Hello Mission Start fateful, Chris here(you can me Ryuzaki to separate me from the dozen of others) I've decided to share one of the offsite blogs that I do in my spare time with you all. Have fun and enjoy.
My blog post was originally here: http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/blogs/latest/entry/writers-interruption-rdt-18
こんばんはみんな, how are you all? It has been a spell. This time I decided to take a break from a project to go over with you something of a literary nature, of a series that is very very dear to my eerie soul.
Vampire Hunter D.
However instead of going over the series(Which is ongoing with 26 volumes up to date) this evening as I have contemplated before in prior posts. I've decided to take a different approach of comparing the adaptations of the 1st volume of the novel series. The movie and the recent manga adaptations.
Backstory: The Vampire Hunter D novels(known in Japan as 吸血鬼ハンターD/Kyūketsuki Hantā D or バンパイアハンターD/ Banpaiya Hantā D) is a sci-fi/horror series with western influences, created and written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano. From 1983 to now originally published by Asahi Sonorama prior to 2007 now by Ashau Shimbun. As the English versions of the novels since 2005 have been published by Dark Horse Books(DH Press) in collaboration with Digital Manga Publishing(DMP), with the translation being done by Kevin Leahy.
The story follows the life and adventures of the powerful stoic Dhampir(Half-human,half-vampire) vampire hunter, simply known by his first initial D. Battling others of supernatural origin and/or those of genetic engineering, some of which using the left over advanced technology from the time of the height of the declining Nobility (as the Vampires are called within the series) at least 5,000 year reign over a post-apocalyptic Earth.
The focus will be on the 1st adventure that both the readers and the movie audience encounters D. As we'll see 1st how well does the movie works as a adaptation of the novel that launched the series, Vampire Hunter D volume 1.
The Movie to the Novel:
The Vampire Hunter D movie as previously stated is a 80 minute animated film adaptation(or OVA) of the 1st novel, Hideyuki Kikuchi had written released in 1985 in Japan by Ashi productions, and the copy I have is the special edition associated with Anime Studios and CBS Sony Inc(or CBS Theatrical Films). So there are Japanese and English versions of the movie(and with my copy there is the option of Chinese subtitles).
Both versions are similar to each other with only a few differences, some of which differing from the novel itself to the point of changing a character or removing them. However I do understand time, budget constraints, and the needed pacing of the film tends to dictate needed changes, but some of the changes I feel were not needed.
Lets start with the Art & Setting of the movie in relation to the novel shall we?
Within the movie I'll say that the artwork in some of the scenes conveyed the western influences within the 1st novel of the series very well. Such as D and Doris's first encounter,the town where Doris is confronted by Greco on why she had been turning down his unwanted advances on her. However this scene in the novel takes place at Doris & Dan's farm not inside town, which the incident soon involves the Mayor(Greco's father) and the Sheriff & Doctor Ferringo(more on this difference later). I do like the opening animation showing how Doris was attacked by Count Lee, it was nicely done and it showed the emotion of the situation well. For the 1st escape from Lee's castle the designs for the random monsters worked due to how D wasn't directly confronting them as he is rescuing Doris & leaving the castle. Which leaves more to the imagination of what was being seen by the hero while he was rescuing his client.
Now lets focus on the ups & downs of the Character designs/portrayals. Given the time frame this film was made I'm not going to dwell much on the animation or design choices unless it calls for it. Now lets begin(other characters will be touched on in the story comparison section due to their presence, changes and/or absence influences the flow of the storyline more).
For the most part I like the design of D's character. It shows him as a young, but powerful mysterious man, with keen insight, who is also a skillful swordsman, but is deeply troubled by something. His presence on screen can be said to be one that immediately lets the audience know that he is a man that has great skill and strength, that is able to overcome obstacles that most wouldn't dare challenge. Despite his youthful appearance he is beyond his years(it's revealed later in the series that its possible D could actually be at least 5,000 years old), displayed in how he approaches the situations that arises. As well as demonstrating knowledge that most of humanity(in some cases all) has forgotten or is completely unknown. Both in the novel & movie, however there are some noticeable differences between the movie version vs the novel.
One noticeable difference is that the movie D is more reluctant to use his other vampiric supernatural abilities, near to the point were death becomes a possibility. Such as his encounter with the Midwitch Medusas(in the novel his bite made them become his servants, while he just kills them in the film) & his battle or confrontations (since there were three in the novel) with Count Lee. While in the novel D while he is reluctant in doing so, he will use his other abilities if the situation calls for it, especially while doing his job for his client.
