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.... ==================================================== HIDEYUKI KIKUCHI'S TALK LIVE 24 September 1999 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 believe. 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.