The series that spawned the Vampire Hunter D anime.
12,090 A.D. It is a dark time for the world. Humanity is just crawling out from under three hundred years of domination by the race of vampires known as the Nobility. The war against the vampires has taken its toll; cities lie in ruin, the countryside is fragmented into small villages and fiefdoms that still struggle against nightly raids by the fallen vampires—and the remnants of their genetically manufactured demons and werewolves.
Before anything else, this is a review of the first novel only, not the entire series. So I can't judge the rest.
If there was any novel that really should have been a graphic novel, it is this one. It wants to be a graphic novel so badly that it seems to abandon the idea that it is a novel at all and lingers somewhere in between the two. The narrator desperately wants us to understand how amazing D is. Instead of letting D's perfection be revealed to us, it is forced upon us. He does
this by describing the immense speed with which every offense is executed. Because D is so fast in his attacks, the reader must endure a sort of novel replay where the writer has to back track and describe, in slow motion, what just happened that was too fast for the reader to even recognize. It is aggravating to say the least.
The story itself I have never been a fan of even in film form. It isn't compelling to me to read about a girl who is willing to trade sex for just about anything it seems. Already she is a weak character when we first meet her. She only gets weaker. Perhaps I should give the third novel a try since, as the basis for Bloodlust, it is more intriguing.
If you are a fan of Yoshitaka Amano, like I am, check out Coffin: the Art of Vampire Hunter D. Through this you can relish the illustrations without having to read the books.
There is a phrase that exists to describe works to which we are unreasonably attracted to despite their utter awfulness: so bad it's good.
The writing is laughable. This guy is like Dan Brown... in third grade. Words like "vermilion" and "phosphorescent" abound.
The story itself is not that bad. It's very cliche, but that's part of the appeal. With its thoroughly developed world, frequent homages to earlier vampiric lore, and an unwaveringly stoic hero, it has a very cult feel despite the lack of quality. Basically, the foundation of the story is fantastic. What is subsequently done with that foundation is anything but.
Would I recommend reading
these books? Maybe. The language is excruciating. It's not the kind of bad that flows because of its simplicity; it's laden with details of the worst kind (vehicles, weapons, and generally all machinery are described with useless precision), with purple prose, tangents, and poor translation. For this alone, waiting for an adaptation might be a better idea (so far there are two movies and the manga is in progress). But if you are interested in the inner workings of D's world, it is very much essential.