However he does keep his reserved side and only speaking when deeming it necessary, whether trying to reassure Doris, and protect her from Greco's attempts to have his father use his power as Mayor to place her inside the asylum, to encouraging Dan to be strong for his sister during they're ordeal(their interaction will be covered later).
One thing that bothers me is the shadowing the top of half of D's face, yes he is wearing a hat that would shade it, but in the novel it's made clear that you can make out his facial features, hence why he is depicted as having a mesmerizing appearance that makes women swoon over him. However with the shading of the upper part of his face, it looks like he is wearing the lone ranger mask. Now that I think about it that might have been the intention.
Doris Lang is the first client/victim we encounter at the start of the novel series, thus she is the one who's plight is shown in the film.
While it is clear that Doris and her little brother Dan are farmers, it is not fleshed out that they're father was a skilled werewolf hunter, which explains why she is so skillful with the whip, also it is explained in the novel that her whip is made from werewolf hairs & hide.
It is maintained that she is a young woman(age 17) shaped in the toughness of living on the frontier, thus she isn't a push over, and that can be easily shaken, as depicted in both the novel and the film(but her physical prowess & courage is more define & stronger in the novel). She is at the start a strong willed, determined character. However as shown her courage and strength does reach a breaking point, due to the Count's relentless advances she becomes vulnerable, losing her will near the end after it appears that D had died at the hand of Rei Ginsai(he & his companions would be brought up during the story comparisons). Also shown in the movie it is that event and Count Lee using his power over her as she is his victim. As the Nobility(vampires) have the power to exercise control over their victims, depending on the strength of the victim and that of the Noble and said noble's intentions and desires for that victim.
There were some major changes to Doris Lang's character design, in the novel she is pictured as a young somewhat tall woman, with a curvy figure, somewhat tanned complexion, with long flowing raven colored hair. In the film she is a shorter, blue-eyed, red head with pigtails, with a smaller frame(or she doesn't have the curvy figure), & a lighter rosy complexion. Which in my opinion makes her look younger closer to her early teens instead of the endowed woman entering adulthood in the novel. To me this choice bothers me and I haven't seen anything to explain the decision behind it. Maybe one day I would learn why, which I don't mind waiting. Plus she wasn't the only character this happened to, she, Rei Ginsei, and Count Lee's daughter Larmica(who will be touched on later) also went through some noticeable changes.
Larmica Lee is the 3,727 year old prideful, but beautiful daughter of Count Mangus Lee, despite her anger towards her father's decision to take Doris as a wife, she is loyal to her father, her family name and to her pride as being a pure-blooded Noble of rank among vampires. However this is tested within the both the novel and film in different ways.
In the novel, Larmica is described as a alluring, blue-eyed blonde, with a pale complexion, and she is maybe a little over average height for a woman. You could say she is a contrast to Doris Lang but in some ways similar , as Doris could be thought of the tom boyish farm girl(which is cool) as Larmica is in every sense of the word a aristocrat, very elegant, but just as Doris she is prideful and very strong willed. Aside from when she decides to have the intent to kill.
However in the film she is quite different, like Doris her appearance is completely different. Pale complexion, but shorter, darker hair, and lacking the features that identifies her as a adult woman(well as far as 3,000 yrs is concerned). Like with Doris, I didn't like her design much either, mainly because it made her into a spoiled daddy's little girl. However it wasn't just the art design of her character that changed, but her motivations or complete characterization(if you will) went through some noticeable changes as oppose to the novel. Such as the feelings she develops for D in the novel, figuring out the identity of D's father, both of which played a role in the conflicted within her character which in end played a part in her decision in activating the castle's self-destruct. Some of her interactions with Doris were kept. The main one being when Doris saved her from Greco's attempt to kill her, however this is not kept in its entirety. Which will be touched on more during the storyline comparison.
Doris and D meets & recount of being bitten: In the novel Doris encounters D on the highway into Ransylva outside of the village, testing his skills before asking for his services in taking down Count Lee. Also she was naked underneath a cape while testing each hunter skill that came by with her combat skills and the idea of using a nudity to throw off her opponents. Which has been said to been used by ancient Gallic/Celtic warriors against the Romans to some effect & others, so I can understand the reasoning why. After the meeting was the recounting of her encounter with Count Lee. She was pursuing a lesser dragon, not on horseback as in the film, & Count Lee attacked her by himself as she fought as hard as she could against him. While in the movie Count Lee has a Werewolf attack Doris 1st removing her cross necklace(plot point later). Also within the movie this events are in reverse, Lee is shown attacking Doris first, instead of Doris meeting D and the story being recounted like in the novel.
