-Chris aka "Rue Ryuzaki"
こんにちはeveryone it has been awhile. I have been very very busy with a lot of things. Some of which it is going to be a surprise, but let's return back to where I have previously left off shall we? The adaptations of the Vampire Hunter D Novels.
And this time its the third novel of the series known as: "Vampire Hunter D: Demon Deathchase"
Vampire Hunter D: Demon Chase is the third volume of author Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D series. Centered upon a forbidden romance between a Noble( the series term for Vampires, especially natural born pure bloods) Baron Mayerling and a young human woman. These lovers are being pursued by those hired by her father. D and the notorious Marcus Clan. As the chase gets underway it becomes clear to D that all is not what it seem,such as the choice of the young maiden to chose to love the Baron and flee with him, the betrayals of friend and foe alike among the Baron's hired help, as well as the ruthless of the Marcus clan towards anyone who gets in they're way,and the tough decisions that has to be made by the little sister of the clan Leila.
However not just her choices but also those by D himself, who not only has to fight multiple enemies but as well decide the fates of the Baron and his love.
It is a thrilling story by Hideyuki Kikuchi that is well worth the read, but what about the adaptations of his story, the movie Vampire Hunter D: BloodLust and the manga?
Let's start with the movie shall we.
The movie was written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, drawing upon Kikuchi's third novel. The story and plot mostly the same but with a few differences that I think does not hurt the movie and is respectable to the original work.
Madhouse was the production company involved as Urban Vision Entertainment and Nippon Herald Films were the film's distributors.
The animation and designs along with the sequences were very well made and were mostly fateful to each of the original characters involved within the story. With only a few differences which will be touched on later.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is 105 minutes long and is 1 of the first rated R animated movies I have seen. There have been others that are older than it, since the film was released in 2000 in North America and April the following year in Japan. However this film (if my memory still serves me) was the one I saw first. Even before the first Vampire Hunter D film.
Now lets see about the differences from between the film and the novel
1. Beginning Setting and the Meeting of Competitors: Here as the movie begins it's during the day and D meets with Charlotte's(in the novel she is never named, which for the movie purposes was a good call) wheel-chair bound father and her older brother in an isolated area.While in the novel it is at night inside their town and its Marcus clan the reader encounters first not D, who happens to be lurking there beside them as their employer turns as he and the entire town have been become vampires.
This slight change in the film versus the novel is no biggie for me, because having a scene introducing the title character of a series first in a film adaption can help those in the audience new to the franchise get accustom to that character. Also including within the scene D's question concerning what to do if Charlotte is turned when he encounter's Meier Link(Mayerling's movie name). Which the girl's father as much as it pains him, says give her a peaceful death.Thus gives the audience a sense of how serious this type of situation that the people in this world have to make those type of decisions.
Thus the introduction of the Marcus clan and their battle with the town of recently turned vampires and meeting D for the first time, and that Marcus brothers plans to get rid of D as a rival is nearly the same aside from the previous difference mentioned concerning their employers.
2. The use of Crosses and other traditional Vampire wards: As mentioned in the previous blog, crosses and other traditional vampire wards aside from sunlight are still being used by humans, when in the series universe most humans have been stripped of that knowledge and the ability to retain it upon discovery due to what the vampires(or the Nobility as they are also called) had done to most of the surviving groups of humans after the apocalypse.
3. D's 1st battle with Meier Link and Leila Marcus: The scene in which D encounters Meier is nearly the same, as he comes upon his cloaked laser guarded hiding place. The main difference is that the power of D's blue pendant is not used to render the vampire lord's refuge security useless in the novel. As the film just has D timing the lasers and deflecting them with small rocks until he gets to close for the lasers to work. However their first battle between each other was great to watch.
Leila Marcus still interferes and gets herself injured when she attacked while D is in the middle investigating Meier Link's hiding place. Almost the same way except that she uses an armored monocycle instead of a atomic powered four-wheeler. Also her character's backstory and appearance is slightly changed. Her the change to her appearance was that her hair was cut short, while in the novel it is kinda long. I guess it was to help give her more of her tough girl image. Even though I don't think it should have been made that short, but it doesn't hurt her character. Her backstory differs as she later in the movie reveals that she isn't related to the Marcus brothers and that she had joined them in their travels as a hunter due to the death of her mother when she was a child. Which differs in the novel as she is their actual little sister, and that they have a obsessive relationship over her to the point were they force themselves upon her. Which plays a serious part in her character's development later in the novel when she encounter's the young woman( the movie's Charlotte), as she becomes more accepting of her and Mayerling's relationship upon seeing their affections towards each other. She does so in the movie but the circumstances behind it differ.
