, not to mention eye catching artwork.
Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 5 will be available on October 20th. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.