Ryu’s Musings – Vampire Hunter D Readers Guide

coverLanguage: English
Direction: Left to Right
Pages: 240
by: Hideyuki Kikuchi (story), Yoshitaka Amano (art)
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Type: Companion Guide
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Sci-fi, Supernatural, Seinen

Synopsis: An international sensation for more than two decades, the now-legendary monster killer known only as "D" has conquered the worlds of movies, comics, and, since the publication of the first novel in English in 2004, is becoming just as popular in America and the English-speaking world as he has been in Japan for more than a dozen novels. Now, for the first time, go behind the scenes of the phenomenon. With rare artwork from Yoshitaka Amano and interviews that shed light on the inspirations for the memorable stories, you’ll have a front-row seat at the creation of the two animated adventures of Vampire Hunter D, and learn new secrets about the novels through detailed summaries.

This won’t be a very long post, because books like this are (for me at least) hard to really review. so what you’ll get here is really just a short summary on my thoughts on the book.

I’m a huge fan of the Vampire D franchise and tend to pick up most of the releases, the few I’ve missed are the really expensive stuff. this book at the time i bought it was rather expensive, for what it is, i paid close to £14 for including postage. The price has dropped a little bit, hovering around the £10+p&p at the moment, which i still find a little over priced.

One thing that really made me do a double take however was the publisher, i was expecting DMP, since they publish most of the Vampire D stuff. However this volumes comes from Dark Horse Books, not a publisher i have much by.

The book is pretty nice, with a good balance of information and stories in it. Right at the start of the book we get a foreword from Hideyuki, followed by some photos from him at work. Then a series of short stories. While these are nice additions to the book, some of them just don’t have the polished feel that his novels have. Extra stories are always nice, but just don’t expect to be wowed by them as much as if you were reading say Demon City. Partly because of space constraints, and partly I’m guessing they haven’t been polished as much as his books would have been.

The real part of the book however is the encyclopaedia, since that’s what it is. Basically characters, settings, and other random bits of lore are all alphabetised and explained briefly. There’s also a nice key that goes with it, which means you can avoid giving yourself spoilers by reading something from a book you haven’t read yet.

This was a nice addition to the book, but it does highlight the single flaw (other than the price) the book has, it’s incomplete. The japanese novels are into the 30’s, and the the english versions are up to 20 or so, however this book only covers up to volume 15.

Granted once you get the core material down then it gets harder to fill out. However i do feel that there’s enough material to make a follow on book, and a deluxe version in hard back which would combine them both.

Content wise, it varies, with anything from a few lines to a few paragraphs of material. There is a lot of material covering every aspect of the world so far, ranging from the revolt of the humans, it’s new government, to the Vampires and their government. As well as major characters, settings and places, all the way down to creatures only named a few times.

The detail offered in this volume is staggering at times. Hideyuki goes into great length on certain aspects revealing a lot of information that hasn’t really been explained before.

For me this made a huge difference in the way i saw the series, and in the way i read the series. going back and rereading the original volumes after reading up on settings and the histories meant i had a slightly different view on what i was reading. The same applies to the beasts, after reading about them in the companion and understanding how they moved etc. It changes how you see them in your minds eye when you read about them.

Overall it’s a good book, but given it’s limited use, and highish cost, it’s not something I’d recommend really. If your a fan of the Vamp D series, then yes this is one of those books that you need to complete your series; and you won’t regret buying it. However if your just a casual fan and reader of the series, i wouldn’t bother. All of the short stories have been published in other books, and for the cost of this volume you could get two new Vamp D novels.

Author: Ryu Sheng