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Literature / Vampire Hunter D

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A horror novel series by Japanese author Hideyuki Kikuchi, a horror novelist in the same vein as H. P. Lovecraft and Stephen King,note  Vampire Hunter D is the story of a half human, half vampire vampire hunter, usually just called D, who is scorned by the world that he roams. With the help of a morbid and otherwise obnoxious (but very useful) parasite that lives in his left hand, D wanders to wherever he is needed in a post-apocalyptic world in the year 12,090 AD where monsters roam and humans live in fear.

Like Zeiram and other series of the mid-eighties, Vampire Hunter D focuses more on atmosphere than plot or prose, and pulls it off beautifully. It began as an extremely long-running series of light novels (thirty-two as of January 2018, some of which are several volumes long) which spawned two anime movies. The first, based directly on the first novel, was simply titled Vampire Hunter D. It involves him being hired to protect a young woman who has become the chosen prey of an "Aristocrat" (what vampires call themselves in this world), the sinister Count Magnus Lee. In the second, titled Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (based on the third novel), he is called upon to find a girl who has run off with her vampiric lover, and finds himself clashing against a group of mortal hunters. The character designs for the movies were done by Yoshitaka Amano, who also did the cover art for the light novels.


Both the books and the movies possess a considerable sense of style, but are also quite disturbing, and not recommended for the faint of heart.

An anime OVA feature adaptation was released in Japan in 1985, and it was dubbed and released on VHS in North America by Streamline Pictures in 1992. Advertised as the "first animated horror film for adults," the feature acquired a cult following in the US following broadcasts on Cartoon Network, SyFy Channel, and TBS. Its success spawned an animated sequel, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which was first released to US theaters on the film festival and art-house circuit in 2000; a Japanese release followed in 2001. Both films were originally released on DVD by Urban Vision, and when those licenses eventually fell through, Sentai Filmworks re-released the first film on Blu-ray (with a new dub), while Discotek Media re-released Bloodlust (with the original dub, and only that dub).


In 2000, a video game adaptation of the Bloodlust movie was released for the Playstation, simply titled Vampire Hunter D. The game closely followed the plot of the movie, but was entirely set in Meier Link's castle and featured 3 endings, one of which mirrored the movie ending.

    List of novels 

  • Volume 1 - Vampire Hunter D (1983; English 2005)
  • Volume 2 - Raiser of Gales (1984; English 2005)
  • Volume 3 - Demon Deathchase (1985; English 2006)
  • Volume 4 - Tale of the Dead Town (1986; English 2006)
  • Volume 5 - The Stuff of Dreams (1986; English 2006)
  • Volume 6 - Pilgrimage of the Sacred and the Profane (1988; English 2006)
  • Volume 7 - Mysterious Journey to the North Sea, Parts 1 & 2 (1988; released in English as Volumes 7 & 8, 2007)
  • Volume 8 - The Rose Princess (1994; released as Volume 9 in English, 2007)
  • Novella 1 - Dark Nocturne (1992; released as Volume 10 in English, 2008)
  • Volume 9 - Pale Fallen Angel, Parts 1-4 (1994-1996; English omnibus for Parts 1+2 released in 2008 as Volume 11, English omnibus for Parts 3+4 released in 2009 as Volume 12)
  • Volume 10 - Twin-Shadowed Knight, Parts 1 & 2 (1996; English omnibus released in 2009 as Volume 13)
  • Volume 11 - Dark Road, Parts 1-3 (1999; English release in 2010, Parts 1+2 omnibus released as Volume 14, Part 3 released as Volume 15)
  • Volume 12 - Tyrant's Stars, Parts 1-4 (2000-2001; English omnibus for Parts 1+2 and Parts 3+4 released in 2011 as Volumes 16 and 17)
  • Volume 13 - Fortress of the Elder God (2001; released as Volume 18 in English, 2012)
  • Volume 14 - Mercenary Road (2003; released as Volume 19 in English, 2013)
  • Volume 15 - Scenes from an Unholy War (2003; released as Volume 20 in English, 2013)
  • Volume 16 - Record of the Blood Battle (2004; released as Volume 21 in English, 2014)
  • Volume 17 - White Devil Mountain, Parts 1 & 2 (2005; English omnibus released as Volume 22 in 2014)
  • Volume 18 - Iriya the Berserker (2007; released as Volume 23 in English, 2016)
  • Volume 19 - Throng of Heretics (2007; released as Volume 24 in English, 2016)
  • Volume 20 - Undead Island (2008; released as Volume 25 in English, 2017)
  • Volume 21 - Bedeviled Stagecoach (2009; released as Volume 26 in English, 2017)
  • Volume 22 - Nightmare Village (2010; released as Volume 27 in English, 2018)
  • Volume 23 - The Royal Tiger of Winter (2011; to be released as Volume 28 in English, tentative 2019)
  • Volume 24 - Battlefront of the Nobility (2012)
  • Volume 25 - The Golden Demon, Parts 1 & 2 (2012)
  • Volume 26 - Sylvia's Road Home (2013)
  • Volume 27 - Festival of the Nobility (2014)
  • Volume 28 - Banquet in Purgatory (2014)
  • Volume 29 - The Twisted Nobleman (2015)
  • Volume 30 - The Wicked Beauty (2016)
  • Volume 31 - Lost Legion of the Nobility (2016)
  • Volume 32 - The Five Assassins (2017)
  • Volume 33 - Cursed Demon Flight (2018)
  • Volume 34 - Deadened City (2018)
  • Volume 35 - Dark Visitor (2019)

