The Resurrection of Vampire Hunter D Part I: Hideyuki Kikuchi

by Mike Toole & Zac Bertschy,

This summer, Unified Pictures announced ambitious plans for an animated Vampire Hunter D series, to be produced entirely in CG. Given how early this new series was in the production cycle (and still is), very little else was said about the project, aside from one very important detail: the show would involve original creator Hideyuki Kikuchi and the director of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Yoshiaki Kawajiri.

Kikuchi's credits are many, although Vampire Hunter D, at 29 novels and counting since 1983, is unquestionably his career-defining work. A horror anime icon since the original OAV released in 1985, D has endured in popularity over the years and only continues to fuel Kikuchi's impressive run of novels.

We spoke with Kikuchi shortly after the announcement of this project to get some predictions and early takes on what we might be able to expect from this new series.

Mike Toole: After more than 30 years and more than 30 books, you're still spinning tales of Vampire Hunter D. Having built such a sprawling mythology for your hero, how do you keep track of it all?

Kikuchi: That's because of my talent, haha [joking]. But, I cannot say that I keep track of it all. I only really remember all of the mythology for a couple of volumes.

If you compare and check all volumes of D, you might find some contradictions. The points about which I am careful are these two: “don't mix up the characteristics of D”, and “not to lose sight of the purpose of the journey”. I have not told the fans about the latter.

You're famous for handwriting your manuscripts. Are you also handwriting story notes for the new show's production team?

Yes. I always write everything by hand. That won't change until I write “the end” for the final volume of D.

D himself is characteristically a loner, a flying Dutchman of sorts. Will he stay this way in the new series, or will other recurring characters join him, as an ensemble?

He will continue to be a loner. However, he is not truly alone.  He has his partner on his left hand.

How about D's “sacred ancestor,” that most famous of vampires? You've invoked his name and image very sparingly across the books. Are you ever tempted to give him a larger role in the story?

D's “sacred ancestor” will come out someday. When that happens, please expect that to be your warning that Vampire Hunter D is speeding toward an ending.

Will this new series mainly feature adaptations of existing D tales, or entirely new stories written under your supervision?

It is undecided. Once we know when the production can start, we will talk.

In general, do you feel like this new series will allow fans to see aspects of D and his world that aren't explored in your books?

I think that I would like to show those aspects. Please look forward to seeing them.

One of the most interesting aspects of the D novels are small details about the old civilization of the Nobility, such as factories that manufacture mythological monsters and reactors that draw energy from another dimension. In some ways, the golden age of the nobility makes for compelling SF on its own. Will we learn more about the vampire nobility and their civilization in this project?

Of course, you will see the things about the vampire nobility and civilization, if they decide to include that material in this production.

Will this new series feature some of your other heroes and vampire hunters, like Greylancer?

We're undecided on that at this time.

Why do you think your audience responds so well to D? Do you think that fans aspire to be as cool as him?

I have thoroughly characterized D as a cool hero. A tall and lean figure.  Taciturn, looks good in black, and invincible. Futhermore, his beauty as if it were sculptured by the God. He never expects an emotional connection with other people, but sometimes he shows some humaneness toward the weak. You cannot help getting attracted to D.  I've gotten fan letters that basically said “I can't believe I'm attracted to D! Not cool!”

Do you think that D is a conflicted character, or is he firmly in control of his dark side?

Exactly.  From the moment when D was born in darkness, he has lived in the conflicted situation between the minds of the humans and (vampire) aristocrats.  His dark side is namely the same one which human beings and the vampire aristocrats hold.  He is “firmly” in control of his dark side, but, in rare cases, gives way to the impulse, such as the scene in the 1st film where he was sexually aroused by Doris.

You've said in the past that you have an ending in mind, a final conflict for D. Do you think we'll ever see this onscreen?

I am not sure how it will be visualized on screen, but that final conflict will not be the entire ending of the series.

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