D's revealed as a Dhampir: Within the novel D reveals himself as a Dhampir upon meeting Doris Lang, and it was Sheriff Dalton, who later confirms it along with D being a Vampire Hunter of incredible skill across several areas of the Frontier regions. In front of Doris little brother Dan, the Mayor, Dr. Ferringo, & the others present, during the confrontation at the Lang's farm due to Greco telling them that she was bitten, in response to Doris rebuffing his advances. It was also at the same time D gives Dan encouragement that the reader learns that a Dhampir is related to the Nobility(or Vampires), as D question's Dan "What's wrong? You hate me because I'm supposedly 'in league with the Nobility?'" As in the next chapter this relationship is explained clearer to the reader during D's 1st confrontation with Count Lee.
In the film it was during Count Lee's 1st attempt to bring Doris into his castle, he reveals what D is to Doris and the audience, while showing D trapped in the snares of the Midwich Medusas(or the Snake Sisters as they were called in the movie) to Doris using the video feed to get her to surrender and accept becoming his wife.
Larmica's motivations & love for D: Larmica characterizations in both mediums are mostly similar however there are some differences in how her motivations develop within the different telling of story. The similarities are that she doesn't want her father Count Mangus Lee marrying Doris Lang, because she strongly feels that it would taint their family legacy and cause the down fall of the House of Lee. While her and Doris interactions are the same, even Doris risking her life to save Larmica from Greco to the latter's surprise. This event had a profound affect on Larmica's change of character, in that she resolves to help Doris escape from Greco at the asylum by killing & draining him of his blood(in the film he dies after Doris saves Larmica, by a vengeful Rei Ginsei). In the novel she tries to help both Doris and Dan escape before her father, Count Lee arrives but it was too late. In the movie she pleads with her father just to let her go, because pursuing Doris has caused them too much trouble, but her father rebuffs her by using his telekinetic ability to trap her. After he reveals to her that being 10,000 years old(He's actually 3,757 in the novel) has made him bored & that he needs entertainment to deal with it, just as he has done with many other women before until he grows tired of them. At that moment he tells Larmica the same happened with her mother who also was human, which would make Larmica a Dhampir like D. Thus becoming the final straw that makes her go against her father, by not aiding him in his battle with D after she was able to break free.
However in the novel Larmica is a pure blood, and just is disgusted with the idea of her father marrying a human. Her attraction towards D played more of a role in the shift of her character's motivations. Seeing how he carries himself,his strength, & his appearance she falls in love with him, well in the beginning it's lust but it develops into genuine affection after they have more interactions with each other, though she hides it behind her pride as a Noble, as she is angered by the fact he is willing to use his great skill and power being a vampire hunter & helping two humans.
It is after D's second confrontation with Count Lee during Greco's attempt of using the Time-bewitching incense, when he takes Larmica hostage and then releases her at Doris's request, D retorts to Larmica's angry banter during their conversation about the Sacred Ancestor(Dracula himself) by asking her about all those she said obeyed the Ancestor "Every one of you? Then why was the old bastard always so troubled.." After hearing that she becomes more suspicious of whose D's father really is, recalling all the power he has shown even that which was deemed impossible for Dhampirs, such as his ability to turn the Midwich Medusas into his servants, while also remembering a rumor when she was a child in the court of nobles, that was previously discussed in a earlier debate with her father, about the Sacred Ancestor taking a human bride, thus she asks D at the end of the story was his father Dracula.
In the film Larmica's feelings for D aren't defined and it only start to occur after D came to help her and Doris recuse, from Greco's attack. She only shows to have slight feelings for D, when Rei Ginsei was able to staked him, causing her to feel deep heartache , but it was not at the same level as it was in the novel.