An animated series initially entitled Vampire Hunter D: Resurrection is being produced by Unified Pictures and Digital Frontier, with Hideyuki Kikuchi and Bloodlust director Yoshiaki Kawajiri involved in the production. As of October 2018, it has simply been renamed Vampire Hunter D: The Series. Due to being considered more appealing to Western audiences than Japanese audiences, it is set to be distributed in America first.

In addition, the novels have been adapted to manga format in Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D published by Media Factory and Digital Manga Publishing, which adapted the first seven novels of the series, luckily, the artist emulates Yoshitaka Amano gothic style with a new twist, but overall, most characters are recognizable. There were also plans to bring the character over to Western media as a Devil's Due Publishing comic titled Vampire Hunter D: American Wasteland by Jimmy Palmiotti which would have seen the title character travel to the United States still under control of the Nobility, but the series was ultimately cancelled.

A successful Kickstarter campaign for a brand new series called Message from Mars by Strange Comics, based on a unpublished story by Kikuchi was held in 2016. An RPG supplement for Pathfinder called The World of Vampire Hunter D was written by F. Wesley Schneider and published by Paizo as one of the stretch goals for the Message from Mars campaign.

This franchise provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Leila can hold her own in a fight.
  • Adaptational Badass: Rei asks Count Magnus' messenger if he came to kill him for failure. In the Japanese dub, he states that he couldn't beat Rei if he wanted to, while in the English version he is given a more menacing voice and merely says that killing Rei was not part of his orders.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Marcus Brothers are much nicer guys in the movie version, being The Rival at most to D, and friendly rivals at that, especially Borgoff and Leila. In the original novel, the brothers were almost as vile as their opponents, particularly in how they treated Leila. For that matter, their counterparts in the Barberois bodyguards are, while still antagonists to the heroes, are not as vile as they were in the novel—Mashira and Caroline remain completely loyal to Meier, rather than betraying him for their own selfish interests as they originally did, and Mashira in particular is reimagined as a dignified Noble Demon rather than a crazed rapist.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Bloodlust sheds a lot of the more... unpleasant aspects of the third novel.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: For whatever reason, Larmica (blonde hair) and Doris (dark/black hair) had their hair colors swapped in the first movie.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Bloodlust movie added an incredible amount to the original story it was based on (Demon Deathchase) as well as changing a lot of details. Most notable was the introduction of a proper Big Bad and a Bittersweet Ending rather than the Downer Ending of the original, which was virtually a "Shaggy Dog" Story.
  • Adjective Noun Fred: The title itself, Vampire Hunter D.
  • After the End: Two separate catastrophes: a nuclear war that destroyed human civilization, and a rebellion that overthrew vampire civilization.
  • Alien Sky: The opening shot from the 1985 OVA depicts a sky with two moons, yet for some reason we only see one moon throughout the rest of the film.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Resurrection will be completely animated in CGI.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: In the first volume and the 1985 film, Count Magnus Lee is determined to marry Doris Lang.
  • ...And That Little Boy Was Me: Not only does the shopkeeper turn out to be one of the rescued children from his story, but D is also the rescuer that the townspeople betrayed in the end.
  • Animesque: Yes, even a text novel can be this, though considering when it was written it may have been the Trope Codifier for a lot of things we take for granted in anime. For example, throwing something so fast it's just a flash of light (in this case a wooden stake, thrown so fast it glows from air friction!) or the "create lots of images of yourself by running around really fast" concept.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: In this setting, "aristocrat" is a euphemism for "vampire". The novels translate the term as "Noble", probably for the sake of brevity. Still, the trope applies: the high-class rulers of the old civilization were vampires, thus earning their new name.
  • Arrow Catch: The most iconic moment of Bloodlust happens when D plucks Borgoff's arrow out of the air as his horse rears dramatically in the moonlight.
  • The Artifact: The climactic scene of Meier Link walking in sunlight to recover Charlotte as the Marcus brothers sadistically mock and torture him, even joking about letting Charlotte kill herself since they get paid whether they bring her back dead or alive, made sense in the original novel, where the Marcus brothers were sadistic rapists and glorified bandits, as bad as their prey and worse. It’s a lot less fitting in the film, where they’re stand up guys who generally don’t play with their food and don’t have a grudge against Meier personally compared to the henchman who killed their brother that they've already dealt with.
  • Badass Cape: D has one, not surprisingly. As does Meier Link (Mayerling in the original Demon Deathchase light novel).
