Ryu’s Musings – Vampire Hunter D Volume 03 (Manga)

Posted on August 10th, 2010 by Ryu Sheng |

9781569707883

ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-788-3
Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
Pages: 266
by Hideyuki Kikuchi, Saiko Takaki
Publisher: DMP
Type: Series
Genre: Action, Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Seinen
Synopsis:

The vampire hunter know only as D is now on a race against time—this time, to hunt down a vampire lord who’s kidnapped a daughter of a wealthy village elder. D must also contend with a notorious band of bounty hunters also hired to track down the abductor, and hell-bent on eliminating anyone or anything in their way of their bounty. D is faced with obstacles every corner he turns…can he reach the damsel in distress before she becomes one of the undead?

Characters:

There are a few characters of note in this volume, though I wont bother introducing D again.

The love interest in this volume is rather unique, in that we never learn of her name, I like this since it adds to the mystery around her. We don’t get to see her very much, or hear her talk, which is a shame. She has a slightly timid personality, but she’s also devoted to the man she loves.

Mayerling, the “evil” of this volume is an amazing character, who is nothing like the vampires we’ve had so far. He’s almost as reticent as D is, he also exudes a powerful aura that frankly rivals D’s. I love the way he act’s, he’s a bit misguided in what he’s doing, but it’s made clear through out the volume that his love is genuine. He’s the best vampire I’ve seen, though not very vampire like.

The Marcus Clan, who frankly end up looking more like the bad guys than the vampire does. The clan consists of four brothers, Borgoff, Kyle, Nolt, and Grove, and a sister, Leila. Leila is the only one who really has any personality and any sort of presence in the volume. She’s a well formed and designed character with an excellent personality that really shines through. Sadly the brothers, for the most part, are just cannon fodder. The only one of note is Borgoff, and everything about him screams evil. In fact at the end of the volume I was happy he got his just deserts.

General Thoughts:

This is my favourite volume because like it’s previous volume it shows a softer side of D that we hadn’t seen before now.

When you get down to it this is a story about to lovers from different races who love each other, and are battling the times to be together. The way it starts out is amazingly well done. With the usual D hunting a vampire to save a lost girl, but along the way several things come into play that aren’t expected.

First is the Marcus Clan, especially Leila, who is rescued by D early on. Up till then it’s hinted that she’d lead a life of blood and betrayal. We even get to see how badly she’s treated when she’s abused by her brother. Yet after being rescued by D she starts to change, and we get to see some excellent personality changes from her.

Then we have the mystery girl that was taken from the village. The revelation surrounding her are astounding as it’s revealed she left willingly (sort of) and that she is genuinely in love with the vampire Mayerling.

As the volume carries on we get to see how much she loves him, as the truth about her destination is revealed, but she already knew  about it. I found the bond’s between Mayerling and the girl to be really well portrayed, and were converted from the novel exceptionally well.

We also get some more hints about D this volume as well, first we get the events that take place in the village of Barbarois, and again when he’s hit with the sunlight syndrome. While no one really doubt’s who he is, it’s still not been revealed, and all these subtle hints make for an excellent story full of suspense and mystery.

The ending of the volume made me cry though, the truth is finally revealed and the depths of their love is put to the test. The way they end though is truly breath taking, and one of the best tragic endings I’ve seen. I did like the way Leila ends in the volume, and was happy to see at least one of the girls get a reward.

The Anime Version:

This volume was also used to make the second anime movie, Bloodlust. However it’s probably closer to say it was used as a ‘base’ for the movie, as a lot of elements are changed. Most especially the ending for the love birds and Leila. While these endings are okay, I found they cheapened the actual endings we see in the novel and the manga. But it’s still worth a watch though.

Publisher Handling:

This volume took me by surprise since in a way the quality is both better and worse than the previous two volumes. Firstly we lose the slip cover, at first glance it’s not a big thing, but the cover we get this time is flat and uninspired. We’ve lost the embossing of the title and and it just doesn’t look as vibrant as the first two volumes. However it is worth noting that the cover is a nice one in it’s own right, it’s just lacking compared to the previous volumes.

The side flaps pull out revealing several of the characters from the volume, and I will admit they look awesome.

Apparently the removal of slip cases was done across the entire DMP line up as a cost saving feature. While it’s understandable, I think removing the covers mid series was a bad idea, and would have been better applied to just new series, but that’s just me.

One thing I found absolutely stunning this volume however is the colour panel, of Mayerling and his love. It’s vibrant, alive and beautiful. It shows perfectly the theme of the story.

I’m not keen on the general art though, which at times is great but at others is bad. D just doesn’t look right for the way he’s described, and the eyes of the characters just look freaky, they look like they haven’t had any sleep in a month. Forget bags under their eyes, they’ve got suit cases. That said, at times the art can be stunning, with more than a few times the art has really impressed me.

The general editing of the volume is great, easy to read and follow with no issues. I really like the font’s used for D’s mysterious left hand as well, it makes it easy to know when it’s talking.

As far as the conversion goes I’m really impressed and love it. It carries the core of the story and conveys it really well. Not to mention it manages to bring the characters to life in a way you don’t really get in a novel.

There are three versions of this manga available, the print version that this post is based on, the kindle version available from Amazon, and the eManga version.

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