Ryu’s Musings: Vampire Hunter D Volume 02 (Manga)

Posted on July 27th, 2010 by Ryu Sheng |

vamp02 ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-787-6
Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
Pages: 236
by Hideyuki Kikuchi, Saiko Takaki
Publisher: DMP
Type: Series
Genre: Action, Drama, Horror, Supernatural

Synopsis:

Towering above the sleepy village of Tepes are ancient ruins once erected by the Nobility. One day, four of the town’s children wander into the ruins and vanish without a trace, only to mysteriously reappear a few weeks later. But only three return, bearing no memory of what had happened to them. Ten years later, a new breed of vampire emerges; one which can seemingly hunt during the daytime. Losing the safety daylight offers, panic and mass hysteria begins to grip the townspeople—inciting riots and lynch-mobs. Amidst the turmoil, the enigmatic vampire slayer known only as “D” is called in to investigate. Can he solve the mystery of the walking dead’s newfound powers and unravel the truth behind the missing children’s connection to the secrets of the ruins?

General Thoughts:

This volume is physical proof that some conversions can be done amazingly well. This and the subsequent volume are two of my favourite Vampire Hunter D novels. As such any conversion would have high expectations to live up to, and it does so spectacularly.

A few people have reviewed this and called it a bitter sweet story, but after reading both the novel and the manga I have to disagree. This is nothing more than a sad story through out.

I don’t like the art in any of the Vampire Hunter D novels, or manga. The characters for the most part don’t look right, and at times It looks like Saiko did his drawing with a marker pen, it’s so black. It’s cramped, crowded, and to much going on in a small space. This is especially true in certain fight scenes, where the over use of action lines, flowing cloaks and things spoils the setting.

The character designs never really seem to fit the way I imagined them, after reading Hideyuki’s description. For example for the most part I usually find D to be looking rather creepy and sinister, rather than the unearthly handsome character he’s supposed to be.

This isn’t all ways the case however, in all the four volumes I have read so far there are always times when the art really looks stunning, including in this one.

In this volume, for me at least, the most stunning bit of art comes at the end of the volume where Lina is giving her speech. I found the art there to be really powerful and to really carry the setting well.

The story of this volume is of course one of my favourite, it’s a very powerful story of friendship, betrayal, and loss. Sadly the manga doesn’t convey it as well as the novel does, but it manages to pull of a very passable attempt.

The secrets are kept to the very end, and even then only slightly revealed, with a lot of them still being kept hidden. For me this was a excellent revelation, since at the end of a volume like this we would normally get it all dumped on us. However this time since it’s part of a larger series, we only get small bits making us want to keep reading the series.

The ending of this particular story really got me, I found it very sad since none of them had control over what was happening. I was also a bit disappointed at the end since a key bit of the story was missing. At the end of the novel D rides off with a slight smile, which is relevant because it was Lina’s prediction he would. In the manga version though he rides off with a flat expression.

Characters:

Do I really need to introduce D?

D is a dhampir, a half human half vampire hybrid, though due to his suspected heritage he’s a little special. He’s grim, flat expressioned, yet a deeply caring person. He’s a very interesting character, but due to his nature keeps everything very close. I don’t really like his character design, since he looks creepy a lot of the time.

Lina is the girl of interest this time around and I loved her. Her personality was so open and honest, rather refreshing. I loved the way she acts around people. When I read the novel and found she was a victim of sexual abuse I found the way she acted all the more interesting. I was also rather surprised that this was included in the manga, I expected that to be cut.

Cuore I never really figured out, and even now after reading it in the manga form he still confuses me. He’s one of the abducted children (like Lina), who when he was returned was deranged. So he goes through the volume literally like a raving loon, popping up now and again to do something that doesn’t match his supposed deranged state. The way he is just doesn’t really work for me, his apparent changes just don’t make sense, and the way he is at the end just left me scratching my head in frustration.

Lucas is an interesting character, he comes across as nothing more than a teacher. However over the course of the volume other elements seem to crop up that aren’t explained till the end. I liked this aspect since it keeps you wondering over who he really is.

Tajeel is never really introduced, even at the end, he literally only crops up for a brief time and then dies. I would have liked to have seen more interactions with him over the course of the volume, but I suppose they couldn’t really do that since he’ was supposed to be missing.

Publisher:

DMP once again released this with it’s own slip cover. Unlike the first volume it’s actually weathered well, and the cover still fits nice and snugly. The cover is delicious, no other way to describe it. It‘s one of the few times I actually love D’s character design. The cover itself is vibrant and bright, the embossed  foil title is amazing, and really eye catching, just as it is on the spine. It perfectly grabs a readers eye.

The colour panel of Lina is just stunning, no other word for it, and frankly is the best single piece of art in the volume.

The translation seems to have been handled really well, and flows nicely. There are no honorific’s in the volume however, and I do wonder if that was a decision on DMP’s part or like that in the original japanese version. I liked the font choices in this volume, nice and easy on the eye with no problems following them.

In truth my only issue was the coloured paper, this time it was blue, and the paper just doesn’t look right.

On a related note I also read this on the eManga site and found that I liked the version on their better, Since it was clearer, sharper, and generally a better read. This I think was due to the paper, in the book it’s blue, where as online it’s brilliant white. However online you don’t get the amazing cover or the stunning colour insert.

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