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Justified in that only someone as powerful as a vampire could possibly hope to pull it off. Double justified in that even a vampire would have to practice this. Count Magnus Lee learned this trick from the Sacred Ancestor himself.
  • Big Bad:
    • The first novel and film have Count Magnus Lee, who is trying to make D's current client his bride.
    • The Bloodlust film has Carmilla the Blood Countess, who's manipulating a vampire-human couple into assisting her in being resurrected.
  • Bigger on the Inside: In the novels it is often described how the vampire castles, carriages and even coffins may be vastly huge on the inside thanks to the space-warping technology the Nobility used to possess. There are tales of people entering a vampire's coffin and never finding the way out again. They were often built to accommodate their owner for centuries, yet another way the Nobility tried to forget their own decline.
  • Bishounen:
    • D, who is described as being impossibly beautiful and has everyone he meets falling for him left and right.
    • Vampires and dhampyrs in general are described as being unearthly beautiful creatures, when they aren't showing the monstrous side of their appearance.
  • Blatant Lies: Carmilla in Bloodlust claims this is the truth behind her reputation as the 'Bloody Carmilla' and that these rumors stem really from envy and jealousy within the Vampire community. Of course, it's quickly proven she's lying...which amusingly means she's blatantly lying about the 'blatant lies'.
  • Blood Bath: In the Bloodlust movie, the spirit of the main antagonist, Carmilla, is brought back to her physical body by bathing her corpse in Charlotte's blood.
  • Bowdlerise: The strange Spanish dub of the first movie toned down some of the risqué elements, though, oddly enough, not all of them. For example, it removed all the references to demons, replaced Doris offering her body to D with her offering him to "kiss her," and made some minor changes, while leaving intact the rest of the depravity of the film, including the scene in which Doris's breasts are shown. It also changed Rei Ginsei's skill from curving space to "curving steel" to explain how he redirected D's sword to himself, apparently believing Viewers Are Morons in all its glory.
  • Buy Them Off: D attempts them in Bloodlust when he learns Meier didn't hire the Barbarois and that someone's paid them $100 Million to protect him. D suggests he can match the price, which the Elder finds entertaining. He points out that after 5,000 years of serving the people of the night, the Barbarois aren't exactly going to jeopardize that reputation, are they?
    • That being said, the Elder then concedes that, under different circumstances, if there was anyone that could get them to change their stripes, it would be a Dunpeal.
  • Cape Wings: In Bloodlust, Meier plays this straight and D subverts it (his cape distinctly looks like wings in the scene just before the page pic, but that's all it does).
  • Cassandra Truth: During their first fight atop the carriage in Bloodlust, Meier claims he didn't abduct Charlotte and she's here by her own choice. Initially, it seems that he's just lying and D doesn't believe him...until she calls out his name after D injures Meier.
  • Celibate Hero: In the movies and novels both, D either ignores or pushes away anyone who comes on to him. He does get to first base with Doris in the first novel, but he leaves at the end of the book before things can go any further. In the first movie, Doris tries to put the moves on him, but it starts to bring out his vampiric side and he shuts things down before he loses his self-control.
  • Chickification: Doris Lang sadly falls prey to this after making a strong first impression in both the novel and movie. It's not directly stated that the Lees drained her willpower or whatever, she's just too tired to be an Action Girl any more.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: The first movie starts with Doris being marked by Count Magnus Lee (shown as an unhealing bite mark on her neck) and she hires D to take care of him before he comes back to claim her completely.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Three Sisters' hair, which immobilizes their victim with pleasure, followed by unpleasant execution and digestion.
  • Composite Character: An interesting knock-on case across both movies:
    • In the first movie, Count Lee's werewolf footman and coachman Garou is Adapted Out, with Rei Ginsei taking his spot as the Count's main enforcer, rather than a wandering bandit the Count hired to take out D as he was in the book.
    • Then in Bloodlust the Barberois bodyguard Mashira is changed from a parasite creature of the same species as D's left hand to a werewolf, driving Meier Link's coach and remaining loyal rather than betraying Meier as he does in the book, making him another composite with Garou and basically adapting the character back in again.
  • Crapsack World: Technology has regressed from a super-advanced future to a mix of medieval and futuristic where mutants, monster, vampiric nobles, and highly advanced technology exist to kill the average human who usually live in poor village with horrible things just outside vision radius during the daytime.
  • Cross-Melting Aura: Meier Link is to crosses as psychics are to spoons.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The end of Pale Fallen Angels.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dan's attack on Lee in the movie lasts less than a second with the vampire swatting Dan, knocking the kid off the bridge.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: D; In spite of his cold, distant nature he has made it a point never to kill humans, offering his services when offered the right price or purely to do what he feels is right.
