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4.7 out of 5 stars15
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 June 2005
For anyone like myself who enjoyed the anime's but doesn't speak Japanese these translated novels are most welcome. Now we can finally read the source materials allthough i can't say how accurate the translation is.
This is the novel the anime from the 80's was adapted from. It tells the story of D being hired by Doris Lang to kill the vampire Count Magnus Lee. The setting for the story is a post apocalyptic future that vampire's had ruled for 10'000 years but are now in decline.
Vampire Hunter D appeals to an audience outside of Japan with its blending of vampire horror and wild west feel. The main character D is pretty cool and he has one of the most unusual companions ever!
This is the first novel in a series thats been going for over 20 years now and if more volumes continue to be translated i'll be buying them.
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on 16 December 2010
I loved this book, if you enjoy horror / gothic fantasy the books will no doubt entertain and delight. The story for this first book is rather simple (not going to reiterate what others have), D the hunter protecting a client from a vampire but what I really appreciated was the amount of twists and turns, the fact new enemies rolled into the fray (in the form of some strange mutant behemoth hunters that each have there own power) without the story being all wrapped around D (not a case of protagonist love fever from the author) but he shines above the other characters regardless out of the merits of his personality and deeds. His journey is dark in a post apocalypic universe that had vampires take over and rebuild becoming the nobles but letting humans live, they have however employed many psychological traps in the minds of humans such as stopping them remembering how to use garlic and the power of the cross. Humans on the other hand live in a cowboy life style of farming in there old beat up towns that have a strange blend of good technology (electronic fences, laser rifles, robot horses etc.) but lost a lot of there technology and the only real technological marvel is the capital which through the years of rebuilding and fending off the vampires they no longer remember how to use the technologies that could save them. They are preyed on by the many genetically engineered beasts of the nobility (vampires) such as werewolves (not all of these are genetically modified however) flying little devils and other creatures.
The twists and turns with enemy joining enemy, coming back and going to the enemy again as they all seek what there own prizes is quite well done and keeps the story interesting.

This isn't a story designed to chuck philosophy at you but regardless the story brings about a detailed, thought out and beautiful rendition of gothic and fantasy genre's. Personally I found the rendition of vampires to be enthralling, it was so vivid and dark that it alone was worth the price of the book but then the story brings and blends various fantasy creatures in unique ways. The world feels like it has so much yet to see and that you want to see despite its grim setting and this leaves you always captivated.

I couldn't find a bad point about this book and I tried, reading the tales of earthsea I was 120 pages in and had 4 faults with it but this story just doesn't step a foot wrong (unless like said you want tons of philosophy) but you should read it because of the smart character relationships, beautifully crafted gothic world and its unique but genre defining vampires.
Having seen the movies I know the stories will only get better too with vampire love stories making even the enemy of our protagonist D into great characters of there own. This book was like the old movie but far more detailed so I believe book 3 will blow my mind as that movie was the perfect vampire movie in my mind with love, strife and a gothic touch that all vampires need while still giving the nod to Dracula.
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Imagine a postapocalyptic wasteland, where technology is slowly sliding into a new medieval age... and vampire Nobles have ruled for ten thousand years.

Hideyuki Kikuchi left the rules of vampire novels behind when he crafted "Vampire Hunter D," mingling dark science fiction with ancient mythical creatures -- werewolves, vampires, and so on. Though his style is rather distant, the result is sort of a futuristic western by way of Bram Stoker.

Farmgirl Doris Lang stops a sword-carrying youth on a cyborg horse, and finds that he is a Vampire Hunter. Good thing, because Doris has been bitten by the vampire Magnus Lee, and needs this young man -- who calls himself "D" -- to save her and her brother from the vampire. Haughty vampire ladies, werewolves and feuding villagers all visit Doris' farm -- only to be repulsed by D.

But to deal with Lee, D must venture into a disgusting, labyrinthine castle, dealing with demonic serpent-women, lethal mutants, and the Count himself. Outside, Lee's servants and daughter Larmica grapple with various villagers, intending to capture or kill Doris -- but none of them realize what D, a dhampir, is hiding in his distant past...

The world Kikichi concocts is a pretty fascinating one -- it's over ten thousand years in the future, in the waning days of a vampire empire that ran the whole planet, and Earth is overrun with vampires, werewolves, fairies, mutants and cyborgs. He's invented a gloriously rough, wild kind of world, sort of a postapocalyptic Wild West.

However, his writing is anything but -- detailed, atmospheric, and full of creepy scenes (including D's, uh, left hand reviving him when he's "killed"). If there's an overhanging problem, it's that he has to infodump his audience at times, so they know about stuff like Gargantua grapes.

Kikuchi relies on a formal, distant style reminiscent of 19th-century novels, though more spare and stripped down. But sometimes he bursts into outright pulpy prose ("The people saw the crimson glean of his eyes in the darkness -- the eyes of a vampire!"). And he spins up some pretty intense suspense about D's true nature, and his hidden identity.