The scene were D saves Leila from her injuries is about the same except that Leila regains consciousnesses and berates D for undressing her before he informs her that he had given her medical treatment, as he then leaves long before the the rest of the Marcus clan arrives. As she then hides the fact D helped her, but the one of the Marcus brothers: Grove questions her about it to which she asked him not to tell. While in the novel Leila's brothers arrived long after D has left and seeing that Leila was still unconscious but was given medical treatment they figured it out that D was the one that helped her.
4. The meeting with the Barbarois & the 3 hired help: The original backstory of the Barbarois, their agreement to aid Meier Link/Mayerling and Grove Marcus's surprise attack on the village are still the same. However there are some differences. Benge who is a shadow user is the 1st of the 3 hired help for Mayerling is encountered by the Marcus Clan prior to their arrival at the village. It is here that the 2nd oldest brother Nolt(who is the tallest and largest of the siblings instead of Bogoff) is killed by Benge but is also the manages with his last words to warn the others of Benge's use of shadows.
However in the novel D is the one who kills Nolt after a surprise attack by Bogoff that sent him off a bridge. Which in the novel it revealed that D unlike most vampires and normal dhampirs has high resistance to water. Because a method to deal with the Nobility and dhampirs was to drown them.
The next difference is D's encounter with the Barbarois inside their village. Inside the novel when the elder realize that D is the son of Dracula or the Sacred Ancestor/ Vampire King, he humbles himself and forces the other villagers to do so and to obey D's request. Since it was Dracula who originally saved their kind to begin with. However this caused a riff with the 3 that was hired on to aid Mayerling: Benge, Caroline, and Machira. But their battle is interrupted by Grove.
Aside from his introduction another major difference in the movie with Benge is his death. With in the movie Benge is battling the Marcus clan inside an abandon work site, Bogoff here remembers what Nolt had said about the shadows thus countering Benge's attack. An opening occurs to strike Benge down, when he becomes distracted upon learning D had escape his trap. In the novel Benge is in hiding inside a town after being wounded by D. While he is plotting his escape to meet back with his client and the others, he spots Kyle who he decides to kill himself. However it was a trap the Marcus clan set using Kyle as bait that leads to Benge being sniped by Leila.
Machira and Caroline differ greatly inside the movie versus the novel for different reasons.
Their roles as major villains had been changed, thus being nothing more than hired henchmen but dangerous ones.
Caroline is a mutant Dhampir, who can bite and even turn inanimate objects into her slaves, and is in love with Mayerling. In the movie she is a shapeshifter, who can take on the qualities of what is in her environment and as well use it as a weapon for an example trees. Here she is still killed by Leila but lightning was in involved.
Also her English voice actress was Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, the voice actor of Mokoto Kusangai from the Ghost in the Shell films & series.
Machira who was like the parasite in D's left hand in the novel, is now a mutant werewolf who can form a mouth on his torso, which is interesting since he does something similar in the novel. Also he kills Kyle, who dies in the novel at the hands of his older brother due to Caroline turning him into a vampire. Not to mention he is not lusting after Mayerling's lover(Charlotte), and D just cuts him down during their battle.
5. Human hatred towards Dhampirs: I like this scene in the movie even though it was not in the novel, because this scene shows a major plot point in the series lore as well as part of D's backstory. You see the horse smith Polk was saved by D when he was a kid, after the town hired D to save him and the other children, who were kidnapped by vampires. When Leila provokes the sheriff into confronting D, Polk stands up for D to repay him for risking his life to save his when the people of the town turned on D for saving their own children because of their fear of him being a Dhampir.
6. Sun Syndrome: Is a condition that affects Dhampirs to were their resistance to sunlight fails them causing to seek shelter in a cold dark place(mostly underground) to recover from built up fatigue or risk collapsing in front of an enemy.For normal Dhampirs this usually happens generally around a few weeks to a month after the last occurrence of it , but ones who are the offspring of powerful vampires like D. It can be at least 6 months before the symptoms begin to show. In both movie and manga adaptions it is kept and the moment of bonding with Leila Marcus(even though D was unconscious) and Caroline's attack. However there is a key difference here from the novel(as well as the manga) if not for the entire story. Leila does not develop any strong feelings for D as an potential love interest. Instead it is more like becoming a friend or an comrade in arms.
7. Countess Carmilla and The End: Countess Carmilla is our end of the movie villain who appears to Mayerling but she has own objective in mind. Carmilla is powerful older vampiress who was killed by D's father; the Vampire King as he is called in the movie or the Sacred One in the novels. D's father stuck her down due to being unable to tolerate her lust and greed no longer. As explained by D's left hand, however Carmilla was powerful enough to have her spirit dominate her castle after her death. Which her castle being the very location of the space port of Mayerling's goal to escape into space with Charlotte.
As she guides all those that enter the castle she manipulates them with her powers, such as illusions were she convinces Mayerling that D is taking Charlotte away from him, having the elder Marcus brother Bogoff turned into a vampire to attack Leila and D, which forced Grove use the last of his power to stop him thus killing them both, she also disguised herself as Mayerling to take some of Charlotte's blood thus using it to start her revival. Which is her true goal, thus you could say that her character took on some of the characteristics of Caroline in the novel.
She is stopped by the joined efforts of D and Mayerling; D battles and over powers her spirit revealing that he has more incredible powers or abilities that he doesn't show unless needed. Mayerling destroys Carmilla's reanimating body before it can go after Charlotte to become complete. Yes Carmilla's body when it started to revive acted in the manner of a ghoulish monster, thus it needed more blood to regenerate before her spirit could returned to it making her whole again.
Afterwards D and Mayerling have their final epic battle as Carmilla's castle begins to break apart, D defeats Mayerling but spares him and takes a possession of Charlotte for the bounty and tells them to never return, as he did inside the novel however the movie has a happy ending for our human/vampire couple but inside the novel its a tragic ending.
D and Leila leave off as friends but they differ in both the novel and movie. They both part ways however in the novel Lelia mentions that she is going back to see about a guy that proposed to her who wasn't afraid of her family. Inside the movie there is a time skip to a grave side funeral where D meets Leila's granddaughter. Who he tells he's keeping a promise to a friend.
Now for the Manga.
The Manga adaptation of the novel's story follows it almost exactly except in a few places but its no big deal.
So lets shift our focus on to the artwork of Saiko Takaki.
As I mentioned in an previous post the cover art for this One shot manga adaption of this novel looks great as it gives the reader slight window of the what is happening inside the story. Since the novel's title is the "Demon Deathchase." Thus Saiko Takaki gives us that image of D on horseback with his sword drawn as rides with the Sun setting showing that it is a race against time.
Now in regards to the artwork inside of the manga itself I am in the middle. You see style Ms. Takaki seems to be drawing upon appears to be the older horror comic style that I have mentioned before in the previous post. Which I think works well with the type of story the Vampire Hunter D novels tell. In that it is trying to capture that eerie, creepy, or horror feeling along with the action that takes place. However she hasn't quite perfected it here as she does in the later volumes of the manga adaptions I currently own. She begins to find her groove in volume 4 and really start to progress more in volumes 5-7 (especially in volumes 5&7). Thus considering that I can see see why some people wouldn't be too keen on the art style she is using, but I would say as she became more comfortable in doing the work and dealing with the pressure of adapting the work of Hideyuki Kikuchi. A person who she knows well and respects, she is definitely progressing in the right direction. From what I have seen so far in my current collection. I hope when I continue on the series that her progress escalates to a high level.
Overall I believe both the movie and manga are very good adaptions of the novel, the movie as one that condenses the novel into a dark action adventure that can bring in new fans for the series. As the manga is a good faithful adaptation of the novel that provides a picture of the challenges D has to face as well as the struggles of the two female leads. Thus along side the original work of Hideyuki Kikuchi,both are worth checking out for yourself.
That is all see you guys next time.
Side note: Yeah I apologize for the delay in how long it took getting this up and finished.
A lot of personal problems have been happening, but I haven't been KO yet so no surrender.
Next time will be different.