  • Daywalking Vampire: As a dhampir (half vampire, half human) D can exist in sunlight without being damaged (as he does at the end of the 1985 film). That said, in Bloodlust we see he is not immune to it entirely. Staying out in the sun for too long causes him to experience what is referred to as Heat Syndrome, sort of akin to a heat stroke for normal humans in unbearable temperatures. If D's reactions are any indication, it also hinders his breathing, which if left unchecked would be obviously fatal.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lefty often, but D could be one at times depending on how you take some of his comments in his downtime.
  • Death Faked for You: Leila says she and D will claim Charlotte is dead so that she and Meier can go in peace.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Rin-Ginsei is implied to be one of these in the novel.
  • Determinator: D fits this trope to a D.
  • Dhampyr: D and a few others are children of vampires and the living. The dhampirs of this series have radically different powers, if any. Then again, almost no actual dhampir beside D actually shows up, and the few that do almost never really show off their abilities. Most of the comments about dhampir could qualify as Unreliable Narrator and in a few instances are heavily implied to actually be D, who is much older than he appears. Even then, some of the dhampir that do show up, including D, are either artificially created, genetically enhanced or otherwise modified.
  • Distressed Damsel: Doris Lang in the first movie and novel. Subverted in that she's an Action Girl too, but not tough enough to stop a millennia-old Noble on her own.
  • Downer Ending: Several stories end like this.
  • Dracula: The Nobility calls him the Sacred Ancestor, the god of their people. D calls him... well, a lot of things, mostly bad. The author himself gives Dracula different interpretations. At times, he makes Dracula out to be a heroic figure, even once fighting an perverse and evil vampire to save a human village in the backstory for Novel 7. Other times, like in novel 2, he's portrayed as more of a villain, apparently being the one responsible for transforming the kidnapped children into strange, kinda-sorta vampires. This is more Well-Intentioned Extremist however, since he's attempting to create vampires immune to sunlight - it's implied that such vampires would have the best qualities of humans and vampires.
  • The Dragon: Rei-Ginsei after he makes a deal with Count Magnus to become one of the Nobility. In the movie his role is drastically reduced and this is pretty much all he is.
  • Dub Text: The Streamline Pictures dub inserts a direct Shout-Out to Shane in the originally wordless ending scene.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness
    • In the first novel, Rei-Ginsei actually kills D using the time-bewitching essence to throw off D's senses just long enough to land a fatal blow (although he survives thanks to Left Hand). The idea that D could be defeated so easily, even with a handicap, would seem absurd in later stories.
    • Also, D is notably more human in the first novel, compared to the detached, emotionless, almost callous character seen in later books. He insults Rei Ginsei to his face when they confront each other (calling him "the bastard son of the Devil and a hellhound"), may have been about to succumb to Doris' seduction when she comes onto him (actually brushing her hair aside to kiss her), and delivers a withering "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the villagers when they come to take Doris and hand her over to Count Lee, threatening to slaughter them all if they push their luck.
    • Another thing from the first novel: humanity being bred to have an innate case of Laser-Guided Amnesia should they discover a vampiric weakness. This was phased out in later novels and dropped completely.
  • End of an Era: A common theme of the series is that the vampire empire is long gone and that the world is slowly being taken back by humans. Most vampires are either dead, left the planet entirely, or are in eternal sleep. The few still around might have small fiefdoms with citizens they oppress, but aren't a major threat to the world anymore. Because of this decline, it made the Sacred Ancestor decide that even if vampires as they were cannot survive, their bloodline and legacy could possibly be continued by humans.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Left Hand's exposition scene in Bloodlust reveals Dracula was utterly disgusted with Carmilla's vanity and gluttony and this was part of his motivation for killing her.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: D - most men in the novels commented how seeing D makes them wish they were women(!).
  • Evil Counterpart: Rei-Ginsei to D. He's quickly blown away. Later books feature several others; a couple even bring in an Evil Twin of one sort or another.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Count Magnus Lee provides a pretty good example of this, though he paints a less pleasant picture of the passing of ages than a lot of immortals:
    I have lived for 10,000 years. Believe me, you have no idea what that means for me: boredom. Everlasting, hideous boredom. A never-ending search for ways to pass the time, and mating with a human woman is one of the few I enjoy.
  • Eye Scream: Subverted in the first movie. Count Magnus Lee gets a dagger thrown right in his eye. He doesn't react, doesn't even blink, just pulls it out and regenerates the damage with a bored expression.
