Vampire Hunter D: Tale of the Dead Town (1986) By: Hideyuki Kikuchi, Illustrated By: Yoshitaka Amano
D spots a trio of fire dragons tearing apart a camper. When he goes to investigate, he discovers a biker trying to save the remaining survivor. The biker, Pluto VIII, manages to save the young seventeen year old girl, but she has severe radiation poisoning and must be taken to the nearest village. D leads them to his next client, a floating village, and the girl's former home.
Tale of the Dead town build around the mystery of a two-hundred year old deal the mayor made, how it relates to the current attacks on the town, and how it relates to the girl's family. The set-up is good enough with the villagers being suspicious of the new arrivals and D deducing that the vampire will strike that night. Things start to go wrong after the initial confrontation with the vampire that set the stage for the rest of the novel. They kill the vampire and heal
|A deaf-mute you say?|
D has come to the town to save the mayor's daughter, Laura,
Lori Knight is the young girl that D and Pluto saved from dragons. Her parents were chemists who discovered something that everyone wants to get their hands on. Her hearing and voice were damaged by the radiation, but she manages to do more to help the situation than most of the cast. Naturally, as the pretty young girl, she falls for D, but once again it is framed more as affection for her rescuer enhanced by his beauty aura. At this point, I really want to see a pretty young man fall for D; at least it'd be something different.
Dr. Tsurugi is the town's docotr who has taken an interest in D. Not in the way I mentioned above, but in a less specific way. He's set up as a possible antagonist, but he doesn't act that way. It turns out he's just waiting to mention something to D.
Mayor Ming is a real shifty character, but some of his decisions are headscratching. Why would he mention his encounter with a vampire? It makes no sense after you find out what's been going on. Why does he try to reject Lori Knight when they first try to board the village? Once again, by the end, it is in his best interest that Lori boards. His hiring of D is also suspect. He wanted to save his daughter, but he really didn't need the best hunter ever.
Being confined to a village again is a real let down. After the initial promise of a 'floating city' with something called a Prometheus cannon, it turns out to be a normal village with fewer monsters that moves. There are a few interesting scenes like the opening one, D's encounters with the intangible being, and his fight with the predatory birds. Sadly, it is just confused by the end.
In the End
A pointless pirate ship, radically shifting loyalties, and some fan service, the plot kind not the sexy kind, Honestly, the end is a jumbled mess. There is a ghost pirate ship and it is boring and completely pointless! How does this happen?
Tale of the Dead Town tries to be another mystery, like Raiser of Gales, but the flaw this time is not perverse ridiculousness. It is that the mystery is revealed too soon, and it's supposed message doesn't make any sense. The city is stagnant; therefore, there is no hope. Yay, pessimism! The villains are lame with not one ever presenting a real threat. This story should have been The Adventures of Detective D; instead, it is stuff happens while D is a boss. While it is much less reprehensible than Raiser of Gales, it has fewer high points as well. Read it to be a completionist or read the last chapter for an update of characters that are way better than this in this book.
Next Time: Dormant D