Changes in Rei Ginsei & the Fiend Corps: With in both the novel and film Rei Ginsei and the Fiend corps, do work work in the service of Count Lee, however there are some notable differences. The first being that Rei Ginsei & his group together prior to meeting Count Lee in the novel, were a independent group that operated on their own terms. They come into Count Lee's service due to his blackmailing of Rei, concerning the FDF(the Frontier Defense Force) they have killed. Thus with that and Rei's urge to get revenge on D he agrees to Count Lee's terms, under he'll no longer bother Doris concerning the death of the Witch(the 5th member of his group) and be allowed to become a member of the Nobility. In the film Rei Ginsei and his group are already mutant mercenaries or servants in the service of Count Lee which doesn't bother me, because it helps with the pacing of the film. Thus who they are can be explained with a set amount of exposition, Rei is their leader and the other 4 follow in their service to Count Lee with expected rewards. In both it was Rei wanting to be made a member of the Nobility and in both novel and movie it was not granted. However in the film this disappointment leads Rei Ginsei into a confrontation with Count Lee that ends in his death joining his comrades(his concern over them more evident in the Japanese version of the film instead of the English were its less apparent). He and the 3 remaining members aside from the Witch are killed by D in the novel.
Now for their depictions Golem in the novel is a large man at least 6'5 ft with skin as hard as bronze, while in the movie he is made giant size, but is killed in similar fashion by D. Gimlet is a mutant with super human speed in the novel but within the film he has the power to glide and is accidentally killed by Rei, not by D in a 15 second match inside the novel. Chullah(who isn't named in the film) went from being a hunchedback human that could control spiders(arghh) to a green one he is also killed likewise in the movie, as D also uses his left hand to absorb all his spiders before finishing him. The Witch is sort of the same, but her death in the novel came at the hand of Doris interfering with her spell, and Rei beheading what is left of her body, while in the film she is killed by D during the castle escape scene.
Rei Ginsei character was changed almost completely, in the novel it is said that he was a attractive young Japanese man, that was a mutant who could warp space inside his body, but who took pleasure in killing, but enjoyed the sight of beautiful women. Thus why saves Doris twice, the 1st from a cybersuit wearing Greco and the second the possessed deceased Witch, but resolved to rape(well because of lust) and kill Doris due to cover his group's tracks after they have killed the FDF.
In the Japanese & English versions of the film Rei appearance is completely different. He is taller, has shorter sliver(?) hair, along with having more-so Caucasian features, and pink mascara around his eyes. Also in both versions of the film his character slightly differs, in the Japanese version of the film he could be seen honorable(maybe due to him taking on more of absent Werewolf Garou's roles) while in the English version he was rewritten to be more ambitious, unambiguously evil & bloodthirsty. You could say sort of closer to his novel counterpart. His mutant powers of warping the space(dimension twisting)within his body is still the same, but his weapon takes more of a crescent shape instead of the v.
Rei's death is different from the novel, as D kills him by figuring out a way to use Rei's own ability against him with his sword, while in the film Count Lee kills him with a form of telekinesis, after Rei decides to betray him with the use of the time-bewitching incense the Count had him used against D.
D's Left Hand, Pendant & Time-Bewitching Incense: D's left hand contains a fully sentient symbiote, that has special abilities. It has the power of Inuyasha's Miroku's windtunnel, psychometry, induce sleep, and even can help D recover from serious if not fatal injuries, such as when Rei Ginsei was able to staked D through the heart. The symbiotic Left Hand serves as a contrast to D's reserved demeanor and wealth of knowledge of the lost Nobility culture, giving D(as well as the reader) information on a creature of supernatural origin or advance science that is being encountered. In the film his characterization is mostly same,he even revives D from being staked through the heart, and even picks on him for spurning Doris's affections towards him, while making references to D's actual father, thus keeping some of the interaction between the two. Only thing that I made worth noting is that to me the novel and Japanese film dialogues or manner of speech fit the character better than the English film version but it can overlooked.
D's Blue pendant is a from of mysterious advance technology that in the novel neutralizes the advance security systems and robotic sentries employed by the high ranking Vampires of this universe, while in the film it repels creatures of supernatural origin. Before the final battle D gives it to Dan to keep him safe inside Count Lee's castle(which he also does inside the manga) but not inside the movie.
The Time Bewitching Incense is mysterious special type of candle that is used in both the novel and movie as a important weapon against D. However its power & use differs completely between both mediums. In the novel its used as a means for Nobles to be able to active during the daytime(as shown during D's first encounter with the Count)as a means to protect themselves in the area it's used within against hunters, and its used against D by tricking his body during his 3rd encounter with Rei(it was used during their 2nd and final encounters, however Greco replaced it with a fake which result it Rei losing his left hand, and in the final encounter in the novel D kills Rei), that it was daytime giving him the opening he needed against D to stake him. In the movie its power is to paralyzed those who have Vampire blood, which the same result happens except the only difference is that Rei doesn't wear the cybersuit he gets from Greco(who he kills in the movie for revenge for switching out the incense) in his fight with D like in the novel.