  • Fanservice: In the first anime, Doris gets her top pulled down by Dr. Fehring after he turns traitor, and later has a shower scene. However, she keeps her clothes on when she first meets D, unlike in the novel (see Full-Frontal Assault below).
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: You can expect just about any creature, power or trope from horror or fantasy traditions to make an appearance in some shape or form during the novels. Even Atlantis receives a mention! The first novel reveals that a good chunk of the stuff was recreated by the Nobility just for the sake of it.
  • Faux Action Girl:
    • Doris Lang becomes one, eventually. Supposedly, it's due to her relying on D way too much (and falling in love with him).
    • This happens to a lot of the female characters in the novels.
  • Flatline: Bloodlust. After Grove sacrifices himself to save Leila from a vampire, the audience can hear the flatline sound from the medical equipment attached to him.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: During their fight in the novel, Doris Lang tries to distract D by dropping her clothes. It only distracts him on a very small scale, but for a completely different reason....
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: Charlotte
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • D's mother was human. His father was the Sacred Ancestor himself.
    • In the first movie, Larmica was also one. This was completely absent from the original story.
    • The Barberoi, an entire village of monstrous hybrids. They're pretty scary, but the elder of the village in the novel remembers how hard it was for all of them to survive and is quite reverent to D when he realizes who D must be. This sympathetic characterization was largely absent from the movie version of Bloodlust.
  • Hand Signals: Bloodlust (2000). Borgoff, the leader of the Marcus brothers, makes a "move forward" gesture to his men to order them to advance toward the vampire's carriage.
  • Heroic Willpower: D, despite being a dhampir, is far stronger than most of his opponents because of his willpower and resolve not to become a monster. It helps his dad was the Big D.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Grecko in the OVA, who steals the candle tainted with incense from Rei-Ginsei that was meant to paralyze D for his own purposes in seducing Doris, who was being held hostage by Larmica. This effort fails, and he staggers home only to be confronted by a royally pissed off Rei who had by this point lost his hand to D as a direct result of Grecko's meddling. Rei is quick to repay him for that offense.
  • Ho Yay: invoked This often happens with several male characters who encounter D. Some are subtle, while others say things that require Brain Bleach.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: In the first anime film, the half-vampire D protects Doris and her younger brother against Count Magnus Lee and the other vampires.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: D lives and breathes this trope. The impossibility of some of the stuff D pulls is mentioned repeatedly by other characters and the narration. One example from the novels is when he cut a hologram...and rendered it incapable of reforming.
  • In the Blood
    • Rather literally with Vampirism. It's not until Bloodlust that we even get a hint that vampires are capable of love.
    • Well, in the first novel there was Larmica, who was a full vampire in this version.
    • Also, isn't it pretty much stated in the first novel that the dear Sacred Ancestor really did love a human woman, resulting in, of course, D?. Of course, given his sometimes-hero-sometimes-monster portrayal between novels, it's really uncertain exactly WHAT he was doing... The implications aren't very good, considering that in novel 6 he explicitly rapes a young woman to produce another dhampyr descendant. Though since she goes her way to mention how sad he looked in the act, he probably wasn't getting kicks out of it, either.
  • Invincible Hero: D tends to be this, sometimes veering into Showy Invincible Hero depending on how purply the prose describes his actions. The Author knows this as novels rarely focus on D and instead focus on the human characters and D instead acts like a Deus ex Machina for them to escape deadly situations. In short, D is as much a plot device as he is a character. More, in some stories.
  • Invincible Villain: Vampires as a whole in the first book. One aspect that was thankfully discarded without a trace for later books: they've bred it into humanity that if any human discovers one of their weaknesses (like garlic), they'll automatically forget it so humans can never get the upper hand.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The early novels used this as a means of keeping the Nobility at the top of the food chain, with them having genetically altered humanity to outright forget vampiric weaknesses after discovering them. Later novels phased this out completely.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: In the 1985 film, when Count Magnus Lee is killed his castle self-destructs. Something similar happens in Bloodlust. Vampire castles apparently have No Ontological Inertia.
  • Long-Running Book Series: Been going since 1983, with no signs of stopping.
  • Mechanical Horse: Regular horses don't even seem to be around anymore, just the cyborgs.
  • The Mole: In the 1985 film. While D is rescuing Dan from Rei Ginsei, Dr. Fehring takes Doris Lang to a safe location. When Dr. Fehring and Doris meet Count Magnus Lee's daughter Lamika, Dr. Fehring reveals that he was turned into a vampire the day before and turns Doris over to Lamika.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Doris' skirt is so short it's a mystery why she even bothers putting it on. Clearly she has the same tailor as Agent Aika.
