Vampire Hunter D -- new movie progress report and more

Hideyuki Kikuchi, who created Vampire Hunter D and writes
about his exploits in an ongoing series of novels (in Japanese
only) gives regular "Talk Live" presentations for his fans. 
This is the second such presentation to be reported on
by Kevin Leahy, a bilingual Vampire Hunter D fan. Not only
does Kevin know Japanese, he knows that a dhampir(e) is not a
danpeal. And what do I mean by that? Read on....



It's good to be king! That must pretty well summon up the way 
Mr. Kikuchi had to be feeling just after midnight on September 24th 
(or would that be the 25th?). About 60 fans had gathered in one of 
the seediest parts of Shinjuku to hear the latest news and the 
writer's discussion of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, as well as 
to wish him a happy 50th birthday. The celebration began with the 
lovely "Miss Makaitoshi" and Frankenstein's Monster (actually VHD 
Database website's Unknown-san) presenting the author with a birthday
cake and 50 roses. The cake was decorated with a cute illustration 
of Kikuchi dressed as D, complete with his mole and glasses, and 
topped with an unmanageable 50 tapers. When the cue was given, 
everyone in the audience triggered their party snappers, filling the
room with tiny streamers, and a dozen members held up placards 
spelling out birthday greetings. Mr. Kikuchi said it was the best 
birthday he'd ever had in all his years, and given the basic 
non-observance of most Japanese I don't find that too hard to 

The talk itself was about the Cthulhu mythos, especially as portrayed
in film. Mr. Kikuchi began with a slide show of images he'd taken 
around Providence on his two trips to the area, as well as some 
biographical info on H.P. Lovecraft. Then it was on to highlights 
from a trio of Lovecraft-related episodes of "Night Gallery" and such
films as "Die, Monster, Die!" "The Shuttered Room," and the
imaginative student film "The Outsider." As this was just the first
installment on Lovecraft, many of the film versions of his stories 
remained unexplored.

During a brief break I went up to the front to answer Mr. Kikuchi's
questions as to how exactly foreigners pronounced "Cthulhu," as well
as to chat about the New England area. Not only is it good to be 
king, but sometimes it's just good to stand out, as it's rather easy 
to remember the only foreigner who goes to these events. In 
particular, Mr. Kikuchi's fellow author/Ed McMahon-like sidekick
Iino-sensei has decided I'm his new best friend and gives me
nicknames like "Lovecraft Jr."

After the break, we got into the good stuff. Mr. Kikuchi had received
a videotape of the entire new VHD movie, and he treated us to about 
20 minutes of it. The version he had received had the English dialog 
tracks laid down, but no music or sound effects. Still, it was pretty 
cool, even if I was the only one who could understand what was going 
on. The scenes of the Marcus family slaughtering a whole village of 
newly turned vampires were intense. As far as the voice acting goes,
D was very well done and every Japanese fan I spoke to seemed very 
satisfied. I found the others, especially the Marcus boys, a bit 
less gritty than I expected, but I suppose they had to hold back
to make D seem that much cooler. The story has been changed in many
ways, so that even Mr. Kikuchi didn't know what was going on at some
points, but my major complaint has to be that whoever put it into 
English thinks that "dhampir" should be "danpeal." This obviously 
springs from the false belief that this word was coined by 
Mr. Kikuchi. As any writing teacher will tell you, "Write what you 
know." And that goes double for translating.

But the good news didn't end there. For all you console gaming freaks
out there, the Vampire Hunter D game is on the way. It will be a 3D 
action game for the current Playstation system, not the Playstation 2 
system under development, and it should see release in December. No 
other details about game play were available at the event.

Perhaps sated by the latest VHD novel and the footage we'd seen, there
were fewer D-related questions than normal during the Q&A session. 
Given the evening's topic, I wanted to confirm my suspicions that the
name of the haughty female vampire Miska in "Pale Fallen Angel" came
from Miskatonic University in the Lovecraft universe. Mr. Kikuchi 
acknowledged that such was the case, and bashfully owned up to a 
sudden influx of things Lovecraftian in his recent VHD novels.

All that remained was to give the author his birthday present and the
birthday greetings that his foreign fans had thoughtfully provided. To
all of you who took the time to write or draw something, thank you so
much. Your reward might be everything you imagine. You see, after I 
had given Mr. Kikuchi all your messages, a tome on vampire movies on 
video, and another book I'd translated, he then asked me for my 
address and phone number. I told him if he was still serious in his 
desire to see his books in print in English, I was still very
interested in doing it. So we'll see where it goes from here.

Even in the heart of Tokyo, your choices of entertainment are severely
constrained at 5 a.m., but a group of 16 of us rented a room at a 
karaoke joint and sang and talked for an hour or so. It goes without
saying that TM Network's "Only Your Song-D Mix" was on the menu. After
that, it was off to Mister Donuts for a few hours of chatting while 
the rest of the city woke up. Mr. Kikuchi's fans are a nice bunch,
mostly in their 20's, and everyone seems to go by their Internet 
handles even at the events. For someone like me who can't make it to 
sci-fi and anime conventions in the States any more, it's a pretty 
good substitute.


For more details on the forthcoming Playstation game, see the
links page here at the Vampire Hunter D Archives.