D is a rather elusive, haunted character -- Kikuchi rarely shows us what he thinks or feels, but gradually hints at his inner struggles. And he's backed by a pretty solid cast of characters -- feisty Doris, the despicable rich boy Greco, haughty vampiress Larmica, and the downright creepy mutant Rei-Ginsu, who is able to warp space inside his body.

While it has a few rough spots, "Vampire Hunter D" is a haunting, futuristic tale of vampires and the mysterious Hunter who pursues them. An excellent beginning to the series.
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on 22 November 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was sad that I completed it so quickly. It is more a novella than a novel.

The translation was also particularly characterful and I feel honours the original work. While I cannot comment on the original Japanese since I don't understand it, I got the pleasant impression Kevin Leahy was conscientious of Hideyuki Kikuchi's "writing voice". There were peculiar turns of phrase that wouldn't be used in typical literary English but must be Kevin's best efforts at emulating what Hideyuki would have wanted.

It was also quite amusing to see a shadow of that awful trope anime has, where characters - particularly villains - will get 5 minute expositions to explain what their next level super move does, how it got it's name and why the rival needs to have his jaw on the floor. It's really not that bad, I am exaggerating a bit, though in his defense I do like the way Hideyuki delivers these expositions.I really don't know how to explain it, you'll recognise it when you read it.
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on 1 September 2005
Possibly one of the best dam novels i have ever read, considering i mainly read manga, but looking at the past 2 vampire D movies this novel follows the first vampire Hunter D movie quite accruate and reading the novel it really make me want to watch the original movie.D is awsome with his cool image and has a little handy friend on hand when situations are dire. This is a must have novel as it dipicts D's world as grusome and cruel and how humans and vampire show their status.Anyways, i already pre-ordered my second volume and i can't wait to dive again into vampire D dark world where vampire,demons and all sorts really takes you on a huge roller coaster trip.^^
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on 24 October 2006
A nice Japanese fantasy and horror novel .filled with dark and colorful imagination . set in a future , where the existence of vampires and mutants, is a fact of life .

The story starts with a vampire bitten farm owner, doris , who hires a vampire hunter , to rid her of the curse of becoming one of the undead. This hunter is a dhampir , half man half vampire , who goes by the name D. after that , we meet the vampire who bit doris , a mutant gang for hire and some suspicious villagers . interwined of course with a satisfying dose of duels, horror, and fantasy.

Hideyuki kikuchi's imagination is impressive .the book is filled with brilliant ideas , that an aspiring horror and fantasy writer , could use to write several books .

weather controlling machines, and the vampires using genetic engineering, to wipe off the memory of the cross's effect on vampires, from the human brain, were brilliant .you don't feel like you're reading a novel from 1983 .

it still lacks depth . it's expected though . this is the first volume in a series of seventeen .

eight yoshitaka amano's - character designer of the vampire hunter d films - illustration are included in this book. My favorite is the one in page 207 .the hand.

good for teenagers and anime fans.
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on 2 October 2014
Currently on the 5th volume of this, but thought I should review here. Vampire Hunter D is imaginative and original, with great characters and a very intriguing mythology. I suspect like a lot of people I found these books through the anime, and fell in love. I can't get enough of this dystopian world which is basically a rich and visceral cyberpunk western. The main character, D, is an ambiguous hero, and Doris Lang the kind of fleshed out, gritty female character I have always loved.
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on 17 January 2012
I am halfway through this story and i must say it makes a nice change! What i don't like is the fact its not got as many illustrations as i expected but at the end of the day its the story that counts!
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on 14 February 2007
This is possibly one of my favourite books ever. Its a great start to a series with lots of new ideas involved based around the myth of the vampire. Here vampires were the ones to reach the pinnacle of technology and many of the nightmare creatures in these books were genetically engineered for their purposes. This book is set after the fall of the vampires, in a world turned into a living nightmare for humans in which the creatures the vampires created rule the night. The genre is a curious mix between western, sci-fi, fantasy and horror. This might sound unappealing but Hideyuki pulls it off very well. The novel itself is very intelligently written, with wonderful imagery, and one cannot doubt the attractiveness of D (this is a joke in regards to the myriad ways that D is described as beautiful - try and count them).

This story is based around Doris a young woman who was bitten by one of the elusive elite, the vampire Magnus Lee. D is portrayed as a mysterious and often emotionless young looking man, whom effortlessly deals with everything that is placed in his path. The other characters too are well drawn and interesting. There are many differences between the book and the film, for example the role of the "smaller" villains(i.e. Rei).

To top it all off Yoshitaka amano is the illustrator, and this alone makes the novel worth reading. All in all a fantastic read and the best one i've read so far in the series. (The second best one is book 3 :) )
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on 5 September 2011
AMAZING BOOK! Seriously, I just ordered the second and can't wait to read it, I finished this book in three days.
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