Changes to Dr.Ferringo, Dan, Mayor Rohman(Greco's father), Midwich Medusas & the leaving out of the Werewolf Garou:
Dr.Ferringo: The good Doctor Ferringo role as a supporting character for the Langs is present but his relationship to them is cut back from how it is in the novel, that he was the one who help delivered them when they were born & looked after them after their had father died. Thus in the novel with the Sheriff's support and D being present he tells the Mayor and the others that Doris doesn't need to be sent to the Asylum. In the movie this is not the same of case as he from a physician stand point says that its cruel and inhuman to send anyone there, due to how run down the place is, and that the last time they did send some one there, the victim went insane and the Count butchered 30 people over it.
Another part of his character and a plot point that he himself introduces into the main storyline of the Vampire Hunter D series, is that the Nobility(Vampires) during the height of their 5,000 yr reign have altered or tampered with human genetics(this happened during their attempts to help bring the human population back from the bring of extinction). The reason he came to this conclusion is due to the collection of stories by traveling hunters(including Doris's own father) finding something that can be used as a weakness against Vampires but suffering a form of selective amnesia upon confirming that it works, and during the confrontation between him & Doris vs Count Lee. He used the garlic powder against him and saw that it caused him to gag, then after Lee struggled with smell he choose to flee upon seeing the special charm D had placed on Doris's neck where the Count had bitten her. After the incident the Doctor forgot what he had used against Count Lee that made him stop in his tracks in the first place. Now prior to the Count's attack Dr. Ferringo along with Doris was trying to figure out what her father meant concerning another weakness of the Nobility and what did it have to do with the letter t. What Doris father's notes actually meant by that wasn't the lowercase t but the cross or crucifix, which was the special charm D put on Doris's neck.
Now within the movie this is basically left out completely and changed, humans don't forget when they see and confirm other weaknesses of Vampires, thus they know what things like crosses and garlic can do to them. Which is why D says that the Vampires usually have werewolves and mutant servants get rid of them. Along with what the Nobility have done to the past of Humanity within the Vampire Hunter D universe between 1999 up to 12,090 or to the story's present setting.
Now back to Dr. Ferringo, one thing that is kept from the novel is that he does get turned by Count Lee into a Vampire, and he tricks Doris into following him only into a trap laid by the Count, but he is stopped and killed by Larmica by her driving a stake through his heart(while in the novel it is a steel arrow).
Dan: His movie character was in some ways more like his novel counterpart, to were you can see that the changes were done to help the movie's pace, which didn't bother me much. Mainly because the older brother-little brother relationship displayed inside the novel between himself and D is still present. However in the movie D during his mentoring moments doesn't tell Dan to call him big brother.
Dan also keeps some of his other character traits such as being a protective kid brother that annoys his older sister, and being a laser-rifle marksman.
Also to note Rei Ginsei in the novel clearly shows the intent to kill Dan after he defeats D, such as when he kidnaps Dan and during other attempts at getting what he wants. In the movie he doesn't have that immediate intent to kill him, and he even saves Dan in the castle before his final confrontation with Count Lee.
Mayor Rohman(Greco's father)&Sheriff Dalton: The Mayor and Sheriff Dalton are supporting characters in the novel. The Mayor for his son Greco and the Sheriff for the Langs. The Mayor being a father who listens & gives his whiny son what he wants, unless its costing him. This is evident during the confrontation at the Lang's residence in getting Doris sent to the Asylum. However to his anger it was both Sheriff Dalton and Doctor Ferringo that put a end to it. Mainly due to Sheriff Dalton acknowledging to the others in the Mayor's party(and in a way the readers) that D is the skillful Vampire Hunter spoken of across many areas of the Frontier, while also revealing to the Mayor & everyone else present at the farm(except Doris) that he is also a Dhampir.
Within the novel the Mayor does succeeds in having Doris & Dan taken to the Asylum after D is defeated by Rei Ginsei, however the original plan was revealed by the power of D's Left Hand that Mayor Rohman secretly wanted to negotiate with Count Lee and give him Doris if he leaves the rest of the town alone. Thus Rei Ginsei provided the means of removing D as an obstacle. However Mayor meets his own end by his son's hands afterwards.
The Sheriff was taken out & imprisoned by the Mayor & his goons prior to the event at the Lang's farm since the Sheriff was out looking for both Rei Ginsei(for kidnapping Dan & the deaths of FDF) and Greco(for letting the Doctor get attack by the Count).