  • Monster Town: The Barberois town, high in the mountains.
  • Multiple Head Case: The Three Sisters and D himself, sort of.
  • Naked on Revival: Carmilla revives herself out of pure blood in the Bloodlust movie, leading to this.
  • Noble Bigot: Countess Larmica Lee does not appreciate her father's zeal to marry the commoner Doris Lang, thereby bringing the House of Lee to ruin, but midway through the picture she starts to realize that perhaps murder may not be the only option and decides to help Doris.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: In the 1985 film Countess Larmica Lee has one that she uses to express her disdain toward D and Rei Ginsei.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In the movie, this was the cause of the Count's castle crumbling to dust when he died. In the book, though, it was due to Larmica's betrayal.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In Bloodlust, Kyle begins freaking out when he realizes Meier's carriage is headed for the Castle of Chaythe. This is the first time in the film Kyle's lost his composure, which speaks volumes about the Castle and its reputation.
  • One-Letter Name: D
  • Organ Autonomy: D's left hand is alive. And it won't shut up. There's an upside when your hand can survive being severed for a while and has every reason in the world to give you CPR...
  • Our Vampires Are Different
    • They follow most of the traditional vampire traits and weaknesses, but there are always a few exceptions—it's mentioned a few times that some vampire lines have different talents. It gets quite a LOT of attention when a vampire acts abnormally (such as the one that can move through water freely).
    • This trope really comes into play with the other Dhampirs. Their abilities almost never resemble D's.
      • Dhampir other than D are quite rare. The few that show up are usually artificially created or genetically modified, which further explains the range of powers beyond simply the unpredictable results of cross-breeding two different species.
      • D is also explicitly stated to be the only successful attempt to create essentially a super Dhampir. The fact no other Dhampir have his powers is, if anything, required by that plot point.
  • Out with a Bang: The Three Sisters are killed by D while in the ecstatic throes of absorbing his life force.
  • Percussive Prevention: In the 1985 movie, when danger approaches Doris Lang's house she volunteers to fight alongside D. D uses the talking mouth on his hand to put her to sleep so she can resist Count Magnus Lee's summons.
  • Pointed Ears: In Bloodlust, D's ears are shown to be slightly pointed, one of the few physical hints about his vampire blood that we see aside from his pale skin.
  • Power at a Price: Grove is bedridden, sickly and barely able to move, but when he shoots up with a powerful (and toxic) drug, he's able to create an astral projection of himself made of pure energy that blasts anything to ashes with ray beams. Oh, and apparently the power trip makes him feel awesome, because he's usually smiling beautifully during all this.
  • Power Floats: In Bloodlust, Grove's astral form floats through the air as he wreaks havoc.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The original movie was a very simplified version of the first novel (most notably the Fiend Corps were reduced to a group of mute monsters and Rei Ginsei became simply Count Magnus' Dragon), but this improved the pacing of what was a very slow book.
  • Prehensile Hair: The Three Sisters use their hair to ensnare their victims.
  • Public Domain Canon Welding: Bloodlust has the Big Bad revealed to be Carmilla, who attacks Meir Link and then drains and kills his Love Interest, Charolette, to revive herself.
  • Punch Catch: D to Rei-Ginsei in the first movie. Shocking both him and Larmica as Rei-Ginsei is shown to strength and speed beyond most humans.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: One shows up in the novel that formed the basis for Bloodlust. It's from the village of the Barberois, but it's only got a passing interest in actually helping Meier Link and is more concerned with raping and taking over people's bodies. It's also apparently related to the talking hand thing that D has.
  • Purple Prose: The early novels have bits of memorably overripe prose. For instance Doris Lang is described as having "a naked form so celestial none save the goddess Venus herself could have fashioned it." This decreases some in later novels.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: In Bloodlust, after Borgoff is turned into a vampire he takes Leila hostage and orders D to drop his weapon.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The novels always have one and they can be relatively mundane mercenaries to outlandish, literally out-of-this-world monstrosities.
  • Really 700 Years Old: D appears to be a young man (and is in fact repeatedly described as such by the narrator in the novels) but is actually ancient. In at least one instance the deeds he performed in a certain area have literally passed into legend by the next time he returned there.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Larmica
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
    • Most vampires when they're angry, if they don't have it all the time. If D gets Red Eyes, it's time to run. No, wait, too late. You're dead already.
    • The 1985 movie:
      • Doris Lang encounters three opponent with red eyes: the monster she's hunting, a werewolf that tears off her crucifix, and the vampire leader Count Magnus Lee.
      • At Count Magnus Lee's castle D meets a giant, a mutant who can summon up a ghostly wolf and the three Snake Women of Midwich, all of whom are Lee's evil servants and who have red eyes.
    • Bloodlust (2000):
      • The horses pulling the vampire's coach near the beginning have glowing red eyes. And if that isn't enough to tell you they're evil, they have fangs as well - apparently they're vampire horses.
      • Some evil vampire bats that appear later also have red eyes.
  • The Remnant: Human civilization is coming back full force and the "Aristocracy" of vampires is on the decline. Vampires can only be found in the hills of the Frontier away from the Capitol at the center of the continent. In their little micro-fiefdoms, though, they still exercise a degree of might.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Borgoff in Bloodlust after Kyle's murder. He's determined to keep pursuing Meier to avenge Kyle and Nolt and to honor their memories. He refuses to listen to Grove's pleas that going into the Castle of Chaythe will only get them all killed — a prediction which will indeed come true.
  • Rule of Cool: Even in the first novel, the combat is ridiculously over-the-top. D throws stakes so fast that they're a flash of light. Not because they're silver, no, they're wood; because he's throwing them so fast they're incandescing from the air friction.
  • Secret Test: In the 1985 film version Doris Lang confronts D as he travels. She challenges and attacks him to find out if he's a tough enough vampire hunter to take on the vampire noble Count Magnus Lee.
    Doris: I apologize for attacking you without just cause. I had to make certain you weren't a coward like so many of the others.
  • See You in Hell: In the 1985 movie, D says this to Rei Ginsei when he paralyzes D with the vampire-affecting candle.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Demon Deathchase ended up being one of these. EVERY character except D & Leila died a pointless and unpleasant death and Mayerling's entire journey was meaningless from the start, as the spaceport he'd been heading to had been ruined for centuries. There was no real Big Bad and there were almost no sympathetic characters (especially the Marcus Brothers, who are complete scumbags in the book).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shower Scene: In the 1985 movie, after D returns Larmica to Count Magnus Lee's castle there's a brief scene in Doris Lang's house where she takes a shower.
  • Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: On the low end.
  • Sole Survivor: Leila is the only surviving member of the Marcus Brothers by the end of Bloodlust.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: D on a few occasions.
    • When he learns that Lefty failed to protect their current employer: "Useless little bugger."
    • Seeing a giant get beat down by phantoms: "They're beating the hell out of him."
  • Spell My Name with an S: In Bloodlust, the main villain Noble is referred to in both text and dialogue as "Meyer Link", despite the fact that a handwritten letter shown partway through the film spells it "Mayerling". The novel uses "Mayerling" consistently.
  • The Starscream: Rei-Ginsei tries this at the end. It doesn't end well for him.
  • The Stoic: D. His parasitic hand lampshades this occasionally.
  • Stripperiffic: Doris' outfit in the first film.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: On rare stressful occasions, D sometimes 'vamps-out' — his eyes goes glowing blood red, he displays conspicuous fangs (which he bares in a terrifyingly feral manner), and his strength and presence becomes even more overwhelming. In that state he's basically a uber-Noble on super-steroids. A Curbstomp Battle almost always follows. This transformation appears to be involuntary and it takes obvious Heroic Willpower to pull himself back to his usual self.
    • It is usually triggered by combat, but can set off by emotional turmoil — i.e., with Doris Lang when she offers himself to him.
  • Sword Sparks: Memorably going to the point of a 'hot blade' Blade Lock where one blade was a vampire's wing.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: Rei-Ginsei becomes this for Dan (for no particular purpose) when the latter gets hurled off a bridge, and the former has decided to become The Starscream.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: In the 1985 film, when D is fighting Count Magnus Lee, he throws his sword at Lee and pins him to a wall, killing him. In the corresponding book, D throws the broken-off tip of his sword—with the same results.
  • Time Abyss: Most of the Nobility, as well as D himself. Their lifespans are usually in the range of several millennia.
  • Too Many Mouths: D's parasite shows up as a face in his left palm.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Generally, vampire thralls end up evil, and which of the mind control tropes it is varies.
  • Translation Trainwreck: The Balkan word for the child of a human and a vampire is "dhampir". When that word was transliterated into Japanese for the novels and then back into English for the American release of the movies, we ended up with "dampiel" in the first filmnote  and "dunpeal" in Bloodlust. The novels correctly use "dhampir."
