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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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08/05/2008 Archived Entry: "Novel review: Vampire Hunter D: The Rose Princess"

Vampire Hunter D: The Rose Princess
Written by Hideyuki Kikuchi
Illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano
Published by Dark Horse Books and Digital Manga Publishing
ISBN 978-1-59582-109-6

Review by April Kimm

Hideyuki Kikuchi is the author of "The Sword of Shibito" (available by CPM), "Taimashin" (available by ADV), "Darkside Blues" (available by ADV), "Dark Wars: the Tale of Meiji Dracula" (available by Del Rey), "A Wind Named Amnesia" (available by Dark Horse), "Demon City Shinjuku" (available by ADV), "Demon City Hunter" (available by ADV), and "Demon Palace Babylon" (available by ADV). As expected, Hideyuki Kikuchi writes another solid installment in his "Vampire Hunter D" series. There is a prologue, eight chapters, a postscript, and a preview of the first chapter of the next volume.

Like the other novels, it follows a similar plotline in which D slays the resident vampire at the bequest of a villager, a rebellious teenage girl falls for him as she also fights against the vampire, and D leaves for the next assignment. In this novel, the villagers have a pact with the resident vampire: she supplies them with an abundance of crops as well as protection from the Frontier, ie. invading monsters and natural disasters, and they, in turn, supply her with regular sacrifices.

The story begins when a teenage boy attempts to save the latest sacrifice, a teenage girl he has a crush on. His plot fails, and he makes a run for it. The vampire princess is incensed at this breach of contract and vows to kill an increasing number of villagers should they fail to provide the boy within an allotted time. In rides D in the midst of this carnage.

But alas, the vampire princess is guarded by four knights: the hot-headed Blue Knight, the impressionable Red Knight, the calm Black Knight, and the crazed White Knight. The Black Knight is the not so bad guy, who reigns in the Blue Knight, leads the Red Knight, and presents the only challenge to D. Through the Black Knight, you learn that immortality exacts a heavy price.

As for the female lead, Elena is the leader of the village biker gang and vows to avenge the sacrifice of her family to the princess. Elena is a flawed character who deteriorates during the course of the novel. Unlike the prototypical heroine, she makes immoral but human choices.

Although each volume functions as a stand alone work in a series about the adventures of the main character, the first novel is recommended before the others. This volume is interesting in so much as both the supposed victims, Elena and most of the other villagers, and the aggressors, the Black Knight in particular, do not demonstrate their expected characteristics. The "Vampire Hunter D" series is one of the sole decent manga novels published in English to date.

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