In the film however both of these character's roles were greatly cut back, Sheriff Dalton seem more of a new guy on the job and subordinate to the Mayor. While the Mayor seems more of the concern city leader than the power abuser in the novel. Also they only appear once.
Greco: For the most part Greco's character overall stays the same with some changes, still wanting Doris Lang but he doesn't get the combat suit as in the novel, he founds out about the Time Bewitching Incense in the same place but uses a different method. Thus switching it out which leads to Rei Ginsei being beaten & having his hand cut off by D in both the novel & movie. His dialogue as well as most of the other characters in the novel is a western country accent, but in the English version of the film they don't have this accent. Which I would expect them to do given the setting of the story, because I know it'll can be difficult to do in Japanese but their voice actors still did a decent job overall. However for Greco his English voice has him being a whiny douche bag, which is interesting because it shows him being the spoiled rich kid riding on the coat tails of his father's power. Even though the Japanese & novel versions have him sound more like a threat.
The major differences between the novel & film is Greco allowing Dr. Ferringo and his death. The part of Greco being a witness to the Count's attack on the Doctor is left out. As for Greco death he dies in the film after Rei Ginsei discovers that he was the one that swapped out the Time Bewitching Incense with a fake. In the novel Greco after killing his father & stealing all his money prior, he is then killed by Larmica in the Asylum during his attempt to get Doris to run off with him again failed, since Doris refused this time Greco decided to kill both of the Langs before Larmica ending his life by draining him of his blood.
Midwich Medusas: or the 3 sisters are a lamia like creature that were in the employment of Count Lee devouring all those he sends to them inside the subterranean labyrinth under his castle. Using their hair to 1st bind their victims before using their succubus like power on them before they are devoured. Both abilities were kept in the movie however their design differs as their bodies are seen completely separate from each other while in the novel they're depicted(along with their illustration) of having a main body, while also in the movie they can shift their appearance to become more snake like. However their roles in the movie differ greatly from the novel in their encounter with D. Inside the movie they're just another trap for D inside the castle, that Rei Ginsei send him to, as part of Count Lee's plan to convince Doris to surrender herself to him. Along with being the reveal moment that D is a Dhampir, but in the novel it was during the 1st battle between Count Lee & D, were Larmica opens the trap that sends D into the sisters. During his battle with the Midwich Medusas(whose identity D acknowledges while in the movie this doesn't happen) D bites their necks, & sucks their blood, turning them into his servants a power believed impossible for Dhampirs to have stated by Count Lee. After doing so he has the 3 sisters(who see him as their master now) lead him back outside to where he comes upon a trapped Doris.
Lastly in the movie they are killed by D when he uses his Vampiric powers to break free of them, while in the novel a furious Count Lee has his robotic sentinels vaporize them after he finished questioning them on their betrayal.
Garou: Is the werewolf servant of Count Lee who only makes a cameo appearance in the movie at the beginning. When Count Lee first attack Doris Lang, a werewolf is used in removing Doris's cross necklace off her neck. Afterwards he is never seen again.
Garou has more of a presence in the novel as he is first introduced with Larmica during her 1st encounter with D, were in the movie many of his roles as a servant, such as in this scene he is replace by Rei Ginsei. To were you can say Rei Ginsei in the film absorbed some of the Garou's character. Which I didn't like because they could have keep Garou in the movie & have Rei be more of himself & maybe even have them complete with each other.
Count Mangus Lee & his defeat: Our main villain is mostly the same in both incarnations aside for a few differences, such as the use of telekinesis and being 10,000 yrs old in the movie while not in the novel he is 3,757, his family however has been in the Ransylva area for at least 5,000, while a powerful foe he doesn't display that same telekinetic ability, but can create force fields and use his cape as a weapon. Another few differences is that the number of direct encounters between he & D are reduced to one in the film while in the novel it is a total of three. Which in my opinion they should have brought it to 2, keeping the 1st encounter from the novel and leaving out the 2nd keeping the scene of Dr. Ferringo being turned and Killed by Larmica in front of Doris the same. Thus the pacing of the movie is intact by keeping out the 2nd encounter while the 1st encounter would have brought out more of the Count's character and made him seem more menacing, instead of the bad guy just sitting in the back. Along with including the Count's suspicions of D's identity & parentage, due to D quoting the Sacred Ancestor's(Dracula's) precepts to him during their encounters. Which Count Lee see as strange because he sees D as being too young to even have been in the Sacred Ancestor's company.
The final battle D and Count Mangus Lee and latter's death differs between the two mediums. In the movie as they meet for battle Doris appears as she has a mindless drone, and Dan was there (which he wasn't in the novel). The Count uses his power to keep D at bay until D starts bringing forth his Vampiric strength & tries running his sword into the Count's heart but he two hand catches the sword & breaks the top third of the blade inches away from his chest, however D counters with the remaining blade of his sword, throwing it like a spear into Count Lee's chest pinning him into the wall. At that point as he looks back a the portrait of the Sacred Ancestor then at D, he questions if D is his son before he dies as the wall he is pinned to topples over on to the floor, while the Count's castle begins crumble due to his death.
In the novel as D and Count Lee do battle, D uses his strength and swordplay against Count Lee's and his ability to use his cape as a weapon(which can't be pierced)they appear to be even, until a puppet Doris grabs D disrupting his focus causing Count Lee to get the upper hand by grabbing D & his sword with his cape. As he is about to strike D with his own sword, he is then distracted by his castle's self-destruct alarm going off due to his daughter activating it prior to the battle starting. Larmica actions gives D the chance to break free as the Count misses him with his sword. As Count Lee then tries to pierce D's heart, D catches the top third of his sword, breaks it off before jumping back & using it as a throwing knife piercing Count Lee in the heart killing him.
As the Count is dying he realizes whose son D really is as he goes on to say "I...I had to beg our Sacred Ancestor to teach me that very same trick.. Could it be... Milord, are you truly his..."
The Manga to the Novel:
The manga Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D vol: 1, is the one-shot manga adaptation of volume 1 of his original novel, through the collaboration of Saiko Takaki (a doujinshi artist who is a close friend of Kikuchi) being the adapter/illustrator and co-publishers DMP(Digital Manga Publishing) and Dark Horse Press in 2007.
Art Style of the Manga: The style that Saiko Takaki used looks like it used the illustrations of Yoshitaka Amano as the base, while also appearing to be influenced by some of the EC horror comics of the 50's & some of the 70's Marvel horror titles(kinda like some of artwork in the rendering of the Crypt-Keeper by Al Feldstein in Crime Patrol #15 for example). So if your into that style you'll probably would like Takaki-san's style, which also seems to focus on emotion, and the eerie mysterious setting of the world the series takes place in. Leaving some of the creatures(especially later on in the series) up to the readers mind such as the Hands of the Dead Dan encounters inside the forest and the Night Cloud which tries to attack D's body during his Left Hand's attempt to revive D(which is in all three mediums, while the Hands of the Dead are only in the novel and manga).
Over all I enjoy the cover art a lot more, but I do like the artwork used within the manga particularly when it's trying to covey the uncertainty of a situation or mysterious nature of it. Plus the comedic bits showing Doris & Larmica's jealousy towards each other over D was funny to me.
Storyline of the Manga vs novel: The Manga mostly follows the novel for the most part while including a few elements and scenes from the film itself. The Manga includes in its beginning the start of chapter 2 where the setting of the Vampire Hunter D universe takes place is explained. Its done well and is quick to the point of letting the reader know that they're encountering a post-apocalyptic world were humanity still lives in fear of the fallen Nobility(Vampires). Then it goes into the 1st encounter between Doris and D, which is exactly how it is in the novel.
However Doris keeps the red hair from the movie, but all her other traits from the novel were kept. You can say for the most part everyone's characterization and/or personalities virtual stay the same as in the novel, such as D willing to embrace Doris more though he is fighting his urge to bite her, Rei Ginsei's kidnapping of Dan & the 15 second defeat of each of his men by D.
Larmica is depicted as she originally was in the novel even her original appearance of being a alluring aristocratic blonde, likewise her father Count Mangus Lee, whose abilities are the same here in the manga as in the novel, and he is not 10,000 yrs old like in the movie, as both the ages of himself and his daughter Larmica are the same inside the novel. The ending they both have are like it is in the novel, with a slight difference being in the novel D asked her "Why not live here in your castle until the end of time, with the darkness as your companion?" Compared to in the manga "What about you? Why not live on forever here in the castle?" Minor changes like that are fine with me and are sometimes good because the same point is made, which led to the same answer Larmica gave in the novel. However in the film the conversation is different, due to Larmica being a Dhampir to which D asked her how about try leaving among the humans,but her reply was no she can't because she still is a proud member of the Nobility and the house of Lee, and that she will stay.
Chullah a member of Rei Ginsei's group death is left ambiguous in comparison to the novel, as the rest of the members are back to their novel characterizations. Meanwhile the Werewolf Garou's character role is expanded more as he is the one that gives Rei Ginsei the Time Bewitching Incense and has the Midwich Medusas killed by robotic sentry for their betrayal vs the Count in the novel. Which I must say I do like that his role being increase due to Garou being a noted high ranking servant, so him being involved with certain scenes that Count Lee was in doesn't bother me. Also he doesn't die in the end as he is present at Larmica's side when D defeats the Count, and on her orders Garou helps Doris & Dan escape the self-destructing castle. In the novel Garou is killed by D while he was chasing Dan through the forest, after Count Lee had separated Dan from his older sister Doris when he went to retrieve her from the Asylum. A scene that was left out from the novel, just as in the movie but here it works since Rei Ginsei's team up with Greco is kept from the novel. As Rei Ginsei kills Greco here in the manga for revenge after accomplishing stabbing D with a stake with the aid of the Time Bewitching Incense and Greco's Cybersuit.
Now more on Rei Ginsei's character, he is back to his original portrayal completely with the difference being his final battle with D. In the novel it's just himself vs D, and D defeats him by using Rei's own dimension twisting abilities against him. In the manga Rei confronts D with a surprised attack from Garou, but D counters sending the Count's loyal servant back, as Rei Ginsei tries to capitalize on the situation with the Time bewitching incense, D stops him cold in his tracks by cutting of his remaining hand. Rei tries to convince D to make a deal with him once again, but D dodges his boomerang based weapon(which is crescent shaped as in the movie), that was thrown prior in the engagement but it beheads Rei Ginsei upon it's return.
The Mayor's role has been shorten in compared to the novel, as Greco doesn't killed him and steals his money, due to him having the cybersuit prior to his team up with Rei Ginsei and the Asylum scene being removed. However D using the power of his Left Hand upon him to make the Mayor spill out his actual plans of selling out Doris to Count Mangus Lee.
Sheriff Dalton character just as the Mayor stayed the same from the novel except for the conversation dealing with D Doris, and Dan concerning Dr. Ferringo been turned into a Vampire, and Greco's knowledge concerning it and Rei Ginsei's kidnapping of Dan all of which left out, but the flow of the manga wasn't affected by the changes made.
The Midwich Medusas are based on they're novel counterpart just as the Mayor Rohman, and Sheriff Dalton. You even could say their artwork was based off Yoshitaka Amano's illustration, however the only difference from the novel is the way they are killed. Count Lee as them executed in the novel, while the Count has Garou fulfill the order at the ruins.
Dr. Ferringo character in the manga is more like his novel counterpart, except the Count attacks him at his place instead of attacking both him and Doris together, on the belief giving rid of him would weaken Doris's resolve. The information concerning what the vampires other weaknesses are also brought over to the manga as well. During the Doctor and Count Lee's one on one confrontation,the Count himself confirms that once the Doctor uses the garlic powder and sees that it works he'll soon forget what it does. Proving the Doctor's suspicions of memory manipulation done by the Nobility on humans. However the crosslike symbol on the book Dr. Ferringo owned save him from Count Lee's first attack on his person, just as it did for Doris in the novel after D put it on her neck as a protective charm.
However the good Doctor is turned into a vampire as in the novel(Greco doesn't witness this just like in the film),and he is killed by Larmica, but with a stake through from behind. Which did look cool.
Conclusion: After looking over everything that I noticed within the original novel and it's adaptations(some of which I know I have overlooked due to my attention needing to be elsewhere at times while I was putting this blog together). I would say to me, while I do enjoy both the movie and the manga, I enjoyed the manga more as an adaptation of the novel than the movie. It's partly due to myself being the type that sees a adaptation that sticks closer to the source material being better, however I know this is not always the case since there are many films, novels, video games, american comics, and manga that can prove the opposite. Also with the right company and actors, I might enjoy seeing a remake of the original Vampire Hunter D movie considering that the original film is almost 30 yrs old now. But I guess I would have to wait and see.
In all if your a fan or interested in checking out a older series, and/or seeing vampires more in their aristocratic and medieval look & not covered in glitter, along with other classic monsters in a different setting. Then give this title a shot whether its the novel, the film, and/or the manga. Or you could be like me and a few others and read & watch all 3.
Yeah this took a lot longer than I expected, there was a lot of distractions even now as I am trying to finish this. Oh well maybe when I do the adaptions of the 3rd novel, the work would go a lot smoother.