  • Trauma Conga Line: Doris, which decays her status from Action Girl to more Distressed Damsel as the film goes on. After losing her horse and getting bitten by the Count in the opening, she still has to deal with being shunned by the townsfolk, being kidnapped by the Count twice, having her brother kidnapped (and thinking him dead), having the only other human on her side get turned into a vampire and lead her into a trap, and fending off the lecherous son of the town mayor in between it all. Poor girl needs a hug after all that.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: The vampires love these both in the movies and novels. The novels explain that the vampires attempted to delay their inevitable decline with increasingly ambitious projects, from building miles-tall high-rises to sending expeditions to other galaxies, even though it would take thousands of years and serve no practical purpose.
  • The Vamp: Larmica, quite literally.
  • Vampire Hunter: Obviously, but D doesn't do it as much as one might expect. In the time frame of the movies and novels vampires are mostly extinct, and D's jobs are often related to the Nobility only tangentially.
  • Vampire Monarch: Count Magnus Lee, and Carmilla in Bloodlust.
  • Vampire Refugee: The plot of the first novel and film.
  • Vampiric Draining: In the 1985 film the three Snake Women of Midwich drain D's Life Energy by wrapping themselves around him.
  • Vein-o-Vision: How vampires see humans. It's made a point of in the novels how even the most kindhearted of Nobles will inevitably succumb to their instincts if they have to spend long periods in the company of mortals. When exceptions are seen, they tend to be huge plot points.
  • Villain Reveals the Secret: Just before his death in Bloodlust, Mashira reveals to D who really hired the Barbarois to protect Meier Link. [[spoiler:It's justified because even though he's about to die, Mashira fulfilled the terms of the Barbarois' contract by delaying D long enough for Meier and Charlotte to make it to the Castle of Chaythe. D knowing the client was Carmilla won't make a difference now, and D by this point has a good idea who is behind things, only the motive is still mystery.
  • Walking the Earth: Hunters must do this constantly, D, obviously, being no exception.
  • Weakened by the Light
    • Sunlight isn't immediately fatal to vampires. Rather, exposure to more than a few seconds of direct sunlight causes them to catch fire, burning painfully so long as they are exposed. Heroic Willpower is invoked if a vampire stays in sunlight to do something important, as is a vampiric Healing Factor if they make it back to shade. However, only the High Nobility are capable of even trying this. Most vampires are entirely comatose during the day, even if they remain underground.
    • While sunlight does not affect dhampirs to nearly the same degree as full vampires, it is painful for them and can cause a form of heatstroke called Sunlight Syndrome.
    • The 1985 film. Count Magnus Lee sends Rei Ginsei a candle. Its light paralyzes any being with vampire blood in its veins. Greco Roman steals it and uses it against the Count's daughter Lamika. Rei Ginsei gets it back and uses it against D (successfully) and Count Magnus Lee (not so successfully).
  • We Meet Again: In the 1985 film Rei Ginsei says this to D when D arrives at Count Magnus Lee's castle. They had met earlier when Ginsei visited Doris Lang's farm.
  • Weird West: While the main influence is Westerns, there is literally no genre the series doesn't have in it. D regularly bumps up against marauders, Gothic Horror beasts, High Fantasy monsters, Dark Fantasy abominations, literal space aliens, and Cthulhu.
  • Wham Line: From Bloodlust:
    • "Meir!". Charlotte's very first line in the film. It startles D in mid-fight with Meier and, as he concedes to Left Hand afterwards, it indicates Meier was telling the truth about this not being an abduction after all...
    • "Someone paid me a $100 million to protect Meier Link." This piece of boasting of the Barbarois Elder, which is another clue that this isn't a simple abduction and that Meier has a secret, powerful benefactor.
  • What the Hell Are You?: (combined with the following)
  • Who Are You?: In his final moments Count Magnus declares, "Who the hell are YOU?!" at D in the English dub of the anime. Magnus finds the answer himself just a second later from a portrait on the wall right nearby.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: This is what gets Kyle killed in Bloodlust after he and Borgoff corner Meier's carriage on the bridge. Rather than just killing Meier and getting it over with, the brothers keep toying with him and torturing him (though it's arguably justified because the pursuit of Meier was what got Nolt killed earlier in the film). Their delay gives Mashira enough time to not only scale the bridge (after having been shot over the side earlier), but to remove Borgoff's explosives before killing Kyle just as he's about to *finally* kill Meier.
  • World of Badass: The stories run on the physics of awesomeness.
  • Worthy Opponent: Mashira in Bloodlust praises D as one and is glad to have met him in battle just before succumbing to the wounds D inflicted.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: D goes out of his way to avoid hurting Lamika, despite her numerous attempts to kill him and Doris.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Lamika does this to Dr. Fehring after he turns Doris over to her. In his last moments, he regrets what he had done under the influence.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Rei's ultimate fate after attempting to paralyze Count Magnus Lee for breaking his promise to make him immortal, in a very gruesome manner.


Video Example(s):


Leila's funeral

About 60 years after the climax of the movie, D returns to keep an old promise.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeadlyDistantFinale

Media sources: