A Song Upon A Dark Night (Vampire Hunter D: Dark Nocturne – A Book Review)

Vampire Hunter D: Dark Nocturne
Author: Hideyuki Kikuchi, Yoshitaka Amano
Published: 2008

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 Rated D for dark but enchanting themes that could lead to ultimate death

 

Three remarkable visions from the world of Vampire Hunter D.

In these three novellas, Vampire Hunter D finds himself tangled with dark forces. In Dark Nocturne, the title piece, he must stop a Noble that is dragging in villagers from a small town into the deep dark woods with its siren voice. In Notes on Imagined Autumn, D is caught between two lovers during a ritualistic sacrifice held by the village he’s visited. It’s not a place he typically finds himself, the affairs of others, but for some reason, he tries to stop the sacrifice even though it may doom the village. In Legend of the War Demons, two man-made creatures, considered remnants of a war waged centuries ago, find it hard to let go of battle. D must put a stop to it before consumes the present as it has the past.

 

Dark elegance with a side of unstoppable skill in death. Whoa. What made me pretty excited to read these when I came across them was the fact that I’d seen both films when I was younger. Such brutal classics much like Ghost in the Shell. Incredible storytelling, truly. So, of course, I wanted to read a couple of books in the series.

Vampire Hunter D - Amino Apps
Amino Apps

If I had to pick a favorite novella from this book, it was most definitely, Dark Nocturne. The idea of a song sung in the night dragging in hapless villagers and killing them or leading them on an eternal, endless chase was really good. I loved it. It was sultry and deadly with allure and maybe I’m morbid and psychotic but it was pretty epic. Very siren-like.

I have to say that one of my favorite things is just how much of an anti-hero D is. He comes in to do a job in these stories. He doesn’t particularly care about the people. If anything, they’re nothing but a hindrance to him. Yet, people feint all over him anyhow. Not only that but many want to take their shot at killing him, desperate to see if they can become the legend that succeeds, Of course, they don’t.

Powerful imagery for sure and beautiful dialogue, but after a bit it got repetitive. It seems like there’s no challenge or particular change in the story. D takes on quest, gets stalled by a monster, gets betrayed by someone who initially seems nice or generous, lots of blood, end with horrifying results that may have made things worse than at the start and/or people disliking him like he’s a plague. While the characters were intriguing—I took a special liking to Ry—I just wasn’t all that moved nor was I fully invested.

Scarlet Reader
Giphy

 

Overall

Beautiful as it was to visualize, it made my eyes glaze over as each story seemed to follow the same general idea. It dimmed my interest in the book. I feel like if you’re die-hard in the anime scene then this is for you. While I do watch from time to time, it’s not all-consuming for me like some of the TV shows I love. So, this one just hit in the middle for me. I semi-enjoyed it, but it’s going in the donation pile for someone else to get a crack at.

 

Quotables:

“How many people knew what “nocturne” meant? It was a song that loved the night. A song for those awaiting a lover in the darkness.” (Dark Nocturne, p. 33)

“Nobility versus humanity—this was a matter of life and death the likes of which could be seen nowhere but in the schematics of battle.” (An Ode to Imagined Autumn, p. 78)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? The Sun by The Naked and Famous.

 

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