By: Hideyuki Kikuchi
Illustrator: Yoshitaka Amano
Translator: Kevin Leahy
Release Date: January 18, 2006 (English)
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing/Dark Horse
Series: Vampire Hunter D
These last few weeks I’ve been reading through the Vampire Hunter D series. This week I’ve read Vampire Hunter D Vol 3: Demon Deathchase by Hidekyuki Kikuchi.
The last two light novels have had similarly themed setups – a vampire Noble attacks a woman in a small town and D must come to save the day. This time things are different. When a rival vampire hunter group enters a town for a job, it’s empty. For the first time we see hunters arriving too late to save the town. The damage has already been done. A girl has been taken by a vampire and all they can do is hunt down both vampire and human.
The aspect of D and the other hunters being too late to save the townspeople was interesting, but glanced over largely. This is part of their reality. D might be the best hunter there is, but he can’t fix everything and can’t save everyone. This is a theme throughout this volume, and was interesting to explore. Even with D’s fantastic skills as a hunter and as dhampir some things he cannot prevent.
The majority of this book is a chase scene. Both D and the Marcus family are after a the same Vampire and have been hired by the same person. This world is a harsh one, though, and the Marcus family aren’t going to play nicely. Vampires aren’t the Marcus’s only prey. D is also on their hit list in the hopes for less competition and a bigger paycheck.
There were scenes in this volume that I thoroughly enjoyed. I liked the town D stumbled across on their great chase and wished we could have seen more of it. The ending of the book also stands out. In all, though, I found my attention waning.
Allow me to be honest. I am quite tired of all the assault and rape perpetrated by the male characters in these books. I am tired of female protagonists being preyed upon by so many of the characters on a chapter by chapter basis. Now, I do like some of what that tries to show – vampires trying to survive by the means that are given to them versus humans choosing to act as depraved, immoral, subhuman monsters. It’s an interesting contrast between those who are viewed as the oppressors and vile and those viewed as weak and virituous. But the constant assault by everyone is wearying. I want more characters I can root for. I want female leads with a bit more agency and whose family, friends, and neighbors haven’t assaulted her.
However, the setting and the history of this world are well crafted and very interesting. It’s a place I want to explore further and learn more about. I want to know more about D, his past, and what exactly his left hand is. I’m unsure if I’ll be reading more in the series. Still, I’m glad I read Vampire Hunter D Vol 3: Demon Deathchase by Hideyuki Kikuchi. If you like horror, post-apocalyptic stories, or stories with vampires you might want to give this classic light novel series a read.